tl:dr Rule nazis stifle the growth of our small community. Relax. :-)
My observation (for what it's worth) is that with a large site there needs to be an active 'rule management team' within the community that worries about things like tags, synonyms, duplicates, subjective questions, etc. because with a lot of users the level of noise to signal can get so large than the noise eventually kills the community by:
- turning away both new users who can no longer find good information easily
- annoying long-time, but less vocal users who just leave and don't come back.
This potentially leaves a withered community of JUST 'rule nazis' who spend a lot of time trying to devise a system that handles every exception perfectly without human intervention, but stops helping the users. P.S. Those people need to go see Tron: Legacy. ;-)
With a small site (like photo.se.com) in many ways the problem is the opposite one... If we as 'more experienced' users over-manage things and become 'rule nazis' in the name of:
- not cluttering things up
- building the perfect resource
- lets just do it the right way now so we don't have to change things later
- your spelling and grammar SUCKS! (I'll totally own that last one. :-/ )
it can end up turning away new users, which will ultimately stifle our growth.
Purely my opinion here (and I'm relatively new as well, so... grain of salt, I guess) but I think there are a few users (and I'm one of 'em) who could stand to relax a little with some of the attempts at rule-making and perfection-seeking... I think it's premature at best.
At this stage we need all the participants we can get our hands on in order to reach some level of critical mass, and if that means sometimes:
- we gently and politely guide new users to the answer they're seeking from the duplicate question the just asked (instead of crushing their spirits with snarky as*hole comments and downvoting them into oblivion)
- tolerate a question here or there that might be a bit on the subjective side
- getting cranky about non-optimal tag usage
- berating poor grammar and spelling (instead of quietly editing things behind the scenes... Again, I'll own the guilt on this one and am personally just shutting up and editing quietly now that I have the rep to do-so)
then so be it. While the overall goal is to make 'the best community possible,' I think it is much better for this small community for us to simply relax a little bit, handle what we can quietly behind the scenes, let some things that are 'marginal' go (I'm NOT talking about ignoring egregious problems), and being more welcoming in general.
My .02 cents worth. Now go ahead and flame me into oblivion... I've got an asbestos suit on! ;-)