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So I was disappointed to see a -3 score with no guidance at all in the comments for this question:

Can I say "something is happened to my phone"?

The author obviously was new to ELL and a beginning English learner and wrote a fairly detailed question even though it was a little difficult to understand on the first reading.

The thing that I noticed about this question was that the author explained why they chose the words they were asking about. That is (sadly) more than we get from a lot of questions written with better grammar.

Please don't judge a first question from a new user by its title. Read the entire question all the way down to the "please, I need help my English is low" and see if it can't be salvaged. Even if you don't want to take the time to fix it, at least refrain from down-voting it unless you can take the time to explain how they could improve their question.

If a user has been here a while and ignored guidance, down-voting is more appropriate, but let's show a little restraint with brand new users. I'm not asking folks to stop down-voting poor questions or to explain their down-votes on every question. I just think that we should be a little more tolerant of new users who are making an effort.

I know I'm saying "new user" here but what I'm concerned about is the response to the very first posts a user makes. If they've made a post a couple days ago and got some guidance and should know better on their second question, that's different. If they've asked two questions within an hour of each other and haven't received a response yet, maybe be a little tolerant.

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    I agree this is horribly bad form. I blame the Australians. – Andrew Jan 9 '17 at 20:59
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    Downvotes to people who have little reputation or are new to the site might be fair, but unless someone explains, it is useless. I was downvoted on a question on being fooled, and I have zero idea why. Luckily, I am not new to SE in general and don't care -- but I learned nothing so I am unable to improve my answer(s ) in ELL. It remains questionable whether or not people bother to post again after such a response, but I'm betting you are not concerned at all about (that as a group). – WRX Jan 9 '17 at 23:32
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    But @Andrew, as you yourself pointed out, there are no Australians here. – StoneyB Jan 10 '17 at 0:54
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    @StoneyB No, actually I said I never see them. They could be all around us, waiting in the trees like downvoting drop-bears, whispering, "Strewth, she's a beaut isn't she!" when they see their next victim. – Andrew Jan 10 '17 at 1:37
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    What do you say about my downvoting this off-topic question from a newcomer? Three other users also DV the question, should we stop at -1, -2, -3 or never DV? Be careful, some questions need to be downvoted, it doesnì't matter who the author is. ell.stackexchange.com/questions/114886/… – Mari-Lou A Jan 10 '17 at 8:11
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    @Mari-Lou A -- as long as one person has explained the reason, then a downvote is fine, imo. I do understand it improves the site. It isn't the downvoting per se, it's doing it without an explanation. I think the site would be improved and downvotes would still be anonymous, if there was a checklist reason given, like when there is a close vote. So you could have DVed and checked 'off-topic' and the OP might better understand. Of course there was a reason in this example. Multiple DVs -- not friendly, but not serious either. – WRX Jan 10 '17 at 13:08
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    @Mari-LouA My main concern was down-voting new user's questions without explanation when the author has made some effort to ask but are limited by their English ability. It's counter-productive because the new user has no idea why they got a down-vote. Was it the topic? Was it their poor command of English? The question you linked in your comment was not by a new user (one reputation doesn't mean new user to me) and there are plenty of comments explaining the down-votes. I'm not criticizing the votes because the question did start out poor, just the "drive-by" nature of them. – ColleenV Jan 10 '17 at 13:27
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    The user in the off-topic question I linked has been a member for five days. If that's not new, I don't know what is. SE, however, doesn't incite users to explain why they DVed, votes are anonymous whether they are + or -. If a user asks for an explanation because they want to fix their question/answer then I think a DVer should explain. Otherwise, knowing who the DVer is can influence negatively your opinion about that user, especially if you disagree with their rationale. – Mari-Lou A Jan 10 '17 at 13:49
  • @Mari-LouA I was editing my post to try to make it more clear while you were writing your comment. I'm not trying to change policy here - I was just disappointed by the reception we gave a brand new user with limited English ability and wanted folks to notice it. It's easy when we see a lot of low quality questions coming in to go into "auto pilot" and not be as thoughtful as we normally are when looking at a question. Answers are a completely different story in my opinion - we should be very harsh on them in my opinion. – ColleenV Jan 10 '17 at 13:53
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    It's definitely more difficult to shake off an opinion of a user once you know why they DVed your question/s or answer/s. It becomes personal. And any subsequent DVs you receive, their name is always first in the list. So... I see why anonymous voting has its merits. – Mari-Lou A Jan 10 '17 at 13:53
  • I appreciate the sentiment behind this post. I also agree with @Mari that anonymous voting is far more beneficial than when the voter is revealed, but often the user appreciates any help they get, and the occasional comment does not give away anonymity. – M.A.R. Jan 10 '17 at 16:09
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    @M.A.R. I did not say that anonymous DV is far more beneficial, I said it has its merits. Not the same thing. – Mari-Lou A Jan 10 '17 at 16:14
  • @Mari so revealing the name might be more beneficial, in your opinion? – M.A.R. Jan 10 '17 at 16:15
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    @M.A.R. well, if you're going to put words in my mouth, I'll point out that I left many comments beneath the question I linked. Some of the comments were then deleted by me when they were obsolete and others by the mods. The user knew exactly why I DVed, but frankly he didn't care because he got his answer. So I then DVed the answer, and I explained why. The user improved his post, and I retracted my DV. But there's always a backlash to these things, users might think they are being picked on, etc. I like to think I am impartial, but I rarely DV in any case. – Mari-Lou A Jan 10 '17 at 16:20
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    I feel that because this specific stack is for ELL, that a little more slack would be good. Unfortunately, there is no way to comment with a DV by using a check mark system. So how about instead of a DV, trying to work with the OP? Just ask for clarification or improvement. I will often just tell an OP that I don't like the question, could they fix it? That has rarely caused a problem. I have only ever DVed spam or utter disregard for the OP and in those examples, I see no need for explanation. - the poster knew they'd be DVed or deleted. – WRX Jan 10 '17 at 18:45

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