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This question already has an answer here:

All the questions and answers I've posted in the past have gotten down voted, including the one on this account. I have read the guides on how to use the site, but nothing I have tried has ever worked. I can't access the meta site to get help because I have never been smart enough to get to 5 rep. Please downvote if I should just stop trying to use the site's user features.

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marked as duplicate by T. Bongers, Will Jagy, Asaf Karagila, Shailesh, Joel Reyes Noche Jun 22 '16 at 0:14

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

migrated from math.stackexchange.com Jun 21 '16 at 19:20

This question came from our site for people studying math at any level and professionals in related fields.

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    $\begingroup$ How on earth did this get 3 upvotes in one minute? This seems like vote manipulation. $\endgroup$ – Cameron Williams Jun 21 '16 at 19:19
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    $\begingroup$ You now have 11. Take it to Meta. $\endgroup$ – AJY Jun 21 '16 at 19:19
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    $\begingroup$ The OP mentions.. "THIS ACCOUNT" Understand something? @CameronWilliams $\endgroup$ – Qwerty Jun 21 '16 at 19:24
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    $\begingroup$ Could you link to some of these questions? Without any details I am afraid we cannot say more than the general advice. $\endgroup$ – quid Jun 21 '16 at 19:31
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    $\begingroup$ If all my questions are metaquestions, does that mean I'm in a catch-22? $\endgroup$ – user318569 Jun 21 '16 at 19:39
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    $\begingroup$ @NobleMushtak It wasn't taken away. The meta site did just not yet catch up. $\endgroup$ – quid Jun 21 '16 at 19:44
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    $\begingroup$ @Joe As it stands, nothing can be said beyond the boilerplate advice about how to ask. If you were to link to some of your poorly received questions, one could give some constructive specific advice; but if you're just asking a general question, a general thread has the answers. $\endgroup$ – T. Bongers Jun 21 '16 at 19:48
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    $\begingroup$ @Joe You can use imgur.com to upload images to the Internet and then paste the link to the image in your question. Then, a user with enough reputation will edit your question so that the image can be embedded within your question. You can also use MathJax to embed equations into questions. $\endgroup$ – Noble Mushtak Jun 21 '16 at 20:06
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    $\begingroup$ Joe, as long as you refuse to link to the questions involved, it is a waste of time. $\endgroup$ – Will Jagy Jun 21 '16 at 20:09
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    $\begingroup$ @NobleMushtak it still ought to be possible to give some specific information about their nature. You may consider the possibility this is just not a good faith post. $\endgroup$ – quid Jun 21 '16 at 20:14
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    $\begingroup$ @NobleMushtak Given the number of sudden upvotes on a post that should really not have received them, together with the absolute refusal to engage with comments asking for specifics, I'm a little skeptical about this person's intentions. $\endgroup$ – T. Bongers Jun 21 '16 at 20:16
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    $\begingroup$ @NobleMushtak There are upvoted answers, so the question cannot be deleted. Joe: Please use civil language here. $\endgroup$ – T. Bongers Jun 21 '16 at 20:19
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    $\begingroup$ I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because does not seem to be a question meant in good faith $\endgroup$ – Will Jagy Jun 21 '16 at 20:21
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    $\begingroup$ @NobleMushtak they never answered my question for the earlier questions. $\endgroup$ – quid Jun 21 '16 at 20:35
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    $\begingroup$ @NobleMushtak there is by now a strain of 30+ comments, mostly worthless. It does matter. That's all. I will not add one more. $\endgroup$ – quid Jun 21 '16 at 20:48
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Roughly an up vote corresponds to an encouragement by some other user, a down vote to a discouragement.

My personal policy:

  • down votes for obvious b$\star$llsh$\star$t
  • down votes if the poster was far too lazy and tries to offload his work for free
  • down votes if answers are wrong (*) and discussion in the comments has beared no fruit

  • no down votes if the poster has no clue but seems honest

  • up votes if something was useful

  • up votes if something was really cool or otherwise impressive

  • up votes if I want to encourage some folk to stay and keep trying

(*) I am only human and make mistakes too

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    $\begingroup$ How dare you to be only human and make mistakes??? $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Jun 21 '16 at 20:08
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Is it okay to ask questions that have been answered before? I feel like this teaches the search engine to deal with phrasing better.

If you ask questions that have been answered before, unless you add some kind of value to the question that was not there before, unfortunately, people will almost certainly down vote them because they are duplicates, which are not allowed on this site because we do not want the same discussion to be in the site on multiple questions. Simply changing the phrasing is not enough.

Is there some kind of cushion for newbs? I feel like all my problems with this site boil down to my lack of experience with the search engine.

Unfortunately, no, there is not. People usually just expect new users to understand all of the rules and ask quality questions, even though most people aren't really taught how to ask quality questions in school and to many people, this sort of forum is new.

Also, the search engine can be a bit annoying because it often does not give me the question I want, even if I know it exists, so if you ask duplicate questions when you looked for questions of your type and could not find any, it is understandable, but unfortunately, it will still probably be marked as duplicate if people find a similar question, even if that's not your fault.

Often when I ask questions, I can't figure out how to be specific. Only after I've read some answers can I zero in on what I was missing. Is this problematic?

If you have a specific problem but no specific work, try to be very specific with the problem as you can. People usually appreciate users who describe the question in-depth even if they do not show any work. However, people are usually critical of users who post a very short question with no work because they see these as low-quality where answers will only help the user answering that short question instead of fostering a quality question. However, this also isn't necessarily new users' fault because again, people aren't really taught how to ask good questions in school and many people are new to these types of math forums.

In short, just try to be as specific as possible and if you want some kind of hint to your question, but not a full answer, people might give you that hint even if your question is very short. I've seen many answerers leave very small hints on questions, even if the question is very short and those answerers later say that such questions don't deserve a full answer. I think you're more likely to get a useful hint if you ask for it politely even if you don't show any work, but if you're not specific, even if you try your best, unfortunately, you might not get an answer.

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