An ongoing discussion asks "What can we do about the tension on this site?. As I see it, some of the tension exists because there are (at least) three groups of users here that all want very different things:
- There are the "newbies," who want answers to their homework questions,
- there are the "professors," who like to answer as many questions as they can each day, and
- there are the "janitors," who spend much of each day going through the review queues trying to clean the junk off of the site and improve the diamonds in the rough.
(I hope that this goes without saying, but I am going to say it anyway: there is significant overlap between the latter two categories. They represent distinct enough patterns of behaviour that it seems like a reasonable division.)
Because these groups have different ideas about how the site should operate, tension ensues. Newbies get frustrated with janitors who try to improve their questions (or who outright close and delete them), which makes the site unwelcoming to newbies. Janitors get fed up with indiscriminate professors who try to answer every possible question. And so on.
I think that much of this tension has to do with the pace at which questions are asked and answered. For me, it is really frustrating to come to a question, start writing a comment that will help the asker improve their question, only to have an answer posted and accepted before I can finish typing. The newbie and the professor are happy—they have their answers and reputation, respectively—but the janitors are left out in the cold. If were could slow this cycle down just a little, I think that it would do much to ease the tensions on the site and, as an added bonus, improve the overall quality of questions and answers.
Here is my proposal:
When a question is asked by a "newbie" user (an initial suggestion is that a "newbie" is any user with less than 15 reputation or fewer than 3 questions asked, or an account that is less than 48 hours old), that question is automatically put "On-Hold" and placed in the "First Post" and "Reopen" review queues (or, perhaps, a new queue specifically for such questions). The question can be opened by the usual process, i.e. users with sufficient reputation vote to open the question.
Again, the intention is to slow things down a little and give the janitors a chance to help a newbie user improve what might be an initially poor question before it can be answered. I think that this has the potential to make everyone happy (aside from the students who want an answer now because their homework is due in two hours, but I am hoping that we all agree that we don't need to worry to much about making those users happy): newbie users are more likely to get some guidance, professors can keep on doing their thing (modulo a small delay), and the janitors have a chance to mentor new users and help them acclimate to the culture of MSE.
I would also like to stress that this is not at all punitive, nor is it a punishment for bad behaviour. Indeed, I view this as a positive feature, designed to help new users refine their questions so that they are more likely to get positive feedback, rather than an avalanche of downvotes and votes-to-close.