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I was told to ask here. Here I am!

Does anyone else have the same feeling? Sometimes some questions are downvoted because it seems trivial. But to be honest, as a person first seeing some maths concepts, nothing is trivial. It is unfair to say that these people are asking stupid questions because they haven't shown any research effort.

This is as hurtful as in class when you ask questions, some advanced students or even teachers roll eyes at you, which is not what we need in this community.

The guideline is far from being rigorous for mathematicians. It is all too familiar for me as a maths student for over 20 years to "HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA" when I read maths. What is the problem of saying this?

Isn't a comment on specific points where to improve more than enough? Downvoting without explanation is even worse than asking questions without context IMHO.

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    $\begingroup$ It is natural when studying mathematics to have a feeling of being lost when beginning a new topic. However merely asserting a feeling of being lost doesn't provide enough for Readers to be able to help you or others who reach the same impasse. Typically one needs to take a step back, find a ground level at which there is understanding and from which one can ask a Question that you will be able to judge the correctness of any Answer that is provided. If you like I will make some suggestions under your Question on main as to a good way to proceed. $\endgroup$
    – hardmath
    Nov 6, 2022 at 16:23
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    $\begingroup$ It's not about asserting a feeling. Questions might not be asked in the best way, but it does not mean that it's downvotable. Shouldn't it be more helpful to comment/hint on better ways to rephrase the question than downvote? $\endgroup$ Nov 6, 2022 at 16:31
  • $\begingroup$ I'm having difficulty finding a recent Question you posted for which to make suggestions. If you have such a Question that got deleted, you can probably still see it and post a link to it here. Otherwise I don't know how to help. Yes, I'd expect comments to rephrase the Question would be more helpful than a downvote. It is a bit of a learned skill to do that. $\endgroup$
    – hardmath
    Nov 6, 2022 at 16:32
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    $\begingroup$ This comment is opinion-based. With respect to this article on MathSE protocol, over $90\%$ of the posted questions are defective, and should be downvoted, closed, and then deleted. Recognizing this, MathSE reviewers become frustrated and abuse the downvoting process in two ways: [1] The reviewer will immediately downvote, without explanation, and without referring the poster to some article on MathSE protocol. ...see next comment $\endgroup$ Nov 6, 2022 at 16:38
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    $\begingroup$ Re: "I HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA" See this post. $\endgroup$
    – JMoravitz
    Nov 6, 2022 at 16:40
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    $\begingroup$ To me, it seems much more reasonable, and courteous to refer the poster to some MathSE protocol article, and then give the poster at least 1 hour to address the defects. [2] MathSE Reviewers will regard the lack of showing work as a blind standard, that ignores whether such a requirement is reasonable for the particular posting. Further, MathSE reviewers will also (occasionally) inexcusably downvote purely out of knee-jerk frustration or bias against certain questions. In short, there is no quality control with respect to downvoting. $\endgroup$ Nov 6, 2022 at 16:42
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    $\begingroup$ The above duplicate suggestion is for your specific issue of "I have no idea where to start". As far as downvoting goes, that's a subject that's had a long history of discussion on meta - see for instance here, here, etc etc etc. $\endgroup$
    – KReiser
    Nov 6, 2022 at 16:50
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    $\begingroup$ If someone posts a reply saying a question is stupid, or uses any other similarly insulting or hurtful thing, you should use the little flag icon, and flag it as "unfriendly or unkind". Mods are pretty quick (on the order of 15 minutes, which is fast for an all volunteer force) at noting these and deleting such comments. $\endgroup$
    – JonathanZ
    Nov 6, 2022 at 17:21
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    $\begingroup$ Also, your question pays absolutely zero attention to the people reading and answering questions, or to the goals of the site as a whole. "Helping people with their math problems" is not the primary goal, and if you approach it that way you're going to be disappointed. (People other than me can probably clarify that better than I can, so please ask if you want clarification on those.) $\endgroup$
    – JonathanZ
    Nov 6, 2022 at 17:25
  • $\begingroup$ Voting on this question is too unreasonable. $\endgroup$
    – mathlander
    Nov 6, 2022 at 17:32
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    $\begingroup$ @mathlander - On meta, a down vote often mean "I disagree", and not "this is a bad question", the way it does on the main site. $\endgroup$
    – JonathanZ
    Nov 6, 2022 at 17:38
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    $\begingroup$ @mathlander: I'm not a downvoter on this Question, but you probably know that voting on Meta is different from voting on Main. So I'd be interested in understanding what makes the voting (here?) unreasonable. It may signify disagreement rather than criticism of the content quality. Several people have chimed in, but I've explained how I'm at a loss to do more to help with kathy4k's Questions on Main. $\endgroup$
    – hardmath
    Nov 6, 2022 at 17:40
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    $\begingroup$ I would say that down-voting is not inherently toxic—not even (necessarily) down-voting without explanation. Sometimes a question is so self-evidently "ask-and-run" that the asker deserves no more explanation than they gave as context. ¶ That being said, I tend to be on the conservative side of active users here, in that I generally down-vote questions (especially recently) if I feel the OP is being rudely dismissive. That differs from close-voting a question, which I do if I feel the question is either inherently a misfit here, or is flawed and I don't see improvement as likely. $\endgroup$
    – Brian Tung
    Nov 7, 2022 at 1:50
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    $\begingroup$ If I feel a question is attracting unwarranted down-votes or close-votes (especially the former), I may make a comment about that—with the intention not of castigating the people who have already down-voted, but of encouraging people to think about their down-vote before doing so. ¶ By and large, the active users here are not too unreasonable, but it's useful to keep in mind that anyone who's been here for any length of time has seen way more rudely lazy askers than anyone should have to. Sometimes it just gets on your nerves, and woe to the next asker down the line. $\endgroup$
    – Brian Tung
    Nov 7, 2022 at 1:55
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    $\begingroup$ @BrianTung - nice use of pilcrows. I think I'm going to start doing that too. $\endgroup$
    – JonathanZ
    Nov 8, 2022 at 0:25

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