In a discussion with an ex-user of the platform, I noticed how some policies of the platform are too harsh, and hence users do not have a pleasant experience, especially for those who are new to statistics and need a bit of understanding in a lighter manner.

Such policies include deleting the post by other users if they feel the post isn't well explained, down-voting the post if a person knows nothing of the question and still posts it.

I feel this platform is for discussion: hence we are free to upload things that we feel we don't understand but showing no effort is used as tag to delete such posts.

Kindly let me know your view.

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    $\begingroup$ I hope small edits do not distort your intended meaning. $\endgroup$
    – Nick Cox
    Commented Jun 12, 2022 at 15:12
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    $\begingroup$ It seems to me the title does not match the body quite well. The title is very catchy and that is OK, but it should better be reflective of the content first. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 16, 2022 at 20:14
  • $\begingroup$ Whether or not this platform is losing significance, depends on which model you use. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 23, 2022 at 14:51
  • $\begingroup$ I find people at CV far less unpleasant than math.se $\endgroup$
    – Henry
    Commented Jul 9, 2022 at 1:35

3 Answers 3


Long-term members of the forum who are active in answering questions and particularly in sometimes voting to close or down-voting questions or answers that seem poor are -- in my overwhelming experience --

  • highly mindful that many, indeed most, questions here come from learners -- it would be astonishing if that were not so (the point of a question is that you don't know or understand something or need advice)

  • not trying to be or seem unpleasant -- indeed posts or posters showing unpleasantness tend to disappear one way or another.

The key fact, however, is that Cross Validated, like any other part of Stack Exchange, is not a help line or discussion forum. It is designed to be a repository of good, answered questions. So there is qualified intolerance of poor questions and poor answers that is, quite frankly, in the best long-term interests of most users.

The counter-example is to imagine infinite tolerance that indulges an attitude of "this is my question, so I have a right to post it and for it not to be down-voted, edited or removed". That is just not how Stack Exchange works generally. If you want that model, there are other ways to express it on the internet.

CV is untidy enough, partly because too few people check for existing answers and because so few people (me too!) lack the time and inclination to look through older threads to try to clean up a bit. The paradox -- except it's not a contradiction -- is that greater tolerance would just lead to a site littered with junk, with many useless threads -- and in total a site that would be harder to use and less helpful. If that's what you want, try any social medium.

There are plenty of checks and balances here. For example, even as a user with some reputation my votes need to be matched by others, my edits are reversible, my powers of deletion don't even include everything I post, and I too am subject to down-voting, moderator action, and other censures. That is how it should be.

Also, if a particular decision seems too harsh, it can usually be revisited. Even moderators are the first to admit that their decisions are sometimes wrong; there can be down-voting for bad reasons; and so forth. The answer is not to raise a generalised complaint of our being "too harsh"; it is to raise particular bad decisions that you think you see.

There are many threads here about down-voting. I don't particularly want to open all that up again, but simply

  • down-voting is allowed here with enough reputation (some people with enough reputation never or rarely down-vote and that's entirely their choice); that is the SE model

  • there are explicit grounds for down-voting

  • no-one else knows the particular reasons why anyone down-votes unless they leave a comment explaining why (like I suspect many other long-term users I've experienced seemingly random drive-by down-votes which can only be guessed at as some kind of spitefulness).


I feel this platform is for discussion: hence we are free ...

This is where you go wrong! See the Meta post Are Stack Exchange sites forums? which explains clearly that Cross Validated (as other SE sites) is not a discussion forum, it is a site strictly for answers & questions.

As @Nick Cox have explained, for a Q&A site to function, there must be some policing. If you want a Q&A forum without policing, try maybe https://www.quora.com/topic/Science and see how well it works for you.

A directory list of Q&A sites is at https://www.refseek.com/directory/answers.html and if you find any of those working better for you than CV, please tell us!

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    $\begingroup$ This should be disseminated in megaphone: SE is not a forum and, imo, that differentiates it from others in the internet. That's a blessing. No nonsense Q&A site. +1 for the concise articulation. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 25, 2022 at 19:37

As the first two answers, by users of high reputation and long experience on this site, seem somewhat defensive to me, I'd like to offer my 2 cents:

This site, like many others on the internet, is a community. It has its rules. Some are explicitly stated (https://stats.stackexchange.com/tour) and some are implicit, having developed through the usage and being more-or-less consistently enforced by experienced users and moderators. Learning these rules takes time and you can never be sure to have mastered them all. Even the explicit rules are subject to interpretation, and the implicit ones, in addition, may gradually shift over time.

In consequence, I am not surprised that new users have some unpleasant experiences on this site. Moreover, I'd say that it's not always the new user's fault. Sometimes the experienced users and moderators make mistakes, too. They are not perfect and errors are part of life, not just in statistics :-)

But, taking all pros and cons into account, I tend to agree with Kjetil that this site, while imperfect, is still better than any other.

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    $\begingroup$ Can you be more precise than "unpleasant"? I guess that new users finding a question closed quickly or never answered would be disappointed or upset by that. I've seen new users fling insults at moderators. I've never seen anyone or any question called ignorant or stupid by an experienced user, for example, although I suspect that such comments would be deleted rapidly. (I can of course think of worse insults that are just routine on many sites.) Also, what is implicit that should be explicit? I just looked through the Help Center which is very detailed about expectations. $\endgroup$
    – Nick Cox
    Commented Jun 17, 2022 at 17:41

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