Here at TeX.SX and Meta.TeX.SX we have some questions and bundles of answers too about etiquettes, e.g.

  • on downvoting
  • on closing
  • on suggested edits

I can not add and link all of them, just for convenience, although I appreciate those posts. There are also some links here, on How to ask etc.

What about new users? I personally sometimes feel annoyed about new users (or such coming once half a year, post some question hardly answerable, demanding the best solution ever and forget adding extra information, voting, support from their side).

I suggest some 'new user' recommendations, the precise statements should/could still to be done, but with following rough framework. (well, the recommendations or 'guidelines' should be valid for more experienced users of TeX.SX too ;-) )

  • As a (new) user, please provide a MWE

    (this feature is already 'demanded' in other etiquettes/faq, just for repetition )

  • As a (new) user, please provide an understandable question
  • As a (new) user, visit your question a lot of times, especially in first few hours after posting it, as there might be comments/clearifing questions from other users willing to help you.
  • As a (new) user, please choose a (unique) name rather than user12345678, since this is more personal and makes @ comments clearer.

  • As a (new) user accept the answer which fits best to your need and perhaps give feedback to other users here who also provided an answer.

This list can be extended, feel free to suggest other entries. The above order does not say anything about priority.

Do you think such a recommendation is necessary too? I know, answers to this might be opinion-based.

I also know that this recommendations should be made known to (new) users. Content hidden somewhere in webspace is rather useless. ;-)

Note In an earlier version I wrote of etiquette, but I came to the conclusion, that recommendation is a better term in my point of view.

  • 4
    IMO some Etiquette cannot be imposed on or made on paper as such it has to come from within own self and eachone of us. When someone spends sufficient time and patience on TeX.SX to Ask/Answer/Comment to Q or even just Observe how a Q & A thread is being developed over time from the time it is posted. But in normal scenario, time and patience are rare commodities :), so users (not differentiating any category of users) come with a not-working-for-me-problem and want a immediate-working-code so finally I think we cannot do much,except not upvote and resist not to answer(if possible). Commented Jul 1, 2014 at 2:47
  • may be Alan Munn's answer is worth reading When should I start to give back? Commented Jul 1, 2014 at 3:00
  • Perhaps I should rename the question rather from etiquette to recommendations...
    – user31729
    Commented Jul 1, 2014 at 5:41

1 Answer 1


Such etiquette has two main issues that I think render it useless before it makes it to the user's attention.

  • First, we don't have an access gate before the site. So there is no way that they can know about stuff before they actually do annoying things (in your point of view :P) Had we had that kind of thing then it would be meaningful to blame them for not paying attention to site rules etc. Not only we don't have such things like those annoying forums that lead us here in the first place, but also a community driven site cannot be imposed. We all love and appreciate this place but we sometimes forget that those new users are the reason why all this exists. So as I tried to emphasize a few times, new user has the danger of implying that there are owners or residents of the site who are not new and kind of have more rights. That's completely untrue, no matter how much we contribute we don't own any of it (sometimes we get defensive and try a little too hard to tell everyone this or that how we roll here but in general if the user insists we just leave it alone and go ask/answer other stuff).

    So feeling that we have a saying over how new people should behave is one stop short of dictating who can or can't be a resident (and that's what is happening with most of the other sites as far as I can see, power corrupts :P). Most of the users, including yours truly, did a lot of stupid stuff before they got used to the general etiquette. I would take the risk of overemphasizing this fact that we meet up here. Some of us like and enjoy others' company, some of us are here for a quick tip. Some of us have the habits of the new era such as demanding is my right, you get points only if you serve well type of bullshit, but some of us are extremely open for others' opinion and they respectfully take criticism to make something good out of it.

  • Second, think of yourself as a person in need of information and don't like to hang out here let alone learning bunch of nonsense about duplicates badges, priviledges etc. You just need your header to be shifted 5mm down. All that stuff we have is simply ridiculous and only makes sense to the residents. So ridiculous that a new user might argue that we are simply satisfying our OCD. To be honest, I see no other option than agreeing with this argument. So we should be careful about housekeeping/keeping it real tradeoff.

    If a user can't explain themself(see the gender neutral thing there? So politically correct here) so be it. It's their problem. They have to ask or read archaic stuff that google would provide. In the end, they'll eventually make a better question. But, we are in no position to judge the quality of question. The simplest reason is that some people don't know English well enough :) It's simple as that.

In summary, live and let live.

  • I agree with you (as I have already pointed in my question), that it would be difficult to make such an etiquette known to new users (you called it a 'gate'). I disagree with you in the sense that we have a misunderstanding: I did not demand that users not following the guidelines etc. should be expelled/punished/disregarded. In my opinion, it would make things a little bit easier, for all users...
    – user31729
    Commented Jun 30, 2014 at 19:37
  • 2
    On the 'housekeeping', I see the point for the 'passing' individual but at the same time one of the reasons the model works is because material can be 'tidied up'/'corrected'/... It's a balance, as you say: editing to make things clearer is useful but not if it puts people off asking.
    – Joseph Wright Mod
    Commented Jul 1, 2014 at 7:36
  • 1
    @ChristianHupfer If only they are willing to cooperate from the start. Some new people don't care. I wish they did though :)
    – percusse
    Commented Jul 2, 2014 at 9:20
  • @percusse: Again I agree with you. Anyone here would profit from such a behaviour as you describe: cooperation!
    – user31729
    Commented Jul 2, 2014 at 10:53
  • @percusse -- well said. Commented Jul 13, 2014 at 18:55

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