This is not related to Physics obviously, but what I think is that the downvote option to questions on this website should be removed, as on asking a dumb question out of curiosity, the question is generally bombarded with dozens of downvotes which then decreases the reputation and kills the curiosity to ask more questions. The downvote option is kind of a discouragement for newbies on this site, for me too :D. Who else thinks it should be removed?
That's... unlikely to happen, but it is ultimately not something this community can control. The core Q&A engine is managed by Stack Exchange an shared by the 150+ sites in the network, and this kind of change to the engine would have to be done centrally by them. If you want to suggest this change, then the central meta site, Meta Stack Exchange, is the place to do it.
However, I can tell you right here and now that there's a 0% chance that SE will implement this: as detailed in the help center down-voting answers will cost you 1 rep, but down-voting questions doesn't. That is, there is already a baked-in preference to make it easier to downvote questions. Why is this? Because bad questions (boring, badly researched, badly written, inconsistent, what have you) make the site boring and drive away the qualified people we want answering questions; for more details, see the blog post Optimizing For Pearls, Not Sand.
And, if you do get downvotes on your questions:
If it is a single downvote on an isolated question, then seriously, shrug it off. I know it sounds glib for a high-rep user to say this, but it is just fake internet points at the end of the day.
If it is a noticeably low score on one or a series of questions, then do pay attention to what aspects of that question might make it a bad fit for the site, ask politely for feedback if you don't understand, and act accordingly if you do.
I have a lot of sympathy with your position. I will not usually downvote a well intentioned question and I do think we are sometimes a bit over eager to downvote.
But there are a couple of points to bear in mind.
Firstly a downvote principally means this isn't a good question for this site. Downvoting removes a question from the site home page and it enables the autodelete to hoover up the question if it doesn't get a good answer in a few days. So downvoting has a purpose and isn't just a way of telling people we think they suck.
Secondly we do get some real stinkers of questions from time to time. We get lots of homework questions from people too lazy even to type out the question (they just post a photo of the book), questions that display no thought at all, and questions that are plain incomprehensible. Not to mention questions that are a thinly veiled advert for the OP's own pet theory (usually that Einstein was wrong). So we do need a way of flagging up these questions to readers who might otherwise take them more seriously than they merit.
Incidentally note that a downvote here on the Physics Meta just means people disagree with you, not that it's a bad question. So the three downvotes and one upvote that your question has attracted at the time of writing this just means three people disagree with you and one person agrees with you.
Removing them will lead people to think it's okay (i.e. it won't cause them any harm) to ask questions that: are homework-like, show no research effort, violate site policy in anyway. This would lead to decrease in the quality of the content on the website, which can lead to a pretty bad feedback loop.
Downvotes also aren't "weighed" as much as upvotes on positive content, so it's not as bad as you think. (i.e. 2 upvotes on an answer = 10 downvotes on a question)
Read the discussion on (especially ACuriousMind's answer): We seem to be over-eager to downvote
Especially one of the comments from an SO user gives good insight.
This site has been built up by many people, who really worked to establish it's reputation. I don't think your previous question was in anyway dumb,. You are being too harsh with yourself. But the down vote option is vital, imo, to gauge by concensus if a question is appropriate, in various ways, to the site.
So dumb questions will get d/v. Always
From your point of view, look at the questions that do get good answers and copy their style.
if you know some of your question is ok, go ahead with them in your own words, then copy (and credit) Wikipedia to express the parts you know that you know you are unsure about and will attract criticism if you badly word them yourself..
The downvote option is kind of a discouragement for newbies on this site, for me too :D. Who else thinks it should be removed?
The downvote option is not for the discouragement of newbie, no more than the up vote is for the encouragement of newbies, since questions or answers posted by anyone can get downvoted (or upvoted): the downvote option is for bad questions or answers, irrespective of the poster.
My impression - to amplify a comment by @John Rennie - is that some new users are careless with their questions: they expect people to read it, think about it and provide a thoughtful answer when they themselves have put little thought into formatting, editing or researching their question; posting a page from a textbook is a perfect example of this. Such questions are very rightfully downvoted, irrespective of the seniority of the poster, and I hope without regards for the feelings of the poster.
I'm sure the OP has noted that the pool of knowledgeable active users on Physics SE is not decreasing: higher-rep users who become less active are replaced by equally valuable contributors, all of which must have started as newbies at some point. Thus, this community must on balance be doing something right.
The obvious solution of the problem would be:
- to create a different site for very basic level questions.
- instead of downvoting the basic questions to the hell, they should be migrated to this site.
- higher level questions asked on that site, should be migrated to here.
This is so obvious, so trivial...
But it didn't happen, and it won't ever happen, although it is a good thing to at least try to motivate the communities into this direction. The reasons:
- Question migrations are a de facto taboo on the StackExchange. Probably nobody really knows why, but it is just so.
- The StackExchange won't ever allow to create a new site for basic physics questions. They say they don't do this because it attracts content from the Physics SE.
- But, in the practice is that these questions are nearly always closed on the PSE.
Note, in the PSE, in theory, any basic level questions are allowed!
In their view, they don't close/downvote them because they are basic level questions asked by naive laymen. They close them because they are unclear, non-mainstream, homework and so on. And these rules are acceptable and reasonable one by one. But their summarized result is that a newbie has a very, very hard time until he can ask his first not closed, maybe even upvoted question on the site. Their patience is unlikely to hold so long, particularly that they feel very well the mainly unjust character what the site provides for them.
Furthermore, even a patient newbie will be likely on question ban until that.
I absolutely agree your view that this site does a bad work on encouraging young people to attract them to the physics.