If you haven't already seen the new Stack Overflow blog post, please take the time to do so:
You may have noticed this tidbit hidden in a footnote:
This post focuses on Stack Overflow, but most of it applies to the broader Stack Exchange network as well.
I would say it absolutely applies here. Let's start with the basics:
[Space Exploration Stack Exchange] is intended to be an inclusive place where every[one with a space question] can participate.
So what do we need to do:
Let’s shift from “don’t be an asshole” to “be welcoming.”
When you respond to a post or a comment, try to maintain a positive attitude. I'm not pointing fingers. I think most of us have had a day where we hopped on SE without enough coffee, if you know what I mean. If you can't respond kindly, don't respond. If the other user is being rude and you can't respond kindly, flag their post. If the other user is violating the rules and you can't respond kindly, flag their post. There is no reason to stop being nice.
If you can keep a positive attitude, go a step further and make sure the user is fully welcome in the community. Don't make assumptions based on reputation or level of participation in the site. Make sure the user knows that we're glad to have more contributions. Make sure the user knows what our standards are and why. Take a moment and explain briefly what they need to improve, what our rationale is, and point them to our Help Center for further instruction.
Let’s do something about comments.
No more condescension or sarcasm. I will be deleting these on sight. If I've missed it, don't assume I condone it. Flag it and I'll take a look.
Let’s make it easier for new users to succeed.
SE plans on trying out a beginner page, but we can start doing this without the technical framework. If they are new to SE or to Space Exploration and it's not clear what their question is, gently explain to them that our site is meant for clear Q&A. Help guide them to include a clear question in their post. Even consider editing their post for them, as sometimes new users have trouble figuring out how the edit mechanic works. Do this before downvoting--they are new, and we can't expect perfection, especially when we have the tools to help them.
If they haven't demonstrated prior work, try to walk them through what they might have done and can do.
Let’s stop judging users for not knowing things. (We’re a Q&A site!)
Don't downvote duplicates. They are not an affront to the site. Make sure you explain to new or confused users why you see it as a duplicate. Often users don't see the answer to their question in the duplicate and need some help. Sometimes their answer isn't actually in the other Q&A, and they need help to rewrite their post to clarify their actual question.
Don't bully people answering duplicates. Now, if they vote to close and post an answer, you can gently provide them guidance on how to handle the issue, but let's not berate the answerer or the OP.
I expect there are more ways in which we can be more welcoming. If you have an experience you want to share about way(s) that this community has been less than welcoming to you, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will keep our communication private. Of course, you're also welcome to reach out to the SE team, especially if you don't feel comfortable sharing your issue with me. I just want to be proactive about making our community a more welcoming place. If you are comfortable with me sharing our communication with other Space Exploration mods and/or the SE team, please let me know in your email. Thanks!