First off: You just got an upvote from me. There may be no stupid questions but there are a lot of lazy questions - questions where the person asking them has not done any research at all before asking it. Such questions may be problematic IMO. I will get back to why.
QA as a means of getting help on a specific topic within a specific area
A QA is a means of getting help within a specific area. In the case of a Project-GC QA, that area should be Project-GC - not questions about what your favorite cache is or what you think about the new virtual reward caches or who should be elected mayor in a particular town in Poland. All of the above are equally off-topic IMO if the topic is Project-GC.
Tone, treatment of newcomers and rules in social settings
It is always a prickly topic how to handle a community communication. There are many approaches to this. One issue in particular is how to handle newcomers who have yet to grasp the jargon and protocol. For a look at how this is done without gloves on, take a look at the Linux_kernel_mailing_list . Controversy has arisen multiple times over how harsh the tone can be there. Linus Torvalds, the creator of Linux, has a reputation for speaking his mind and calling people idiots. That is not the tone one would wish here. There is, however, a tradeoff to be made. If nothing gets moderated or called out as off-topic or spam, other newcomers may have a hard time finding what they came to a QA about Project-GC for: Answers about how Project-GC works.
Consider this: If a child skips the line in a supermarket, would you let it? Would you let it bypass the social norm that a line to pay is? If yes, why? Would it not be better to educate a child in childhood about social norms? Isn't it more embarrasing to have to be taught basic social interaction principles in adulthood?
People are generally very socially aware animals. "Monkey see, monkey do". If everyone else a newcomer observes is behaving as if there are no rules, it is very much harder to get that newcomer to adhere to those rules as they have learned from example that noone else are obeying them. For a feeling of how that works, travel to a country where a red traffic light for a pedestrian is interpreted radically different by the locals from where you come from. Within a day, you do as the locals do, regardless of how the norms are where you come from. "When in Rome...".
When entering into a new social setting, the principle should be ear before mouth. If a social setting degenrates to everyone being all mouth and no ears, I would probably leave. If the mouthes you hear when you do this are spouting nonsense, slurs, etc, don't be surprised when the first word out of a newcomers mouth is also nonsense, slurs, etc.. "Monkey see (or hear)...".
Voting as a tool to separate the wheat from the chaff
Lacking moderation, the next best thing is to have the community itself decide on what is useful and what isnt. The box on the side of this QA says:
" [...] If you get a good answer, click the checkbox on the left to select it as the best answer.
Upvote answers or questions that have helped you. [...]"
The emphasis here is on upvoting that which is helpful. Conversely, if one was to downvote a question or answer, it should be because they found it unhelpful. For answers that could be because the person answering the topic misunderstood the question and was thus unhelpful in solving the problem at hand. For a topic it could be deemed unhelpful to ask off-topic questions which help to clutter up the QA for people seeking answers to a particular Project-GC related question.
It is not only those that post questions or answers who are users of a QA. I have consulted StackExchange literally thousands of times over the years for answers to questions I had, yet I have yet to post a single question of my own there. I simply search for an answer to my problem assuming that I am not the first to run into a variant of that problem, which is of course usually the case. A good QA should exhibit this quality: Asking the question yourself is usually unnessecary - someone else has already done that and got an answer.
Consider this: If there is a mechanism for helping others find help and to know which posts are worth reading and which aren't, shouldn't it be used?
Voting on topics with a non-question-like nature
Of course, nothing is ever that simple. In this "QA", there is also room for topic that aren't really questions in the sense of "how do I do that" or the like. That would be feature requests and bug reports to name a few. The topic in there are more along the lines of "I would like to see X" or "X is broken, here is how". The voting system does not make sense here per se. Of course one could impose the meaning "I would (or wouldn't) like that feature" and "Yes, X is broken. I would also like that fixed" (or "No, X is not broken"), but AFAIK, there is no established consensus on this.
To summarize: I upvoted this topic because I found it:
- Helpful to me (or anyone trying to figure out the rules and social protocol in here)
- Is about Project-GC (in particular, its QA)
- Novel (to my knowledge not addressed properly before)
There is a discussion on
- How strict this QA should adhere to the traditional QA form of staying on topic about Q&A for that topic
- What the votes should mean when they are about topics that aren't questions as such
- How to treat newcomers.
Apparently, this thread is the time and place for that discussion. These would be my 10 cents towards that discussion.