Perhaps I should begin this "question" with a few prefacing remarks.
As I had mentioned in my very first participation here "One Jewish Practice," I am Jewish and an atheist. In more recent times, I looked at various outlets that seemed pertinent to that theme. But none were satisfying.
At one point I heard the Dalai Lama, while extolling the virtues of religious tolerance in India, dump on Israel. Where is he getting his news feed?!
Then I saw a piece by Natanyahu stressing the importance of Jews in galus sustaining their Jewish identity. There is no shortage of self-hating Jews in America. And many other countries are engaged in a race to the bottom to outdo each other in being more antisemitic.
Shortly thereafter I and the rest of the world, Jewish and righteous Gentiles, where shocked and deeply saddened by the massacre in Pittsburg.
So I decided it was time to kum v'aseh.
I don't remember precisely how I came to Mi Yodeya, and asked my first question - a request for one Jewish practice that I could do and sustain it. I could have probably come up with my own answer(s): Shema, lamdis, ahvas yisrael, brochos, epsher Shabbos candles.
But there was something special about being encouraged by warm, welcoming participants.
However that question was also met with derision and various degrees of objection. Not being one to back down in things I consider worth fighting for in life in general, and with my particular purpose in mind, I persisted. At that point, not only for my own sake, but even more so in respect for those who also stood up in the face of protestations to provide valuable insight and encouragement.
Subsequently, in a more minor incident, I posted a request for sources for studying daily mishnah. I provided links to sources I had found on my own, both to show that I was not just dumping my question on the community and also to avert any effort to duplicate what I already found.
I immediately got a downvote and a comment that my question was opinion based. Not enthralled with going through another harangue, I deleted my question. yet again, I did reinstate it. And although that criticism was subsequently refuted, the comment was never modified or deleted.
Now again in my most recent question, Why is Masechta Kasubos called Shas Katan.
I immediately acknowledged that this question had been asked before yet that part I was interested in was not answered. In fact the original poster voiced the same sentiments.
I was immediately greeted with a downvote and a multiplicity of comments not only pointing out that the question was a duplicate, but linking the selfsame question that I had linked as if they had discovered some great chiddush.
It is as if they were protecting some inviolable sanctity. But I would suggest that if any of them knew the answer, they would have proffered it rather than waste my and their time arguing about the validity of my question.
Not even the validity of the question itself, but stam the mechanism by which it was asked.
Meantime, someone did go and answer the question and I'm happy to say, received due recognition.
Do you think that if the question had already been answered, he would have made the effort. And I would seriously doubt that that answer would have been forthcoming without my reopening the question (and maybe the attention drawn to it with the graffiti laced across my post). All the while in which we were going at it regarding the technicalities of my post.
Bottom line in this specific circumstance, is it more important to enhance learning or to adjudicate based on "company policy." How many times have you been stymied by customer service departments in that regard?
But there is a much more important issue at hand here. I perceive of this site as bringing (primarily) fellow Jews together. Jews of all kinds and levels of observance.
I feel there is a far too heavy hand with downvotes on postings that are evidently sincerely expressed. Are you to judge rather than nurture. What is accomplished with a downvote?
After and during my first experience, I received numerous comments welcoming me and encouraging me, despite the obstacles, to persist and participate here.
While I am quite put off at this point, I will say in concluding that contrary to my hopes, this site is just a microcosm of the world at large: some good and some that would benefit from improvement. I include myself in the latter.
In conclusion, although I am not observant, I wish you all a Gut Shabbos in the hopes that this endless post may encourage readers to be more kindly, less makpid on stuff that doesn't count so much, and treat others either as you would like to be treated and/or not as you would not like to be treated.