I'm a new user on History stack exchange; what do I need to know? What's different and unique about this particular site?
This answer is written for new users of the History Stack Exchange (or H:SE, for short) — especially those who have just asked or answered their first question, and have been surprised by the feedback.
This answer is also consciously derivative of the excellent FAQ on Skeptics.SE; homage is flattery.
First, welcome! We hope you find History:SE enjoyable, interesting and fun… and not too daunting when you first arrive.
History SE is different
History is unlike other online forums (such as mailing lists, bulletin boards, and the commenting systems on blogs.) History is also subtly different from other web sites in the Stack Exchange family. We're unique, and we'll admit that we take some getting used to. We think it is worth it and we hope you will too.
History:SE can appear to be a little hostile to new users. Many first time users — perhaps even most first time users — are surprised when their contributions are judged against an unexpected set of standards. I urge you not to be disheartened by this. Have a look around, and you will quickly understand how we work.
We hope that you will soon learn to appreciate the value that these standards bring in ensuring that the answers you find very high quality, and, importantly, reliable.
We do have a strong community standard against hostility or abuse; we don't permit it, and we encourage everyone to push back courteously against abuse or aggression. Flag any content you find abusive.
Questions (and answers) should be supported by preliminary research
Stack exchanges differ on how much prior research is required. We're closer to the science/engineering side. We expect that the question will contain evidence of the research that you've already done. If it doesn't, you're likely to get a comment like the following:
Could you edit your question to clarify where you've searched and what you found already, complete with links and references, and context if applicable? In particular, please let us know what you find missing or unclear about the Wikipedia entry on the topic, if one exists. This allows those who might want to answer to do so without needing to redo the work you've already done. You might find it helpful to review the site [tour] and [help] and, in particular, [ask].
This is not snark; this is not criticism. Please don't take offense. This is an attempt to communicate and maintain community standards. Our help center states that History is not about:
- Asking for reference material
- Questions answered by a simple Google search or to be found in a Wikipedia page
Questions often get put 'on hold'. This does not mean the question has been banished forever. It's an opportunity for the community to improve it; wherever we can, we want to have the definitive questions and answers on a subject. Learn more about what 'closed' means.
(If you are not familiar with the Stack Exchange system, you should note that you are currently on Meta History Stack Exchange, which is an area to discuss the regular History Stack Exchange which is where the interesting stuff actually resides.)
A suggested next step and starting point for learning and understanding many of the most important aspects of how this site is supposed to work should be found in this post: Meta-meta Site Policy on History.SE — FAQ
If you hang around for a bit, you will see we take legitimate questions very seriously, and we will likely impress you with the quality and thoughtfulness of our answers.