Newcomers don't know all the rules. Even if they have read all the rules and have all good intentions, it is very hard to understand the SE philosophy by the first grasp because of how special this site is, particularly if compared to the typical RPG forums. What is even more important, newcomers don't know the "unwritten rules", which also seem to be abundant here, and they mostly don’t read all the policy agreed on Meta before making their first post.
It is hence a common thing that a newbie comes, posts something that they sincerely find good, but which is not good here on SE, and the newbie gets 9000 downvotes. If their downvoters don't think that the post can be improved in any way, if they simply don't believe that said individual author would cooperate, or if they are just fed up with negative feedback from newcomers who they wanted to help, downvoters don't post anything to tell why are they downvoting. They just press the button.
The reaction of the newcomer is surprise. They have invested effort, it was not appreciated, and the newbie isn't even told why! Voting down needs to be revised! Force comments upon downvoting! Only allow downvotes under specific reasons!..
...And the newbie gets even more unexplained downvotes, now on Meta, likely also unexplained.
At best, our newbie asks very politely why do people downvote. At best, they admit being likely wrong and show that they want constructive feedback to work on.
But people are different. While a polite reaction is natural for some, it is not that natural for everyone. Someone comes from an adult-oriented friendly forum, someone comes from Reddit, or another toxic place. They can even accuse people of trolling, because a huge amount of it in some problem communities makes people's troll detector yield a lot of false positives.
If the newbie was polite and showing readiness to work to improve, even if their content really can't be improved, at least they will learn why. I don't know how many of them do, but I suspect that not many.
Some newbies may just think that this site is aggressive to beginners (as many sites are) and leave. I don't know how many of them do, but I suspect that most of them do. They are lost to us.
Some will leave a toxic comment and leave, perhaps non-voluntarily. I don't know how many of them do, because, thanks to our mods, extra-toxic comments are deleted, but I suspect that even some of those could learn and participate here.
To sum up:
- Newcomers don't know the rules, including the unwritten ones.
- Newcomers can get very upset with unexplained downvotes, moreover, they don't learn from them.
- People are discouraged from leaving feedback comments on posts that cannot be improved by the site policy.
- They are also discouraged from leaving any kind of comments on newcomers' posts by some toxic newcomers.
- Hence, some of the newcomers are lost to us, unless they are very eager to participate and improve.
Now — what can we do here on RPG.SE to fix the problems I mentioned? How can we help those who want to learn learn? How can we encourage those who can help the newbies, even if some of the newcomers react very negatively?