A recent comment said:
Right now 10 out of 45 questions have a negative number next to them, and I interpret this as a sign of hostility. ELL is not mentioned in most threads, but you can see that the questions that get downvoted mostly come from non-native speakers. Do some people think that the level of English of the OP a good reason for a downvote?
I'd like to address that in two parts...
Right now 10 out of 45 questions have a negative number next to them, and I interpret this as a sign of hostility.
I think it's sad that you jump to that conclusion.
I looked at the first 5 questions with a negative number, and here's what I saw:
#1 My question is that which adverbs are equivalent to ‘unwishfully’?
This is essentially a thesaurus question. I believe if I had posted that same question, even in more polished English, I probably would have garnered roughly the same number of downvotes – especially if I, like the O.P., didn't bother to explain why the six alternatives provided weren't satisfactory.
#2 If i say "I am the person who doesn't mind" , is that wrong?
Who knows? This question might have earned its downvote just because of the lower-case "i" and the improper punctuation and spacing in the question. (There are two additional such errors in the question itself.) I have no problem with someone downvoting that question, just based on its sloppiness. Such a downvote may prompt the O.P. (and others) to be more careful in the future, so that others don't have to spend time editing their work just to make it presentable.
#3 Could anyone make me understand by explaining these two quotes from the movie The Seventh Seal by Ingmar Bergman
This is a very interesting question, in my mind, but I don't see how it's on-topic. I've tried to explain why in a comment I've left there. I don't think it's really deserving of a downvote, but I would guess that any downvotes were primarily driven by frustration with the off-topicness of the question, rather than hostility toward a non-native.
#4 “At a future events” vs. “at the future events” – which one should I use?
Before this question was closed, one person answered it, and another left a comment. But the question is about such a basic issue that I suspect most stack exchange sites would have downvoted a question this basic. The main "hostility" I see here is that no one bothered has to post a link to ELL – where that question might still garner downvotes for being not well-researched, although perhaps not as many, because it would have at least been asked in a more appropriate venue. Still, it's worth mentioning that no one has told that user to bug off – the downvotes are an indictment on the question and its scant research, not the user or the user's inexperience with English.
#5 I want to go 0.3 of the distance from point A to point B. What word describes the 0.3?
Even though this question has several downvotes (one of which is mine), I still fail to find "signs of hostility toward the non-native speaker." After all, the question has four answers, in addition to a few helpful comments. That's not hostility. Probably the most challenging question is mine, and I stand by it. The O.P. didn't do anyone any favors by writing about something different then was really being asked about. That wastes time for a lot of people.
...you can see that the questions that get downvoted mostly come from non-native speakers. Do some people think that the level of English of the OP a good reason for a downvote?
No, I don't think that's a good reason for a downvote; I think it would be a terrible reason, and I suspect an overwhelming majority of regulars would agree.
However, when questions are worded so hastily that I'm reminded of Yahoo! Answers, then I believe the question is vulnerable to downvotes, and that's a good thing. We expect a higher standard here, a higher level of effort. You shouldn't just come here and ask a question flippantly. If all I saw was drivel for questions, I wouldn't spend much time here. When I'm feeling frustrated with an O.P., it's because they've asked a question without providing sufficient context, or written it out in sloppy SMS-speak. Such shoddy work is detrimental to the community.
In short, I only downvoted one of the five questions I've analyzed, but I don't have a problem with the other downvotes that were cast, for the reasons I've already explained.
Lastly, I noticed that all these questions were asked by very new ELU users with very few reputation points. I suspect that the downvotes are rooted in inexperience, rather than the fact that they might not be native English speakers.
It seems like a lot of non-natives mistakenly assume it's the quality of the English that is being downvoted, as opposed to the quality of the question. My downvotes are solely based on the latter, and I don't think I'm in the minority on that.