In this question about sending consciousness and this question about archaeology on Mars we see fairly rapid moves to close on the basis that the questions are "off topic." In the latter case, a couple of comments by one user specified that it seemed story-based. In the former, no one wrote any comments whatsoever.

I recognize that there is currently a move to be more restrictive and arguably rigorous about this SE's scope, but this behavior strikes me as unacceptable.

I do not think anyone should be voting questions off-topic unless they are willing to specify why. Furthermore, in the majority of cases, I don't think anyone should do this unless the concern has been explained to the OP, with some suggestions for editing. (By "in the majority of cases," I mean that every once in a while you see a question that clearly belongs at another SE entirely.)

I suggest that both these questions be re-opened, for a start. Certainly the one about sending consciousness: there are no comments but mine!

Is my understanding of this SE's etiquette correct?

  • $\begingroup$ That first one looks like a good case of 'unclear what you're asking', but I didn't see it until now otherwise I would have added a comment saying so $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 15, 2016 at 17:50
  • $\begingroup$ Oh, no question -- it's confused. (I just edited it drastically, though.) But how come all these people voted to close as "off topic" without even a single comment? Not cool! $\endgroup$
    – CAgrippa
    Commented Mar 15, 2016 at 17:51
  • $\begingroup$ is worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/q/21557/12207 the question intended in the second link? Currently it directs one to a question about an exploding pyramid. $\endgroup$
    – nitsua60
    Commented Mar 17, 2016 at 3:24
  • $\begingroup$ No, I've got the right one. It's not an exploding pyramid. The problem is how to do archaeological investigation of a huge alien pyramid on Mars. My point is just that it's a perfectly good question, albeit it could use a little refinement. $\endgroup$
    – CAgrippa
    Commented Mar 17, 2016 at 3:33

1 Answer 1


This is something that has been written over and again around here. And you are right that close voters should ensure that someone did explain the problem to the OP. Typically, people should follow the rule:

Rule N. 5: If you are going to vote to close and there's not comment about it on the question, take your time to write one, or refrain from voting to close.

As a form of corollary, do read the comments BEFORE voting to close. The OP might have addressed the issues in a way or another in there and do not blindly follow a trend.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Agreed. I thought that two questions close-voted that close together with minimal comment legitimated another reminder about etiquette. $\endgroup$
    – CAgrippa
    Commented Mar 15, 2016 at 20:06
  • $\begingroup$ If an issue was raised in a comment and the OP answered in a comment, somebody should please edit it into the question. People shouldn't have to read all the comments to understand a question. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 15, 2016 at 20:12
  • $\begingroup$ @MonicaCellio True, but the "transmission of consciousness" question was voted for closure without a single comment! $\endgroup$
    – CAgrippa
    Commented Mar 15, 2016 at 20:13
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @MonicaCellio answerers shouldn't have, but close voters should. Especially because sometimes one needs more than a single comment to clarify a situation BEFORE editing the question. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 15, 2016 at 20:15
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @bilbo_pingouin I agree that close voters should read the comments. I'm saying that if you were thinking "hey, this should be closed", and you read the comments, and therein you discovered something that makes you instead say "oh, that's ok then", then it'd be nice to help everybody else out by making an appropriate edit and flagging the obsolete comments. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 15, 2016 at 20:18
  • $\begingroup$ @MonicaCellio, agreed. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 15, 2016 at 20:21
  • $\begingroup$ @MonicaCellio good point! $\endgroup$
    – CAgrippa
    Commented Mar 15, 2016 at 20:30

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