This site has been far too "quiet" lately, so i thought it was time to stir things up again. Therefore, I'd like to address something which is a bit of a recurring topic here: off-topic questions, and how to handle them.
Now, I feel that over time the risk factors, close reasons, and scope of WB might change slightly due to pressure from the community. That's not a horse I want to keep beating. However, what I don't seem to encounter very often are any solid efforts to educate our new users.
Every day I see (many) new questions being put on hold due to being too broad, or opinion based. Every day I also see these questions receive a whole bunch of attention (mostly from new members) before more or less the same limited number of experienced Worldbuilders finally vote to close them.
Now, often a few of us will comment on the question pointing out which aspects of it should be improved. However, that's not always the case, and no one seems to be taking the users who have answered these poorly asked question aside and telling them:
"Listen, we appreciate the enthusiasm, but don't encourage these out-of-scope questions!"
More and more I find myself commenting on why I think a question is out of scope rather than actually answering it, all the while waiting for the 5 close votes that will put it on hold, and reading the many well-meaning but ultimately pointless answers to a poorly asked question.
Today, I was commenting on this question. The OP actually took our input to heart, and plans to educate himself before asking more questions. That's fantatic! However, even while I was glad to have helped educate a new Worldbuilder, I shook my head at the essay-length answer the question had received in the hour or two it was open.
Now, I know it's not my job to police WB, and I don't want to be a alienate our new users by being a jerk. However I believe that we, the more senior WB members, should take a more active role in educating them. Hence, I made the effort of posting a few links on each answer, and on the question itself, so that at least some of these people will read our Meta conversations and get an idea about what we are trying to accomplish (how to identify a poorly asked question, to vote to close it rather than give in to temptation and answer it, etc.).
This will - obviously - not always be a popular move. A lot of people don't take criticism well. So what I'd like is:
To see what the rest of you die-hard Worldbuilders think about getting a little more involved with educating our new members
To establish some basic guidelines on how to approach, and educate these people (perhaps this will grow into a question of its own)