While conducting a normal review of the Reopen Review Queue, I was presented with this recent question. While I agree with the too-broad close reason, I was dismayed to notice that no comments had been left for the OP indicating why the question was too broad. In fact, the only comment was from the OP, asking why the question was too broad.

We've previously had a discussion concerning too-broad questions. Out of that, one action decided upon was to be more vocal about close reasons when closing questions. For those who have been around a while, you may be familiar with this comment of mine:

Close-voters: Please don't vote to close questions without leaving commentary. The problem cannot be fixed if the OP is not made aware of it.

I leave this on questions where I see close votes and no discussion about closing the question.

Going forward, please remember to keep this in mind when weighing a question's merit. If you can't think of anything to say when closing a question, consider strongly whether you should be voting to close at all.

  • 13
    $\begingroup$ You are entirely correct. I think we've seen too many of the same type of question and forget that often each person needs to be given the same information individually, even when we've seen it before. $\endgroup$
    – Separatrix
    Jul 14 '16 at 14:39
  • 12
    $\begingroup$ Agreed. If you are not going to take the time to comment on closing a question or AT LEAST agree with another comment, please use the skip button. $\endgroup$
    – James
    Jul 14 '16 at 15:39
  • 8
    $\begingroup$ I completely agree. I can't name the number of things one of my questions received a down vote and a close vote without the user explaining why. $\endgroup$
    – TrEs-2b
    Jul 14 '16 at 18:24
  • $\begingroup$ Other than leaving a comment directed at close voters, are there any other useful active strategies for stemming this effect? This question has a similar situation with 4 off-topic close votes and not a single comment with a rationale. It seems to be a long-running issue. $\endgroup$
    – Avernium
    Jul 15 '16 at 15:21
  • $\begingroup$ @Avernium For general users, not that I know of; but I believe diamond moderators can see who is voting, and I know they can send private messages to users. There aren't many enforcement methods on the SE; just community consensus through comments and meta posts (like this one). $\endgroup$
    – Frostfyre
    Jul 15 '16 at 15:47
  • $\begingroup$ I always make an effort to post a quick comment, and link to WB SE Risk Factors I suggest linking this site to pretty much everyone casting a close vote (if no one else has already) $\endgroup$
    – AndreiROM
    Jul 15 '16 at 17:15
  • $\begingroup$ @AndreiROM Maybe it should be featured? Diamond mods? Any opinion? $\endgroup$
    – Frostfyre
    Jul 15 '16 at 17:44
  • $\begingroup$ Good to see this. In the last month I found two questions, one close & the other on hold, when I reviewed the purported reasons for their closure it was obvious neither of them fulfilled the closure criteria. One was a misreading of the OP's question & suggestions were made for its edit based on the misreading. The OP must have been more confused than anything else. This Q was put On Hold for Too Broad. I have flagged it for moderation. The closed Q was deemed Story Based. It didn't have any content that was remotely Story based. Incomprehensible. The OP edited the Q. It's still closed. $\endgroup$
    – a4android
    Jul 29 '16 at 5:23
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I hadn't been looking for problems with closure or holds. Finding two in one month is concerning. This suggests some closure decisions are being made incorrectly. Also, it must be happening frequently enough for someone like me to come across examples of incorrect decisions without trying. A protocol could be adopted for close voters. Read the question carefully. Read the closure criteria carefully & if necessary every time you are going to close vote. Assume the other close voters are wrong and check twice before you vote. $\endgroup$
    – a4android
    Jul 29 '16 at 5:36
  • $\begingroup$ I should explain where I'm coming from in posting my comments. While I'm new to the WB SE, I'm an old-hand at complex decision making. While I started in science I have had nearly twenty years in the legal services of a government department (non-USA). Finding decisions going wrong is too much like work. I came here because WB is part of my writing. Making decisions & getting it right is hard. It can be done, but it takes focus, disciplined thinking & resolve. $\endgroup$
    – a4android
    Jul 29 '16 at 5:45
  • $\begingroup$ I have seen moderators just delete an entire comment thread leaving nothing behind - so it may not always be the case that people didn't leave a comment. $\endgroup$
    – OrangeDog
    Aug 11 '16 at 22:50
  • $\begingroup$ @OrangeDog Such an action is usually taken for discussions that are off-topic or offensive. Long comment chains in which the OP is discussing improving the question with others, and makes said changes, are often deleted as obsolete and unneeded. Long, pertinent discussions are moved to chat. Aside from these cases, I would hope a diamond mod wouldn't abuse his/her powers. $\endgroup$
    – Frostfyre
    Aug 12 '16 at 0:24
  • $\begingroup$ @Frostfyre in my experience, they don't bother to separate out the useful / relevant comments from the flagged ones and the whole lot just goes. $\endgroup$
    – OrangeDog
    Aug 12 '16 at 6:39
  • $\begingroup$ I would like to see a modification of the SE software stack to REQUIRE a comment to cast a vote to close, or to downvote. $\endgroup$ Jul 3 '19 at 12:59
  • $\begingroup$ @SherwoodBotsford That feature has been asked for a few times and is rejected everytime. $\endgroup$
    – Frostfyre
    Jul 3 '19 at 13:30

I will post an answer to this one with a similar sentiment. It pains me to see that 75% of new questions on WB are summarily put on hold. Users with the power to hold can comment with suggestions (and specific suggestions, not pasted boilerplate) about how the question could be better but it does not happen often enough.

Better than comments: improve the question yourself. Edit it to become a good question while preserving (in your opinion) the intent of the OP. The OP may still get something out of it and will at least not feel like she is not crashing some exclusive club. If the OP does not like it she can change it further but your edits will show the way.

I have resolved to try improving close-voted questions myself. Sometimes, though, I am at a loss as regards how to improve the question - example: Limits of Carbon dating and possible alternatives?

I feel bad when posters with minimal rep have their questions swatted down. These are not regulars hanging around bs-ing but people who have come for answers and help. They will probably not come back.


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