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Inspired by rage quitting user after they posted this meta question:

How can i prevent a raging moderator from blocking my questions?

Every closed question hurts. It hurts you double when you are new user to the site and it happens that your first questions are closed by rest of the site.

Seems to me, that most of users do not understand StackExchange closing question mechanics and that it is not the end of such question.

Can be there be done more in order to assure new users, that closing a question is not definite?

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    $\begingroup$ Ultimately, that's why questions are now on hold, before they start to be closed, why reason messages are written in a way that shows how to edit them and put for reopening, etc etc. $\endgroup$ – Mołot Feb 13 '17 at 10:02
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    $\begingroup$ Not to attempt to 'blame the victim,' but the way the site maintains its quality is by mercilessly cutting out things that don't meet that standard. Since the moderators don't in fact rage-close posts, the people making decisions can be somewhat random, and if a good question gets a stingy group of five reviewers, it can get closed. There will always be some error in closing posts, as long as it is done by the 'wisdom of the crowds.' That is the nature of Stack Exchange... $\endgroup$ – kingledion Mar 1 '17 at 1:49
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    $\begingroup$ ...that being said, this is a feature, not a bug. Stack Exchange sacrifices freedom of expression for quality of presentation. I am wholly bought into this trade-off, and I do by best to pass on the site culture with my commenting, voting, and closing. If people don't like the way this site is, they may be better served by another site. $\endgroup$ – kingledion Mar 1 '17 at 1:50
  • $\begingroup$ Adding a comment to get this back on the active questions list, as problem persists. Maybe some more attention would help. $\endgroup$ – akaioi Oct 23 '17 at 17:16
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    $\begingroup$ @akaioi Comments don't bump up a questions visibility. Answers and edits or a moderator featuring a question are the only ways I know to increase visibility to a question besides directly linking to it. $\endgroup$ – sphennings Oct 24 '17 at 18:04
  • $\begingroup$ This is a question for Meta Stack Exchange, not just here. $\endgroup$ – user3106 Nov 8 '17 at 16:01
  • $\begingroup$ If someone is going to feel personally attacked by a moderators decision, then they probably don't need to be here. We shouldn't need to explain it to them. Moderators are enforcers of rules. If they don't wish to follow the rules and are just going to rage over it, then they can get out. However, I see nothing wrong with explaining why a post is bad. However, if someone is confused or doesn't understand why the closure occurred then there is this nice thing called chat and this nice thing called meta where they can ask for clarification. Getting angry just shows you don't belong here. $\endgroup$ – The Great Duck Nov 9 '17 at 17:36

10 Answers 10

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Yes

1) By using descriptive comments when issuing a VTC vote. Explaining the reasons tells the OP far more than simply seeing the "close (2)" number jumping up.

2) By editing the question - if a few simple changes can be made so that the question is more appropriate, then edit the question and then explain the edits.

I admit that stabbing at the VTC button and reasoning that "it's obvious why" is the easiest thing in the world to do, but those reasons aren't obvious to everyone.

I get that there's automated messages, but I'm not sure that people read them enough (or they're too ambiguous to have real meaning). Closing things as "story related" or "off topic" can often be confusing when there's similar questions left open.

So, I'd say put some work into educating the users appropriately.

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  • $\begingroup$ Of course, it wouldn't help the guy from linked question. He got descriptive comments, he just choose to ignore them and claim his questions are OK. $\endgroup$ – Mołot Feb 13 '17 at 11:21
  • $\begingroup$ @Mołot - Naturally, people of a particular mindset can't be swayed or helped... $\endgroup$ – user10945 Feb 13 '17 at 11:26
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    $\begingroup$ I would also add "also comment on what the user did right". $\endgroup$ – PatJ Feb 13 '17 at 12:23
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    $\begingroup$ I agree to this - I think many new users have no clue why their question was closed nor how to do to get it re-opened again. I have seen several comments stating "you need to reformat your question", but no edits are made once the question is closed. Many new users seems to believe that a closed question = dead question. $\endgroup$ – Mrkvička Feb 13 '17 at 14:43
  • $\begingroup$ That's why it's "on hold" now, for first week. $\endgroup$ – Mołot Feb 13 '17 at 18:53
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    $\begingroup$ It's also important to remember that new users can't see "close (2)"; this is a privilege that requires 250 rep. $\endgroup$ – Laurel Feb 15 '17 at 21:23
  • $\begingroup$ "2) By editing the question" ... assuming you can even get to the question soon enough before answers start arriving. $\endgroup$ – SRM - Reinstate Monica Feb 16 '17 at 16:45
  • $\begingroup$ Also, "So, I'd say put some work into educating the users appropriately." is almost laughable to me. Clearly you've never been a tech writer. Users will not read. They only learn what the interface teaches them. $\endgroup$ – SRM - Reinstate Monica Feb 16 '17 at 19:18
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    $\begingroup$ @SRM As a programmer myself, I know very well the truth of that; sometimes I forget that some people are remarkably averse to reading a few sentences (being a very fast reader myself), but I try to keep it in mind. I've had people repeatedly asking me "What does X button/ability/etc. do?" when it has a clear description attached that I've told them to read, and then explained for them in detail, and they still ask. Basically, assume that the user is an idiot when designing... well, anything, really. If a user sees their question is closed, some simply will not bother to read any farther. $\endgroup$ – Palarran May 5 '17 at 14:40
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Could do a wording change. Instead of "Vote to Close", "Closed", and even "On Hold", the wording could just be changed to "Paused". Everyone knows that a pause is temporary, and so seeing that your question is paused is less alarming than "Closed"...

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    $\begingroup$ I agree with this, if you look at the linked question it is pretty clear that the person totally misunderstood what was happening and being "closed" and people "voting to close" probably was a big factor in that. Both the term "closed" and the stock explanations really require the user already understands how this site works to understand correctly. There probably isn't a simple wording without changing how the site works, but the wording probably should be more focussed on what the user is expected to do to the question. Positive and actionable $\endgroup$ – Ville Niemi Oct 29 '17 at 18:28
  • $\begingroup$ Even if you can't get a site-level text wording change, a wording change in the comments could help - emphasize that it's a temporary close/hold until the listed issues are fixed, not a hard slap-down. $\endgroup$ – R.M. Oct 30 '17 at 19:02
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I just spent an hour writing an answer to a question only to discover that it is put on hold as primarily opnion-based. And this is by far not the first experience within a short time I am on this site. This is a very frustrating situation not just for the author of a question but also someone who believes the question is legit. </end rant>

Most of the times I agree with a decision to put a question on hold. However, the 'Long lifespans and risk aversion' question was put on hold despite the fact that it can be answered more or less objectively based on existing psychological research. I also believe that it is one of those questions that are very important for anyone building a future world. Therefore, answers to it will be a great help to many other users of the site.

Perhaps, I am not quite understanding how the site works. But I have a feeling that way too many questions dealing with society, culture, and psychology get put on hold or closed. Social sciences are not exactly quantifiable and always attract some speculation. But it is no different from the current situation in these sciences. There is no one unifying theory or even methodology. There are many schools, interpretations, and positions, some of them are opposite. Moreover, most of the time there is no one absolutely correct answer. However, this is how social sciences work.

I believe that questions dealing with society and culture should not be treated the same way as physics and maths. People should have a bit more freedom in both asking and answering. Perhaps, we could introduce a special tag for these questions that allows a greater degree of speculation based on existing research.

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    $\begingroup$ Olga, this part "Social sciences are not exactly quantifiable and always attract some speculation." does resonate. I worry about this as well. $\endgroup$ – akaioi Nov 1 '17 at 3:43
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    $\begingroup$ Questions about politics & economics especially of the progressive kind, plus sexuality and gender also get short shrift. Certain questions have been dismissed as simply impossible. Even if they are well-known tropes of fantasy & science-fiction. In contrast to magic & zombies. Certain classes of scientific speculation fall foul of "textbook realists." Pity that professional theoretical scientists are working on those topics. Physics also needs a speculation tag. $\endgroup$ – a4android Nov 1 '17 at 3:57
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    $\begingroup$ @a4android, I get a feeling that this site is biased toward natural sciences mainly because not many of its users have training in other fields. Sometimes I even think that it would be beneficial if the moderation were a bit more formal. A moderator with training in an area related to the question could veto closing/hold or could be required to cast a deciding vote. That would decrease a problem of people not knowing what they do not know. $\endgroup$ – Olga Nov 1 '17 at 4:21
  • $\begingroup$ @akaioi, it is the nature of social sciences. But it does not stop scientists from doing research. Although, I have to admit that stricter validation, cross-referencing, and reviewing could be beneficial for academia. For this website, though, it is not required. People should be welcome to share their opinions. $\endgroup$ – Olga Nov 1 '17 at 4:26
  • $\begingroup$ @Olga I think the site has around 5 moderators. There are no where near enough for there to be a moderator knowledge veto as they are only going to know about maybe 2 topics each and there is probably some overlap. Also, people shouldn't be free to share opinions, questions that need opinion based answers should be closed. $\endgroup$ – Bellerophon Nov 6 '17 at 18:22
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    $\begingroup$ @Bellerophon That's kind of what Olga is saying though. A lot of social science has legit research behind it, but it's not thought of the same as math or physics. Just because YOU do not know much about a subject, does not mean that everyone else is equally unqualified to provide an answer. What you see as opinion based may not be to someone who has actually studied in that subject. So maybe instead of saying that a subject you know nothing about is opinion based, you should just leave it to people who actually know what they are doing in that area. It's not like leaving it open is hurting you $\endgroup$ – AndyD273 Nov 8 '17 at 18:35
  • $\begingroup$ @AndyD273 That's not sharing opinions, that's a sourced answer. If the answer is People would help because they are nice, that's opinion based. People would help because in x study this group showed y behaviour is a valid answer. Working out which questions can be answered in which way is the challenging bit but that doesn't mean that all soft science questions should be left open, ones asking questions that are purely opinion based (Who will win the next election) should be closed. Ones saying based on these factors who would pundits predict could win the election should be left open. $\endgroup$ – Bellerophon Nov 8 '17 at 20:28
  • $\begingroup$ @Bellerophon, I did not mean opinion in a sense of speculation. I meant opinion as a point of view or ideas. I also do not argue for leaving all questions related to social sciences open. However, the closing/hold criteria should not be the same as for physics and maths. Because social sciences work differently. For example, take your election questions. In reality, we are much better at predicting group behaviour than individual behaviour. Therefore, 'Who will win the next election given this socio-economic and historic situation?' $\endgroup$ – Olga Nov 9 '17 at 2:25
  • $\begingroup$ [continued] is a better question than 'Who would pundits predict could win the election?' There is a lot of research on public opinion and elections. And all of it can be used to make a realistic prediction for a well-defined world. However, pundits are individuals. A question about their predictions invites all sorts of speculation. We do not know what theories they use for their predictions, what their motives are, who they are paid by. So, I would say that the first question is valid, but the second is purely opinion-based. $\endgroup$ – Olga Nov 9 '17 at 2:29
  • $\begingroup$ You have convinced me to nominate the relevant question for reopening. $\endgroup$ – kingledion Nov 17 '17 at 13:34
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I don't have enough reputation there to use it myself, but Stack Overflow has a triage system and a help & improvement queue for posts that need a little extra help. Since that code is already written, getting access to those features seems more likely than getting something completely new like automatic temporary holds and the associated tooling.

But, as I said, I don't know much about how that feature operates, so consider this answer a "stub" for investigation. If you're an experienced SO user, if you've used these queues, please share your assessment. Could something like SO's triage/help&improvement benefit Worldbuilding?

Related: http://meta.worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/questions/4521/proposal-all-questions-start-on-hold-for-1-hour

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    $\begingroup$ I read through the help... there's one paragraph that makes me think the triage system won't help us: "Do not choose "Requires Editing" if you know the question cannot be made answerable without clarification or additions from its author. For example, if an android question asks for an explanation of errors found in logcat, but omits specific errors and/or logcat listing, the question doesn't require editing - it requires more information, so choose Unsalvageable->should be closed->unclear what you're asking." We specifically want authors to feedback to help improve the questions. $\endgroup$ – SRM - Reinstate Monica Feb 22 '17 at 22:32
  • $\begingroup$ @SRM we might need to tune the guidance, yes. Questions being put on hold still require good feedback to the OP so the problems can be fixed. But at a higher level, does the idea help here? $\endgroup$ – Monica Cellio Feb 22 '17 at 22:41
  • $\begingroup$ I think it might. Definitely worth trying, IMO. $\endgroup$ – SRM - Reinstate Monica Feb 22 '17 at 23:20
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I still think the answer is to have all questions start out as "On Hold" until they're whitelisted as "ready for answers". New users wouldn't feel singled out then. I'd even be ok with a 1 hour hold unless allowed to go early by a moderator.

I am well aware that this conflicts with a lot of the Stack Exchange ethos, but I think that Worldbuilding has enough variance with the rest of SE that this is the right solution. WB accepts questions that wouldn't begin to fly elsewhere -- hypotheticals, no exact right answer, brainstorming requests, etc. This makes "what constitutes a good question" much harder to answer.

The delay on a lot of SE sites would be unacceptable, but I'm doubtful that a 1 hour delay in knowing how to build a Dyson sphere is a pressing issue for any of us, even when writing on deadline.

Call it something other than "on hold" perhaps -- "awaiting moderation" works for a lot of comment sites.

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    $\begingroup$ That's a nice idea but probably not a doable one. Unfortunately. $\endgroup$ – PatJ Feb 16 '17 at 16:57
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    $\begingroup$ why not "awaiting launch", "soon ready to fly" or something else that sounds more positive and less censored? I would guess that many still would feel weird about needing moderation if they feel that their question is legitimate - or I'm wrong and people will accept it if we clearly states the reason for the moderation and how it is done. $\endgroup$ – Mrkvička Feb 17 '17 at 13:54
  • $\begingroup$ @Mrkvička I was just suggesting a term I've seen used in other places that I would expect everyone to know what it means. Variations would be fine. $\endgroup$ – SRM - Reinstate Monica Feb 17 '17 at 14:26
  • $\begingroup$ @SMR Ah, fair point..... And speaking on variations: I think "building world" would be a nice one, although perhaps a bit confusing. $\endgroup$ – Mrkvička Feb 17 '17 at 14:28
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    $\begingroup$ @Mrkvička "Validating Internal Consistency of Universe"? :-) $\endgroup$ – SRM - Reinstate Monica Feb 17 '17 at 19:10
  • $\begingroup$ @SRM Ohh, that's a good one! I think that should be it! $\endgroup$ – Mrkvička Feb 17 '17 at 19:35
  • $\begingroup$ @SRM "WB accepts questions that wouldn't begin to fly elsewhere -- hypotheticals, no exact right answer, brainstorming requests, etc." I think WB should be open in this way, but it seems like the "too broad" brush is being liberally applied... I think your answer might make a good meta question itself. $\endgroup$ – akaioi Oct 23 '17 at 18:20
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    $\begingroup$ @akaioi The whole SE model does not allow brainstorming questions.No right answer and hypotheticals should be fine though. $\endgroup$ – Bellerophon Nov 6 '17 at 18:24
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I ran into this issue lately, in a question about what would Romans do with a steam engine. Posted a meta question, which got closed as duplicate. ;D Forget the Bronze Age, we're firmly in the Irony Age now...

In the question in question (ha!) I did my best by suggesting that instead of asking more or less "What would they do?", OP should give his theory and ask if that seems reasonable knowing what else we know about Romans. Honestly I pretty much begged the guy not to get discouraged.

I'll suggest that close-voters -- and, more to the point, people seeing the broadness but not wanting the question closed -- pour as much specific fixit advice into the comments as possible.

Links to the Tour or FAQ are great, but I don't think it's enough.

More ideas?

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    $\begingroup$ We're already doing that. Or trying to... I mean, I don't vtc without leaving a comment unless the issues have already been mentioned in other comments. $\endgroup$ – Vincent Oct 23 '17 at 20:46
  • $\begingroup$ @Vincent yep, I think it's fairly(?) clear what needs to happen, just it's not happening enough, judging from the despairing tone I've seen a few times from would-be posters. So I wanted to get this question back on the "active questions" list so people would notice it. There might be a better way, but I don't know it. $\endgroup$ – akaioi Oct 23 '17 at 20:57
  • $\begingroup$ @Vincent We need more people like you. It's more important to improve than close them. But if they must be closed, then doing so with reasons helps improve questions. $\endgroup$ – a4android Nov 1 '17 at 3:36
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I see a couple of options where a frustrated user could be routed to something more constructive. I think it's ok to suggest other worldbuilding communities where the focus is about open discussion and not the question/answers format. If this were a different SE topic like Astronomy or Physics where there is usually an actual answer, sending them somewhere else would not make sense, but to be perfectly honest, there are very few questions on WB that can be answered without it being an opinion. Often what passes for "opinion" is cliches from novels members have read. The "right" answer steers towards the conventional, sometimes creating unhelpful dogma wars as if the answer is actually "true" and not just something that was explored by a pulp author in the '70s. Contrary to this site being an inspiration for ideas, I tend to look here for what is mundane so I know how to play with it.

That said, I think too many questions on WB are put on hold. I've had questions that were rewarded with badges, yet I still have questions that get put on hold. I'm never going to tie myself into a pretzel to get a question past the semantics-police. I'm not saying it's unwarranted. Maybe I could have worded it differently to fit the SE format (and I guess I'm still a little vague because I don't deliberately break the rules), but if a question isn't complete word-salad or bizarrely specific, it will get a few honest helpful answers before it gets put in jail. That's usually enough for me. If I'm asking a question it's because I am writing about it, not because I am trying to make an epic question for the SE–WB hall of fame.

Sometimes bad questions have good answers. I can't link to any examples of course because they get auto-deleted. One that comes to mind was someone who had read about a "dark matter drive" and asked how it worked. He got a few insulting comments, but also two EXCELLENT full answers that not only explained the fallacy but gave examples where using a "mysterious element X" trope worked in a story. It might have been a question that pinged high on a search engine, but it was deemed as nonsense. Meanwhile I cringe every time I read another necromancy/zombie question, yet I resist flooding those post with hater comments telling the OP how unscientific he sounds with walking skeletons…. I looked back at some discussions about WB allowing "magic". Before my time, but I'm guessing a lot of good questions were lost because of aggressive closing for it to become an issue…. A little more "Rights of Man" and a lot less arbitrary Kafka politics would be fine.

We keep being assured that it takes five members to close a topic, as if 5 is a large "safe" number, 5 people killing a topic in which > 5 people have already participated… It's more than just the OP that is getting deleted. If OP has a few answers from a reasonable members, there isn't much incentive to edit the question – I know I don't. If a question has upvotes, and answers have upvotes, why are you closing it? The criteria for a well-received question should be much higher to close. Period. This is a recipe for abusers, not a democracy. Please stop lecturing about "majority has spoken" when you allow 5 people to kill a discussion other members have already worked on. Look at Gamergate, Hugo Awards, the 2017 Election for examples where a minority of trolls destroy a good thing.

Trolls are a problem here. I got goaded into explaining parts of my world that didn't pertain to the question, technical ideas I feel are original that I don't necessarily want to become common knowledge until I get a chance to use them. After "winning" the right to ask my question by proving I'd solved the cliche they were trying to force on me, none of the trolls bothered to answer anyway. Comments are intended to expand the topic, not to troll it to death. I resented that I'd revealed my details and went back to edit that part out of my question, but it's still there under the edits.... Now I'm perfectly fine when my questions get deleted. I'll keep my explorations to myself, thanks. It helps to 100% ignore comments (or at least never respond, if you read them). There is no option to block or mute regular trolls. That allows this site to be hostile about women's bodies and minority rights. There are GREAT people here too, but they won't waste their day trolling a topic. It's exhausting, and the good signal is drowned by a lot of noise and nonsense.

Web community formats dictate the type of discussion: forums, Q/A, thread feeds, etc. if SE-WB admitted its limits, and presented itself as a QUESTION ARCHIVE TOOL, there could be a sub-community with looser rules (maybe not accessible by outside search engines), or a writers'-oriented page that lists some other communities, maybe having a question shut down because it doesn't fit the SE format might not seem as harsh – "it's ok, this just isn't the web-format for an open discussion, nothing personal and either re-word or try this other place…". SE-WB is not the strictest, Physics(dot)org has a WB section that has so many rules about what's taboo it's practically totalitarian. I've discovered some fantasy-WB communities that are the opposite where everyone gets a scented candle and a dreamcatcher (lol, ok, exaggeration). Reddit has Worldbuilding subs for NSFW and one that is just for being a jerk, LOL very Reddit. I've found a few groups on Facebook too, if that's your thing. It's ok that SE is not for every topic. I think we could do better, but I also think there is no harm in admitting the limits of the format. People don't have to feel rejected if maybe they can be redirected.

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  • $\begingroup$ And a troll here just responded to a 3-day old chat to try to stir up an argument LOL! Why is SE allergic to common web community guidelines? Online abusers are not new or news. $\endgroup$ – wetcircuit Oct 25 '17 at 18:43
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    $\begingroup$ A user needs at least 3k rep to VTC a question. As of the time that I write this comment there are only 246 users on this site with sufficient rep to VTC a question not the 26k you mentioned. It's likely that many of those users aren't regularly active on this site. Since there are only 35k registered members on worldbulding it's likely that most of those views came from other sites attracted by an interesting title on HNQ. Such questions can gather a lot of upvotes from people who don't understand our site's policies. It doesn't indicate that the question is a good fit for this site. $\endgroup$ – sphennings Oct 25 '17 at 19:44
  • $\begingroup$ @sphennings, they can vote on content, but cannot vote to close? Ok. That sounds better…. Ahh, do you mean HNQ can be voted by the whole SE? It becomes a q for the larger site? I get it. That is interesting…. Thanks for info. $\endgroup$ – wetcircuit Oct 25 '17 at 21:24
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    $\begingroup$ Anyone who has earned at least 200 rep on any exchange will receive an association bonus of 100 rep on every exchange. This gives them enough rep to upvote as soon as they join worldbuilding. $\endgroup$ – sphennings Oct 25 '17 at 21:30
  • $\begingroup$ Interesting. It doesn't really change the part about 5 people killing a topic in which > 5 people have already participated… It's more than just the OP that is getting deleted. If OP has a few answers from a reasonable members, there isn't much incentive to edit the question. $\endgroup$ – wetcircuit Oct 25 '17 at 21:36
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    $\begingroup$ That's a compelling argument for swiftly closing questions. Ideally a question should be closed before anyone answers it. We should be consistent with our policies on this site. If we didn't close question just because they were popular new users would get mixed signals about what makes a good question on this site. $\endgroup$ – sphennings Oct 25 '17 at 22:09
  • $\begingroup$ I'm not saying every question deserves a trophy, LOL…. But I'm taking my own advice and exploring other communities. $\endgroup$ – wetcircuit Oct 25 '17 at 23:17
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    $\begingroup$ @wetcircuit Closure and deletion are two very different things. Closed questions might get deleted, but generally only if they have no redeeming qualities. Upvoted questions, or questions with upvoted answers, have a much higher bar for being deleted. $\endgroup$ – a CVn Oct 28 '17 at 21:02
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No

Let's be clear here... It is a bad thing. There is no situation which results in a close that is "good". The best you can get is "neutral for me." And ultimately, the most important part of this whole thing is damaged and that is that the Questioner is not answered, and not just them, but anyone else that might have had the same or similar question.

As far as the line that "5 experienced people vote." Nonsense. Answering a few questions really well says nothing about how well you understand what is or isn't a good question, how to make a question clear, what is against or following the rules, and it says nothing about your personal moral or character about how you vote. You can get the need rep fairly easily and quickly if you get lucky and either way answerering is in no way "experience" for closing/moderating whether you have 1, 5, or 5000 people making that call. And those who vote a lot so do have experience, they are likely the worst judges, or at least that is how it is in most similar things.

And that is before you get into topics that are closed for all sorts of things that are just their interpretations or could be argued are very bad practices because they discourage the things that should be encouraged in someone who is world building.

It's clear, to me at least, that many people forget that the primary goal is to answer the question that is being posed, and the idea that a question is too "broad", "opinion based", "precise", "narative driven", etc is grand in theory and a good rule of thumb, but ultimately it's crap if they get in the way of answering a question that a person needs to answer when it comes to a world their building. That's why they're asking in a place where you ask questions about how to make a world and how it operates. Some elements of such questions are going to be broad, some are going to be precise, some are going to contain story elements. And even if they are "too" whatever, consider that they may not know and still needs to have the answer to the question which you are cutting them off from.

Saying "well you can edit to make it better" doesn't cut it, because there are questions that by their very nature are "too broad" to legitimately ever answer without such as anything to do with the how a earth like planet works. Those questions always are amazingly broad in their real answers, but you wouldn't know that less you are explained to and have your questions answered.

So I think the idea that "How do we make people think it's not bad" is wrong headed. It is bad, or means something bad has happened and such it shouldn't be covered up to make people feel better. Instead, adapt to the expectations of those people who are asking legitimate questions so that it doesn't weigh on your conscience that they think they're doing something bad.


I want to address that While I generally agree that the voting to close is bad I don't think the vitriol of some of the people who think that it is bad are having. I think it's misguided and generally they are in the wrong in the specifics of their examples. However, I do not think that they should be dismissed with the same prepacked responses as, while they may be wrong in the specific, they're right in the general.

There are ways to "fix it" but it would take a bunch of coding that would effect all the SEs so that isn't likely to happen, even though it probably should. So there is little point in bring up how to fix anything in any way other than promoting that people should be more lenient about closing things due to the very nature of what WB and SE jointly are supposed to be...

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  • $\begingroup$ You raise good points. I think this question should rephrase "bad thing" as "punishment". $\endgroup$ – PatJ Feb 22 '17 at 15:18
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    $\begingroup$ This is just wrong and completely misunderstands what close is and why the status is "on hold" rather than "closed". The closed question should be fixed and updated, and then re-opened. This is a workflow that while not followed in every case is followed in many cases and works well. The question is closed to prevent anyone answering it until it is finished. The question is then fixed following feedback from site users. It is then opened as a good question ready to be answered. $\endgroup$ – Tim B Feb 22 '17 at 15:38
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    $\begingroup$ @TimB That may be its intention, but it is not its perception nor its effect. And the perception and effect are the important parts here. And no, it's not a workflow. It's a system that was put in place to accomplish a goal that does not actually work. You may take it as work flow and it helps you, others, and I would say the majority, just look at it and see it as just another place where they are not getting what they need, an answer to their question nor a process that works with their work flow. $\endgroup$ – Durakken Feb 22 '17 at 16:37
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    $\begingroup$ Voting to close or reopen requires 3,000 reputation. One is not likely to gain that privilege from only superficial contributions to the site. $\endgroup$ – HDE 226868 Feb 22 '17 at 18:05
  • $\begingroup$ You can get that in 15 days if you're extremely lucky. If you get 1 upvote/day for 10 months you'll get access which requires barely compitent answers in most cases. The requirements are such that if you looked at the equivalent in other communities they would not be enough to be trusted with those types of abilities. @HDE226868 And even if they were that selection is always cautious because many people act wrongly when given it. $\endgroup$ – Durakken Feb 23 '17 at 6:08
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    $\begingroup$ @HDE226868 You can get it pretty easily by just writing mediocre answers and never learning about questions. It's how I got my rep. $\endgroup$ – Bellerophon Nov 6 '17 at 18:29
  • $\begingroup$ It is also easy to figure out how to game the system - how to write a question that is on topic that you have no actual interest in - and earn reputation that way. Personally, I use this site for my novel, and am beyond frustrated by the VTC system, as anyone who knows me knows. I don't game the site, but it is obvious how one could. I can only take this site in small doses as it seems that over half of questions asked, are put on hold or closed, ... and those are usually the ones that seem to me to be more interesting (or less ridiculous, and more answerable) to begin with. $\endgroup$ – DPT Nov 14 '17 at 22:16
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As far as I know questions tagged "hard-science" get a special notice that only certain people can manually put there and remove. Is it possible to add a feature to automatically add such a notice to any new question? Mithrandir24601 and dot_Sp0T told me in the chat that currently there is no way to automatically add such a notice.

I was thinking about adding a notice along the lines of „This question is new and hasn’t been reviewed by the community until now. If you want to answer this question please make sure that it fits the sites guidelines. If this question does not fit the sites guidelines it will be put on hold for some time to allow the author to edit the question before reopening it for answers.“

This would automatically show the intention of „putting questions on hold“ for new users and it could also prevent some of the cases where new useres were answering very fast even if the question was not a good fit for the site at first. At the same time it would not be as invasive as generally putting the question on hold at first, though I like this idea of SRM.

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  • $\begingroup$ That's an interesting idea. I'm not completely sold on it but it's certainly interesting. It might be worth raising as a separate question for further discussion. $\endgroup$ – Tim B Feb 22 '17 at 15:24
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Look for alternatives to Stackexchange.

The idea of worldbuilding is great. A highly imaginative forum and very entertaining. The ability to dream of a better or different world is one of the most important human qualities.

Stackexchange is not open source and moderators tend to be abusive for personal reasons or ego related ones. Many of the questions are closed because they are "too broad" or "opinion based" which could be applied to 90% of the questions here. The real reason behind that it's because they don't like what is being asked therefore they want that question to be closed.

Not a true example of freedom of speech.

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    $\begingroup$ The moderators are rarely closing any questions single-handedly. Most of the time it is the community that puts questions on hold so that they can be edited. If they are not edited by the author the question is closed. Users with over 3k reputation can vote to close a question if someone from the community flagged it as not fitting. Only when 5 of them voted to close the question is put on hold. Our mods are very passionate. Please don't badmouth them by saying they close questions for personal reasons. $\endgroup$ – Sec SE - clear Monica's name Feb 22 '17 at 8:26
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    $\begingroup$ Yes, Worldbuilding is great, but where on Earth do you get the "moderators tend to be abusive for personal reasons or ego related ones"? You have at least demonstrated the very problem - Closing a question is not a bad thing. It is so that you can improve the question, then get better answers $\endgroup$ – Mithrandir24601 Feb 22 '17 at 8:27
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    $\begingroup$ @Mithrandir24601 "The Joke isn't funny anymore when it's too close to home" If talk about issues such us vegetarianism, capitalism, JFK, 9/11 the question is closed right away not because the topic is not interesting but because some operators find it annoying. Instead of allowing controversial but polite ideas they decide to close them. Don't worry I'll stick to unicorns and fairies here. $\endgroup$ – user31264 Feb 22 '17 at 8:34
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    $\begingroup$ @PbxMan That is not the problem. The questions are not well constrained. If the question is good in regards to the style of asking, the constrains, ... it will be allowed here no matter what the topic is about. Please support your ideas by links to the questions and we can help explain to you why they were closed. Also, if you have questions about why a question was closed please open another Meta-Post with the specific question. $\endgroup$ – Sec SE - clear Monica's name Feb 22 '17 at 8:36
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    $\begingroup$ @PbxMan Fun fact. Vegetarianism just became public beta site: vegetarianism.stackexchange.com $\endgroup$ – Pavel Janicek Feb 22 '17 at 8:38
  • $\begingroup$ @Secespitus Can you explain to me why this question worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/questions/71719/… is opinion based and this one isn't worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/questions/71724/… ? $\endgroup$ – user31264 Feb 22 '17 at 8:45
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    $\begingroup$ @PbxMan Your base points have been raised and discussed many times before. The truth is that most questions aren't placed on hold by a single moderator, but by a consensus vote of 5 people with sufficient rep. One of the core issues here is of psychology - if people reviewing the close candidates see a question has x amount of close votes, it leads them into thinking "it's a bad question, other people say so, so it must be true". It colours their thinking and they might not make their own choice. I ultimately agree that a creativity-based stack like this should encourage more creativity. $\endgroup$ – user10945 Feb 22 '17 at 8:59
  • $\begingroup$ @PbxMan I just had a quick look as I didn't look at the questions before. I think the problem with the meat-question is that it is asking "What would humans do?" which can also be discussed but not answered. We don't know how humans would react. The other question asks about technological possibilitiies given a different tech-level. This can be answered objectively. $\endgroup$ – Sec SE - clear Monica's name Feb 22 '17 at 9:00
  • $\begingroup$ @Secespitus So sociological, psychological or philosophical questions are not OK, just practical sciences and hypothetical technology. Why that question is not "too broad"? It feels to me like it's just a matter or being part of the group and gaining respect in the gang. $\endgroup$ – user31264 Feb 22 '17 at 9:15
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    $\begingroup$ @PbxMan as one of high-rep users, I can assure you, that mine questions get closed too. And as stated above, it is not a bad thing $\endgroup$ – Pavel Janicek Feb 22 '17 at 9:33
  • $\begingroup$ @PavelJanicek Let me remind you that when a question is closed, no additional answers may be posted to it and It stops being advertised in other stackexchange sites. I do think it's a bad thing $\endgroup$ – user31264 Feb 22 '17 at 9:37
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    $\begingroup$ @PbxMan There is a difference between censorship and moderation, look it up. Also, I'd like to see actual examples of your "flattering, brown nosing and PC" you're waving. If people feel insulted by you, they have a right to tell you. I have to admit I don't care much about your persecution complex if you use it as a justification to point fingers at an actually quite patient community. $\endgroup$ – PatJ Feb 22 '17 at 10:05
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    $\begingroup$ On another note though some free advice: rather than declaring that the site is "wrong" take the time to learn how the site actually works or find one more suited to how you want to operate. If you keep trying to put a square peg in a round hole it is only going to be frustrating for both you and those trying to help you. If you want to debate philosophy for example you have the reputation needed to join the chatrooms...and things are far less structured there. $\endgroup$ – Tim B Feb 22 '17 at 15:45
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    $\begingroup$ You seem very judgmental about who does or does not know what and very keen on using derogatory language to describe hypothetical people...why is that? $\endgroup$ – Tim B Feb 22 '17 at 16:53
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    $\begingroup$ You are right though. This is not the place to ask open ended "discussion" type questions. The goal of the site is to have definitive answers to concrete questions. It's not for brainstorming or general discussions (although again the chat is a good place for both those things) and not only do we not pretend that it is but we actively enforce that policy to keep the core Q&A content clean. $\endgroup$ – Tim B Feb 22 '17 at 16:59

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