10
$\begingroup$

Update: It seems that my reading of the meta post linked was incorrect, we aren't able to change the text in the way proposed, alas.

In the reopen review queue we often deal with questions which have been closed as opinion-based, the notice reads:

Update the question so it can be answered with facts and citations. This will help others answer the question.

Admittedly, from the queue itself, the wording is slightly different, but the requirement to be answered with "facts and citations" is the same.

I suddenly realised that they weren't the criteria I encountered quite a bit as a close reason - opinion-based, yes, but for the reason that no clear path to a "best answer" was specified.

Whilst "facts and citations" might be fine for many (even a majority) of questions, a substantial minority are not like that.

Questions about , or such as How Would I Justify Keeping Most Magic Away from the General Public if it is Technically Learnable by Everyone? or How do I nerf a magic system empowered by emotion? seem to need a notice which jars less with the sense of what the question needs to be made on-topic.

Proposal:

The wording might be changed to something more general and fitting like:

Update the question to include sufficient criteria so answers can be objectively ranked.

As per the suggestion on main meta, I'm asking for opinions, thoughts, better wording suggestions?

$\endgroup$
8
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Did you ask it in reaction to a recent meta-question, too ^^? I agree with you about "ranking the answers", though I'm not really fond of the term "ranking". Probably because ranking in games introduces competitions I'm not fond and it also seems out of place for a community to help people... Don't know how to better phrase it, however, so I'm complaining and yet I'm not very helpful here. Sorry :/. $\endgroup$
    – Tortliena
    Oct 27 '21 at 18:42
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ It was from a review queue, possibly the same question yes. In the kerfuffle of finding the right post on main meta I lost the clipboard text of the in-review post notice so had to fluff it. I'm not so sure about "ranking" now either, If you'd not mentioned it wouldn't have occurred to me. @Tortliena $\endgroup$ Oct 27 '21 at 18:50
  • $\begingroup$ Isn't it one of those close reasons that cannot be changed (could someone clarify this)? I am also opposed to the suggested wording. There is no requirement that the questions are asked in a manner that answers can be ranked in any way. The closest I can find is this: 'Must include restrictions/requirements: What will make one answer better than another? If any answer is equally effective your question is not properly constrained.' Please note that there is no requirement that there must be one best answer or any ranking of answers. $\endgroup$
    – Otkin
    Oct 28 '21 at 2:04
  • $\begingroup$ The rule requires questions to have proper constraints so not any answer is equally effective. Perhaps it would be better to talk about adding constraints. $\endgroup$
    – Otkin
    Oct 28 '21 at 2:07
  • $\begingroup$ I've tried edits a few times, this week. Just tried to salvage another newbie one, don't know if it will help.. there's a lot wrong with it, so I wonder if I took the right direction here ? worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/questions/216504/… $\endgroup$
    – Goodies
    Oct 30 '21 at 13:21
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I'm not sure what anyone else voted on that one, but story-based is what I put before the edit. It's lacking in details still, even with details, a tactical appraisal with a definitive yes/no seems a bit opinion-based. Motivations and actions - story-based. Darned if I know what to do with it. @Goodies $\endgroup$ Oct 30 '21 at 13:27
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @ARogueAnt. it was indeed difficult to not ask for a story part in that context ! Thx, I'll try a refinement.. put a question how (by what means) the spider people could defend, or prevent the attack. $\endgroup$
    – Goodies
    Oct 30 '21 at 13:33
  • $\begingroup$ I definitely like that wording more. Makes a lot more sense and gives me a far better idea of what I should be asking and how. Were it originally phrased like this, I may have not made the question posts I did that were opinion-based or close to it, lol. $\endgroup$
    – INPU
    Nov 4 '21 at 4:33
7
$\begingroup$

No, but not for the reasons you might think

The opinion-based VTC reason is a network-wide close reason. It can't be customized on a per-Stack basis. Yes, SE could change the code to permit it to happen, but that would compromise one of SE's fundamental beliefs: that all Stacks should operate in basically the same way. They don't want Stacks to become unique (and, from a programming and an organizational point of view, I don't blame them.).

We've been fighting the Opinion-Based problem for a very long time. And it will be with us for a very long time. We've tried re-defining what "opinion-based" means on this Stack and we've tried simply taking it at its word. You can't even just ignore it because it exists and people "not in the know" will (rightfully) use it to close questions.

What are we left with? Taking a deep breath and dealing with it. Generally speaking, the best advice you can give to any querent whose question even vaguely appears to be opinion-based is to ask them to explain how they'll judge a best answer. If they can't, the query is opinion-based by definition.

Below is a partial list of the questions I've asked on the subject (just me... imagine how many others there are...). You'll notice that yours is a duplicate of one of them.

$\endgroup$
2
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Not being able to change it doesn't mean you should not ask to make it possible to change. Though, the most likely outcome of such official request is quite grim, if what you say is true... $\endgroup$
    – Tortliena
    Oct 29 '21 at 14:21
  • $\begingroup$ @Tortliena Such a request would need to me made at Meta Stack Exchange, not here. Network-wide changes are not entertained on individual Stack meta sites. Given SE's track record for requests like this, it's a lot worse than grim. $\endgroup$ Oct 31 '21 at 13:42
5
$\begingroup$

Update the question so it can be answered with facts and citations. This will help others answer the question.

I concur about "facts and citations" being just slightly inappropriate in this forum! Even a lot of science-based questions really end up being magic in a disguise, and the answers end up opinion based. But that's the kind of forum this is.

I also agree that a change to the close rationale wording might be in order.

Update the question to include sufficient criteria so answers can be objectively ranked.

As Tortelina says, I'm not too fond of the term "ranking" either. Ranking seems to be a function of votes which are obviously a function of readers opinion. Hmm.

How about:

Update the question to include sufficient criteria so that respondents are limited in the scope of their answers. This will help reduce wildly speculative answers and increase the likelihood of reasoned and creative answers.

$\endgroup$
3
  • $\begingroup$ I think your version is much better. Although, I am not sure how I feel about 'respondents are limited in the scope of their answers'. I think I know what you are trying to express, but this particular wording makes me uncomfortable (questioners do not have the power to limit those who answer and the WB.SE is not particularly strict with the answers and does not have specific quality guidelines). Maybe something like 'focus their answers better' would be a better fit... $\endgroup$
    – Otkin
    Oct 28 '21 at 2:18
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Otkin -- How does "...respondents are encouraged to narrow the focus of their answers" sound to you? $\endgroup$
    – elemtilas
    Oct 29 '21 at 2:28
  • $\begingroup$ It seems I remembered correctly and the text of this close reason cannot be changed indeed. In any case, I think that close reason should focus on something that the questioner has control over and avoid talking about those who answer questions. $\endgroup$
    – Otkin
    Oct 29 '21 at 15:33
-1
$\begingroup$

Leave VTC comment - explaining how the close reason applied specifically to its question, and what could be improved fixed or just point what a problem is.

Not some general copy-paste VTC reason/comment but pointing at flaws of this specific question.

And demand from others for such VTC's be left - ideally at least one VTC comment should be present on q's closed for any reason explaining what that reason is in specific to this q terms.

Can't be stressed enough, again - it should not be some general reasons and a link to the tour page.

As for open - if you see substantial edits made, just hit open - let put the q to the second round of evaluation from people this q is for.

If it is a small edit and you aren't an expert on the topic, press skip.

It is small edit or any edit and you are an expert but can't invest time - press skip or open - can't tell which one then pray to gods of chaos 50/50

Press keep closed only in one case - you are ready to invest significant time for evaluation, as with regular questions which may take you way more than 10-30 seconds to come to a conclusion it should be closed. All that when you are the expert on the topic this question is about - in all other cases your action open or skip. Open is preferable.

$\endgroup$
15
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Yes, generally. That being said my open-on-edit policy only applies if the question's been made on-topic by the edit. Sometimes edits create additional problems like invalidating existing answers and still remain opinion-based - like swimming uphill sometimes to get a question fit for opening. $\endgroup$ Nov 6 '21 at 15:32
  • $\begingroup$ @ARogueAnt. yes sometimes there are destructive edits in some sense, but it is not a general trend. Again it can be a good and useful habit to leave the comment why this edit does not change stuff. - I edited my q 6 times, or something like that - not a single comment was given why it's not great to edit, lol, even if it was not much required but still - it was about 18 keep closed votes so one could expect at least one or few comments. In general close open thing, especially queue - works bad for wb, so I'm on a permissive side of things, and I won't close q's which I'm not specializing in. $\endgroup$
    – MolbOrg
    Nov 6 '21 at 15:44
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ You seem to be saying that people should VTO questions that aren't a good fit for this site. Why? That sends mixed signals to the user about whether the question, as written is good or not, as well as makes it difficult to close the question again, since users have only 1 VTC, and VTO per post. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Nov 6 '21 at 17:54
  • $\begingroup$ Closing questions is a very different task to working with a user through multiple rounds of edits to get a question ready for reopening. If we required that every VTC come with a commitment to put in all that effort it would be much more difficult to close questions quickly. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Nov 6 '21 at 17:56
  • $\begingroup$ @sphennings if it is not for this site - do not provide an answer to it, it is more effective than open and close. Close open votes will regenerate over time, but even when it is a problem - it is a chance for a second judgment from different people. You can look at how fast q's are closed - we do not lack in that aspect - but opening q's is a few times or more - harder challenge. Even for success stories, it takes a few times longer (days to open vs hours and minutes to close). $\endgroup$
    – MolbOrg
    Nov 7 '21 at 11:05
  • $\begingroup$ Also until more people will switch to - will answer to this q improve someone's work with science and rationality - we won't agree on what belongs here and what is not. Sure I'm not advocating for absolute trash q's, but they do not raise questions about themself, but some border stuff or even not so much border but more specific or bound to some specific topic(like bootstrapping) - we are not necessarily removing them well. $\endgroup$
    – MolbOrg
    Nov 7 '21 at 11:06
  • $\begingroup$ I did a mistake participating in closing few magic q's, but since I hie them from main, I do not repeat that mistake anymore - I just can't judge magic q's - do they belong here - I think no, but may answer to those make better work for those for whom this site is for - yes, a good answer can improve a work - so as there are people to answer those - okay - I just hide them, and even if I see it - I won't do anything, I will leave it to the magic department of wb. Once answer gets no answers it can be deleted in some circumstances, automatically - it is more effective than closing. $\endgroup$
    – MolbOrg
    Nov 7 '21 at 11:06
  • $\begingroup$ as for fast closing - what is the point of it - downvote people who jump in with their answers until matters are clarified. If one is not ready to put effort - then do not judge without a good reason. One request plenty of work to be done - for matter the q to be answered with some mediocre answer - I think OP deserves some tailored explanation - at least an attempt. Not everyone who voted should leave VTC, it is excessive, there are 5 people to close a q - one should leave a VTC, so roll a dice and if it shows a snake eye - it means it is your time to leave one. $\endgroup$
    – MolbOrg
    Nov 7 '21 at 11:13
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @MolbOrg It seems like you're advocating ignoring community moderation all together in favor of just upvoting and downvoting. This site is built around having a strict structure about what is and isn't appropriate to do on a site. That's the whole reason behind having VTC/VTO after on 5 votes of community members. We expect people to judge whether questions are specific, answerable, about worldbuilding, etc... $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Nov 7 '21 at 12:05
  • $\begingroup$ @sphennings I guess, I failed to explain it then $\endgroup$
    – MolbOrg
    Nov 7 '21 at 13:00
  • $\begingroup$ @MolbOrg Perhaps an answer to a question about changing the text description of the POB VTC reason isn't the best place to try to suggest that we shouldn't VTC questions, and should VTO questions that still have issues. If you want to suggest that we engage with VTC and VTO differently you might want to create a meta post just for explaining your reasoning. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Nov 7 '21 at 13:04
  • $\begingroup$ @sphennings nay-answers were already provided, so I did a next step - what to do when external means can't be changed? and my answer was basically - change behavior to accommodate imperfection of those external means for them to become to be less destructive and to be less of a problem. As for separate meta posts - I'll do, maybe, once I have time for all that and when I see people are looking for solutions in this direction, which probably may never happen, and honestly I begin to not care about all that. $\endgroup$
    – MolbOrg
    Nov 7 '21 at 17:11
  • $\begingroup$ @sphennings it is funny how you voted to keep closed "Collect powers from human body via miniature implantation" and rogue Ant (as an example) to reopen, but you both reversed on "Is this design of the executive branch's function within a Kritarchal (Judicial) government plausible?" - I would not call both of those q's great, but would a good answer to any of them improve someones work - sure, so I voted to open, Ash voted to close on both of them - I laugh on all that. This one worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/q/175837/20315 - a good nay-answer would have helped someone, for this trope $\endgroup$
    – MolbOrg
    Nov 8 '21 at 7:54
  • $\begingroup$ @MolbOrg This is not the place to discuss how individual users on this site voted on questions asked over a year ago. But the VTC system is designed to average out individuals by requiring 5 different people to agree before any action is taken. If you want to talk about how people voted on questions closed a year ago. I'd suggest making a separate post on meta, explaining what you observe, and your reasoning for bringing it up. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Nov 8 '21 at 14:16
  • $\begingroup$ @sphennings those questions were quite fresh, and it is just an example of what kind of disarray there is on the matters you raised (again) on this meta. (3rd one is old), but with two others people definitely made progress in improving their questions, and they both belong here. But okay, it was the last comment from my side on all that won't add more - it just was a funny observation I decided to share with you, as I noticed your's nickname and all that $\endgroup$
    – MolbOrg
    Nov 8 '21 at 14:54

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .