19

I have found the main forum an excellent resource for concise, good quality questions and answers, so I do understand the philosophy to remove woolly, off-topic or old (stale) questions.

But when I run through the review queues recently, I've seem to find many good questions are marked off-topic or too-broad, which have been active for less than a day, and feel that some we should at least allow to run for a couple of days. They are usually the difficult ones.

The OP may be away, in meetings, other deadline and can't reply to a question, or maybe the person who could answer hasn't seen it yet, because they live in a different timezone and hasn't woken up yet, or just been away from their terminal.

Are we being a little over zealous in trying to keep this forum clean?

Edit: Tks for all your comments, I think I will now choose to close and not feel too bad knowing that it can be edited by OP and then reviewed for re-open.

I also like @Philip Couling's comment below will adopt to do this when I think it necessary, something like this,

I am voting to close this question, because it doesn't appear to be answerable and I haven't seen further clarification; however, if you edit your question, it will be sent to the review queue for re-opening.

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    That is what they called "evangelical" – Tim Feb 8 at 16:16
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    Note that when a recently closed question is edited, it is automatically put in the reopen queue. The idea is to put the questions on hold until they are edited and the problems addressed. You may be right, but in order to see this, you need to see how many of these questions that are put on hold end up being reopened. – terdon Feb 8 at 16:41
16

As Terdon mentioned in a comment these questions can easily be re-opened after being edited by the OP. I think it's more beneficial to close them as off-topic or too-broad while they are still fresh and before they get buried several pages back and out of sight. If OP comes back to provide clarification (surprisingly rare) the question can then be re-opened.

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    But would the OP come back if their question is closed, and I didn't think that somebody with my privileges, can edit a closed question, also I didn't realise their was an intermediate state, on hold. – X Tian Feb 8 at 16:58
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    @XTian: I think in most cases OP doesn't come back regardless of whether their question is closed or not. However sometimes (very rarely) they do and will either clarify their question (even more rare) or become hostile in comments. – Jesse_b Feb 8 at 17:02
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    @Jesse_b agree. Stack exchange has the obvious push to be kinder to new users. I think it is really important then when we close, or ask for more info, we are gentle and kind about it.... even comment on the question when closing to tell them it can be re-opened after. – Philip Couling Feb 9 at 22:52
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    I agree with XTian, especially for new users who aren't quite familiar with how the site works ( or how it's intended to work ), question being put on hold looks like bureaucratic process. IMHO better strategy is leave a couple comments first, and if OP doesn't respond or edit, then close it as off-topic. "in most cases OP doesn't come back regardless of whether their question is closed or not", eh, I wouldn't say in most cases, but when question is closed chances of them not coming back are higher. – Sergiy Kolodyazhnyy Feb 11 at 1:36
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I, too, have found the close-review queue a bit "fuller" lately. I suspect (based on almost no data at all) that someone is VTC'ing many new questions with little attempt to request clarification. It's not fair, IMHO, to cast a VTC-unclear without comment if there's any glimmer of effort on the OP's part. This is exacerbated if there are other reviewers waiting in the wings and the question is closed quickly. In regards to that, I'd like to point to my suggestions in the answer to Learning the art of the close-vote review queue, namely:

Has the question been edited recently to address concerns in the comments?

and

If OP comments would clear it up, leave a comment to suggest editing the post.

and

It is too broad; VTC. If there's a specific part of the question that makes it too broad, or you have thoughts on how to productively narrow the question down to an answerable level, and there's not already a comment to that effect, consider leaving such a comment.

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    The problem here are the questions where clarification is requested in comments, but there's no reply. Not too uncommonly, it seems that there might not be clarifications for a long time even if the comments come within five minutes of the answer being posted, and even if the asking user has been online to read them. Should cases like that just be left open and unanswered? Isn't voting to close as unclear exactly for the cases where there's not enough information to answer. – ilkkachu Feb 9 at 16:22
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    Note that the page you quote also has this "rule": "If it’s been flagged as unclear, see if you think it’s answerable as-is. [...] * If not clear/answerable, VTC as unclear." – ilkkachu Feb 9 at 16:22
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    I think it comes down to the timeline. A question becomes abandoned after some time; I'll look for signs that the OP never returned and consider a VTC after a week or two. Might even have a SEDE query along those lines somewhere. – Jeff Schaller Feb 9 at 16:35
6

Maybe we need a "Postpone a decision for 24 hours" option amongst the buttons.

I'd be happy to re-review questions if they got fixed. (It's not answerable directly, but shouldn't necessarily get stomped on within an hour or two of it having been asked.) Sometimes there a question that could be answerable if the OP added just a little more information. In these situations I hesitate voting one way or another because although it's not necessary answerable immediately, IME it's far harder to get a closed/edited question reopened than to have it left open in the first place.

(Actually, maybe we need to address the difficulty with which a closed question can get reopened?)

This is particularly apparent with users in "different" timezones, where you might get them having asked a question, headed off for the day (or night!), and then comes in the following day to find their question closed as unclear. This can be quite demoralising for a newcomer.

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    I find myself skipping many items in the close queue lately for this reason. It's closable as-is, but the question is only minutes old. I don't want to close it or leave it open! – Jeff Schaller Feb 12 at 16:55
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    "I'd be happy to re-review questions if they got fixed" there's a queue for that, the reopen queue. – Braiam Feb 12 at 17:31
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    @Braiam, as I wrote, in my experience it's far harder to get a closed/edited question reopened than to have it left open in the first place. (It's also potentially demoralising to new users, but that's not necessarily as big a problem.) – roaima Feb 12 at 18:17
  • "in my experience" and that's why we don't use anecdotal evidence to support a argument. Prefer statistics: here's the stats for the last 90 days of closed questions i.stack.imgur.com/CcAMS.png – Braiam Feb 12 at 18:26
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    @Braiam (1) The statistics doesn't support the opinion you want to support. (2) It is very hard to reopen a closed post. (3) even if a post is reopened, it has already passed the best time to get (good) answer(s). – Tim Feb 12 at 19:01
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    @Tim 1) please, elaborate. I did on my answer below. 2) is a falasy. The best answers aren't those that go in first. – Braiam Feb 12 at 19:04
  • @Braiam (1) For many of my posts, the reasons for closing them are invalid. Just ignorance, arrangance, stereotyping, bullying. No edits are really needed. (3) Why don't you do a correlation analysis between views, average reply time after post, and number of replies received? Can you ask everyone wait indefinitely or forever for the best reply? – Tim Feb 12 at 19:05
  • @Bra correlation analysis between those "time series" – Tim Feb 12 at 19:17
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    @Tim and that's your beef. I've got several question closed before, yet I continue participating and interacting. The problem isn't us or you, is our way of communicating. We communicate you "that's not a question we would want", which is OK. You could be happy to asking a question we do want or just looking another place. Nobody, ever, forces you to ask on U&L. You decided to. And for whatever reason you decided to, I suspect that those reasons are very related to the way we handle questions, all questions, on this site. – Braiam Feb 12 at 23:52
4

Here's the closure statistics of the last 90 days:

  • Questions Closed: 1970
  • Questions Asked: 8021
  • Close percentage: 24.56 % (this is slightly misleading since this isn't the same 90 days period but I didn't notice that these values weren't included in the screen shot)

enter image description here

Most of the questions are closed by unclear, then duplicate and in a far third too broad. Of these, about 15 % gets edited and about 10 % gets reopened. Opinion based, non reproducible and cross posting has the worse reopen rates (it's difficult to reframe those kind of questions), and they are rarely edited after closure.

The ones that benefit the most of editing are unclear, for clear reasons. At least 11% of these are reopened after being edited, while only 17% are edited.

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    11% of the questions that were edited after being closed as unclear are reopened, not 11% of all the questions closed as unclear. That's 11% of 17.6%, or 13 questions reopened out of 118 that were edited. This means that only 1.9% of questions closed as unclear are ever reopened. That does feel very low. Of course it's hard to judge from numbers, we would need to look at the specific questions, but it still feels low. – terdon 2 days ago

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