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I have read the help page various times to get help with asking questions. While that helped, I still sometimes find my questions downvoted or voted to close. That is without explanation. That leaves me guessing and editing without knowing what exactly needs to be edited. Maybe I am not the only one. Would it be a good idea to make it mandatory for people who vote to close to also leave a comment explaining the OP what the problem with the question might be?

Edit:
If you vote to close a question, I am hoping you have read the question thoroughly and have given it (and the decision to close) some thought. What's a few more seconds to write a few words explaining your stance and maybe, hopefully be so kind and considerate as to also give the OP a suggestion on how to improve the post? This practice would have a nice side effect where the people voting to close are in a way forced to give their decision some thought and avoid making it a routine (that is prone to come with mistakes).

This old question is one example where I think the closure was a mistake (the kind pointed above) and this one is now on hold for something very similar. Maybe I am wrong, but communication (real comments as opposed to "drop down menu" reasons) would help.

I had to open a "meta" question on each of the above questions because of lack of communication in the original question

Maybe before voting to close, consider explaining which part/aspect of the question is a problem. Maybe offer help with rewording, splitting, or even migrating if you have the knownedge and/or the power to do so?

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    $\begingroup$ Related: physics.meta.stackexchange.com/q/1372/2451 and links therein. $\endgroup$ – Qmechanic Jun 18 at 21:13
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    $\begingroup$ Also related: physics.meta.stackexchange.com/q/2817 $\endgroup$ – PM 2Ring Jun 18 at 21:18
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for the links. It seems that there is a lot of debate around this subject. One comment suggested that downvotes could be accompanied by anonymous comments. I think that makes sense, though it's probably more complicated than that. $\endgroup$ – Alex Doe Jun 18 at 22:31
  • $\begingroup$ Just to clarify, is this question about a comment when a question is closed, or is this about leaving comments when a vote to close is cast? As I understand, you want to know about the latter, but apparently the question seems ambiguous to some. $\endgroup$ – JMac Jun 20 at 12:19
  • $\begingroup$ @JMac - You are correct. The "latter". If you vote to close a question I am hoping you have read the question thoroughly and have given it (and the decision to close) some thought. What's a few more seconds to write a few words explaining your stance and maybe, hopefully be so kind and considerate as to also give the OP a suggestion on how to improve the post? This practice would have a nice side effect where the people voting to close are in a way forced to give their decision some thought and avoid making it a routine (that is prone to come with mistakes). $\endgroup$ – Alex Doe Jun 20 at 23:57
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    $\begingroup$ There are many close votes that take little thought, given how little effort, much less thought, the OP has put into them. Some do require thought. Either way, this is a request to change how SE overall works, so should be on the Mother Meta site. $\endgroup$ – Jon Custer Jun 21 at 2:06
  • $\begingroup$ @JonCuster Good point. How can I migrate it? Can you help? $\endgroup$ – Alex Doe Jun 21 at 2:32
  • $\begingroup$ It is interesting to see how in one hour I got two down votes after I pointed out (in the "edit" part of the question) that in my opinion more communication would be beneficial. "Votes without mandatory comments" policy allowes for personal preferences to be promoted disregarding the absence of rationale. This is supposedly against the intended scope of this website $\endgroup$ – Alex Doe Jun 21 at 3:06
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    $\begingroup$ @AlexDoe In general, if you want to ask it on the Mother Meta, do a pretty good search there for related questions so you don't get piled on with downvotes for not searching first. Your question has been asked and rejected previously, and there are several newer questions that were closed as duplicates of this one (see the side bar of Linked Questions on the right of the page). $\endgroup$ – tpg2114 Jun 21 at 10:58
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I actually believe that forcing people to identify themselves when voting would simply lead to discord and acrimony.

On balance the current system works quite well, and this particular community does not hesitate to reverse all kinds of closure/downvotes etc when a coherent argument that said closure etc was an overreaction. Some are thin-skinned users but c’est la vie: this is definitely NOT broken and definitely NOT in need of a change.

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It actually is mandatory to leave a comment (or something equivalent) when voting to close. The two steps of the close vote flow look like this:

  1. First step:

    a list of possible reasons one can close a question

  2. If you click "off-topic because..." you get this:

    a list of possible reasons one can close a question as off topic, with a general option that says "Other (leave a comment explaining what is wrong)"

You'll notice that each option you can choose when voting to close either comes with a stock message, which will be displayed prominently under the question if it's chosen by a plurality of close voters (or a moderator); or, if you don't pick one of the standard reasons, it asks you to leave a comment describing what's wrong, which is then posted as a comment under the question. You can't submit a close vote without leaving some kind of message.

Of course, it's another thing to require that people leave useful comments, but that's not a problem that can be solved by technical means. The moderators can look into cases where someone casts a close vote and leaves a comment that doesn't explain a legitimate reason for doing so. (Note that it doesn't require a whole lot of explanation; for example, "I'm voting to put this question on hold because it's not about physics" is a common one, and a perfectly valid reason to vote to close, assuming that is actually the case.)

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  • $\begingroup$ It would be somewhat handy if it posted an actual comment for one of the three stock reasons like it does for the "Other" reason. And upvoted the comments as more people vote that way. But, it's not really super urgent either I suppose. $\endgroup$ – tpg2114 Jun 18 at 22:46
  • $\begingroup$ For illustrative purposes, here's the most common custom close reasons in the last three months: i.imgur.com/sHAKdBB.png $\endgroup$ – AccidentalFourierTransform Jun 18 at 23:01
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, it is actually mandatory to chose or write a comment when voting to close. The only problem is that the OP doesn't know the reasons until the question is actually put on hold. That takes time. Reopening also takes time. If the system would allow the OP to see the reasons early (without necessarily seeing names), I think would be helpful as it would allow him/her to make adjustments. Has this feature been proposed? $\endgroup$ – Alex Doe Jun 19 at 6:45
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    $\begingroup$ I don't think it's really fair to compare a close vote reason as equivalent to a comment, as the first sentence here implies. Comments are visible to everyone; close votes aren't even visible to the OP unless they have 3k+ rep, so they really aren't the same at all. $\endgroup$ – JMac Jun 19 at 17:49
  • $\begingroup$ @JMac Close votes also have precisely zero effect until the point at which the message accompanying them appears. My understanding of the question is that it's asking for the closure of a question to be accompanied by a comment explaining why it was closed, and I wanted to point out that it already works that way, with the caveat that the "comment" sometimes shows up in a special position on a yellow background. Seeing the close vote reasons before the question is actually closed is a reasonable thing to ask about in its own right, but - as I understood it - a different question. $\endgroup$ – David Z Jun 20 at 11:43
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    $\begingroup$ @DavidZ I'm not sure what lead you to interpret the question that way. It seems very unambiguous to me that they are asking about close vote explanations before the question is actually closed, i.e. "Should it be mandatory that close votes be accompanied by comments". $\endgroup$ – JMac Jun 20 at 11:49
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    $\begingroup$ @JMac I would strongly disagree that it's unambiguous. The key phrase, I think, is "find my questions [...] voted to close. That is without explanation." If this is about questions that have not yet been closed, what could Alex be finding, since close votes are not visible (until you have 3k reputation)? The title question, of whether close votes should be accompanied by comments, looks like it's simply inspired by that root problem, but having the closure itself be accompanied by a message also effectively addresses the root problem. $\endgroup$ – David Z Jun 20 at 11:56
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    $\begingroup$ @DavidZ I assumed the key phrases here are the actual questions "Should it be mandatory that close votes be accompanied by comments?" and "Would it be a good idea to make it mandatory for people who vote to close to also leave a comment explaining the OP what the problem with the question might be?" Neither are asking about closure, and both say "votes to close". It seems to me that he's having a lot of questions get close voted and downvoted, and would like to know sooner that the closure process is happening so that when he notices poor reception, he has more clear guidance on why. $\endgroup$ – JMac Jun 20 at 12:02
  • $\begingroup$ @JMac OK, well, all I can say is that that's not my understanding of the question. $\endgroup$ – David Z Jun 20 at 12:10
  • $\begingroup$ BTW @AlexDoe it's possible that has been proposed on Meta Stack Exchange, but I'm not sure offhand. $\endgroup$ – David Z Jun 20 at 12:13
  • $\begingroup$ @DavidZ - Sorry if my question was somewhat unclear. Please see the "edit" $\endgroup$ – Alex Doe Jun 21 at 0:25
  • $\begingroup$ @AlexDoe OK I'll see if I can revise this accordingly. $\endgroup$ – David Z Jun 21 at 9:22

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