Here on Physics.SE, it culturally seems to be much easier for us to close questions than to reopen them. Recently, I've noticed several cases where a closed question, which appears to be on the edge of being appropriate for the site, shows up in the reopen queue after being edited. Reviewers often vote to leave such questions closed and then simply move on. I propose that it would be more constructive to also leave a comment suggesting how the question could be improved.

To be more specific, here are a couple of examples:

  • Constructive and destructive interference pattern in the double slit experiment This question started out as a lengthy, rather disorganized word salad. A diamond moderator closed it unilaterally, and I agree with that decision.

    However, after the question was closed, the author shortened it dramatically to clean it up. Then, he received another critical comment ("Your questions don’t match your title") and responded by clarifying the title. In my opinion, both of these edits were appropriate responses to feedback, and they significantly improved the question. Therefore, I voted to reopen the question. So did three other users. However, we were outvoted (by only three people, by the way) and the question has now left the reopen queue.

    I propose that we either give the OP a second chance to get answers, or offer more feedback on how he can improve the question. I am not suggesting that we owe him an unlimited amount of tutoring. Rather, I simply think that we should be more friendly to a new user who appears to be making an honest effort to learn about physics and follow the rules of the site.

    If you disagree: what, exactly, do you think OP should have done differently?

  • Why does a charged black hole affect the trajectories and event horizon for uncharged particles? A high-rep user closed this question unilaterally as a duplicate, using his gold tag badge. However, I voted to reopen because I don't think the question is really a duplicate. As pointed out in a comment:

    The question linked as a "duplicate" (and its answers) does not actually answer this question. The question here can be paraphrases "Why is the Reissner–Nordström metric different from the Schwarzschild metric?" while the answers to the linked question can be paraphrased as "charge does effect the curvature because the Reissner–Nordström metric is different from the Schwarzschild metric". It is quite clear that the OP is aware of this last fact. Lets do better.

    I voted to reopen this one, too. Given that the OP explicitly mentioned the Reissner–Nordström metric in his question, I think he made it fairly clear that he is aware of the information in the answers at the older question. According to previous Meta answers, we explicitly allow many questions that differ only in the desired level of sophistication, and we also allow new questions that expand on older ones, as long as the difference is clear.

    It would arguably be appropriate to ask OP to explicitly mention the older question to clarify the difference. Would this change be enough to reopen the question?

  • 5
    $\begingroup$ There is a built-in weakness of the reopen review queue system: The first edit enqueues a question for review, and later substantial edits do not reset the review status, so if the first edit is not sufficient and two people vote to leave closed, even after later improvements only one further vote to leave closed is enough to dequeue it from review. This is true even if one of the earlier voters to leave closed leaves a comment and later manually (not from the queue) votes to reopen instead when their comment is responded to. $\endgroup$
    – ACuriousMind Mod
    Aug 7, 2021 at 9:36


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