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Now, I know the need to create standards for asking questions. However, particularly for first time users, the ability to ask questions in a way that this forum expects can be difficult, often due to a lack of language surrounding the topic they are asking about. As a result, their question gets closed, they get directed to a site that gives generalities about how to ask a good question rather than specific information about how they could improve their specific question, consequently they get discouraged and never return. Many would then tell anyone that would listen that this site is pointless, problematic or (put your own adjective here).

Furthermore, a couple of times I have been in the middle of answering a question, only to have it closed under me - wasting my time and reducing my willingness to provide further answers. In these cases, yes the questions were a bit vague, but a little bit of teacher's nous could see the concept, and often the misconception, that the asker was really grappling with.

Now, I do understand that there is a tension between attracting experts (whose expertise is in subject matter and often a predilection towards correct science) and attracting teachers (with expertise in pedagogy and understanding the learning process, which is messy at best). But, surely there should be a way for answers to be allowed for questions that get closed? Or to flag potential answerers that the question will close in x hours? (Perhaps I am just not familiar enough with the mechanics of this site - correct me if I aren't and these warnings/options do exist.)

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    $\begingroup$ ::doffs mod hat:: Have you actually done any research into how many times we've been over this ground? Seriously, look around meta for a while. Get back to us if you have something new to say on the matter. $\endgroup$ – dmckee Dec 22 '15 at 1:14
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    $\begingroup$ NB: at 250 rep, you can see the count of close votes. $\endgroup$ – Kyle Kanos Dec 22 '15 at 1:15
  • $\begingroup$ Physics Stack Exchange is not a forum, remember it. $\endgroup$ – user36790 Dec 22 '15 at 3:33
  • $\begingroup$ SE is generally fairly strict about questions, its an SE-wide phenomenon that in some ways is not unique to individual sites. $\endgroup$ – vzn Dec 22 '15 at 3:59
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    $\begingroup$ @dmckee did you intend for your comment to be so ironic?! $\endgroup$ – innisfree Dec 22 '15 at 10:31
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    $\begingroup$ @innisfree I recognized the humor when I was rereading it, but before submission. Do I get any points for that? $\endgroup$ – dmckee Dec 22 '15 at 15:05
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    $\begingroup$ (1) What is over-vigilant, in one's judgement is likely under-vigilant in another's judgement, (2) What drives away some people likely attracts other people, (3) those that do not get their homework or research done for them here will likely find the site pointless and, hopefully, tell other like minded people that it is, (4) no site can be everything to everybody which is to say that there will always be someone bitching about something on meta, (5) invariably, I find that those that complain here about the site have little understanding of how this site works. $\endgroup$ – Alfred Centauri Dec 27 '15 at 23:09
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    $\begingroup$ Just had a question deleted as I was answering it. The question was pulled by the OP, presumably because it was down-voted (once) and OP was afraid to get more down-votes. I thought the question merited an answer. Some definitely are a little trigger happy with down-voting. $\endgroup$ – Gert Dec 28 '15 at 16:04
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    $\begingroup$ @Gert - we all get that... you have my sympathy. If you think a question merits an answer, consider giving it an upvote. $\endgroup$ – Floris Dec 28 '15 at 19:23
  • $\begingroup$ @Floris: I will bear that in mind. $\endgroup$ – Gert Dec 29 '15 at 2:48
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    $\begingroup$ @Gert Or, ask the question again, possibly in a version you think is better formed, and answer it yourself. I have done this myself in the past. $\endgroup$ – WetSavannaAnimal Dec 30 '15 at 0:17
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    $\begingroup$ @WetSavannaAnimalakaRodVance: as it happens, the OP posted the question again and it was answered. Maybe he read this thread? :) $\endgroup$ – Gert Dec 30 '15 at 0:20
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    $\begingroup$ @dmckee I think you could use a lesson in manners. $\endgroup$ – user40229 Jan 2 '16 at 0:43
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    $\begingroup$ @dmckee Go learn how to respect others. I will not waste my time on a website with this quality of people as moderators. $\endgroup$ – user40229 Jan 2 '16 at 3:52
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    $\begingroup$ @user40229, when you grow up, you might come to appreciate the irony of your comments. $\endgroup$ – Alfred Centauri Jan 2 '16 at 4:23

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I have a lot of sympathy with your position and I will generally put some effort into trying to interpret questions that are awkwardly phrased. However I think it's reasonable to expect someone asking a question to put as much effort into researching and writing it as they expect us to put in to answering it. As much can be learned from posting a carefully written question as will be learned from the answers to it.

This site is not, and has never attempted to be, aimed at the Discovery Channel watching masses. It is intended for people who are serious about physics and willing to put effort into learning about it. OK, we all started out knowing no physics and I'm keen to encourage enthusiastic newcomers. But this has to be a two way process.

I too have had questions closed while I was writing an answer. Where I thought I could provide a good answer I have reposted the question myself so my answer wasn't lost. An example of this is How does the Hubble parameter change with the age of the universe?, which turned out to be reasonably well received. You need to be careful with this strategy, but it's something you should consider.

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    $\begingroup$ The discovery channel isn't as bad as the history channels ancient aliens. $\endgroup$ – PyRulez Dec 25 '15 at 18:51
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    $\begingroup$ "keen to encourage enthusiastic newcomers" is the key. The flip side is "keen to discourage lazy newcomers", I think. But where we draw the line is up to individuals - and I know that we don't all draw it in the same place. Which is OK. $\endgroup$ – Floris Dec 28 '15 at 19:24
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But, surely there should be a way for answers to be allowed for questions that get closed?

Oh goodness no. That defeats the entire point of putting questions on hold (a.k.a. closing).

Actually, there is a way, of sorts: edit the question to make it good, and then it gets taken off hold (reopened). That's exactly what we want to happen, in most cases.

Or to flag potential answerers that the question will close in x hours?

I don't see the point of this. The only reason I can think of to notify people in advance that a question is going to be put on hold is so that they can hurry up and post answers before it happens, and again, that makes closing entirely useless.

Besides, it's not technically possible. You never know if a question is going to accumulate enough close votes to be closed until it actually does; certainly not hours in advance.

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The following three points combine to contradict your thesis:

  1. The number of questions asked per week has been steadily increasing for the entire duration of PSE's existence.
  2. The number of users joining this site has grown rapidly the last year, but increasing always as well
  3. The number of questions closed per week has remained fairly steady over the last year1

There is zero evidence that current practice of closing & voting questions is somehow bad or damaging this site.

Unless you are positing that PSE has always been over-moderated, over-moderation would necessarily lead to a larger ratio of questions being closed over time, there is no way around that aspect. Since #3 above shows a fairly static close question count and #1 above shows an increasing question count, then the above three metric strongly suggest that there is no evidence of over-moderation.

Further, note that there are currently ~5600 questions closed (and not duplicates), which represents about 8% of the total questions asked2. For reference, the other sciences (and SO) closed-non-dupe fractions are approximately:

So while we are on the higher end of the spectrum, we are not egregiously overboard as compared to similar sites. I believe that some of the difference is the fact that Math.SE allows homework questions whereas we do not, preferring conceptual questions instead. Not sure Cross Validated's position on HW questions. I think we're in good company on this aspect.

Note also that most close-voters do leave comments about why they're voting in such a way (e.g., This question doesn't make sense because ... or Please note that Physics Stack Exchange isn't a homework help site...). If you pay attention to these as you write your answer (and are under the 250 rep limit to see close votes), then you will probably find yourself wasting less time writing an answer.

Further, if you think you understand a question that is closed & think it is worth having around, feel free to edit the post to make it better so that we can reopen it. We don't really want to be a collection of closed questions (though some think that is the convergence we're headed towards), it would be far better for this site if questions are answered3.

But, surely there should be a way for answers to be allowed for questions that get closed?

Answering a question that was closed would be totally contrary to the point of placing a question on hold. However, as stated above, questions that are improved can and do become reopened and answerable.


1 The high number in recent weeks is due to the fact that downvoted & closed questions tend to be deleted after around a week or two & deleted questions are not detected/counted by the script. The data is uploaded weekly, on Mondays (if I'm not mistaken).
2 Of course, there are many more deleted questions, so this number isn't necessarily real, but unless someone can convince me otherwise, it's a useful metric when comparing among other sites.
3 Assuming, of course, that the question in question isn't a (zero-effort) homework question because we don't actually want those types of questions.

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    $\begingroup$ I'm all for evidence contradicting my query. However, the evidence that would is 1. Ratios between closed questions and accepted questions after first closure going down 2. Ratios of closed questions to open questions going down The evidence above is more about popularity of the site, which is perhaps driven primarily by coming first on Google searches $\endgroup$ – matscienceman Dec 22 '15 at 1:52
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    $\begingroup$ Your theory is that this site is driving people away by closing questions, the evidence I gave does not display that: more people are asking more questions with the same level of closure of the period. There is no need to make up more stats that don't even make sense. $\endgroup$ – Kyle Kanos Dec 22 '15 at 2:00
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    $\begingroup$ In marketing, they make a clear distinction between initial business development and repeat business. I was simply pointing out that the stated evidence above says more about initial development of site traffic, than it does about repeat business after a negative experience, which was the nature of the query. And the stats that I suggested are targeted at such questions. That said, I really did appreciate what you said after that - thanks. $\endgroup$ – matscienceman Dec 22 '15 at 2:10
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    $\begingroup$ In marketing every sale is a good sale, but the users of Physics have repeatedly voted that they don't want a lot of "help me do my homework" business (or indeed non-homework related question at he same level of sophistication), repeat or otherwise. $\endgroup$ – dmckee Dec 22 '15 at 2:24
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    $\begingroup$ It's always interesting to speculate on what statistics would properly show the health of the site, specifically with respect to whether closing questions is driving people away. I think we've done that before, but it's certainly not a closed matter (pun intented). $\endgroup$ – David Z Dec 22 '15 at 4:04
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    $\begingroup$ @matscienceman Many of the metrics you mention in your first comment are susceptible to investigation via the Stack Exchange Data Explorer. If indeed those ratios are on your side, show us! $\endgroup$ – Emilio Pisanty Dec 22 '15 at 22:44
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    $\begingroup$ @EmilioPisanty: There may be some data there, however it's going to be skewed by the fact that some closed questions get deleted. I personally don't trust any data dealing with closed questions on SEDE. $\endgroup$ – Kyle Kanos Dec 23 '15 at 10:10
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    $\begingroup$ @matscienceman I can say that I've had extensive and increasing (as of late) negative experiences all over SE that makes me want to take my “business” somewhere else, even if it's someplace awful like Yahoo Answers. SE's greatest strength is also its greatest weakness: it attracts experts, and experts, like any technology, can be a positive or negative force. At their most positive, they can inform, teach, and spread knowledge. At their most negative, they just become this priest-like caste who hoard knowledge for their exclusive use and try to deny anyone else access to it. $\endgroup$ – Josh Zmijewski Dec 26 '15 at 13:37
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    $\begingroup$ @Floris Well, thank you. Though I'm not planning to leave just yet. The reason I point out what I see as a recent negative trend is so that people can fix the problem, not to just condemn the site, which I used to find very extraordinary, and I think can be again. For one thing, I really don't see the necessity of closing questions, or at least, of closing so many questions. I guess people think it looks bad to have unanswered questions sitting around, but I don't like to see SE seeming to turn into a contest of who can feel more powerful by downvoting the most questions. :/ $\endgroup$ – Josh Zmijewski Dec 29 '15 at 12:18
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    $\begingroup$ @KyleKanos Well, I am glad to hear that you don't feel any power in it, though it would seem to me that others do. Well, I certainly know that I'm in the vast minority opinion here, but I will simply say that if I personally owned this site(s), I wouldn't allow the closing of questions. Does it need to be done? I guess most people's opinion is that it does, though I just don't necessarily agree is all. But if people consider it necessary, then I suppose my view might simply be in error? I don't wish to step on any toes. It's just my opinion. $\endgroup$ – Josh Zmijewski Dec 29 '15 at 12:48
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    $\begingroup$ @JoshZmijewski: So if you owned the site, you'd not close questions about chemistry? Or biology? Or programming? With your anything goes attitude towards questions, your "physics" Q&A site would quickly devolve to "generic" Q&A site. We don't want that here, we want questions about physics, so there must be a way to prevent such devolution. Once your start that thought process, you must follow it to the logical conclusion of "What else do we not want here" and after ~5 years, you come to what Physics Stack Exchange has become. $\endgroup$ – Kyle Kanos Dec 29 '15 at 12:51
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    $\begingroup$ And I don't think you're stepping on toes, you're a relatively new member to the site & appear to be openly curious about the workings of the site. I hope I'm not stepping toes here, I'm just trying to explain how/why things are the way they are here (at least how I perceive it to be this way). $\endgroup$ – Kyle Kanos Dec 29 '15 at 12:54
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    $\begingroup$ @KyleKanos That is true, I am openly curious. And basically, I of course would close questions on the Physics SE site that weren't related to physics, but I would move them to a general site so they could get some answer. And then the "what else do we not want here?" is where I would put a stop to what would seem to me like a very slippery slope (if I owned it) because basically I feel like it would eventually lead to an answer of "we don't want anything, no questions are good enough!" and it would collapse into a singularity of too-high standards. Which is ironic. Singularity, get it? $\endgroup$ – Josh Zmijewski Dec 29 '15 at 13:36
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    $\begingroup$ @JoshZmijewski: In some cases, such a general site doesn't exist within the SE network, what can one do in that case? Note though that closed questions can get reopened, so closure isn't a permanent status (e.g., someone edits their closed question to be something on topic or someone asked a question that was not correctly closed). There are checks & balances in place here. $\endgroup$ – Kyle Kanos Dec 29 '15 at 13:40
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    $\begingroup$ Taken together, this "logic" still doesn't pan out. For the most part, the issue of over-vigilant monitoring is a qualitative issue, not one that statistics can support without context (one way or the other). The number of questions closed could be extremely high, and yet still be reasonable (e.g. spam). It could go the other way too--few closed questions, overly strict close methodology. At the end of the day, those of us who would like to see Physics SE become a more open, collegial (and respectful) environment merely have a difference of opinion. $\endgroup$ – CaffeinatedPerson Dec 30 '15 at 20:29
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This is a Stack Exchange problem, not a Physics Stack Exchange problem. I have had many questions closed on me across SE, and for many reasons. It is often discouraging, and after a question is closed, I sometimes can reword it and get it open, but more often I abandon the attempt entirely and turn to a forum.

I do not wish to offend anyone. This is not a rant, nor complaining. But to help illustrate the problem, here are some thoughts I have actually had while using various SE sites:
"SE is full of snobs."
"Why did I even bother asking here?"
"Oh yeah, I forgot, I need to spend three hours crafting my question after spending two hours researching it."
"What good is a site with experts if they only answer black and white questions? What about subjective answers from people with years more background than I have?"
"SE is more concerned with policing itself than helping people."

Not every criticism should be avoided, and hurt feelings are part of life. That said, below are some thoughts on how to reduce the problem.

1) Not all subjective questions are bad. This may go against the SE grain, and policing good vs bad subjectives may be too difficult to realistically do. However, I firmly believe that the best questions experts can answer are those that do not have one correct answer. No amount of research on my part could give me the years of physics background others here already have, and therefore the best questions are those that cannot be answered by quoting a textbook. If subjective questions were ever to be allowed, a label such as "subjective" or "opinion based" may be required, but I know I would love to have the opinions of experts here over the musings of random people on forums.

2) Tell users why you voted to close their question. Often comments are left, but often those comments are too vague. "This question makes no sense" may be very accurate, but it obviously made sense to whoever asked it. Sometimes a question is so confusing there could be no better comment, but often a little explanation of what doesn't make sense goes a long way to keeping discouragement down. In general, provide as detailed a comment as possible for why you are voting to close a question.

2b) This shouldn't be mistaken to mean that an adequate explanation need be long. Saying "this isn't a homework site" is probably enough to convey why you voted to close a question. The comment should help the person either rephrase their question, or explain why the question is outside SE's scope.

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    $\begingroup$ Experts are snobs who have actually done their homework. If you think SE is bad, participate in a real scientific discussion among experts in their field... if anything people are toning their attitude way down in here because they know that the less experienced and the laymen will not understand that a snobby attitude is not the end of the world. The end of the world is when too much nonsense is allowed to enter the intellectual marketplace as some form of truth because we are trying to be too polite about its inadequacies. You can't run the 21st century and the future that way. $\endgroup$ – CuriousOne Dec 27 '15 at 8:14
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    $\begingroup$ Believe it or not, sometimes it's hard to actually parse what the person is saying, so saying "This question makes no sense" is actually saying a lot. There have been a number of times where I tried writing more than that, only to find that what I started writing couldn't even begin to describe what was wrong. So I just erased it all except, "This just doesn't make sense." $\endgroup$ – Kyle Kanos Dec 27 '15 at 18:09
  • $\begingroup$ While "not all subjective questions are bad", they are better answered on another site; this site chose to stay away from such questions, so there may be a degree of "subjective truth" here. That does make certain questions off topic - not "bad", just "wrong for this site". That's just how it is. We are not everything to everybody, and having a question closed as "off topic" doesn't make it "bad", just "in the wrong place". I agree that such message is not always delivered as sensitively as some people would like. But people here are, after all, just volunteering their time. $\endgroup$ – Floris Dec 28 '15 at 19:58
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    $\begingroup$ I think the biggest issue with causing offense is actually that the site is text. We don't get any nonverbal signals to tell us no offense was intended. My two solutions are not meant to say coddling is desirable, and should not be read to mean that. $\endgroup$ – Taejang Dec 29 '15 at 20:57
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    $\begingroup$ @Floris, can you point me to another free site with experts willing to answer subjective questions? If so, is it even remotely as accessible as SE? While SE cannot be everything to everyone, it may be the only place many of us know of that even gets close to what we need/want. That speaks well of SE, but does cause some issues. $\endgroup$ – Taejang Dec 29 '15 at 21:00
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    $\begingroup$ @Dan - are you familiar with Reddit? It's my impression that subjective questions are more welcome there. That said, some of the "information" you get there may be wrong, but you will get the (unfiltered) opinions of others. I am not a fan myself, but I know people who are. $\endgroup$ – Floris Dec 29 '15 at 22:12
  • $\begingroup$ Dan, I suspect that I'm misunderstanding something, but you seem to be saying that (a) Physics SE has a different culture than other potential physics help places on the internet and (b) Physics SE is where the experts want to come in preferences to the other places (and there is certainly some truth in the former and I like to think there is some in the latter). But at the same time you seem to be suggesting that it would be good to change the culture of Physics SE to be more like the place where the experts don't hang out. Or have I missed something along the way? $\endgroup$ – dmckee Dec 30 '15 at 4:48
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    $\begingroup$ @dmckee, there is truth in what you say. Hard not to see a perceived deficiency and envision ways to make it better, even if the solution causes new problems or breaks what was good in the first place. That's why real problems are harder than video games: balancing the good you have with the good you want to add without going so far you break the original, or not far enough, leaving the addition worthless $\endgroup$ – Taejang Dec 30 '15 at 16:00
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    $\begingroup$ "Oh yeah, I forgot, I need to spend three hours crafting my question after spending two hours researching it." Yes, definitely you have to spend a considerable amount of time. And you'll be surprised how often you find the answer yourself right during this activity. $\endgroup$ – Marco Faustinelli Jan 1 '16 at 20:41
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If we are on a SE site, especially a physics site, I think the assumption is that we are capable of learning new concepts, constructs, and approaches for understanding, appreciating, and interacting with the world around us whether in the domain of physics, computer science, literature etc.

"Learning" implies coming to know or becoming more intimately acquainted with some process or idea that we previously didn't know or previously didn't understand and in most cases being able to somehow apply that new knowledge in the future.

In order to get answers to our queries, we must "learn" how to ask a question in a standardized way.

We can't say we want to learn about the complex nature of reality and the physical universe, but we are incapable of learning how to structure our query in a way that prevents misinterpretation.

Maybe it's because my field is computer science that I find this to be irrational.

It's not just SE, but think about our search engines. We have to "learn" how to enter search terms in a way that will get the answers we are looking for. A bad search produces unhelpful and possibly harmful results.

We can also think about it in terms of databases. Structured Query Language (SQL) is the most common method of retrieving data from a database, but as the name implies, the "query" must be "structured" or standardized so that the database management system (DBMS) can unambiguously determine what we are asking before attempting to respond to our query.

The first thing a DBMS does when queried is analyze the query itself to determine if it is structured in an understandable way. A poorly structured query will be rejected by any DBMS for the same reason that SE moderators close questions, they are not constructed in a way that can be clearly understood.

Part of the problem is that I think we change our expectations of SE since we know that there is a live person on the other end of a keyboard somewhere reading our question. Perhaps a paradigm shift is in order. Instead of thinking of SE like a community of "expert people", we should think of it as a highly advanced computer system where each "expert" on an SE site is simply a database that we want to pull data (answers) from, but to do so, at minimum, we must form our query (ask our question) in a structured (standard) way that can be processed by all the "databases" (experts) or else the results we get will be unhelpful and possibly harmful.

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I think it is important to establish a collegial relationship between us.

Reading the riot act for questions that may actually have a good point, but may be worded in a way that is not appropriate to the moderators, does not display an attitude of trying to pull each other up.

Maybe guiding the inquisitor to clarify, and working with them a bit to show them how to reach your standards, would be better for everyone concerned.

After all, each of us on this site is very interested in the same things and. more so than not, we are all like-minded in our love of understanding our universe.

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    $\begingroup$ Maybe guiding the inquisitor to clarify, and working with them a bit to show them how to reach your standards, would be better for everyone concerned. Most of us more active reviewers do actually leave comments about why the Q is being closed (for HW reasons, for unclear reasons, etc). Sometimes the inquisitor will try to amend the question & that's awesome. Sometimes they get hostile/aggressive, and that's where we tend to just walk away. $\endgroup$ – Kyle Kanos Dec 31 '15 at 12:32
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Is over-vigilant monitoring of questions driving people away from the site?

I think so. Only I think it isn't just "over-vigilant monitoring" going on. I see good questions closed by the same old names. Or marked as a duplicate by the same old names. Even when the alleged duplicate isn't a duplicate at all, or when the answers to the duplicate are wrong, and have been supplied by the same old names. Who will of course hotly deny there's any problem, even though we can all see that a lot of users are ex-users. And that some of them were expert users.

Now, I know the need to create standards for asking questions. However, particularly for first time users, the ability to ask questions in a way that this forum expects can be difficult, often due to a lack of language surrounding the topic they are asking about.

I'm sure we all appreciate that. The site is not meant to be a homework help site, or a site for "lazy" questions. The issue comes when the question is none of the above, but still gets closed down.

As a result, their question gets closed, they get directed to a site that gives generalities about how to ask a good question rather than specific information about how they could improve their specific question, consequently they get discouraged and never return. Many would then tell anyone that would listen that this site is pointless, problematic or (put your own adjective here).

Noted. People don't just make this stuff up. There is an issue.

Furthermore, a couple of times I have been in the middle of answering a question, only to have it closed under me - wasting my time and reducing my willingness to provide further answers.

I find this particularly irritating. particularly when it's closed by the same old people who are obviously on some kind of ego trip.

In these cases, yes the questions were a bit vague, but a little bit of teacher's nous could see the concept, and often the misconception, that the asker was really grappling with.

I've seen questions closed down for being unclear when they're crystal clear. What's also crystal clear is that some people who close down questions aren't always being genuine.

Now, I do understand that there is a tension between attracting experts... and attracting teachers...

IMHO the real tension is between people who think of themselves as the experts and the people who really are the experts, and who can and do answer questions. Next time you see a reasonable-looking question closed down, take a note of the names, and look at how many questions they've answered recently.

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I think it's a matter of using the software intelligently and compassionately. This is a stack exchange problem not just limited to physics. When people get moderator privileges they have the tendency to act very strict by down voting and closing topics liberally. These sort of functions should be used with respect and caution only for the sake of preserving the integrity of the place. One particular annoyance on another stack exchange I frequent is being down voted for a response without a reference, even though my response falls in line of being a well thought conclusion based on common knowledge within that field. Simply asking for a reference is harmless, but if you're doing so just to put the stamp of authority on the post as opposed to seeking actual clarification, this is misguided. Just because something is written in a book doesn't make it correct. Even canonical books are known to contain errors, interpolations, and mistranslations.

I will say some moderation is necessary to keep the place clean, but to be honest the only question I have seen that truly deserved to be closed was some guy asking about freezing urine, which by its language came across as more of an attempt to harass people than acquire real knowledge. One person I saw who got closed, was asking for a QFT reference in a manner similar, but not quite addressed by another post. I think providing the links to the other posts addressing it is great, but I think closing and downvoting should definitely be used with more reservation. This person was frustrated.

I think it reflects an overall negative quality in the minds of people, who are out to prove each other wrong or incompetent rather than being compassionate and helpful in guiding people to the truth. This is a grey area. There is a lot of good being done here, I am sure. But we can certainly work on being less combative with our key strokes and mouse clicks, and more intentional with conveying actual knowledge and guidance, treating every question and answer with respect where it is due.

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    $\begingroup$ "These sort of functions should be used with respect and caution only for the sake of preserving the integrity of the place." - I am quite confident that that is exactly what the users using these privileges "liberally" intend to do, and is in fact what they (or rather, we) accomplish. Quality standards are only preserved when we do not hesitate to enforce them. There's no "hostile intent" in closing a question - it's just saying that the close voters don't think that question is a good fit for the site. That so many people seem to take that as a personal affront is unfortunate. $\endgroup$ – ACuriousMind Dec 28 '15 at 18:47
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One other thing: The unfortunate truth is that sometimes, especially for complex (and not-so-intuitive) subjects, such as QM, the question is somewhat bury in the mind of the inquisitor. Yet, they may well be on to something valid and interesting. Therefore, someone with more expertise can help the inquisitor clarify and formulate the question in their own mind. This is how we can pull each other up. People should not be penalized for confusion.

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Most of the moderators are just trying to help you get a good answer. There are truly dumb questions regardless of what your 5th grade teacher said and they need to be filtered including half of mine. It's expected and appreciated

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    $\begingroup$ You should generally be careful in distinguishing moderators (marked with a ♦ after their username) from normal users using site privileges to e.g. close questions. $\endgroup$ – Emilio Pisanty Jan 4 '16 at 17:30
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It seems that Reddit is a good alternative solution, and perhaps the strict question closing policy will drive people away frow this site. Rightfully so.

So if you feel like the policy here is too strict for you then use Reddit, I tell from experience that Reddit is very open community and wellcomes questions that would not be a good fit for SE.

In a way Reddit is the liberal SE. I highly recommend using Reddit as a QA site ! Many of my opinion based questions (which would be closed here) were super well received there and got lot of upvotes.

Why the standards? Why closing? Why not just downvote if the question is bad ?

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  • $\begingroup$ The standards are for quality purposes. The closing helps maintain standards & if we don't close, then this site will be inundated with not-physics questions. If we just downvoted instead of closed, we'd still have bad questions drown out the good ones. $\endgroup$ – Kyle Kanos Dec 31 '15 at 17:58
  • $\begingroup$ Closed ones can still be searched or not ? What do you mean drown? How? $\endgroup$ – jhegedus Dec 31 '15 at 18:09
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, just use closed:yes in the search bar. Deleted ones, however, cannot be searched. $\endgroup$ – Kyle Kanos Dec 31 '15 at 18:09
  • $\begingroup$ Does google search closed ones? $\endgroup$ – jhegedus Dec 31 '15 at 18:11
  • $\begingroup$ Of course, why wouldn't it? $\endgroup$ – Kyle Kanos Dec 31 '15 at 18:11
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I'm going to be honest here, i haven't been here long and I've only asked two questions, and already both questions have been been put on hold due to them being "Wrong questions" And "Unclear questions" even though the questions themselves I'm sure a highschooler would be able to understand them (Perhaps not answer them) I believe the entire thing needs a re-vamp with more consideration towards new users and how they are shown in the site.

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  • $\begingroup$ I see one question on your main page, and it's now more clear what you mean given your comment (which should be edited into the question itself). Most physicists read emf to mean electromotive force, so perhaps now you can see their confusion? $\endgroup$ – Kyle Kanos Dec 29 '15 at 12:38
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    $\begingroup$ "I believe the entire thing needs a re-vamp with more consideration towards new users and how they are shown in the site" - of course you do. You've asked two questions and now you're expert enough and wise enough to recommend a "re-vamp of the entire thing". $\endgroup$ – Alfred Centauri Jan 1 '16 at 0:07
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    $\begingroup$ Thanks Kyle. And the sarcasm isn't needed Alfred. $\endgroup$ – SilverGray Jan 4 '16 at 6:21

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