There are a lot of frustrations all on the front page (Nov 2010, still occuring Jun 2011):

The above questions are a clear sign. What could the problem be?

  • Too low reputation requirement for closing a question?

    Yes, we are one of the Area 51 sites that got a lot more visitors. And our site allows one to gain reputation more quickly than on other sites, let my account be an example for when you ask a lot of questions and I'm pretty sure that there are top users that just have famous answers in frequently visited questions that are non wiki...

  • Too strong rules on asking questions, or are these rules applied to strong?

    Questions should be constructive, but for some people all rules seem needed.
    While they stated originally that it's fine that only 3 of the rules apply to your question...

  • Users aren't clearly informed about it?

    If we get these questions on meta, it seems to me that they might have no idea about it.

  • We want to be professional?

    We can be professonal, but if we close content is such way that a lot of people are complaining I think it's a step too far. And it's not just the above, but also comments to meta and closed parent questions:

    But don't you think that closing on this site has become discouragement, not incentive?
    Peter Turner

    And another one:

    Now there is that new generic excuse to close topics: "not constructive". If you don't like something, you can ban it as "not constructive". What an improvement!

    I have once disagreed with these users in the past, but I now understand their concern.

Did you know that 25% of the questions are closed here? Compare that to SO (1%), SU (8%).

Now... What do you think: How we can improve the community to prevent this?
Or am I writing non-sense and is the current behavior of the community right?

  • Huh... How is this not a real question? See the title and last line. Commented Oct 30, 2010 at 13:35
  • It isn't ambiguous, it's about closed questions that lead into user frustration. It isn't vague, there is enough information provided and the title and last line are clear. It isn't incomplete, there is enough information provided. It isn't broad, it's about closed questions that lead into user frustration. And it isn't rhetorical, as if it would be then we wouldn't need to do something about it. Commented Oct 30, 2010 at 13:38
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    I don't think we should be closing questions just because the user was incapable of typing a proper question in the title rather than a subject. E-mails, Forums, Documents also require subjects as their title; so it really isn't strange that a lot of users also use subjects here... Commented Oct 30, 2010 at 13:41
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    +1 I found this question by following a link from "Why should we have to battle to keep questions open? [closed]". That about says it all.
    – Inaimathi
    Commented Nov 1, 2010 at 15:40
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    If the title and last line are the only things relevant to the question, why all the tl;dr in the middle? You seem to be saying that a lot of people think questions here are closed too readily, and you could do that with a lot fewer words. Your last line is four different questions, some of them ambiguous. Commented Nov 3, 2010 at 19:28
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    @DavidThornley: The first part is research showing that the issue exists and is a large enough reason for a discussion like this to exist, the second part are thoughts on how we could solve this. That isn't an irrelevant story, instead it is homework to start a great discussion. I've clarified the last line a bit, together with the title it shouldn't be ambiguous... Commented Nov 3, 2010 at 22:00
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    @TomWij: That's really not what it looks like. If you want a good discussion, clean up the question. Drop the early part between the two horizontal dividers; that's just complaining. In your questions about what to do, keep the questions, lose the explanatory text. You don't start a good discussion by telling people what the discussion's about. Your last-line edit is a good one. Commented Nov 4, 2010 at 15:02
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    I don't see how a shorter question can lead to a better discussion. If there is less to discuss, then the results won't be better... I made it a little shorter and moved the image around. Commented Nov 6, 2010 at 17:45
  • Seems like this question might give a response I was looking for. Commented Dec 13, 2010 at 16:06

2 Answers 2


It could be an artifact of the fact that this site is about subjectivity. Therefore, most of the people that will be attracted to this site will have strong opinions (Like me). It takes a lot of experience to temper that opinionation (is that a word?) into good judgement. So, people with strong, well thought out opinions on one subject will often assume that their opinions on another, such as closing posts, are also correct.

It seems to me inevitable that we'll have a higher close rate, and for that matter, downvotes. I can live with that. The moderators, though, should be on the lookout for those abusing the priviledge. Those people who close posts just because the question isn't "clear" should try to help the poster by suggesting how the question could be phrased better, or asking questions via comments to find out what the question truly is. In other words the community should help the community to create better examples of good questions for others to follow.

Please be responsible, as I will do my best to be. If I'm not, I expect others will correct me constructively, just as I will do if I can.

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    The higher close rate is because of specific policies in place intended to get rid of the inordinately high number of low-quality, counter-productive questions. In reality, questions stay open longer than they should because people with strong opinions aren't trying to close questions they don't agree with: they are getting upset and reopening questions for which they have an answer because they are conflating a close vote with the notion that their opinion doesn't matter. This is pretty evident in the comments on questions that receive close votes.
    – user8
    Commented Nov 4, 2010 at 16:49
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    @Mark Trapp - To be fair, quite a few questions I've seen were closed for "not meeting enough of the six guidelines...". There's a question open right now about whether those six guidelines should be revised or scrapped and redone altogether meta.programmers.stackexchange.com/questions/513/…. Another way of interpreting those reopen votes is that people are dissatisfied with the reasoning of the close votes, hence this question about preventing user frustration.
    – Inaimathi
    Commented Nov 7, 2010 at 2:30

Personally I think the general attitude in the community is a bit too strict. Focus should be on providing good answers and fostering the community, not having inane discussions on whether borderline questions should be closed or not. The "policy-nazis" are just off-putting.

I'd rather have some slightly off-topic but interesting questions than a bunch of "mad-with-power-and-itching-to-use-it-grumpy-geeks" closing questions to the left and right. Questions that are obviously "bad" should of course be closed but questionable ones should be left IMO, use that energy to answer the question instead :) Perhaps closing questions should require a bit more rep so it's (hopefully) used a bit more sparringly.

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    I completely agree with you. Until we have educated all developers in the world, we will get those frustrated users again, and again, and again.
    – user2567
    Commented Jun 29, 2011 at 11:19
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    How come anyone who closes a question is seen as mad with power? When I close questions I do so because I don't want the great, interesting questions to be invisible among a mass of crap. If you can point us at a whole load of "slightly off topic but interesting" questions I'd be interested but I think they are a very small part of what gets closed. Commented Jun 29, 2011 at 13:32
  • I was being a bit hyperbolic, of course not anyone that closes a question is
    – Homde
    Commented Jun 29, 2011 at 19:21
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    I really think people are way, way too eager to close questions on this site. If a question sucks, let people vote it down. Doesn't that effectively stratify the crap from the great, interesting questions? Commented Jun 30, 2011 at 21:00
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    I think that the power-crazed mods have the opportunity to look over every question because the volume is so low, and will make a judgement to 'clean up' and minor violations of what they see as keeping the site 'clean'. Completely unnecessary. The site IS for the USERS, not the mods to have a pristine museum of perfect questions. If the USER deems the question important, and it's well written and logical, let it be. IMO. Commented Jan 4, 2012 at 1:09

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