I've noticed this a number of times when I have asked question and I've observed it in others too. When a question is asked, I often find 2-3 votes to close the question after about a minute. There is no comment stating why the vote was raised with a view to helping the author reword or indeed remove the question completely because it is unsuitable.

Granted, one should read the FAQ on asking questions, but I've found people vote to close questions because they perceive them as a waste of time, or not a question they would ask. Often I've added a comment such as "hardly community oriented to down vote without giving a reason.." trying to get answers.

So rather than be vague, would it be worth having a facility to give a reason for why a given question should be closed. Given it's a community, I'd like to think we were trying to help one another out a little and going an extra mile to help people shape questions that are fit for purpose isn't really a painful exercise.

  • 2
    If you click on the "close" button, you can see how people are voting. I think once a vote exists, even people who can't vote to close (or at least the author) can see the number of close votes and reasons. Plus, if you vote as the custom off-topic reason, a comment is automatically added. Are these not sufficient?
    – Thomas Owens Mod
    Feb 23, 2015 at 21:48
  • I'm thinking in terms of correcting the question before it's closed. So if I don't like how something is worded, I hit close and a small comment appears warning me a vote to close the question has been made with the following correction suggestions...blah blah Feb 23, 2015 at 21:53
  • I have to admit I sometimes take a personally when I ask a question and I see 4 votes to close and zero comments. I finally get some feedback after posting comments and when I do make those corrections, it ends up getting closed off anyway. If that's how the process should work, then so be it. I was just curious if it was worthwhile to have, but seems to be overkill. Feb 23, 2015 at 21:54
  • 3
    Please don't take it personally if you see a vote to close or have a question closed. It's not personal; it's about maintaining site quality. And questions go into on-hold for 5 (I think) days before officially "closing." The point of the on-hold period is to get help (either here on meta or in chat) to make the question more constructive. The on-hold allows for the question to be edited without attracting new answers that may be invalidated by the edits. So on-hold is also partly there to help protect answerers.
    – user53019
    Feb 23, 2015 at 22:00
  • @GlenH7 - Put that into an answer and I'll happy accept it as it outlines why it's over kill and justifies the current approach. Feb 23, 2015 at 22:37
  • @ThomasOwens one needs 250 rep to see votes to close on their own question (OP has more than enough rep for that, but this is probably worth noting for other readers who may have lower rep)
    – gnat
    Feb 25, 2015 at 7:15

2 Answers 2


When a question is asked, I often find 2-3 votes to close the question after about a minute.

One of the most challenging aspects of fixing a question that is a poor fit for Programmers.SE is when the question gets answers before it gets closed. This makes changing the question to a better one (either the OP taking the feedback of the close reason itself, or others working with the OP) harder because we endeavor to not obsolete answers (and up voted answers are only able to be deleted by mods).

Thus, the quick close votes.

There is no comment stating why the vote was raised with a view to helping the author reword or indeed remove the question completely because it is unsuitable.

When commenting on questions before it is closed this either can lead to additional consternation for the OP - especially in the cases when the close vote doesn't go through. Those comments sometimes hang around for some time and can be confusing to other readers.

If the question is one where the OP is willing to work with it, and the question is one that is not a poor fit (person asking for software libraries, or a code dump, or polling for opinions, etc...) then it is possible to engage the OP in comments and fix the question (or do so wholesale one's self).

However, there have been situations in the past where trying to improve an unclosed question has lead to significant comment, meta, and chat consternation. The OP doesn't see the reason for the change, you see "show 23 more comments" under the question, there's a meta post about people trying to change what is fundamentally a perfect question and the like. I'm going to say this really isn't enjoyable for anyone involved.

There have also been times (I'd have to dig a bit in chat to find an example) where people have admitted they wouldn't have been motivated to fix the question unless it was closed without answers first. The quick closure got them to change it while if it had gotten an answer or wasn't closed it wouldn't have been fixed to be reopened. A good open question is better than a poor, answered, closed one for the site.

Thus, the lest conflict likely process is the close fast / edit / reopen. Other ones are more likely to have conflict and make it harder to end up with a good open question. Commenting about obvious issues (standard close reasons) or doing an Attwoodian transform on a question while answers are coming in makes this all the more difficult to end up with a satisfactory result.

That's why I often close first and then work to fix if it can be fixed. There's also the aspect of the time commitments. One doesn't always have the time available to do a significant edit or work with the OP in comments right at that time - but it still needs to be closed sooner than later if it isn't fixed.



The explanation is in the close reason itself.

Adding another comment would just be duplicating information.

  • Ok, fair enough. I've never closed a question or voted to close one. From my own point of view, if a question was voted to be closed, I'd like the chance to correct the question while a find decision is made to close it off and then going through the motions of reopening it. Feb 23, 2015 at 21:51
  • @DesolatePlanet - if you think the question is salvageable then don't vote to close, just edit.
    – ChrisF Mod
    Feb 23, 2015 at 21:53
  • I agree, but some people don't do that, they just down vote and don't edit/comment. It's really up to the person. I'd rather have a grace period to correct the question with useful feedback from the people wanting to close it. Feb 23, 2015 at 21:56

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