It should come as a surprise to no one that I am disappointed about the 3 close vote experiment being deemed a failure by the powers that be. Whether or not we did "fail" (and what that even means) is a big issue, which is already being hashed out in the answers to that question. But there's another equally large question that I don't think is getting discussed over there.
Assuming for the sake of argument that we did "fail" somehow, I have absolutely no idea what SE wants us to do about it.
The only thing Jon tells us to do in that meta question is to not distrust users so much. I didn't think any of my actions on the site were based on distrust, but simply voting to close poor content based on how poor it is. If anything, I seem to habitually give first-time askers significantly more hand-written advice than they are willing to or capable of acting on. So, I really don't know what we're supposed to do with this instruction.
Because I don't understand this suggestion, I currently feel like SE will do one of the following:
- Give up and completely ignore this site for the foreseeable future because they simply don't understand what's going on here.
- Assume they are correct in their belief that we close too many questions, and change the site mechanics to make it harder to close questions.
- Assume Jon's claim that "distrust" is the core problem is entirely accurate, and start taking disciplinary action against the most "distrustful" users, presumably for violating "Be Nice".
I believe #1 is most likely, but part of me is genuinely concerned that #2, #3 or something equally misguided will happen.
My hope in asking this meta question is that Jon or someone else from SE can alleviate this uncertainty, ideally with a specific policy statement or some genuinely actionable advice.
Here are some random questions/prompts to help demonstrate what I mean by "actionable advice":
- Should we be downvoting questions more often?
- Should we be downvoting answers more often?
- Are there any close reasons we should be using more often?
- Are there any close reasons we should be using less often?
- Should we be having frequent meta threads about whether a specific question is reopen-worthy, or can be edited to become reopen-worthy?
- Should we encourage people to leave comments when downvoting or voting to close because of unclear/broad/POB? (as opposed to off-topic, which is much more self-explanatory)
- Should we encourage people to stop leaving generic comments that simply link to a meta post without any specific advice about that particular question?
- Should we stop trying to clean up "broken windows", and just ignore any Qs/As beyond a certain age?
- When a question is too unclear/broad to answer, and the OP never adds the missing details, are we supposed to make up details to edit in ourselves until the question becomes answerable?
- When a bikesheddable question (let's say "Should I use ++i or i += 1?") gets asked, should we close it as too broad/POB? Try to ruthlessly downvote the "merely okay" answers and hope only great ones survive? Just let people upvote everything into the stratosphere no matter how useless? Or something else entirely?
- When a question asks for "best practices" without any explanation of what "best" means for them, should we not close that as unclear/broad/POB?
- Should we try to come up with a clear set of guidelines that might help first-time askers avoid the unclear/broad/POB tarpit, better than the current FAQ does? For instance: describe what your application does, specify your language, specify whether you're after flexibility/intuitiveness/reliability/etc, explain why you want to do this, if there is a blindingly obvious solution explain why it doesn't apply, etc.
/questions/ask, which is the page with the form for posting questions. There's a section to the right of the text area called 'how to ask'. Nothing there indicates that any of the usual off-topic questions are off topic, which I think is part of the problem. A bit of information up there may trim some percentage of the bad questions. It won't stop people who can't be bothered to read the rules, but it will assist people who are legitimately interested in posting in the correct place.