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Is it just my perception or is there a greatly increased frequency of votes to close as "off topic" for perfectly valid questions?

As an example, why in the world would you vote to close...

Space of eigenvectors

...unless you're just being a jerk?

I find it very disturbing that people with reasonable and honest questions about mathematics are being pushed out by a few power mad users. Some ridiculous users seem to enjoy voting to close questions just because they can.

Ok. Now I've vented and gotten that out of my system.

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    $\begingroup$ I don't think that a single closing vote means anything. It's not uncommon for reasonable, and sometimes very good, questions about set theory to get a closing vote. Sometimes I feel like voting to close so I can find out who the voting user was, but of course that never happens. It's not a big deal. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Sep 23 '13 at 16:40
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    $\begingroup$ I've seen that happen. Some people mistake valid mathematics for philsophical potificating about set theory. It would be nice if those who are ignorant about a topic would refrain from casting votes. $\endgroup$ – Bill Cook Sep 23 '13 at 16:42
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    $\begingroup$ I mostly just felt to need to vent after discussing a few questions with my brother (which were in the process of being closed even though they were decent questions). $\endgroup$ – Bill Cook Sep 23 '13 at 16:43
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    $\begingroup$ @Bill: Now that it's out of your system, it might be worth retracting the rant. And even go further to consider if the close vote could actually reflect some reasonable criticism of the question. I can certainly speculate on good reasons to, e.g., vote "more context needed" even if I wouldn't have done so. $\endgroup$ – Excluded and Offended Sep 23 '13 at 17:08
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    $\begingroup$ I understand that you're venting. However, what I don't understand is your hostile, preoccupied tone: "How dare you misjudge this question? I have determined that it be a 'reasonable and honest' question, and that judgement is conclusive and infallible." All this provokes is fights, entrenching and the quenching of any positive outcome of this "discussion". Politeness, even if undeserved, may have the addressees go along with you for long enough that you actually get your message across. $\endgroup$ – Lord_Farin Sep 23 '13 at 17:10
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    $\begingroup$ Personally, I think it is healthy to question why something got closed. I applaud your rant! (Basically, I disagree with Hurkyl and Lord_Farin!) $\endgroup$ – user1729 Sep 23 '13 at 18:56
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    $\begingroup$ @Lord_Farin Am I being unpolite? I didn't force anyone to read my rant. However, the person who cast a close vote intended to impose their will upon the questioner. Whoever did so was incredibly rude. They voted to close without indicating why (no comment about the vote was left). $\endgroup$ – Bill Cook Sep 23 '13 at 19:45
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    $\begingroup$ Calling people "jerk", "power mad user", "ridiculous" and accusing them of acting "just because they can" is in my copy of the impolite book. I'm also not sure that comparing against those whose behaviour you loathe is a good method for justifying yourself. But rest assured, as you can read here, I agree that voting to close (at least for reasons of effort/unclarity) should induce some responsibility upon the close voter to help the OP locate and resolve the issues. (@user1729 It is not the questioning that I oppose, but the tone used to do so.) $\endgroup$ – Lord_Farin Sep 23 '13 at 21:04
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    $\begingroup$ As to "I didn't force anyone to read my rant", that's a fallacious argument. You posted to a public meta, used for addressing all maths.SE issues. You didn't warn in the first line that it was a rant. You had a polite title. There is no reason to expect a rant until one is reading. $\endgroup$ – Lord_Farin Sep 23 '13 at 21:12
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    $\begingroup$ @user1729: Healthy questioning is somewhat different from vilifying and ranting. $\endgroup$ – Excluded and Offended Sep 23 '13 at 21:50
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    $\begingroup$ I'm not sure how reading a thread with an honest opinion about how many answers feel about these capricious closures is equivalent to having ones question shut-down by others. Of course, Bill could remove the offending "jerk" etc... that will not change anybody's mind here. I've read page after page by Brian M. Scott which have, as far as I can tell, changed none of the closure-minded set here. So, the logical thing is to use a word with the same sort of feeling the close vote evokes. Just saying. $\endgroup$ – James S. Cook Sep 24 '13 at 1:16
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    $\begingroup$ Just a quick comment (I'm not returning to this thread, fyi): I would have given this post much more consideration if the question linked was actually closed. There are a ton of questions that get a single close vote that are never actually closed--don't worry about one vote. If questions were being unjustly closed en masse, then we'd have a legit thread. As it stands, this is really very similar to a meta-thread that is complaining that a question got a single downvote. $\endgroup$ – apnorton Sep 24 '13 at 2:19
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    $\begingroup$ I think part of the issue is that "Off topic" is an odd home for a subreason like "no effort/missing context." Secondly, given the increasing volume of traffic, users and questions, more closure votes might not be that surprising (but yeah, it's certainly a valid concern if they are spiking for reasons beyond this cause.) $\endgroup$ – rschwieb Sep 25 '13 at 13:47
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    $\begingroup$ @BillCook : I upvoted your question because I think the particular question in your link is a very good one, and I don't see a good reason to close it. I wished more students thought independently enough to ask questions like this. I would be careful throwing around the word "jerk" where everyone on the Web can see it. Maybe that's why your question got so many downvotes. I have no opinion about, nor data about, whether too many downvotes are being cast in general. Also, I just noticed anorton wrote that the question you cited was not actually closed. If the question was not closed, ... $\endgroup$ – Stefan Smith Dec 12 '13 at 3:25
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    $\begingroup$ @StefanSmith my complaint wasn't about downvotes. It was about votes to close the question. My larger complaint was that at the time of my rant I'd seen several good questions closed for little or no reason. It looked like the question I linked to was in someone's crosshairs. And I don't think "jerk" is too strong a name for someone who would close a question without good reason. The close vote is a vote to deny someone access to the help provided by the MSE community. Cutting someone off is the action of a jerk. $\endgroup$ – Bill Cook Dec 12 '13 at 4:40
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I will tell you why one might want to vote to close that question: it shows no effort whatsoever on the part of the author. Look at the comment I left on the problem: it took virtually no effort to come up with those examples. Now, I probably have the advantage over OP of more experience with Linear Algebra, but still, I'd expect someone who was actually interested in the question at least to try some experiments and include a report on the results in the question statement.

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    $\begingroup$ But is that a reason to close? Down voting I understand. Closing is extreme. Voting to close without comment is just rude. $\endgroup$ – Bill Cook Sep 24 '13 at 11:29
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    $\begingroup$ The question has been viewed over 100 times. One person voted to close. I've given you a reason why someone might vote to close. What more do you want? Should the miscreant impale himself on his keyboard? Should the Almighty smite him with leprosy? I beg leave to suggest that you hold your indignation for the day when something actually worthy of it happens at m.se. $\endgroup$ – Gerry Myerson Sep 24 '13 at 23:45
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    $\begingroup$ The idea that someone with enough rep to vote to close would do so without good reason bothers me. Also, this was just one of the latest examples of this happening. I don't keep a log noting every rude thing people do on MSE. It is even more disturbing seeing that a lot of the high rep users commenting here seem to have confused reasons for down voting with reasons for closure. $\endgroup$ – Bill Cook Sep 25 '13 at 11:53
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    $\begingroup$ The idea that someone would use meta to call another user a jerk without having any idea what might have motivated that user's actions, would speak of "power mad users" and "ridiculous users", would suggest that there are users who vote to close questions just because they can --- that's what bothers me. If you change your mind about keeping a log noting every rude thing people do here, you can start with those 4 violations of civility. $\endgroup$ – Gerry Myerson Sep 25 '13 at 13:01
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    $\begingroup$ @BillCook Closing doesn't have to be "extreme!" Closure seems to have a stigma now, yes, but it has great potential (and sometimes already realized) usefulness. Hopefully we can get it to where closure happens, stuff that needs to stay closed stays closed, and stuff that should be reopened is rapidly reopened. Wheel clamp -- not car crusher! And incidentally, good answer+1! $\endgroup$ – rschwieb Sep 25 '13 at 13:43

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