# If I vote to close a question because of no effort shown, is the OP given a reason before closing? Why not?

Sorry for the long title. I have noticed that whenever I have flagged a question because it was a duplicate, a comment appeared immediately informing everyone that the question was a probable duplicate. I recently crossed the 3K bar and it seems I have the ability to vote to close questions. One of the reasons I can choose is relatively new (I found a reference to it dated September 16, 2013, and I don't think it's much older):

"This question is missing context or other details: Please improve the question by providing additional context, which ideally includes your thoughts on the problem and any attempts you have made to solve it. This information helps others identify where you have difficulties and helps them write answers appropriate to your experience level."

If I vote to close a question for this reason, does this paragraph immediately appear as a comment below the question (similar for flags for duplicate questions)? If not, would it be possible to change the system so that it does? That would give the OP a chance to improve his/her question before it gets closed.

I am not a computer person, so I have no idea how this would be done, but the fact that something similar happens with flags for duplicate questions suggests that it is possible.

I know many people write friendly comments such as "Hello, welcome to MSE! Please tell us what you've tried, and check [this link] for advice on how to write a good question" and so forth, but so many bad, "Do my homework for me" questions appear on MSE that it would take a long time to provide this comment on every such question that one sees. Maybe a lot of inexperienced users are unfamiliar with the etiquette here, but I think a lot of users really do want us to do their homework for them. If someone posts a mere PSQ, I cannot tell which kind of user it is.

This was a feature request on Meta Stack Overflow:

Use inbox notification for close/open related activities

The application of it on MSE would be to give another, seemingly decisive, reason to nuke all "what have you tried" comments that discuss nothing except the level of effort : the OP already got the message, quietly, impersonally, and without any comment drama.

There is no indication that SE will implement the feature.

• Stackoverflow automatically blocks "what have you tried" and strings similar to that as comments. This was noted in earlier meta.MSE conversation, but adding it here for redundancy. – zyx Dec 12 '13 at 3:48
• @zyx, are you one of those pure free market folks? "What do you mean it's bad? I managed to sell it!" – dfeuer Dec 12 '13 at 4:13
• Having said that, it is true that I am of the techno-anarchist stripe as regards opinion on what is good for the site. Machine readable metadata is far more important than comment drama and closings. – zyx Dec 12 '13 at 4:22
• @zyx, some people are here in part because we like helping and teaching. I agree, however, that it could be nice to have a more standardized way to inform new users of site standards. – dfeuer Dec 12 '13 at 4:25
• @dfeuer, clearly that is the (self-perceived) motivation for some. But note the suggestion about what would maximize helping and teaching, for those who would like to accomplish that. – zyx Dec 12 '13 at 4:28
• @zyx : maybe I shouldn't have used the word "deserves". If an OP is unwilling to take the time to put some thought into a question and write what they have attempted, I am not going spend time composing an answer or giving them an etiquette lesson. – Stefan Smith Dec 12 '13 at 5:12
• @zyx : if close-voting for all well formed mathematical questions is instrinsically discourteous, then why is there a reason to close that pretty explicitly gives lack of effort as a reason to close questions ("... which ideally includes your thoughts on the problem and any attempts you have made to solve it ..."). The fact that this reason to close exists indicates that many disagree with you about this, or at least some people who run the show here. – Stefan Smith Dec 12 '13 at 5:22
• @zyx : If an OP's question does get closed, then they do get an explanation of why it was closed, which ought to help the OP ask better questions in the future. Unfortunately, by the time the question is closed, the problem has probably been answered. It would be nice if OP's were alerted automatically of votes to close with reasons, at least in the comments, they way they are with duplicate questions, so they find out sooner. – Stefan Smith Dec 12 '13 at 5:29
• @StefanSmith, to be clear, I fully support the feature-request and was considering making it myself on Meta Stack Overflow before you posted the question. As for the existence of the "low effort" close vote reason, it is the result of popular support among (newer) meta users for some way of controlling basic homework postings, but my previously posted views on that it were that it is ineffective (as is now obvious from the continuing loud complaints after months of closings) and that homework is quite literally a scapegoat, for phenomena related to growth in the size of the user population. – zyx Dec 12 '13 at 5:37
• @zyx : regarding your "marketing problem" analogy: people who post "Do my homework for me" PSQ's here don't seem to have much of a marketing problem. Their questions are usually answered completely, correctly, and almost immediately, by users who I assume really want the points. I don't think anyone learns much from these answers. – Stefan Smith Dec 12 '13 at 5:38
• @StefanSmith, my opinion is that a less emotional (or less "prior-heavy", in the Bayesian sense) examination of the situation would show that problem-only homework postings are fine ethically, and a benefit for the site. The only problem in them from my perspective is the lack of specificity in titles and tags, that would help separate out the problems that are more interesting to read or answer. – zyx Dec 12 '13 at 5:40
• @zyx, we disagree with on the ethics of the matter. I think the PSQ homework issue is a problem apart from its part in the growth-related problems. I know that Brian M. Scott will forever disagree with me on this. – dfeuer Dec 12 '13 at 5:43
• @BrianM.Scott : I highly approve of hints in favor of complete answers. Unfortunately complete answers seem to get accepted more by OP's and often even outvoted by MSE users. Regarding your comment about elementary courtesy, I'm not sure. Maybe the OP is a Bob, a lazy slob who wants me to do his homework for him. Then I don't think I have to do go out of my way to be nice to him and suggest how to ask a good question, etc., which takes time.... – Stefan Smith Dec 12 '13 at 5:48
• @Stefan: I prefer to give the OP the benefit of the doubt. And I’ve had a rather substantial number of hints accepted even when there were competing complete (or more complete) answers. – Brian M. Scott Dec 12 '13 at 5:50
• (It follows that another, constructive but underutilized, way to increase the differentiation of interesting postings from the rest is: to not volunteer any improvement of titles, tags, references, clarifications of question, etc for the questions you don't want to promote, and do provide those things, along with upvotes, for the questions you do want to get more visibility.) – zyx Dec 12 '13 at 6:13

If I vote to close a question for this reason, does this paragraph immediately appear as a comment below the question (similar for flags for duplicate questions)?

No, unless you use a "custom" close reason, in which case it is inserted as a comment automatically.

If not, would it be possible to change the system so that it does?

This leads to a broader issue with close votes. Because the OP is not given any notification otherwise, when you vote to close, $${\large \mbox{It is polite to leave a comment explaining the close votes}}$$

This is up to each voter, of course. It is not a formal rule, but a polite practice. You can always just copy the close reason from the dialog box and post it as a comment. There is also a list of comment templates for copying.

Of course, if there is already a good comment, or if the the issue has been explained to the OP before (e.g. spam), there is no need to leave a comment in every case.