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I don't think it is appropriate to answer closed questions into the comments as it happens here. Can (or should) we do something with such things?

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    $\begingroup$ It is certainly discouraged to use comments in that way, particularly if the goal is to give an answer to a question that is on hold or closed. But, if someone does this only very occasionally, there's not much that can be done. If they do it routinely, I hope a moderator will contact them privately to ask them to stop. $\endgroup$ – Carl Mummert Nov 9 '14 at 20:53
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    $\begingroup$ It's a natural reaction against the crowd who go around closing questions by new users before the user has had any opportunity to improve the presentation a question. I'm not saying it's a good thing, just that I'm surprised it didn't happen months ago. $\endgroup$ – Gerry Myerson Nov 9 '14 at 21:52
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    $\begingroup$ @GerryMyerson Maybe there are some users very eager to close ill formulated questions and/or without showing any effort, but my experience shows that even so if the OP came back and adds few words to his question this is usually reopened. $\endgroup$ – user26857 Nov 9 '14 at 21:56
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    $\begingroup$ It's a matter of principle for the user doing that: "Don't mind the downvotes and the closers. It means nothing but a fault of character of those how did it." $\endgroup$ – Daniel Fischer Nov 9 '14 at 23:11
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    $\begingroup$ I suspect, 26857, that a lot of OPs, especially the ones for whom the experience comes the very first time they show up here, are put off by having their question shut down, and leave the site in horror, never to return; whereas, with a bit of helpful commenting, they might become regular and valued contributors. $\endgroup$ – Gerry Myerson Nov 10 '14 at 2:10
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    $\begingroup$ @GerryMyerson Or maybe return to their homework with a little more determination. $\endgroup$ – user26857 Nov 10 '14 at 2:13
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    $\begingroup$ Or maybe just give up on Mathematics altogether, and go do something else. There is no reason why we can't be a little more friendly, a little more welcoming, to new users. We have, I think, more to gain than to lose. $\endgroup$ – Gerry Myerson Nov 10 '14 at 2:27
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    $\begingroup$ @Gerry Myerson: the challenge, of course, is that if user A tries to be friendly by leaving detailed and polite comments on how to improve the question, but doesn't vote to close it, user B may come in and write an answer before the OP gets around to editing the question; in a way user B is impolitely undercutting user A's friendly comments. There seems to be no way for user A to prevent this without also voting to close. In the past, even some frequent users who commented on meta asking for more friendliness wouldn't agree not to write early answers to poorly composed questions! $\endgroup$ – Carl Mummert Nov 10 '14 at 12:08
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    $\begingroup$ @user152732 "The website already has a tag for homework questions." I think you should keep up with recent events if you want to have meaningful discussions on meta. meta.math.stackexchange.com/questions/16425/… and the linked threads. It's a bit hard to take what you say seriously after that. A bit funny that your comment was upvoted almost immediately, too... $\endgroup$ – Najib Idrissi Nov 10 '14 at 14:08
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    $\begingroup$ The ostracism of these types of questions, on the other hand,... Beware of it and what the future of this website could become. There is a demand, a market, for those types of questions. There is also an importance for those questions to get answers. If this website completely blocks them. Another website will fill the market. There is a difference between specially handling those question in this website and turning this website into a place for nice questions only (MathOverflow/ArtOfProblemSolving). $\endgroup$ – user152732 Nov 10 '14 at 17:53
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    $\begingroup$ @user152732: If another website fills that role and leaves us to deal with interesting questions, I say "Mission f#¤%¤%& accomplished". And, no, filtering by tag is not a good solution, because even low level tags contain enjoyable questions. The problem is the heavily skewed distribution of the incoming questions towards the banal. We aren't exactly ostracizing a Perikles here. $\endgroup$ – Jyrki Lahtonen Nov 10 '14 at 19:54
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    $\begingroup$ In my view far too many questions get closed. Supplying an answer in a comment is the proper response in such cases, and in the past I have made a point of doing so. In an effort to avoid the level of frustration that caused me to leave the site for almost a year, I am making an effort to ignore such questions altogether this time around, but my opinion hasn’t changed one iota. $\endgroup$ – Brian M. Scott Nov 10 '14 at 21:33
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    $\begingroup$ @user152732 Primary school students should not be posting anything here; the site's Terms of Service require users to be at least 13 years old. Including one's thoughts on the problem being posed in a question is not chit-chat. $\endgroup$ – user147263 Nov 10 '14 at 21:59
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    $\begingroup$ @GerryMyerson Or maybe [they] just give up on Mathematics altogether, and go do something else. That's a bit dramatic. If a user storms off the site and out of mathematics just because they can't cope with some baseline feedback, they have more problems than we can solve. I don't think we're obligated to take pains to retain such users. $\endgroup$ – rschwieb Nov 11 '14 at 14:14
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    $\begingroup$ This is also highly related to a question I asked earlier. Closure simply shouldn't be a dirty word. Closure isn't permanent. It's nothing to get worked up about. We just need to be better about communicating this. $\endgroup$ – rschwieb Nov 12 '14 at 18:07
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Short of locking the question (which is a moderator-only action, and is rare), we cannot prevent comments from being added to a non-locked, non-deleted question.

But we can delete the question. In the specific case, auto-deletion should take care of things; when it does not apply, one needs 10K delete votes.

Generally, the cleanup of closed questions has been going better in second half of this year than in the past. Compared to the statistics I gave in How to repair the close-delete pipeline?, the deletion activity more than doubled (there are 300 active delete votes right now, compared to 125 back then). The number of questions on the death row has not grown very much, indicating that most closed questions get taken care of: improved and reopened, or deleted.

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    $\begingroup$ In my opinion the deletion is irrelevant. More important is to prevent such things, but I don't know how, and that's why I'm asking. $\endgroup$ – user26857 Nov 9 '14 at 18:13
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    $\begingroup$ @user26857 There is no way to prevent it; some users even do it purposefully. The only other thing that can be done is flagging the comment, and if enough people do it the comment will be deleted. But that seems pretty unlikely. $\endgroup$ – Najib Idrissi Nov 9 '14 at 19:48
  • $\begingroup$ @NajibIdrissi Mods are spending days before deleting a comment, so this is not practical at all. $\endgroup$ – user26857 Nov 9 '14 at 19:49
  • $\begingroup$ @user26857 If I understand this correctly, the comment will be auto-deleted if it gathers enough flags. But yes, moderator's time is finite and they often have more important things to do. $\endgroup$ – Najib Idrissi Nov 9 '14 at 19:50
  • $\begingroup$ @NajibIdrissi Not for every type of comment flag. It's pretty complicated, and documentation is incomplete, perhaps on purpose. Ilmari Karonen tried science to figure this out. $\endgroup$ – user147263 Nov 9 '14 at 20:21
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You say you don't think it is appropriate to answer closed questions into the comments. But it is also not appropriate to close a question before the OP is given the chance to improve it. The question you link to is a perfect example of that.

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    $\begingroup$ A question is put on hold with the expectation that the OP will improve it. Having both processes -- of the question being edited and answers being posted -- run in parallel creates a mess of mismatched content. $\endgroup$ – user147263 Nov 11 '14 at 13:47
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    $\begingroup$ Yet the OP of that question improved it 19 hours ago and you haven't reversed your closing vote. $\endgroup$ – Martin Argerami Nov 11 '14 at 14:00
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    $\begingroup$ Any 5 users can vote to reopen, it need not be the people who voted to close. 19 hours ago it was improved, so why don't users who want it open vote to open? $\endgroup$ – Jonas Meyer Nov 11 '14 at 14:09
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    $\begingroup$ FWIW I just voted to reopen. Will expect it to be reopened soon. But agree with Rafflesia, the point of putting on hold is to signal the need to improve loud and clear. If only the posters who reacted strongly would work with the system rather than against it :-( $\endgroup$ – Jyrki Lahtonen Nov 11 '14 at 14:11
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    $\begingroup$ FWIW, the OP there made a mistake (can't blame her/him for not knowing how the review queue works of course), (s)he made an insignificant edit and the question was put in the review queue, where it was rightly decided to leave it closed (now one sees how the question currently looks, but the reviewers saw revision 4). After that came the edit that made it reopenable. But a question gets into the review queue only once, chance wasted :( $\endgroup$ – Daniel Fischer Nov 11 '14 at 14:23
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    $\begingroup$ @Daniel: And that seems to be exactly the right use for the reopen requests thread! When a significant edit is made, and the question doesn't get into the review queue. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Nov 11 '14 at 15:03
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    $\begingroup$ Indeed @Asaf. Should be mentioned here. $\endgroup$ – Daniel Fischer Nov 11 '14 at 15:10
  • $\begingroup$ @DanielFischer: Do questions get put into the reopen queue after a single vote has been cast to reopen, in the same way that close voting works? $\endgroup$ – Eric Stucky Nov 18 '14 at 4:28
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    $\begingroup$ @EricStucky a reopen vote will add a question to the reopen queue if it isn't already in the queue $\endgroup$ – user147263 Nov 18 '14 at 4:44

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