# My problem with the closing brigade

This question was put on hold 22 hours ago, less than an hour after it was asked; no explanation was given to the asker. More than 12 hours ago it was edited into a decently formatted question, and still mine is the only reopen vote.

What are we achieving with these holds? The person who asked the question is likely gone, scared away by the unfriendly welcome. The question will end up deleted because the people who put it on hold don't bother to follow up. What's the point? Why are we doing this?

• For some context on such closings: meta.math.stackexchange.com/q/9201. I think the closing has more to do with the lack of anything but a problem statement rather than the lack of good formatting in the original version. I know this doesn't answer your question. – Jonas Meyer Dec 18 '14 at 15:28
• In this particular case, the user had 4 previous questions answered, 1 of which was put on hold then reopened, so I wouldn't expect them to be scared away by this. – Jonas Meyer Dec 18 '14 at 15:45
• I was not sure whether this should be tagged (specific-question). But since you probably choose this question only as an illustration of a more general problem, I did not add this tag. – Martin Sleziak Dec 18 '14 at 15:50
• How many meta threads on this subject must we open? – Najib Idrissi Dec 18 '14 at 16:19
• And just so that everything is clear for everyone, this is how the question looked like at the beginning; pure garbage. Then the OP, in their magnanimity, added useless braces around exponents and indices, and added that $H$ is a Hilbert space. – Najib Idrissi Dec 18 '14 at 16:24
• They asked one more question after the previous one was closed --- in the same style. – user147263 Dec 18 '14 at 16:29
• @NajibIdrissi: many, in an attempt to try to stop people like you from defacing this site. – Martin Argerami Dec 18 '14 at 18:27
• @Jonas: well, they managed to scare me away. – Martin Argerami Dec 18 '14 at 18:35
• Najib defaced the site? Where? When? Seriously... – Did Dec 18 '14 at 19:10
• To say that no explanation was given is misleading; the close reason "unclear" gives to the point information in this case; "Please clarify your specific problem or add additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it’s hard to tell exactly what you're asking. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question." Given the most reasonable/understandable reason for an OP posting such a question is they having problems with English (no disrespect intended) I am not sure if writing a lot of text in addition to this is that helpful. – quid Dec 18 '14 at 20:41
• @MartinArgerami Should we read your comment "many, in an attempt to try to stop people like you from defacing this site." answering "How many meta threads on this subject must we open?" as the proud acknowledgement from you of the fact that you posted the present question knowing it is a duplicate, purposely? Because, you see, this looks like a clearcut case of abuse of the meta site... – Did Dec 19 '14 at 10:20
• @MartinArgerami It is hard to see how putting a "time out" on a question and asking it to rise above zero effort is "defacement." It is also funny again to see "fear/scare" mentioned in arguments like these. If a user runs away screaming PTSD from one or even a few occurrences of elementary criticism like a "please improve your question," then they have more problems than we can address. The "defacement" and "scare" tactics have been tried unsuccessfully so many times before in this conversation, I'm starting to think people are getting a little tired of their hyperbole. – rschwieb Dec 19 '14 at 12:13
• Please let us not get hung up on a word like "defacement," in a discussion were plenty of the involve are not even native speakers (like me). It seems clear OP wanted to express that some users take the site in a direction they do not like, which is a reasonable stance even if I do not share it. The talk about meta-abuse strikes me also as exaggeration. – quid Dec 19 '14 at 22:05
• @quid It's been a common rhetoric employed by many users to call closing/deleting questions "defacement" (among other scare tactics). It's not an isolated thing and I highly doubt it's an artefact of translation, given the number of people who use this sort of language and the diversity of their backgrounds. – Najib Idrissi Dec 20 '14 at 8:06
• @NajibIdrissi I know this and I am not happy about this either. Still, some of the comments (especially the second by Did) is IMO pointless escalation. – quid Dec 20 '14 at 12:20

https://math.stackexchange.com/revisions/1072132/1

Seriously? You consider this a reasonable question for the site? I would have voted to close in a heartbeat.

We already get too many question, to the point that excellent questions get little attention and no answers. If users who can't be bothered to put thought and effort into their posts are scared away, I'm not sure the site will be worse for it.

• Not to mention that a edit should have fixed the MathJax-only title. – AlexR Dec 18 '14 at 23:41
• We do not have many questions related to $C^*$ algebras, or operator algebras though. There are very few, and it was clear that the OP isn't a native English speaker. So, I understand Martin's concern. Anyway, subsequent edits earned my vote to reopen, and the question was reopened, though it still has a negative score. – voldemort Dec 20 '14 at 19:16
• Excellent questions might not get enough attention, but closing less excellent but adequate questions doesn't solve that problem. – Lehs Dec 24 '14 at 10:16
• No, but discouraging utterly inadequate questions, such as the one above, does. – user7530 Dec 24 '14 at 17:44

On the one hand I applaud your willingness to champion a Question that you feel has merit and a likelihood of receiving a suitable Answer. However there is a process for re-opening Questions and improving them.

Presumably your concern is the broader one of some Questions being closed too quickly and/or for what you think are the wrong reasons. I must express some disagreement about this. Given any sampling of thousands of closed Questions, there are bound to be some that are more easily "resucitated" than others, but the fact that some are edited and reopened, or reopened based on Comments added by the OP at some point, does not imply these closings were capricious. Indeed one should consider that closing the Questions became, for the motivated authors, an occasion for their improvement.