Earlier someone posted this question, suggesting leaving messages when closing a question, to inform the poster of specific things to do to improve the question.

My question is: How might we best spread the word among those who have been neglecting this, that that is a desirable thing to do?

  • 8
    $\begingroup$ Similar older post: When closing question for lack of effort, leave a comment to OP explaining what to do. $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak Mar 17 '16 at 16:30
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ If you wish to do so, you can create a comment template for this purpose. (I think that the existing ones might cover the situation you describe. But if you have idea for a better one, go ahead.) Since it is easier to take an existing comment and copy it, this might increase the probability that close voters (or some other users) will leave comments with some explanations. $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak Mar 17 '16 at 16:35
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ There have been many threads about this before; considering that there is no requirement to comment when closing a question, I expect there will always be a substantial number of people who vote without commenting. Putting a scolding line into scattered comments across main is going to just add noise. $\endgroup$ – user296602 Mar 17 '16 at 16:40
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I have added some tags and edited the title. ("How to promote this instance of proper behavior?" seems rather non-descriptive to me.) I think it is useful to have questions correctly tagged and with good titles. It makes searching for them easier in the future. It makes clearer for others what the question is about, even without having to click on it. And it also improves the list of related questions generated by the SE software. (But, of course, if the edits to the tags and the title somehow changed the meaning of your post, go ahead and edit the question further.) $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak Mar 17 '16 at 16:43
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ @MichaelHardy FWIW I did not suggest that it is a duplicate. (And neither I voted to close your question as a duplicate.) But the question I linked to is doing what you asked for - it was my attempt to suggest leaving comments under closed questions. $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak Mar 17 '16 at 17:55
  • 16
    $\begingroup$ I would remove the last sentence from your template. Resentment at others is either explicit or implied - cannot tell which. But making this known to the newbie who you are trying to advice is not helpful. They will learn about such differences of opinion in due time themselves. Also, it is pointless to try to antagonize the close voters. $\endgroup$ – Jyrki Lahtonen Mar 17 '16 at 18:39
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ I downvoted because I don't really agree with the premise: I don't view this as being such a pervasive or serious problem, nor do I think that a comment template is a good way of addressing the issue. Those who are wont to read meta are almost surely already aware of this issue, because it's been discussed before a few times; those who don't read meta won't be reached by this. $\endgroup$ – user296602 Mar 17 '16 at 21:56
  • 10
    $\begingroup$ Often I do not leave a comment in such a situation because the explanation I want to give is in the close-message, and I feel this is sufficient. (If this is not the case I try to comment.) // You say "I was not asking about [...] whether to comment in such situations. Rather I was asking how to make the m.s.e. public generally aware that such a comment should be left." I find this strange as there is no consensus that such a comment should be left. It seems you could ask how to inform others of your opinion on the matter, or you'd have to tackle the other question first. $\endgroup$ – quid Mar 17 '16 at 22:47
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ The reason given is customizable. You can even remove the words "off-topic" from your message if you wish. $\endgroup$ – Najib Idrissi Mar 18 '16 at 10:26
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ "The closing message is chosen from a menu" Yes. "with a small number of choices" Depends. But as said I agree sometimes none is descriptive enough. "and that menu is not customizable" It is to some degree. "and is very very terse." The messages can have more than 300 chars. The completely custom one that @NajibIdrissi pointed out even 500. I do not feel it is that terse. Perhaps you could propose a new custom-reason or a revision of an existing one. In this way this has a lot of visibility. $\endgroup$ – quid Mar 18 '16 at 13:27
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ @MichaelHardy In its current state, this question seems to just be an advertisement for another meta question and whatever partial consensus was reached in it - as such, I consider it a duplicate. If your question is meant to be wholly general ("How do I raise awareness of a meta post?"), then I wouldn't consider it a duplicate. Also, downvotes on meta are for disagreement, not condemnation; and isn't the point of meta exactly to generate answers and comments about site policies? $\endgroup$ – user296602 Mar 18 '16 at 14:29
  • 8
    $\begingroup$ 'but suggesting that anything should be done differently gets condemned by numerous answers and comments and down-votes' Part of the problem may be how you frame things. I feel it is not rarely the case you present things in a way that can be perceived as accusatory, ridiculing, or condescending. Personally I do not mind you style much; this is a general observation. $\endgroup$ – quid Mar 18 '16 at 14:33
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ Why do you not see me do that on "main"? Oh? $\endgroup$ – Najib Idrissi Mar 18 '16 at 16:11
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ While I agree it is unnecessary to voted this down that much, indeed your comment there is another example of how you frame things in a confrontational way. I would write instead: "Welcome to the site. I am sorry you had such a negative first experience. Many users on this site react negatively to questions of {this form}. If you try to {some advice} you should have a much better reception next time." Moreover " That is bullying." is not what's happening imo. Maybe some are inconsiderate or do not take enough time to deal with such thjngs, but I do not think they mean to target the OP. $\endgroup$ – quid Mar 19 '16 at 23:41
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ The short is I think to say something friendly and useful to OP instead of something unfriendly to/about other users is the way to go. $\endgroup$ – quid Mar 19 '16 at 23:43

Let me start by addressing a more general question: How to promote some kind of behavior? How to draw attention of the users to some particular issue? (Be it related to tagging, formatting posts, closing, reopening, approach to new users, etc.)

Some things I can think of are:

  • Lead by example. (This is probably the best one.)
  • Make a post on meta. (Well, some users do not read meta; but you might reach at least some of them. If your post on meta is sufficiently scored or if the moderators decide to make it , then it gets into and it will be visible to more users. If the issue is rather important, it could also get into .)
  • You can create a comment template. (It is easier to copy and paste a comment rather than type it every time. If making a comment about particular issue is made easier, more users will post such comments. If there are more comments about this issue, more users will read such comments and become aware of the problem.)
  • If it is suitable for that particular issue, use chat. (You can mention the issue in the main chatroom. In some cases, it might be also suitable to create a separate chat room. This happened in the case of ongoing effort to reduce the number of unanswered questions.)
  • We also have a , which can be used for rather serious issues related to this site. (But it is intended to be mostly for posts about mathematics.)
  • The issue could be mentioned in help, site tour or some other suitable place.
  • There are automated messages and comments added either by software or by bots.

Now to the specific issue of comments related to closures:

  • Many users are posting such comments. For various reasons, some users do not want to post such comments when closing questions. But it does not matter that much whether the comment (with an explanation what to do if a question is put on hold) is posted by one of the users who closed the question or by somebody else. Users who care a lot about this might find questions recently put on hold using review history or 10k+ tools and add comments where needed.
  • I think that the post I linked in my first comment is doing exactly what you asked for - it urges users to leave helpful comments on closed (on hold) questions.
  • I think that there already are some comment templates which are suitable for this situation. But if you have another take on this, you can contribute to the list of comment templates.
  • I am not sure to which extent chat would be helpful in connection with this particular problem. (A separate chat room would probably not be suitable for this particular problem.)
  • For this particular issue, using MSE blog is not the way to go. I also do not think that this should be mentioned in help. (Especially since there is no clear consensus.)
  • I doubt that posting comments on closed/on hold questions could be in some reasonable way automated. (Posting comments on recently posted question is somewhat different, since the OP is likely still around and the comment can easily be deleted after short period of time.) But we do have close reasons which give an explanation why the post was closed. (As far as I know, they are customizable to some extent. But before changing any of them, some kind of consensus in the community has to be reached.)
  • $\begingroup$ The post you linked to in your first comment, and the comment tempates you mention, have not been sufficiently effective, since the vast majority of newbie questions closed because they are just copied homework questions show five people voting to close and not one of them posting a comment explaining this. Sometimes (not usually) they post the lame question "What have you tried?", as if that would make the poster aware of the things in the comment quoted in my question. However, there seems to be a misunderstanding in your posting above. You write: $\qquad$ $\endgroup$ – Michael Hardy Mar 17 '16 at 21:13
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ "I doubt that posting comments on closed/on hold questions could be in some reasonable way automated." That misses the point. My question is how to address information TO THOSE WHO VOTE TO CLOSE a question because it's a copied homework question, NOT how to address information TO THOSE WHO POST SUCH QUESTIONS. Can you suggest how to reach those people? $\endgroup$ – Michael Hardy Mar 17 '16 at 21:14

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .