Two days ago I stumbled across this question. Today I noticed that it was closed with the comment "This question needs details or clarity". One of the closers already posted the following comment: "The title does not make clear what you are asking." For me this sounds rather strange because I think the purpose of the body of the post should make clear what the OP is asking. But I assume that the user wants to tell the OP that the title is poor, and I think it actually was rather poor. The OP edited the title two times then the question was closed. The question itself seems very clear to me. The user is member for three days and this is his first post. The user is labeled as "New Contributor" and therefore "Take care in asking for clarification, commenting, and answering. Check out our Code of Conduct." I checked out the Code of Conduct and found at least two relevant statements.

If you’re here to help others, be patient and welcoming. (...) Offer support if you see someone struggling or otherwise in need of help.

(...) Edits, comments, and suggestions are healthy parts of our community.

I can't see how these statements are considered here and I can't see how an improper close reason can be used to close a question.

I already sent a comment to one of the closers and he confirmed that he closed the question because of the title but otherwise ignored by objection.

Is it justified to close a question with such reason? Does it contradict the code of conduct to close this question in this way, without supporting the OP and with a improper closing reason?

  • 6
    $\begingroup$ The user commenting about the title did not claim they voted to close the question because of the poor initial title. The question itself is poor. They voted to close it, along with four other users. And they added a comment, as well, to address the original title used by the OP. That you disagree with the close decision is your right, but to claim you alone know what is right is rather overstepping things. $\endgroup$
    – amWhy
    Aug 11, 2020 at 17:24
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    $\begingroup$ Also from the CoC: "If you’re here to get help, make it as easy as possible for others to help you. Follow our guidelines and remember that our community is made possible by volunteers. " $\endgroup$
    – quid Mod
    Aug 11, 2020 at 17:55
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    $\begingroup$ FWIW I have voted to re-open the question, though I think it is on the edge. The OP asserts that they have solved the other problem but haven't disclosed their method. Nor have they indicated any sort of reasonable attempt at a solution. Still, I think the question is fairly clear and the required algebra is messy enough to merit some discussion. $\endgroup$
    – lulu
    Aug 11, 2020 at 18:16
  • $\begingroup$ @amWhy I think from "miracle173 view previous editions to see the unclear title I voted to close" one can deduce that the user voted to close because of the title. Of course one can criticize the question, but no one did this, except for the title. after each comment that criticized the title the user tried to improve it. all other comments show that the users understand the problem. I don't know why you think "I alone know what is right". $\endgroup$
    – miracle173
    Aug 11, 2020 at 20:28
  • $\begingroup$ One user cannot close a question. Only five users can. You can not blame all closers for what you accuse one user of doing. You accused all closers of violating the code of conduct, based on what you alone interpret to be the right interpretation. The closure was in fact justified, and it did not violate the code of conduct, as mods have attested to. $\endgroup$
    – amWhy
    Aug 11, 2020 at 20:35
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    $\begingroup$ @amWhy I do not blame five users for closing the question because of its title, I only blame the one user for this. I don't know what the other user expect that could be improved, because they didn't tell us. $\endgroup$
    – miracle173
    Aug 11, 2020 at 21:14
  • $\begingroup$ Your title question asks "Is closing this question against the code of conduct?" That implicates all users who voted to close the question as possibly violating the code of conduct. And that is my objection. $\endgroup$
    – amWhy
    Aug 11, 2020 at 21:18
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    $\begingroup$ I just upvoted this meta-question to partially reverse the two downvotes. I have noticed on meta-mathSE, that sometimes a question will be posted that triggers down votes, where the down-vote motivation is not that the meta-mathSE posting lacks relevance, clarity, or detail. Instead, as with this question, it seems (perhaps I am mistaken) that the down-vote motivation is simply disagreement with the OP's perspective. I have to ask: when you disagree with the OP's perspective in a meta-mathSE query, is downvoting appropriate? $\endgroup$ Aug 12, 2020 at 9:21
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @user2661923 FYR $\endgroup$ Aug 12, 2020 at 12:52
  • $\begingroup$ @ArcticChar very interesting link, thanks. $\endgroup$ Aug 12, 2020 at 12:58

2 Answers 2


No, it's not against the Code of Conduct.

Voting to close and offering suggestions to improve a question are not mutually exclusive. It is not unwelcoming to close an unclear question for being unclear, and while it is admirable and recommended to leave comments helping the OP to fix it, it is not mandatory.

As to whether it is okay to vote to close based solely on a poor title-- which I would argue is not the case for this question, as there are (still) parts of the body which are unclear-- it is, within reason, up to the voter how to cast their close votes.


For what it's worth, sometimes new users will use the title as a "stand-alone" problem statement and then use the body of the Question to editorialize. In such cases I often leave a Comment asking them to use the additional space afforded by the body text to give a full presentation (setup and goal) of the problem they want help with, and to further provide some context (where the problem occurs, what makes it difficult or interesting, what was tried, etc.)

The specific Question here is not so extremely terse, incomprehensible or lacking in context that I'd vote to close it, so I took the opportunity to vote to reopen. I feel that an Answer can be given based on a reasoned mathematical argument. It does seem to have the flavor of the OP seeing a difficulty where none exists, and this might well strike other Readers as being too confused to tell what the OP is asking.

Naturally the title does not all by itself need to tell Readers what the problem is, and I doubt that the Comment left about the title was intended to advise the new user that this is site policy. In any case if no one else tackles it, and it does get reopened, then I will supply my response for the Community to critique.

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ The post is reopened now. $\endgroup$
    – user9464
    Aug 11, 2020 at 20:15

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