I have just obtained my "cast close and reopen votes" privilege and with it the responsibility to review the corresponding queue.

In doing so I have noticed a strong bias towards closing very elementary questions in the sense that the general requirement that people provide context and show their work seems to be applied with a lot more rigour as compared to interesting and deep questions lacking all of these qualities.

As far as I understand, MSE welcomes elementary questions so I believe they should not be discriminated upon.

In order to better perform my duties I would therefore benefit a lot from hearing other people's opinion on this matter.

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  • 10
    $\begingroup$ To remedy this you could close more advanced questions that you find lacking context. I find the way you frame the question rather unfortunate. There is a also the question of sample-size. What exactly did you notice? That there are many such questions in the close queue? $\endgroup$ – quid Nov 20 at 16:47
  • $\begingroup$ I will wait for you to be more specific in your first claim before answering it. Regarding sample size, yes, I find that a very large proportion of close votes I have reviewed target elementary questions. $\endgroup$ – Ruy Nov 20 at 16:55
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    $\begingroup$ @Ruy "I find that a very large proportion of close votes I have reviewed target elementary questions." Most of the questions asked here are very elementary. Even if elementary and advanced questions are being closed at the same rate (as a proportion of the number of questions asked), you would expect to see many many more elementary questions closed, as they make up such a large portion of the questions asked. $\endgroup$ – Xander Henderson Nov 20 at 16:58
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    $\begingroup$ IMO the problem about advanced low quality posts is that reviewer are less willing to review them (which I think is acceptable: I often skipped review task on topics which I am not familiar with). One (likely) consequence is that advanced low quality post takes more time to be closed (or not closed at all). $\endgroup$ – Arctic Char Nov 20 at 17:00
  • $\begingroup$ But from my experience, most of the low quality questions in (e.g.) differential-geometry are eventually closed, just that it takes much longer. $\endgroup$ – Arctic Char Nov 20 at 17:14
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    $\begingroup$ This user has noticed something and has come to meta to ask if others have noticed the same thing, and seems open to other's input, explanations, and opinions. I think this is a great attitude that we should encourage, and that they shouldn't have to be subject to unkindness for doing so. I say this as someone who has closed a lot of poorly written elementary questions while doing the review queues, and gets kind of irritated by how many of them there are. $\endgroup$ – JonathanZ supports MonicaC Nov 20 at 19:57
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    $\begingroup$ Dear @JonathanZsupportsMonicaC, thanks for your comment but don't worry because among the comments so far received there is a substantial number providing just the kind of information I am looking for! $\endgroup$ – Ruy Nov 20 at 20:02
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    $\begingroup$ Dividing questions by tag isn't exactly the same as dividing them into more/less elementary but it still gives some information. And at least we able able to get some data (and not just personal impression). For example, here is percentage of deleted and closed questions in some tags. (Restricted to tags with at least 10k questions.) $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak Nov 20 at 20:34
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    $\begingroup$ I'd also hazard a guess that questions which are rather elementary are more likely to be posted on the site several times - and such questions are rightly closed as duplicates. I have tried to create a query showing percentage of duplicates, I hope I did not mix up something and it returns what I intended. $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak Nov 20 at 20:57
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks @Martin, these are very interesting numbers. It seems to me that tags related to more elementary Math are ranked higher in your table of closed questions. Is that your oppinion too? I wonder if it is possble to find out how many questions in each tag are closed due to the specific reason of not "providing context and showing work" which is the closing reason I believe is being applied too strictly to elementary questions. $\endgroup$ – Ruy Nov 20 at 21:23
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    $\begingroup$ @Ruy I don't think that we are able to look from the data in SEDE specifically at the missing context close reason. All off-topic close reason are there as a single value 102 = Off-topic. You can see the structure of the tables in SEDE here: Database schema documentation for the public data dump and SEDE. There is also a related feature request: Please add the individual close-as-off-topic reason in the Data Explorer. $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak Nov 20 at 21:27
  • $\begingroup$ To add one more datapoint, here is what we get if we only count those closures, which are not duplicates: data.stackexchange.com/math/query/1334750/… $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak Nov 20 at 23:07
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    $\begingroup$ I don't think there is a bias among reviewers for targeting such elementary question. As other comments indicate these are the questions which are frequently asked and available in review. You may remove the "bias" from your question if you wish. $\endgroup$ – Paramanand Singh Nov 21 at 7:55
  • $\begingroup$ In case it is interesting for some other users reading this, a few SEDE queries are posted also here in chat: Some data on closing/deleting per tag. $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak Nov 21 at 10:32

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