I see no comments on it telling OP to improve something, nor do I see any issues with it except for the lack of shown research and the lack of context.

Although I personally didn't find the above reasons damning enough to close it, I'm not going to say that the closure was incorrect, as there seems to be a great deal of community opinion going into that; factors beyond what the How to ask a good question guideline is currently covering. Therefore, given that I am relatively new to this site, I dont possess enough experience on its workings to determine if the closure was correct or not. That said, one of the possible reasons for closure that I mentioned above is actually featured in that guideline, so I'm not saying this closure was impossible to see for inexperienced users.

What I am going to say, is this: the closure was done incorrectly. Perhaps the comments were deleted, but from what I can tell looking at the post now, no-one told this new contributor that their question wasn't good enough, nor did anyone tell them how to improve it. Isn't that a bad way of going about it?


Sarvesh raised a good question in the comments, which I think I might as well address in this question, as this is not just a question, but a prompt for discussion. Also, by showing my opinion on that matter, those that respond with answers or (counter-)arguments to this post will understand my stance better; with the misunderstandings and idiosyncrasies therein.

I think anyone that sees an issue with a post from a new user, should comment with advice. Here, I mean should as in, it's better if they do, but not that its their obligation.

If someone however votes to close it, I do think they have an obligation to tell the new user what the problem is. To be perfectly clear, I'm not saying they have a moral obligation; I am using a contingent sense of obligation here; if they are committed to trying their best at contributing to the best of their capacity to this site, then they must post a comment telling the new user what the problem is. Why?

  1. Leaving bad question up is bad for the site.

  2. Not gaining new users is bad for the site.

  3. Losing users is bad for the site.

  4. Polarization among users is bad for the site.

How do we navigate these issues in relation to close-voting bad questions posted by new users? We must prohibit the bad question from remaining in its bad form on the site; though we must do so without turning away the new user. We must thread the balance between being strict and being welcoming. We must set clear boundaries without being cold; that means telling the new user, politely and understandingly, that their question is not up-to-par, and how they may improve it.

If we don't do this, the user might (or perhaps is likely to) be discouraged from further posting, and thus we just lost a potential user. That user may leave with the belief that Math.SE or SE in general is an unfriendly place. If enough people gain this belief, it will discourage potential users from ever posting in the first place. If this belief becomes widespread, it will also affect the current users as well. We are a community, which means there is an us, and an other. If the others look down upon us, then a reaction might ensue, in which case we might actually become unfriendly towards new users that are, at least in the beginning, probably a part of the others.

Some users will not like or tolerate this, and simply leave.

However, some users may agree with the criticism but want to stay in their community. So, what do they do? They may become a kind of counter-cultural user, thus gaining the best of both worlds; they remain within their community, but they still express agreement with the criticism and distance themselves from the subject-role of the criticism. If enough users do this, and we gain a nasty polarization that will further confuse new users and discourage them from posting more, and further motivate current users to leave. A community in which different, well-respected members tell you contradictory things about the fundamental workings of the community, is no community at all.

So, again, isn't this a bad way of going about it?

  • 8
    $\begingroup$ The close reason is given and it says "Please provide additional context, which ideally explains why the question is relevant to you and our community. Some forms of context include: background and motivation, relevant definitions, source, possible strategies, your current progress, why the question is interesting or important, etc.". It is available to the OP and those with close-vote privilege. $\endgroup$ Apr 11, 2022 at 20:07
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ It also links to this post $\endgroup$ Apr 11, 2022 at 20:07
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ The Question as stated doesn't really make sense. If there were context, perhaps Readers could use that to help the OP express a sensible problem. Are you of the opinion that the close procedure is incorrectly applied because there is enough context, or that closing was incorrect because no context should be required? $\endgroup$
    – hardmath
    Apr 11, 2022 at 20:17
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @hardmath The latter. I think the OP should have been told that their problem isnt sensibly expressed and thus context is needed in order to help them do that. $\endgroup$
    – user110391
    Apr 11, 2022 at 20:34
  • $\begingroup$ I have now left such a comment, but I was not the first to note the notion of "regions" needs to be define. $\endgroup$
    – hardmath
    Apr 11, 2022 at 23:20
  • 8
    $\begingroup$ I see the main point of this post as being stated in its last paragraph; no one told the user that the post wasn't good enough, and no one told the user how to improve it, before the question was closed. So I don't read this as a request for reopening, and I don't see it as asking how to ask a good question, so I don't see it as a duplicate of the questions mentioned in the closure notice. It's different. It asks, why don't users, especially new users, get any warning or advice before their questions get closed? $\endgroup$ Apr 12, 2022 at 6:31
  • $\begingroup$ @GerryMyerson Exactly, do not understand why this question was marked a duplicate. $\endgroup$
    – user110391
    Apr 12, 2022 at 11:13
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ @GerryMyerson I don't see why that conversation has to happen before closure. The closure notice is telling the poster that the question is in need of improvement. Closure is reversible - this post, for instance, was closed and is now reopened. $\endgroup$ Apr 13, 2022 at 5:51
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @Hank, I'm aware that closure is reversible, but I've been here since 2010. A new user might not be aware of this, and might react very badly to a closure. Also, closure is often a prelude to deletion, and then the new user has to jump through the undeletion hoop before addressing the reopening procedure. I don't say the conversation has to happen before closure; I'm suggesting maybe it's better if the conversation happens before closure. $\endgroup$ Apr 13, 2022 at 6:48
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @user110391 Thank you for your question, it's been reopened. There have been some faintly related discussions to the one here (which I'll link once they become more relevant than they are right now), but here's my question : who should be leaving helpful comments? The people closing the question? Those wanting to answer the question? Does the closure banner itself count as a sufficient message? I expect our perspectives to differ, but that's precisely why there is so much friction. As someone who did close a lot of posts without a comment, I can defend some of my actions. $\endgroup$ Apr 13, 2022 at 13:35
  • $\begingroup$ @SarveshRavichandranIyer That's a very good question. I have edited my post to give my opinion on it. Thank you. $\endgroup$
    – user110391
    Apr 13, 2022 at 14:24
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Thank you so much for the extended response. Let me try to respond in parts. Certainly the best outcome is that people can vote to close and leave very constructive comments which get acted upon, leading to reopening : and that's why some people do it quite often. I didn't do it, and to explain that , I really didn't have time. The scale of the site means that if I have to go through tons of questions that I think can be closed, I cannot afford to invest too much time in asking improvement in every one of them because I need to actually do math as well! So I'd comment in exceptional cases... $\endgroup$ Apr 13, 2022 at 16:02
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ ... onto the next point : I think 3. isn't a bad thing if we're rejecting a user who isn't going to abide by even a smidgen of the rules (even if it's a newbie). Personally, it's about quality : yes , newbies should be introduced to MSE culture slowly (and I do my part , which is to not close newbie-enough questions unless it's a confident duplicate) , but someone not learning or circumventing the rules should face some rejection on-site. I fully agree with the balancing act between being welcoming and being firm : I also remain confident that closure can dovetail with these attitudes. $\endgroup$ Apr 13, 2022 at 16:08
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Regarding the belief that MSE is toxic spreading : I think that's a slippery slope, but that's just a hunch. For example, most people who I've spoken to MSE about (who would be undergraduates at a research institute in India) tell me that they're content looking up things from MSE, but don't feel any urge to participate, and have too much going on in their lives to participate. So, if there is a problem, thankfully it isn't here. I do some publicity, and some people I know personally have asked well-received questions here. But yes, it may differ from place to place. $\endgroup$ Apr 13, 2022 at 16:13
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ As for polarizing opinions and confused messages : personally, on a site with so many people and so many voices, I cannot see polarization going away, but I've read so many posts on meta, held all kinds of contrasting opinions at various times, and I feel that there is a need to hold my current opinion with a certain strength based on what I've experienced thus far. Many have differing opinions and no one is wrong, but beyond some point it really can't be resolved, and the only solution is compromise : something which I think every use realizes within a month of site usage.(end) $\endgroup$ Apr 13, 2022 at 16:33


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