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This question: stainless steel kitchen silverware

Was closed without comment from the person who closed it and has a quite sharp (no pun intended) comment from another regular user.

I understand we have a quality standard to maintain, but I think we should also be keeping a decent standard when it comes to new users.

Did anyone explain to the user why this question was closed and give them either an opportunity to improve it or at least understand why it was closed?

This approach is fine for people who have been on here for a little while and should know better, but I think we need a different approach, especially from the mods.

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    We can, and I should. I admit my comment was more terse/blunt than it needed to be. I was frustrated at continuallly seeing low quality questions like these, and this one seemed (obviously to me) to have been answered by the related question. I might have a chat with the moderators about how they manage their boilerplate responses to low-quality questions like these. My other obvious option would be to vote to close and move on, but that's not constructive. – John Lyon Sep 12 '12 at 4:46
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The question in... question was closed by jozzas and I.

Since he already left a comment, and I was on a train (limited connectivity, no access to pro forma auto comments, really bad iPhone UX), I didn't leave a second comment.

May I add a couple of points here?

  • closed questions have an explanation. If you feel we need to add a further comment, and a second further comment, then there's something seriously wrong here. Closing questions with only a generic explanation should be fine.

  • the mobile UX is hideous for moderation. Try editing a comment... This encourages mods and users to interact as little as possible through that medium.

  • we have a welcome post and a closure post on meta but we can't modify our FAQ or the closure messages, or the post notices to link to them. Some new users don't get to read that first and ask a huge number of bad questions.

  • even when people do read our welcome posts, the system prevents them from doing the right thing by limiting the number of links they can post (e.g. In an answer)

Last but not least: it does not take mod powers to leave a comment. The close reason, in this case, is clear. Why didn't you add a comment yourself? [edit: you did comment and I did not notice. My bad. However, your question should really be directed to the community at large, and not specifically to a mod]

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  • is there a reason that we can't link the meta posts in the FAQ? – Ryathal Sep 5 '12 at 14:55
  • We already do, but it's not the same thing. – Sklivvz Sep 5 '12 at 18:27
  • when I first read your post I thought that was not the case, I think that is good enough. Simply browsing questions makes it pretty obvious this site is quite a bit different there is only so much hand holding we can do. – Ryathal Sep 5 '12 at 20:43
  • If your equipment is bad for moderation, don't moderate. – user unknown Sep 11 '12 at 4:39
  • There's nothing wrong with my equipment... There's a lot that can be improved on the site UI. I do what I need to do, but if nobody says anything or makes suggestions, how can the situation improve? – Sklivvz Sep 11 '12 at 7:29
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Every time I venture to other SE's outside of math.SE, I have to prepare myself for the barbarism of the outer lands.

Yesterday was the first time I had a relevant question to ask here. It turned out it needed to be broken into two subquestions. One is regarding a specific discredited result of a scientist, and the other asks about the institution which gave him an award for the discredited research.

Both were closed almost immediately by a single moderator. I will not dispute that my second question is not about a single claim, but I will try to make the case here that the second closure really seems like a ham-handed knee-jerk reaction against a "new user" who was not asking questions "the right way".

I was prepared for a non-reception of the second question, because it does not ask about a specific claim; nonetheless, isn't it a relevant question for a skeptic to ask?!

The second question is presumably fine, but it was closed with the complaint that (to paraphrase) "two questions is one too many". Really the questions I asked are very close to each other, and it is obviously a waste of time to create two different posts to address both. How else can I diagnose this closure except that it was simply an excuse to shut the question up?

I don't expect anything to change with the situation, but I just wanted to express my disappointment with my first visit here. I really doubt that either question I asked is so much worse than "were bears trained to serve vodka..." and "can a person forget their own name" that they have to voted negative and closed immediately.

From the number of other meta posts complaining about this hostility, I can see that I am not the only one who has noticed the problem. This sort of behavior is awesome if you want your SE to be known as overrigid in its FAQ and closed to outsiders, but presumably that is not the impression you want people to get.

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  • You knowingly asked a question which lacks a claim, which is specifically listed as off topic for this site and are upset that the community did the correct thing in closing your question. Do you go to Burger King and order a Big Mac and get upset when they don't give you one? – Ryathal Sep 10 '12 at 20:41
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    As for you other question it has been reopened, and there is a reasonable chance that it will end up with a positive score. closing a question early helps save it from a storm of downvotes so it can still be saved by edits. If questions are left open too long that are borderline they can gather enough downvotes to drop them off the front page which effectively kills them. Getting a question closed quickly isn't fun, but its a lot better to be closed quickly than to get a -5 or lower score and then get ignored and eventually closed. – Ryathal Sep 10 '12 at 20:52
  • @Ryathal I could not have come up with a more sarcastic, rigid rule-book thumping remark if you had asked me to. My challenge to you all about "isn't it a reasonable question for a skeptic to ask" still stands. – rschwieb Sep 10 '12 at 20:56
  • @Ryathal I don't think there's anything wrong with closures at all. I do think there's a problem when unilateral closures happen too frequently, though. – rschwieb Sep 10 '12 at 21:00
  • this site is about "questioning notable claims" not "reasonable questions for a skeptic to ask." Whether your question is a relevant question for a skeptic is irrelevant to the discussion. All SE sites have a narrowly defined scope and actively enforce that scope, that is why these sites have the quality and traffic they do. To put this in more familiar terms it would be like complaining that my math related questions to solve for X and show work that I copied out of a textbook should be allowed on math.se because they are reasonable mathematical questions. – Ryathal Sep 10 '12 at 21:06
  • Sorry, can you provide examples of where I have been hostile? Are my comments hostile? Closure should not be interpreted as an hostile act. Did you read our welcome post? We have a special kind of scope here... That means we need to close more stuff. OTOH, if you go to any new site and feel allowed to complain at length after 24h or so of participation, then probably the hostility problem is yours. – Sklivvz Sep 11 '12 at 7:03
  • Also, some numbers: math.SE has 66k questions and 21k visits/day or 0.3 visits/page/day; skeptics has 3k pages and 7.3k visits/day or 2.4 visits/page/day. This is clearly because we focus on quality and not quantity. A big part in that is closing questions we can't address in a sensible manner. – Sklivvz Sep 11 '12 at 17:46

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