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Comments on Can we streamline the process for closed bad questions?

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Can we streamline the process for closed bad questions?

+3
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This is related to my other question, https://software.codidact.com/posts/291064. In that I argued we shouldn't close vague or confused questions, so that other people can post an answer if they want.

The current process is that if someone closes the question, you can't answer at all. You could technically try to abuse comments to post an answer, but that goes against the normal way of using the site. You have to flag for reopen, wait for it to be reopened, and post your answer then.

The problem I see with this are:

  1. Reopening takes a while, usually a few days. By then, I may forget about it, or lose the motivation to answer, or no longer have the time to answer. If our goal is to make it as easy as possible for experts to share knowledge, this goes against that goal.
  2. Reopen flags are not a very transparent process. When I flag to reopen, I have no idea what's happening with that flag. I think on SO you would get a notification when it gets approved/rejected, but I don't think we even get that here. More importantly, what if the mod reviewing my flag does not understand why it should be reopened? Are they going to message me so we can discuss it? How do I even know if anyone looked at the flag? When you complain about a closure, often people say "fix the question and flag to reopen", but the reopen honestly feels like a rain dance.
  3. Reopen flags are insular. I can't easily see who else flagged to reopen and when. I can't message them so we can work together on fixing the question. Best I can do is start a comment thread and hope they see it - I don't think comments on a question you flagged currently generate a notification.
  4. The several-day embargo on answers while you wait for a reopen flag is just too much, IMO. No offense, but a lot of these questions are not that important - especially the ones that end up closed. They're small, simple things - sometimes you see one, you have a few minutes to kill, you figure "what the hell, might as well help the poor guy". I'm not going to create homework for myself by saving my answer somewhere, marking it on my calendar to review it a couple of days, and if reopened post it then - I have plenty of other homework as it is. My claim is that I'm not the only one, and as a site we're missing out on plenty of decent answers and helped newbies with the current closure system.

What can be done to streamline the "bad question-closed-improved-reopened-answered" loop, if anything at all? If you feel it is already perfect, "nothing" is a valid answer - I just don't want to debate that in this question, since I feel like it could be done in the other one already.

I'm not asking about:

  • Questions that are bad beyond being fixable (obviously they should stay closed and be deleted)
  • Question that can be fixed, but the original asker disappears and never bothers to address feedback
  • Questions where you feel it would be bad to answer at all - if the question shouldn't be answered for whatever reason, closing and preventing answers is obviously the correct action
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2 comment threads

<blockquote>so that other people can post an answer if they want.</blockquote> That's exactly what... (3 comments)
View flaggers (4 comments)
<blockquote>so that other people can post an answer if they want.</blockquote> That's exactly what...
Olin Lathrop‭ wrote 3 months ago
so that other people can post an answer if they want.

That's exactly what we want to avoid. If bad questions weren't closed, then there will always be some do-gooder that wants to help the poor OP, people that just want to answer to look smart, and anyone else that looks only at their personal immediate gratification above overall long term site quality.

Bad questions must be closed quickly, and it should take some deliberation to re-open them. Most of the time they aren't fixed, so staying closed is the right outcome.

matthewsnyder‭ wrote 3 months ago · edited 3 months ago

Honestly, what you're criticizing sounds like normal, intended behavior for people on a QA site. It's bizarre to me that one would want to run a QA site and discourage people from asking and answering questions, even denigrating that as "do-gooding". I suspect the site admins don't exactly have the same philosophy as you, but regardless, if they do, they should be clearer about it.

I am participating in this site under the assumption that it's a chill, casual place where I can come to ask people for help and in turn help them if I can, like SO was some 15 years ago. What you describe sounds like some kind of serious digital gardening project, like a rival to Wikipedia or something. Cool, but not something I want to spend my time on - and I'm sure you'd agree that I'd just get in the way.

But that's not the impression I get from https://codidact.org/ at all. So if it really is official policy, it should be made clearer.

Olin Lathrop‭ wrote 3 months ago

This isn't some free for all site where anyone can blurt out anything. We are trying to build a repository of quality questions and answers. Unfortunately what is in the overall site interest is not always in each individual user's interest. Most get it, and refrain from doing things detrimental to the site in the long run. However, experience has abundantly shown that there will always be a few that go for instant gratification, just don't care, or otherwise don't put the site first. This is why we need to close questions. Ideally everyone would refuse to answer bad questions, but unfortunately that's not reality.

Without keeping quality high, the people that do make this place wouldn't be here very long, and it wouldn't serve your purpose either.