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Here is my user experience

I recently had a question closed on me without given the time to improve it. Like all developers, we will get stuck on an impediment that we can't solve, sometimes late into the night. After asking a question, I typically disconnect for a rest (or sleep) and come back to see responses to either adjust my question based on feedback or accept an answer. In my instance, my question had already been auto-closed before I was given opportunity to go through the comments and respond accordingly.

Here's the question that was closed on me:

Custom IOC container - need help on 2/3 types

I may have not been able to word my question perfect, but I think my intentions are in align with the goal of Stack Overflow.

"No matter what programming language you use, or what operating system you call home – better programming is our goal."

"If your motivation for asking the question is “I would like to participate in a discussion about _”, then you should not be asking here. However, if your motivation is “I would like others to explain _ to me”, then you are probably OK"

I don't believe my question fell into any one of these categories.

  • exact duplicate
  • off topic
  • not constructive
  • not a real question
  • too localized

Assumptions

  • Users make mistakes in their questions

Goals

  • Prevent down-voted questions from triggering a close before the user has the ability to review/improve/comment/flag.
  • Provide a better user experience for the question/comment/answer/flagging process
  • Increase both staff and user productivity
  • Reduce server load
  • Encourage users to ask questions
  • Prevent users from forcing a question to be closed before it is flagged as uncontructive

Concerns

  • Auto-closing questions due to down-vote can have a negative impact on both users and staff
    • User's reputation can inaccurately be affected
    • The user is forced to use Moderator Flag to report unconstructive comment
    • User productivity decreases due to time it takes to request to re-open
    • Staff productivity decreases due to having to review the question
  • The user's effort into a question isn't taken into consideration
  • More server resources used due to the increase in question activity
  • Users not given enough time to review comments and take action

Possible solutions

  • Close-votes trigger a delayed close to give the user the opportunity to review/improve/flag/comment
share|improve this question
6  
Fun fact: there are 4,000+ new questions every day on SO. With that in mind, is it too much to ask that users formulate an intelligible question before posting? –  Pëkka Dec 7 '11 at 21:22
1  
I think you have some misunderstandings about how closing works. The comment was only peripherally related to the close. Experienced users cast votes for question closure. It takes five such votes to cause closure. Also, have a look at: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/94057 and meta.stackexchange.com/questions/10890 –  Josh Caswell Dec 7 '11 at 21:31
6  
"auto closing due to downvote"? "forced to consume a moderator flag"? "time it takes to flag for review"? These things make no sense at all. I can't even argue with them. Look, being closed is "the opportunity to review and improve". You don't need a state before closed, you need to change your opinion of what closed means. –  Kate Gregory Dec 8 '11 at 16:17
    
@KateGregory Thank you for clarifying that. I updated what you pointed out to make sense now. –  Eric Romanowski Dec 8 '11 at 17:42
    
possible duplicate: Let questions stay open for a minimum time –  Josh Caswell Dec 8 '11 at 20:05

6 Answers 6

Closure doesn't mean the absolute death of a question.

You can still edit the question now and it can be reopened. Reopening can be done either by 5 community votes or by moderator. You can flag your question for review, if you feel it's been edited into a better form and deserves reopening.

share|improve this answer
    
The point I wanted to make is that I took a reputation hit and had to use a moderator flag on a question that I believe was communicated well enough to get responses other than "And what is the question?". I added this to the question/idea box in my question: "Assuming the time it took to write the question is being recorded; could the amount of time it took to write the question drive the number of votes it takes to close the question?" –  Eric Romanowski Dec 7 '11 at 17:14
    
@EricRomanowski: If we're going to now discuss a specific question, you need to provide a link to that question so that we can review the edit history. –  Robert Harvey Dec 7 '11 at 17:16
    
Absolutely, here's the link: stackoverflow.com/questions/8408675/… –  Eric Romanowski Dec 7 '11 at 17:19
1  
close votes don't lower your rep. And most folks don't downvote closed questions. By closing fast, 5 users (probably not mods) saved you rep. And some questions get re-opened without a mod flag - people notice your edit and vote to re-open. Less common on SO due to volume. –  Kate Gregory Dec 7 '11 at 17:21
    
I felt that the statement "I think I have a basic example of constructor injection, but can't seem to find a complete setter or interface injection example." and the title "Custom IOC container - need help on 2/3 types" implies my question. I feel like my question was disregarded because I simply didn't have a question mark in it. I feel like there should be a differentiation between questions where users are being lazy, and questions where users that are struggling on how to word their question. –  Eric Romanowski Dec 7 '11 at 17:27
1  
Worth noting: That question has no downvotes. They were probably removed, either by community members, or by the SE software when the question was reopened. –  Robert Harvey Dec 7 '11 at 17:28
    
Also, requests for external resources (links) are generally off-topic or not constructive, and it's not clear in your original edit that you are asking for that, or a code sample from the community (gimme the codez). All that said, I thought the question was fine as is; it was easy enough to divine your intent. The community should have just edited it to put the question mark in, if that's what the problem was. –  Robert Harvey Dec 7 '11 at 17:30
1  
@EricRomanowski In general, a question receives an automatic downvote when it's closed as off-topic, not constructive, and (I think) "not a real question". That works well for questions that truly had to be closed. In your case, as Robert Harvey says there are no downvotes on the question, so you didn't lose any reputation. –  Anna Lear Dec 7 '11 at 17:44
5  
@EricRomanowski: even after your edits it is still not terribly constructive. You're asking for a list of "Best Practice" or "Industry Standard" examples of setter injection (I say list because software isn't The Highlander, there isn't just one answer). You need to ask a more concrete question. –  user7116 Dec 7 '11 at 19:12
    
I think we're getting caught up in the details of the question we're referring to. Basically, I wanted to express my concerns. –  Eric Romanowski Dec 7 '11 at 21:15
1  
The details of the question are exactly what caused this question. –  Andrew Barber Dec 8 '11 at 19:37

Think of closing as "preventing answers until you edit" and you'll realized you got just what you need. If people had randomly answered based on what they guessed you meant, the whole thing would be a mess. Go ahead and edit it into shape, and it can be reopened. Then it will attract the sort of answers it deserves.

It's true that for unmotivated (or uninformed) users, "until you edit" is "forever", but that's not the real point of closing.

share|improve this answer
    
I added to my question/idea bucket: "Assuming time it took to write the question is being recorded; could the amount of time it took to write the question drive the number of votes it takes to close the question?" What do you think? –  Eric Romanowski Dec 7 '11 at 17:15
1  
@Eric: That scheme is easily upset by an asker either typing the question out in a text editor and copy-pasting, or starting the question, getting a phone call, and finishing the question in 30s upon return. –  Josh Caswell Dec 7 '11 at 20:59
    
Good point, removed time measurement as a possible solution –  Eric Romanowski Dec 7 '11 at 21:24
    
My concern is that closings occur prematurely. The question may have only been visited by people who have limited experience with the question and out of frustration voted to get it closed. –  Eric Romanowski Dec 7 '11 at 21:29

Assuming time it took to write the question is being recorded; could the amount of time it took to write the question drive the number of votes it takes to close the question?

Yes it could. But it shouldn't.

If you hold forth for an hour, writing pages and pages of text with no actual content, that doesn't make your question any better than one line of text followed by a massive splurge of code. Sure, it could be better. Or it could be an incoherent rambling mass of nothing.

There is no point to this. Either a question is up to scratch or it isn't. How long it took to write is not relevant to that.

share|improve this answer
    
Good point, removed that as a possible solution. –  Eric Romanowski Dec 7 '11 at 21:23

Assuming that the time it takes to write the question is being recorded, could that value drive the number of votes it takes to close the question?

No. I've seen lots of long rambling discourses that must have taken ages to write that were absolutely awful. I've seen a lots of questions that quickly and concisely get to the point about their problem with a pasted in example / error output, that were good questions that probably didn't take too long to type at all.

A bad question is a bad question and a good question is a good question. The typing speed of the person asking the question doesn't change that.

share|improve this answer
    
Good point, removed that as a possible solution. –  Eric Romanowski Dec 7 '11 at 21:23

Others have given good advice on handling your case. I'll respond to the suggestion, "Could the amount of time it took to write the question drive the number of votes it takes to close a question?"

It seems unlikely there is a strong correlation between question quality and time taken to write a question. Fabulous questions might be written elsewhere and then just pasted into the form. Both great and terrible questions may be sweated over. This wouldn't be an improvement on the current system.

share|improve this answer
    
Good point, removed that as a possible solution. –  Eric Romanowski Dec 7 '11 at 21:23

Goal: Prevent down-voted questions from triggering a close before the user has the ability to review/improve/comment/flag.

First, down votes and close votes do not have any mechanical effect on each other; members cast these two types of votes independently of each other. There exist open questions with negative scores, and closed questions with scores in the double or triple digits.

Second, closing does not prevent the asker from doing any of those things; it only prevents answers from being posted.

Goal: Provide a better user experience for the question/comment/answer/flagging process

This is very broad goal, though not a bad one.

Goal: Increase both staff and user productivity
Concern: Staff productivity decreases due to having to review the question

The staff, as far as I'm aware, has not been involved in your question. They do have moderator powers and do use them, but by and large, regular users are responsible for closing questions. The Elected Moderators have special abilities but are not on the staff. A moderator, NullUserException♦ reopened your question, presumably after you flagged it to ask for such.

Goal: Reduce server load
Concern: More server resources used due to the increase in question activity

I'm not sure why you think this is an issue. The basic functions of the site are causing technical problems? If that's so, StackExchange has much bigger problems than worrying about this one little kerfluffle.

Goal: Encourage users to ask questions

Stack Overflow has, almost literally, no end of people wanting to ask questions. Thousands of questions are posted every day -- almost too many to handle. We do all that we can to find the good ones and provide good answers.

Goal: Prevent users from forcing a question to be closed before it is flagged as uncontructive [sic]

Again, flagging and close voting are not directly connected. Often a user who does not have the close vote privilege will, believing a post to need closing, flag it. Flags are viewable by moderators and by users with at least 10k rep. Either of them can review the post* and act appropriately. Even when a post is flagged, non-moderators still cast votes to close. Only moderators have the power to close a question on their own.

The purpose of a flag is to allow a user who thinks that something is wrong but can't take action to bring that something to the attention of a user who can take action.

Concern: Auto-closing questions due to down-vote can have a negative impact on both users and staff

Again again, questions are not "auto-closed" due to downvotes. Further, your question has received only one downvote (which wasn't cast by a user -- see next item). You'll have to be much more specific about the "negative impact", especially on how it affects the staff.

Concern: User's reputation can inaccurately be affected

I'm not sure in what sense you mean "inaccurate". Your reputation changes in response to votes. Questions closed for certain reasons do incur an auto downvote, but that's not inaccuracy.

Concern: The user is forced to use Moderator Flag to report unconstructive comment

You're not "forced" to do anything. The comment has no direct relationship to any other activity on your post. If you find the comment problematic, then you may flag it to help clean up the site. Your flags are replenished at the end of every day.

Concern: User productivity decreases due to time it takes to request to re-open

I assume that you mean yourself, the asker, in "user productivity" here. Frankly, when you post a question that isn't suitable for the site, you're "decreasing productivity" for everyone else who has to read it and take action. If some of your time is wasted in return, well...

Concern: The user's effort into a question isn't taken into consideration

There's no feasible way to measure the effort put into the question except by reading the question as posted. If you've put sufficient effort into the post, then it should be a specific, (reasonably) well-composed, and well-researched question that others will be happy to answer.

Concern: Users not given enough time to review comments and take action

When a comment or answer is posted, you're notified the very next time you load a page, anywhere on the SE network. You can react almost in real time. I don't understand this concern at all.

I've directly addressed your bullet points; they are generally founded in misunderstanding. Please poke around on Meta. I think that you will find reasonable explanations for most of the behavior you see on Stack Overflow. If you find something that still seems wrong to you, then bring it here, but (just as on SO proper) only after doing your research.


*Although only a moderator can dismiss the flag.

share|improve this answer
    
"When a comment or answer is posted, you're notified the very next time you load a page, anywhere on the SE network. You can react almost in real time. I don't understand this concern at all." What about my scenario, where I posted a question and went to sleep? The question didn't even have enough exposure to be deemed "no research effort", "unclear", or "not useful". There was no constructive feedback, it was just closed. –  Eric Romanowski Dec 9 '11 at 1:48
    
@EricRomanowski and it was reopened once you tweaked it. –  Andrew Barber Dec 9 '11 at 4:48
    
@Eric: I'd say that's not a great idea. Post your question at a time when you can hang around for at least twenty minutes. You get the most attention on your post when it's new, and potential answerers might need clarification or expansion. They'll leave comments, and if you don't reply in a reasonable amount of time, they'll just leave. This will also allow you to get immediate feedback or clarification for any answers that are posted. People enjoy engaging with a question asker; they don't like just tossing their answer out there without knowing if it was helpful. –  Josh Caswell Dec 9 '11 at 7:31

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