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I've just refreshed the newest questions here on Meta, and to my utter disgust 5 questions out of the top 14 are blatantly off topic (there were more further down but I ran out of fingers on one hand so I stopped counting). They are all closed very quickly, but they hang round like a bad smell, cluttering up the questions page and just being messy and in the way.

My universe demands order, continuity and sanity, and these questions interfere with that. I avoid jQuery questions like the plague, and it bewilders me how on earth can anybody possibly think that Meta is the appropriate place to ask Date format conversion in Jquery?. Facebook is something my wife and kids do and I avoid, yet questions like How to Tag User's Friend in The Facebook Applicaton , which is uploading a image have followed me here.

Suggestion: When questions on Meta are closed as off topic (i.e. not accidentally off topic but really off topic because the OP is trying to circumvent a ban or is just a moron), can we please add an appropriate tag to them?

This is a win-win for both me and the moron idiot OP: they still get to see their question has been closed and heavily downvoted, and I can add that special new tag to my ignored tags list. Other people may find that tag useful too, but I don't care so much about them, this is all about me.

share|improve this question
"I avoid jQuery questions like the plague" Well, what else can I say? Haters gonna hate. – BoltClock's a Unicorn Feb 23 '12 at 11:43
I don't think that one off-topic post should categorize a user. There are banning/limitation mechanisms on meta just like the other SE sites. If a user asks question after question that gets closed - we wont be hearing from him for a while :P – Lix Feb 23 '12 at 11:46
@Bolt: Not hatin', just avoidin'. I stay away from questions I can't answer. – slugster Feb 23 '12 at 11:46
@Lix - it isn't about categorising a user or punishing them, it's about having a mechanism to move the mess out of sight. I'm sure they'll get deleted eventually but they do need to stay around for a while for the OP and any other contributers to see them. – slugster Feb 23 '12 at 11:48
I think that the "wrong-site" tag that @Pekka suggested is a great way to organize these problematic posts. – Lix Feb 23 '12 at 11:50
@slugster: Yeah, I know, I'm just messing with ya ;) – BoltClock's a Unicorn Feb 23 '12 at 12:20
not-programming-related, you did not die in vain! :) – AakashM Feb 23 '12 at 12:22
You simply aren't earning rep fast enough to earn the vote-to-delete privilege. Get to work! – casperOne Feb 23 '12 at 13:18

I see no need for a meta-tag that covers only questions that should just be deleted outright. We shouldn't focus on categorizing those questions, but on deleting them quicker.

At the moment we need 3 20k+ users or one mod to delete them, it should be possible to get them deleted very quickly after they are posted. We need either more users that will directly vote to delete, add some option that combines voting + deletion or increase the number of users casting (or being able to cast) close votes on those questions immediately.

There are some issues with making sure that the user sees why their questions was closed, which leads to some delay until some people vote to delete, to make sure the users see the comments and close reason. So making sure that the users are able to see why their questions are closed even if they are deleted directly after they are closed might speed up the deletion.

share|improve this answer
That's the problem - you shouldn't necessarily delete the post immediately as the OP needs to see what happened. If the question just disappears some of them may go even more postal, or may just post again. (Was that a really bad pun? It was kinda unintended :) – slugster Feb 23 '12 at 11:52
@slugster But that's only an artifact of hiding deleted posts from their owners. Providing a way to notify the users why their questions were closed even if they are immediately deleted is the better way to solve this IMHO, instead of using a meta-tag to hide those questions. – Mad Scientist Feb 23 '12 at 11:54
perhaps also let 10k users delete closed questions immediately on meta (read: i-won't-make-it-to-20k). – Lorem Ipsum Feb 23 '12 at 11:57
Deletion is not the only concern with off-topic questions on meta. A user should also be informed of his mistake and directed how to continue - what actions can be taken to lift bans or directing the user to the main sites to ask his/her technical questions. – Lix Feb 23 '12 at 12:05
@Lix The users who come to Meta to post their questions after being banned on SO are either too dumb, too lazy, or too ignorant to even click the big fat link they get when shown the banning message. They are beyond any help we can offer them. – Pëkka Feb 23 '12 at 12:09
@Lix: For what it's worth, for users who repeatedly post off-topic questions here, regardless of when they end up closed and deleted, we issue suspensions to stop them from further pollution. We tell them what they're supposed to do about their bans, but that's about it. – BoltClock's a Unicorn Feb 23 '12 at 12:09
@Pekka - If a user didn't read the faq and didn't differentiate between the meta and main sites then I assume a banning message (actually have no idea what they look like ;) wouldn't be as effective as users commenting on a closed question explaining the mistake and how to go about rectifying it. Repeat offenders obviously should be dealt with differently - maybe a random-bolt-waffle to the face... :P – Lix Feb 23 '12 at 12:14
@Bolt - I don't think there is much more that can be done. But IMO users opinions in comments on the posters closed question would be more effective than system/banning messages... Is there a way that I can see a SCREENSHOT of these messages? No funny business now please :P "There Lix.. you are now banned - that's how the message looks" ;) – Lix Feb 23 '12 at 12:16
@Lix: Not a chance, sorry. There's nothing interesting to look at anyway... :) – BoltClock's a Unicorn Feb 23 '12 at 12:17
@Bolt - Well... I trust it is "big enough" to catch the users attention - If they don't take the time to understand what it means then they will suffer the wrath of our downvotes, the close votes of high reps and the conviction of our mods. – Lix Feb 23 '12 at 12:22
Donate me ~17,000 reps and I help delete all the stinky things. omgplzkthxbye. – Grant Thomas Feb 23 '12 at 12:23
Gimme a diamond and I'll swear I'll keep Meta clean and tidy. *eg* – Time Traveling Bobby Feb 23 '12 at 12:56
@Lix Suspended users get an email message that explains exactly why they have been suspended (there are templates for those emails). If you want to know what the banner that is visible to the user profile says, it says something like "This account is temporarily suspended to cool down. The suspension period ends on Apr 29 '14 at 2:34." or "This account is temporarily suspended for rule violations. The suspension period ends on Sep 20 '14 at 12:21." "Temporary suspended" is a link to A Day in the Penalty Box. – kiamlaluno Feb 23 '12 at 13:22
@k - thanks for that! I imagine that the banner is similar to the system messages. – Lix Feb 23 '12 at 13:29
Ah yes, "just" three 20k+ users. At the moment, Meta only has 30 such users. Of them, 14 are mods, and of the remaining 16, at least two haven't dropped by in months. I can't remember the last time I saw something deleted by non-mods here (self-deletes notwithstanding). – Pops Feb 23 '12 at 15:13

I tend to agree with the removal suggestion. On Meta, we have the unique situation of a continous influx of questions that are easy to identify, unambigously off-topic, and could (should?) vanish from the front page immediately. It's not a big deal, but this could be addressed by the system without any major downsides.

Possible ways to deal with this include:

  • Adding a tag as suggested (like )
  • Expedited removal of off-topic questions that have the tag from the front page
share|improve this answer
"wrong-site" tag... Gonna use that that... It'll make it much easier for the higher rep users and their close votes to find and remove these posts. – Lix Feb 23 '12 at 11:47
That's a meta-tag.... aaarrrgggghhhhhh. $(meta-tags).Dispose("pretty please!");. – user142852 Feb 23 '12 at 11:54
@Nine well, if the meta-tag serves a purpose ... Fabian's suggestion is a good one but there are issues with speedy deletion. A meta-tag would simply serve to take the items off the front page quickly. I can think of no other process that could do that without introducing new problems. Still, if a good way can be found to speed up deletions, I agree that is the preferable way to go. – Pëkka Feb 23 '12 at 11:55

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