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I think we need to be nicer when closing questions. I think of new people look at having their question closed as being a slap in the face and a real turn off for the site. The automated messages are informative, but not that nice. I don't think they suggest welcoming edits to improve the question. We have had a couple of recent questions be closed/edited/reopened very quickly and I think that is a good thing.

I think the last (generally the 5th unless you have mod powers) person who votes to close a question should post a "personal" comment. This should only get added when the question actually gets closed since the OP will not find out about close votes until the question is closed (unless they have enough rep, and then they presumably understand the process).

I would propose something like:

Your question was closed as a duplicate. A link is provided at the top of your question to the possible duplicate. If you don't think your question is really a duplicate, please edit your question to highlight the differences and then we can reopen it.

Obviously something different would be needed for localized and not constructive questions.

What do people think? Can we just change the automated text to be nicer?

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migrated from meta.academia.stackexchange.com Jan 24 '13 at 14:00

This question came from our discussion, support, and feature requests site for academics and those enrolled in higher education.

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"The last one to close should post a comment" is an interesting variation. I totally agree in principle that every closed question should ideally have a custom nice comment, but it's been discussed very often before, and the consensus is that not every user can be expected to post a nice comment. Improving the automated text seems like the only realistic option –  Pëkka Jan 24 '13 at 14:03
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@Pekka웃 .Too optimistic. Not every user can be expected to post a nice comment? I would be surprised if at least one user wouldn't try to leave [ALT]+[0160] as a comment on the first day the feature would be made live. I agree with you. If you want a nicer feel to close, you must work on the auto-messages. –  SPArchaeologist Jan 24 '13 at 14:07
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This seems like a great idea in theory, but in practice there are a lot of close-worthy posts around and writing a good, personal, informative comment on each and every one of them is a very tall order. I don't think it's the sort of thing that can even be expected, let alone required. It's certainly the most helpful way to do it, but forcing comments for closures would just result in vastly less closures for all the wrong reasons (alternately it'd result in meaningless "I'm closing this" comments) –  Ben Brocka Jan 24 '13 at 14:10
    
Random thought, what if the close reasons included an "edit" link for NC and NARQ close reasons (maybe others/all?). That way it's more clearly a call to action. While most of the close reasons hit at "this could be edited" there's no clear call to action; that could help the "people don't know they should edit" part, which does seem to come up often –  Ben Brocka Jan 24 '13 at 14:14
    
While I am fine with the question being migrated to SO, I think there is a big difference between a beta site and a full blown site. At AC.sx we currently only have a handful of people who can vote to close. The issue hasn't been discussed there before and I thought people could use a reminder. –  StrongBad Jan 24 '13 at 14:29
    
@BenBrocka "a lot of close-worthy posts", is perhaps a bi of an understatement the close vote queue on SO currently has over 45k posts in there. –  Jack Jan 24 '13 at 15:10
    
@Pekka웃 - For what it's worth, the main problem seems to be one of scale, which is a problem for the main SO site but not the betas; we're lucky if we get 7 questions in a day, and I think other betas are similar. Maybe this is worth addressing only for the betas? –  eykanal Jan 24 '13 at 15:18
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There are, of course, users who have had many questions closed. At some point it becomes silly to keep explaining: they aren't listening. –  dmckee Jan 24 '13 at 16:25
    
I agree with an automated comment feature request. I've noticed a correlation between helpful comments I've left on low quality questions from new users and security warnings on the website I list on my profile. As a result, I am less likely to leave a comment unless I can offer something that is constructive to help the OP resolve what I believe to be their issue. –  cpilko Jan 24 '13 at 16:30
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3 Answers

You can (and should) already do that without any changes to the mechanics. Leaving a personalized comment is a good idea, not only for the last user to vote, but for any of the closing users if there isn't a comment yet explaining the closure.

The automatic text can be better of course, but it doesn't replace a personalized comment, as you can be much more specific there than in a close reason that has to apply to a broad range of questions.

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Yes, ideally the earlier close-voters will comment and the post will get fixed before it reaches five votes. (Hard on the huge sites like SO, of course, but on smaller sites it can take hours to close a question, sometimes days.) –  Monica Cellio Jan 24 '13 at 15:20
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I think everyone agrees that it would be nice to post a custom comment when closing a question. However I don't think that it should be required for a couple of reasons.

  1. As Pekka 웃 mentioned not everyone can be expected to write a "nice comment, it is often a lot easier to tell that there is a problem with a post (duplicate question, to broad etc.) then it is to write a "nice comment". Forcing the last close vote to comment, will either result in a lot of poor quality comments (but perhaps that's still better then nothing), or discourage a lot of close votes, which brings up the second issue.

  2. The close vote queue is already quite large (on SO it is currently over 45k), requiring a comment is likely to slow down the queue even further (even users that can write a "nice comment" might not be inclined to do so.

Maybe a slightly variation of this request can be used, in that when you vote to close you should have an option to also write a comment along with it (maybe it should only be presented if none of the previous close votes filled in that comment box).

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I agree because I simply don't have enough time to write a new custom comment for everything I VTC. In many cases, the OP has put minimal effort into the question, so I'm not going to spend too much effort on their question either. SO has a wealth of resources available for users about how to ask. If the user doesn't bother to read them, I don't see how one more comment will help. –  KatieK Jan 24 '13 at 17:31
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There might be a feature request lurking here. I think I've been frustrated recently when trying to do just this: going through the review queue for Close votes and finding one with no apparent comment to explain the rationale. I've tried to post a comment, the main thing being where a Question might be improved/edited to overcome the reason for closing. I don't know how generic this is, but I think you have to drill down to the item itself as the review queue itself doesn't allow posting comments (even though the boilerplate text encourages the reviewer to consider editing rather than voting to close or leave open).

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