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I see quite a lot questions that might be useful but do not provide enough information in order for us to be able to answer. See this one, for example.

Strictly speaking, these questions should be closed as not a real question:

It's difficult to tell what is being asked here. This question is ambiguous, vague, incomplete, overly broad, or rhetorical and cannot be reasonably answered in its current form. For help clarifying this question so that it can be reopened, see the FAQ.

But just flagging is so easy.

I see questions getting closed as not a real question without any comment on how the OP could improve the question... I don't like that, it's not giving new users (this problem mostly arises with new users) a welcome feeling. For an example, see this one. Yes, it is a bad question. But the Meta system might be confusing for new users, so why not leave a tiny-tiny comment to explain it? It's just plain rude this way.

This resulted on Electrical Engineering in a behaviour of

  1. not immediately voting to close,
  2. not immediately downvoting,
  3. commenting to help the OP improve his question.

DrFriedParts gives some explanation, as does rawbrawb. I think this is good behaviour. [closed] sounds final. Downvotes discourage the OP. With this behaviour, we help new users get to know the site.

However, there's a problem with this behaviour too. We have questions that need more information. There has been asked for more information, but the OP didn't provide it. Actually, he didn't even sign in anymore. For example, this one.

And yes, now we can close it. But in the meanwhile, the post isn't active anymore, nobody sees it anymore. It stays open until the end of times, without the needed information. Or the Community user bumps it, as happened with the earlier linked one.

Thanks, Community user. This question might need an answer, but we need more information and the OP is not going to provide it - so don't bump it. Well, it would be hard - if not impossible - to teach the Community user not to bump questions that need more information. Because how the hell can he know that? So that's not what this feature request is about.

What I would like to see is this:

  • Change the NARQ reason into an ultimatum for the first day. When a question gets some NARQ votes, the OP would get a notification:

    Your question needs improvement. See the comments to see how you can improve your question. If you do not edit your question within a day, your question will get closed.

  • People can only vote for an ultimatum when they either comment on the post, or upvote an existing comment. This way, we ensure that the OP gets help with improving his question.

What would be the benefits?

  • We're being more welcome to new users, because.
    • The "final" [closed] won't come up that fast.
    • The new user gets help with improving his question for sure.
    • The new user gets a notification that he has to improve his question.
  • Faster growing community, because...
    • People like it when they get help instead of getting their questions closed
  • Higher acceptance rate
  • Fewer closed questions

I understand that this could be a major change to the flagging system. Still, I'd like to see what everyone thinks. When a major change can improve the new user's experience (and thereby everyone's experience in the long run, due to a larger community), it should be seriously considered, even though it's a major change.

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Related: meta.stackexchange.com/q/70061/205264 –  Camil Staps Mar 30 '13 at 20:02
    
I'm on a mobile so wary of editing but the Q in NARQ stands for question. Can you change the title to "Ultimatum for NARQs"? –  ben is uǝq backwards Mar 30 '13 at 21:08
    
If you understand what the problem is and there is no comment explaining it, leave a comment explaining it. –  Asad Mar 31 '13 at 6:17

2 Answers 2

up vote 12 down vote accepted

The whole idea behind closing questions as not a real question, is to hold the answers so the OP (or another user) can improve the question. A comment is not mandatory.

And this system works. Questions are reopened if the post is seriously improved. To get another chance. With added benefit that an edit bumps the question on the main page again.

Maybe it is time for a new badge, you get when you edit an closed question that is then reopened. Something like "Lifeguard".

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1  
1) The system doesn't work, I showed it in my question; 2) it's hard to get your question reopened; 3) New users have no idea what a badge is, they won't be interested –  Camil Staps Mar 30 '13 at 20:13
3  
It does work, but it is probably not perfect yet. I visit the reopen queue often and see a lot of reopen request without any serious effort to improve the question. If I see a really improved question, I vote to reopen, but that is not that often. –  Toon Krijthe Mar 30 '13 at 20:19
2  
@CamilStaps: the only time the system doesn't work is when the askers just don't care about how SE works. No benefit in tailoring the system to benefit the lazy. –  user7116 Mar 31 '13 at 13:37
    
Well, the community has spoken. I still disagree, but since you appear to have the community on hand, I accepted your answer. –  Camil Staps Mar 31 '13 at 13:39

I see questions getting closed as not a real question without any comment on how the OP could improve the question... I don't like that, it's not giving new users (this problem mostly arises with new users) a welcome feeling.

Wrong. It's not giving certain new users a "welcome feeling". Not everyone gets their first/second/third/etc questions closed. Many people get the program quickly and can do just fine.

Furthermore, the purpose of closing a question is, first and foremost, to prevent people from answering it. To stop them from providing purely speculative answers to the question. This keeps the signal-to-noise ratio on the question high.

Your problem is that you're too focused on the needs of the person asking the question. That's not why we're here. We're here to create knowledge; we organize that knowledge in a Q&A fashion. And in that way, people who ask questions can get answers that help them. But the main purpose of this is to help anyone who might later want to ask the same question.

A poorly-specified question with a bunch of speculative answers isn't helping anyone. It's not cataloging information correctly. A person can't tell if they even have the same problem or not, because the question is so unclear. You're supposed to be able to read a question and know whether the answers will help you; bad questions don't.

I don't have a problem with simply voting to close without adding a comment. I sometimes do, if it's a new user, and I feel like taking the time to do so. But sometimes I have more important things to do than help someone who can't be bothered to provide basic information. Closing the question is important for maintaining the integrity of the site. Adding a comment is only important for helping the OP do what they should have done to begin with.

In short: closing the question is vital; adding a comment is not.

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+1 primarily for the purpose of closure. A day long ultimatum doesn't do that. –  djechlin Mar 31 '13 at 13:34

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