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When a question is closed, such as when it's not a real question, there are 5 possible things you could have done wrong. Why don't we get rid of the canned messages and have the users/mods actually type why. Maybe it will force them to see some questions shouldn't be closed, because they can't write out why.

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"5 possible things" and "5 possible broad categories of things" aren't the same. –  meagar Apr 16 '13 at 2:59
    
I completely agree. A user does not necessarily know why his question is closed with the canned responses. –  Supuhstar Apr 16 '13 at 14:25
    
Ouch. Just Ouch. While I get the difference of voting on meta/main site, I was question banned for asking this question. –  Ian Carroll Apr 20 '13 at 1:29

3 Answers 3

up vote 12 down vote accepted

Maybe it will force them to see some questions shouldn't be closed, because they can't write out why.

Well, that's one possible outcome.

The other, rather more likely outcome involves folks writing exactly why they're closing. Without any of the polite and occasionally euphemistic phrasing present in the canned messages.

I don't think that would make anything better.

We're currently working on implementing some of the ideas discussed here - part of that will probably involve asking folks for clarification when none of the predefined options for closing fit the situation. If so, that'll be in addition to the canned messages... Not in their place.

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I used to think this way.

I used to be frustrated when questions were closed with no real explanation and only downvotes and close votes.

Then I got enough rep on a StackExchange site to start closing questions.

Then I stuck around for months longer, closing questions as necessary and trying to help users improve their questions.

Then I realized many questions were posted with no regard to FAQs and no effort to make the life of those answering them easier.

Then I started to get better at identifying these questions based on style.

Then I started to get somewhat weary of trying endlessly to get people to make their questions better only to see people not try nor care.

Now, I see why people cast close or downvotes or delete votes without making a huge effort to post comments on every single question fitting the "no effort" category.

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Questions aren't closed by mods. They are closed by 5 people with over 3000 reputation. (They can also be closed by a mod, but this is not as common.)

How would you decide whose message to use?

Also, this is a lot more effort and would take a lot longer. Less people would close, and that would be bad because more low quality stuff would stay open.

Furthermore, the canned comments explain pretty well why the question was closed. One may always type out an extra explanation in the comments, too.

If the OP is confused about why the question was closed, they can ask in the comments or @-tag one of the closers. If everything else fails, you can always ask on meta with the tag .

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It would take longer, but if a) someone had to tell you why or b) clicked a button, it would be much easier to just whizz through the question –  Ian Carroll Apr 16 '13 at 1:02
    
Small note: @-comments won't notify a close voter unless he has a diamond. How do comment replies work? –  Josh Caswell Apr 16 '13 at 19:39
    
@Josh you could find one of the user's posts and comment on that –  Doorknob Apr 16 '13 at 20:09

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