What is meta? ×
Meta Stack Exchange is where users like you discuss bugs, features, and support issues that affect the software powering all 134 Stack Exchange communities.

I think it would really help if you get notified that a question of yours was closed.

Especially for the multi-site power user, usually (at least for me) a question is asked and then left alone for while. I rely on the network-wide inbox to tell me when someone has commented or answered, but if I don't receive any messages then I tend to assume that the question wasn't answered or even noticed. It's only when I check the question a day or two later to see what I can add do I find out it was closed.

This would be especially helpful for duplicates, where the answers you need are already there. A message to the effect of, "Closed as duplicate of question" is just like notifying me that a new answer has been added!

Unfortunately, question closures can remain unnoticed by their askers until months have passed. By then, the questions may either be too old to migrate to the correct site, or may run the risk of automatic deletion, depending on the specific closing reason. We should notify users of these question closures so that they can improve them and learn from their mistakes.

Could closed questions get added to the inbox?

share|improve this question
This makes sense. –  Octavian Damiean Jun 8 '11 at 21:43
You should've received a notification from Gilles's comment explaining that he was about to close it and why. Did you not? –  user149432 Jun 8 '11 at 21:44
If you posted a question, that means that you are expecting answers, so you should be periodically checking your question anyway. What would your response be if you got a close notification? How does the close notification improve your interaction with the site? (closed questions are essentially end-games). –  Robert Harvey Jun 8 '11 at 21:49
@Mark Yes I did receive the comment. However that is just polite behaviour by Gilles, and not something enforced by the system. @Robert I would check my questions after a week or so (some questions are just posted out of interest), and if I saw a question being closed I wouldn't response, but as I explained next questions whould be better. –  Ton Plomp Jun 8 '11 at 21:49
Ah, I see. So it's for educational reasons. –  Robert Harvey Jun 8 '11 at 21:52
@Robert: You needn't check your question actively, because you get a notification about the answer in a box at the top left (at least in Firefox on Linux, I do so). And a closed question can be reopened, if you improve it, for example - in the particular example, things are different, but in general. –  user unknown Jun 9 '11 at 2:10
Is there any indication of what stage this feature is in? (Including being right at the bottom of the "not a chance in hell" pile) –  Yann Dec 19 at 15:12

3 Answers 3

I disagree with @JeffAtwoods answer for multiple reasons (in the same order as his points)

  • So make it opt-in. Why not?

  • I agree that I should care about the question, but I shouldn't have to keep refreshing the page.. Lets say I usually hang out at A.SE. I ask a question at B.SE. Now, being online, I'd naturally like to know about my question immediately. While on A.SE if I'm doing some stuff, I should get the B.SE close notification immediately without having to refresh the page. I care about my question --so much that I want to know what happened to it immediately.

  • Its not just an invitation for complaining, it's also an invitation for improving the question. I've seen many crappy, closed questions get improved and reopened.

  • This point is only valid if the OP realises that it was closed in the first place. Which is the object of discussion here.

As @TimPost said, this may not be appropriate for SO, where it would be rare to see any post without comments, especially a closed one. But, on the SE 2.0 sites, which don't have much activity, this is possible.

share|improve this answer
I don't know if we'd need or want this on SO, since (as I said in your post which turned out to be a dup) I've yet to see a question on SO close without at least one comment indicating that it might happen. That being said, it may make sense on SE 2.0 sites where questions can be closed while crickets chirp. I suggest linking to your recently closed question you used as an example in this answer as well. –  Tim Post Mar 16 '12 at 14:17
@TimPost done....... –  Manishearth Mar 16 '12 at 14:27

To me, many of the available close reasons are a way of saying to the author "This question has serious issues and you need to take some remedial actions to fix them". It makes sense to me that we should be visually prompting them to take those actions via a notification rather than just hoping that they care enough to keep checking in on the question.

When would this be useful?

If you can think of any other situations where this might be useful, please suggest them in the comments.

I can think of the following scenarios where I would find a close notification potentially useful:

  • When I've posted a question into a low traffic tag

If I use one of my own questions as an example. That question is around a month old, it has one vote and a deleted answer. Over the course of its life, that question has attracted just 47 views, with most of those probably being in the first few minutes after posting. Do I check that question every day? Good lord no! Frankly it would be a waste of time for me to do that (admittedly not a significant one). If it was closed right now, I probably wouldn't notice it for a couple of days because I don't consider it to be active, so don't check on it anymore. This is somewhat related to...

  • When the question is no longer active

Most of the activity on the vast majority of questions happens within the first few hours after posting and then nosedives to almost nothing[Citation needed]. We can't reasonably expect everyone to keep close tabs on their inactive questions to see if anything happens to them.

  • When the question is closed as a duplicate

To quote TheLQ:

This would be especially helpful for duplicates, where the answers you need are already there. A message to the effect of, "Closed as duplicate of question" is just like notifying me that a new answer has been added!

There is also some situational value to having a notification. I completely understand Jeff's view:

You should care about your question more than any other human being on the planet. If it is closed, you should already know about that without needing a special magic notification.

And in an ideal world this would indeed be the case. But we don't live in an ideal world, and not everyone sticks around after posting. Some people will wander off completely thinking "I'll check back later", we can't really do much about that and a notification won't be of much use there. But other users will stick around on the SE network. Perhaps they'll go and read a few posts here, or on a child meta, or just hunt for questions to answer on their main site. Those people would benefit from being notified of their question being closed.

Opinions are like...

...so here's mine: I feel that the benefits of being notified about question closure outweigh the negatives - I'd rather have a notification telling me something I already knew than not having one telling me when I hadn't noticed. Per user, having a question closed should be a rare enough occasion that it's not going to cause a huge spam of notifications, and if you consistently ask good questions you should never notice this anyway. I support this.

share|improve this answer
To add to the existing arguments: 1) Even with a fresh question, there is no reason to visit it personally, as (apart from being closed) the only thing that can happen to it without you being notified are minor edits (and in my opinion you should at least have the option to be notified of those too). The only thing you can do is to watch the number of views go up. –  Wrzlprmft Sep 16 at 23:07
2) Suppose you ask a question, some people vote to close and leave constructive comments, you improve the question, then somebody gives the final vote to close anyway and your question is thus closed or put on hold. Depending on the review queues, the closure may happen quite some time after your improvement and if nothing else happened since then, you might as well assume that the question is now ok, but interest has died out (maybe you even have a satisfying answer and accepted it), and thus you have no reason to visit is (see point 1). –  Wrzlprmft Sep 16 at 23:18
For example I edited this question of mine in reaction to some comments, then somebody posted a non-critical comment, then nothing happened for 13 hours and then it was closed. –  Wrzlprmft Sep 16 at 23:26

We generally don't want to do this, for a few reasons:

  • We don't believe in overly nagging and notifying people for minutiae. This is a core philosophy at the highest echelons of the company leadership. (Read: me.)

  • You should care about your question more than any other human being on the planet. If it is closed, you should already know about that without needing a special magic notification.

  • It's an invitation to complain. "Oh look, here is a signed, notarized document telling you we closed your question." Cue Eeyore in 3... 2... 1...

  • The existing close reasons on the question, along with the explanation, should be sufficient for explaining what is going on.

share|improve this answer
You can improve the question, if you get a notification. You get notifications about answers to your question, so why should you do additional lookups? Bullet 3 is a contradiction to Bullet 2: If you expect people to know already, that their question was closed, they were already invited to complain. –  user unknown Jun 9 '11 at 2:15
So for every question that you don't get an answer on or receive comments you recheck every hour/day the actual question? For every site? –  Ton Plomp Jun 9 '11 at 11:44
You get a notification for other responses (comments, answers), so why would you actively check the question? –  Gilles Jun 11 '11 at 12:54
-1 for the reason explained by @Gilles. –  TRiG is Timothy Richard Green Sep 20 '11 at 9:31
@Ton Yes - on every site, for every question without an accepted answer. One should curate their questions. For some reason others did not engage. One can even offer a bounty on a question and that makes it harder to close (except by mods). –  Iterator Nov 19 '11 at 12:02
@JeffAtwood see below –  Manishearth Mar 16 '12 at 14:14
Seeing as you now get this silly notification on every damn rep change, the point about minutiae has become weaker. Also, this recent Meta question made me think maybe this should be done –  Pëkka Jan 26 at 2:02
"If it is closed, you should already know about that without needing a special magic notification." Really? How? –  pacoverflow Oct 17 at 16:49
@Gilles Since the bounty is about to expire, I suggest copying the text of bounty notice to a comment, lest it vanishes without trace. –  Behaviour Oct 20 at 1:26

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .