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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
6  
This makes sense. – Octavian Damiean Jun 8 '11 at 21:43
1  
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
4  
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
11  
@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
1  
Ah, I see. So it's for educational reasons. – Robert Harvey Jun 8 '11 at 21:52
15  
@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
5  
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 '14 at 15:12
3  
@RobertHarvey I've seen questions closed after days/weeks/months; monitoring the question for the first few hours/days doesn't help people find out about that. – Monica Cellio Jun 7 '15 at 4:22
12  
With 180 upvotes, and the only non-deleted answers all agreeing with the OP, this really should be addressed. – Zibbobz Jun 8 '15 at 19:28
    
Related (ultimately a dupe): meta.stackexchange.com/questions/272648/… - I did not initially understand that 'on hold' was a species of 'closed', but the notification should also apply to when a question is put on hold. – abligh Jan 9 at 12:44
up vote 88 down vote
+100

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
    
@TimPost: I've yet to see a question on SO close without at least one comment indicating that it might happen. – I know, this is almost four years old, but here you go. – Wrzlprmft Jan 16 at 19:29

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!

  • When site guidelines have changed, and your years-old question no longer fits the site (but could with some editing). (added by @Flimzy)

    As an active member of several sites from the days of early public (or in some cases private) beta, it's common to have a plethora of old questions which no longer meet current site guidelines. It's not always common (or otherwise necessary) to explain a close vote for a new close reason--especially for veteran users (like myself). Numerous times I have stumbled upon one of my old questions on Christianity.SE, for instance, which I had never realized was closed, because it was closed under these exact circumstances. When I notice, I usually clean up the question, and flag for re-opening.

    But only when I notice.

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

While structured as a response to Jeff Atwood’s now-deleted answer, most of this can stand on its own:

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.)

I fail to see how one’s question being closed falls under minutiae. Of course, e.g., to the experienced user it may happen that their question being closed as a duplicate is a minutia, as they already noticed the auto-generated comment by the first respective close vote and may have even cast a close vote themselves, but this is a comparably exceptional case¹: Questions by experienced users are much less prone to being closed, so this feature request mostly aims at inexperienced users, to which it might be at least educational as to how the system works and who usually are not spammed with notifications anyway. In particular first-time users do not even know how things work around here and might just patiently wait for a mail notification of an answer, while they could and should improve their question instead.

Moreover, question closure may be even relevant to experienced users anticipating it, as it concludes a tiny chapter in their Stack Exchange life. Finally, even experienced users may be surprised by question closure (see below).

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.

I strongly disagree. Let’s have a look at to what can happen to my question:

  • It can receive an answer. I get a notification for this.
  • It receives a comment. I get a notification for this.
  • It gets upvoted. I get a notification for this.
  • It gets downvoted. I do not get an alert for this, but I see it in the reputation dropdown, which has the advantage of capturing all of my posts on the whole network. So, there is no need to check back the individual question.
  • It gets edited. If the edit is major, I get a notification; if the edit is minor, I should ideally not bother. Of course, sometimes major edits can be wrongly classified as minor, but that’s another problem and applies to all my posts, not only recently asked questions.
  • It gets closed. I do not get notified.

So, why should I keep refreshing my question, if the only thing that can happen to it is the number of views going up?

Now, one might argue that in most cases, I get a useful individual or canned comment with the first close vote, but neither does this always need to be the case nor does this mean that the question closure hits me by surprise. In particular, if I edit my question to improve it or clarify why it is not a duplicate, a closure that happens later may still be a surprise to me.

To give a real example, let me try to reconstruct the chronology of this question of mine:

  1. Question is posted.
  2. Question receives an opinion-based based answer missing the point (IMHO).
  3. Question receive a comment criticising the question as a rant in disguise, which probably coincided with the first close vote.
  4. In reaction to this, I edit my question, trying to clarify the actual objective (IMHO) question and trying to make it look less like a rant (which I did not intend it to be anyway) and I respond to the respective comment.
  5. Question receives another answer and further non-critical comments.
  6. Nothing happens for 13 hours.
  7. Someboy casts the final close vote and the question is closed.

Now, after step 6, I concluded that I had sufficiently addressed the concerns leading to the closure and the usual initial wave of interest had ceased. Thus the closure was somewhat surprsing to me and something I would like to have been informed of. (Also note how step 6 might take a very long time on Stack Overflow due to the crammed close queues.)

Sidenote: I do not dispute the closure. Apparently, some programmers tend to be dogmatic about this topic and thus there is no way to ask about this without attracting highly subjective answers.

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...

This contradicts the other arguments: You first argued that we need not be informed of closure because we would already get to know about it by other means. Then you argue that we should not be informed because we should not know about it.

Also, it’s arguably more infuriating if I learn about the closure later after having thought that my question was patiently sitting there and waiting for answers for a week (or whatever is long on the respective site or tag) when it could not receive answers due to being closed, with me missing the opportunity to complain about a potentially wrong closure or to improve the question in light of appropriate critique.

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

I fail to see what this has to do with the request. This is not about explaining what is going on, but about notifying somebody that something is going on.


¹ As question owners can now unilaterally close their own question as duplicate, this example is outdated.

share|improve this answer
up vote 27 down vote
+100

This really needs to be implemented. Soon. This question was posted back in 2011 and we haven't actually got an official response now (in 2015). Is it that hard to implement? Or is there some (not officially given) reason not to implement this?

The people saying 'Oh, it's your question. If you really care about it, you should check every day each and every one of your questions on each and every site' are just being ridiculous - do you do that? I seriously doubt it. Yeah - for the first few days - but you (obviously) don't realize that questions can close at anytime. And without warning. There isn't a restriction on when a question can be closed.


Anyways, I've made a userscript to try its best to notify you if a question across the network closes.

Question Close Notifier @ StackApps

There's a full StackApps post over here and a Github Pages website over here - they give you all the information you'll need.

It's really easy to use - it shows notifications as an inbox message - with a count and same-style notification as a standard SE message. All you need is an access token, which you can get by following one of the above links :)

Here's what it would look like:

enter image description here enter image description here

It checks every day, via the API, for questions that have closed since the last day (the last time 'it' checked for you) - more details on how it works can be found on one of the above links!

If you want this as a separate web-app, see my previous 'endeavour' over here. I won't be updating that anymore though! So use this instead :)

share|improve this answer
7  
There was an official response by then SE boss Jeff Atwood a few days after this request was posted, it's a deleted answer here. He says no, with some very bad justification, starting with “We don't believe in overly nagging and notifying people for minutiae” (an argument in especially bad faith since at the time there was a particularly obnoxious notification that you had to dismiss each time you received a badge). Unfortunately, a userscript doesn't help here, because users wouldn't know that they need them — it's highly unintuitive that you get pinged for everything important but closure. – Gilles Jun 8 '15 at 21:34
3  
@Gilles didn't know that! But he's deleted it - so it might be being reconsidered! I agree a userscript isn't as helpful as standard implementation is - but at least it's something - and it proves it isn't hard to implement!! – ᔕᖺᘎᕊ Jun 9 '15 at 6:17

Seeing as this still has not been implemented, I propose that we all leave comments like this one on questions with at least one close vote:

Your question has received at least one vote for it to be closed. If it receives enough close votes, it will be closed, and you will not be notified. I thought I'd leave you a friendly comment to let you know of this possible eventuality, so that you remember to check manually.

If enough of us start posting these comments where it's appropriate, it may get noticed by SE staff, and they may decide to fix this issue. Even if they don't, we'll be informing users on how the site actually works so that they're not unpleasantly surprised by this unexpected behaviour of the site.

share|improve this answer

This answer mostly follows a different line of thought than my existing answer. Hence I posted it separately.

TL;DR: The current system is made as if this feature request were already implemented or has mechanisms compensating for its absence.

I just noticed how ironically a lot of aspects of the current system are either assuming that askers are informed about the closure of their question or consider informing the asker about closure or impending closure a good idea:

  • The closure notice of every question that is closed for a reason other than duplicate contains:

    If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit your question.

    While this can be understood to be addressed at everyone reading the question, there is no denying that it is mostly directed at the asker who is most likely to fix the question. Thus, it assumes that the asker reads the closure notice.

  • For the first five days after closure, closed questions are labeled on hold rather than closed and edits will make them go to the reopen queue. This was done to make closure sound less final, to encourage improvements and to facilitate the reopening process. Of course, all of this makes only sense if the asker reads the closure notice.

  • On beta sites, if a question is closed without a comment, a moderator flag is raised automatically. The obvious idea behind this is that the moderator can tell the asker that something is wrong with the question and provide guidance on improving the question, if none of the close voters bothered to do so. Funnily, the latter is fully understandable if a close reason is spot-on, which happens often enough, in particular if sites have well-phrased close reasons for common cases.

    As a moderator of a beta site where this is the case, I often find myself dealing with such flags by leaving a comment that says nothing more than “please see above”, which serves no other purpose than ensuring that the asker noticed the closure.

  • Voting to close a question with a custom close reason leaves this close reason as a comment, even if the question is not even closed yet. As other users with close privileges could see the close reason anyway, I doubt that the system works this way to give people opportunity to discuss closure. Rather this was done to inform the asker of the problem with the question.

  • Votes to close a question as duplicate generate an automatic comment to inform the asker of the proposed duplicate and the asker is then asked to either confirm the duplicate or to edit the question to clarify how it is different from the suggested duplicate. This obviously only works with informing the asker of the suggested duplicate (what the comment does).

share|improve this answer

This is good and should be implied.

I have some arguments and suggestions going towards the feature.

You are told that if your question is ever closed due to any reason even duplicate, you should edit your question so it fits all the criteria mentioned in the Help Center.

If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit your question.

But if you are unaware that your question was closed in the first place, how can you possibly try to edit your question and attempt to make it reopened?

The system is also made as if this was already implemented and that it nearly almost requires this to function properly:

  • When someone closes a question as duplicate, an auto-comment is created, notifying the OP immediately

  • When someone closes a question for another reason and leaves a comment (optional), the OP gets notified instantly

  • Putting a question on hold before a final decision is best if the OP did his job of attempting to fix the problem in the first place

For those who constantly ask questions, finding whether one of your questions was closed or not can be a big problem or just those who don't even check the status of their old questions anymore... it's still a big issue.

For new users, it can be a great learning experience to rebound from their mistakes and create instead excellent new questions that are well-received from the community, something every new user wants here at SE.

For active users, you would be shocked to see your question closed and would be very eager to reword your question so it can fit the Help Center rules appropriately. But if you don't know it then trouble arrives...

For veteran users... well that's self-explanatory how shocked they will be.

The suggestions

Instead of only generating a comment for just a duplicate, why not create one for each closure reason. This will ping the OP when their question has a close vote for whatever reason, fix it appropriately, and no longer need lots of rep to see the reason for closure until the very end (if it is closed). The format could be like:

Cast close vote for {insert closure reason here}

Short, simple, self-explanatory, and is user-friendly. Another suggestion is so that Community posts a comment saying that your question has been closed:

Your question has been closed. Please edit your question so it will fit the rules of the Help Center.

The good

As new and veteran users network wide get these notifications, they will most likely edit their questions in an attempt to get it reopened and possibly learn from mistakes so that means:

  • Smaller Close Votes queue (Especially for Stack Overflow)

  • Less time closing, more time contributing

  • Moderators and users can take some time off moderating new users and their questions

  • Question quality goes through the roof

The bad

Of course, there will be the bad. Just imagine you are a new user with your first question with high hopes to be well-received by the community and you get a comment that crushes your dreams.

  • New users might be discouraged

  • New users are puzzled

The miscellaneous

Comments should also include some posts relating to creating good posts, such as the Help Center posts or Jon Skeet's detailed blog.

share|improve this answer
    
The format could be like: “Cast close vote for {insert closure reason here}” – That would arguably confuse most users (and also be too long and thus would require a speciac interface). Rather I would have each close vote leave a canned comment (or upvote an existing one) like “I am voting to close this question because it is too broad. Please add details to narrow the answer set or to isolate an issue that can be answered in a few paragraphs.” – Wrzlprmft Jan 26 at 8:54

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