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Should a user have to add a comment when they vote to close

I'm very surprised that this has not been asked in this manner before. (Did I miss it? Search didn't display what I was looking for.)

Incentive for this request is a question of mine on Programmers that was recently closed, but I distantly remember multiple similar cases in the past, too.

Questions currently get closed with a general tag defining the issue (like 'off topic'). Usually there is also a comment explaining this further.

Sometimes this comment is missing, and the user may well be left in confusion. That's why I would strongly encourage everyone and especially mods to actually leave a comment explaining the problem.

This avoids a fair part of the 'why was this closed' kind of questions on meta. It is also polite, helpful and constructively gives users a better understanding of what the site is about.

Referring to the FAQ is not at all sufficient. It is well known that users don't read messages, and while I do understand that everyone is required to get themselves together and try to improve the site with useful content that conform to the statements made in the FAQ, making users go all the effort to study the details closely enough to understand cases that are not blatantly obvious is certainly wrong.

It also displays an unfriendly and impolite attitude, and while the majority of users won't care or mind too much, some do feel a bit offended and repulsed. This is really easy to change and provides significantly better user experience, so why not?

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marked as duplicate by Ladybug Killer, random Jul 5 '11 at 19:54

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

    
Asked on Meta Programmers –  ChrisF Jul 5 '11 at 14:03

1 Answer 1

This is really easy to change and provides significantly better user experience, so why not?

It makes closing much slower; you're requiring people who already spend time finding bad posts and closing them (for absolutely no reward, not even rep or badges) to spend even more time explaining things to people, when the site already explains it in handy box form

This avoids a fair part of the 'why was this closed' kind of questions on meta.

This seems wildly unlikely -- most of those posts are of the form "my question got closed as subjective, but it's totally not!". A comment saying "I closed this, because it's subjective" isn't going to do anything, and a paragraph explaining things is unnecessary in most cases

Referring to the FAQ is not at all sufficient. It is well known that users don't read messages

So we have to take time out of our lives to convert the close box's explanation to a comment so people are more likely to read it? I'm really not that interested in helping people that can't take the time to read text right on the page

making users go all the effort to study the details closely enough to understand cases that are not blatantly obvious is certainly wrong.

If it's a rare case that requires explanation, I'll leave a comment; I'm not going to leave a comment on every single post explaining why I closed it when a majority of them are things like "My teacher wants me to write a program to defragment my hard drive, please e-mail me the source code"

It also displays an unfriendly and impolite attitude

It does not, this argument bothers me. If I posted a question on a site I'd never been to and it got closed I'd think "crap, now I feel bad for wasting their time", not "how DARE they!". I couldn't be less concerned with making the latter group feel better about themselves

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As for the 'makes closing slower/avoids discussion' - I do believe an additional comment reduces the following discussions enough to make up for the extra time. Granted, maybe I overestimated that factor, but I believe I didn't. Also, I think you didn't consider the learning factor enough - if I were always given an explaining comment I would have known how to avoid bad posts better. Isn't educating your users thing to strive for? –  mafutrct Jul 5 '11 at 14:20
    
@mafutrct There really aren't that many discussions. The vast majority of closings are never disputed. As for the learning factor, you also could follow the links from the closing reason and learn that way. A short comment from a mod that summarizes some part of the FAQ isn't a replacement for reading the FAQ. –  Anna Lear Jul 5 '11 at 14:27
    
Regarding the 'unfriendly attitude' - I also go 'oops I wasted someone's time' usually. Though when I try to contribute and get knocked out by a close without knowing why, well... . Maybe I set my standards too high, but I thought this site is serious about providing a great user experience. To me, it did and still does, but the closing system leaves a sour taste. –  mafutrct Jul 5 '11 at 14:28
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@mafutrct You seem to be advocating providing a "great user experience" for brand-new users at the expense of people who spend huge amounts of time reviewing posts and closing them. Nobody is against a great user experience, but I'm unwilling to inconvenience every user that closes a post ever to satisfy the tiny group of people who feel they warrant a special comment explaining things to them –  Michael Mrozek Jul 5 '11 at 14:30
    
When you said you don't get anything for closing questions, obviously, I recognize your hard work and am really thankful. If I were Jeff, I'd try to find a way to give you some benefit out of it (maybe he does already, I don't know). But on the other hand - if you feel like it's not worth the effort, and not worth the effort to "appear nice", then maybe you should reduce the time spent - it seems you're worn out. I'm not saying you or anyone else is. I'm just referring to Jeff's thoughts about ensuring a good time for the users, including those who made a mistake in their posts. –  mafutrct Jul 5 '11 at 14:32
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@AnnaLear: Did you have a look at Programmers' meta? At least today it looked like a lot of people were wondering about close reasons. However, if you're sure that the time spent on the two ways of explaining closes (in the Q and on Meta) are so different, I'll let go of that point in my argumentation. –  mafutrct Jul 5 '11 at 15:16
    
@mafutrct I always look at Programmers' meta. :) I currently see 3 questions related to disputing the closing of a specific question. I stand by my statement - fewer closings are disputed than not. I generally leave a comment when I close questions, but I can't say how useful those comments are or if anybody reads them. –  Anna Lear Jul 5 '11 at 15:19
    
@AnnaLear: Oh, I would never have imagined there to be more 'closings be disputed than not' (i.e. > 50%), but if you're sure even the remainder multiplied by the additional time for meta discussions is so small that it's insignificant then I'll accept that (In fact, am happy to hear). My other points still stand though. –  mafutrct Jul 5 '11 at 15:24
    
@mafutrct Fair enough. I personally don't think that expecting users to read the FAQ is in any way impolite. Closing questions isn't personal and it's unfortunate that it usually comes across as an attack. –  Anna Lear Jul 5 '11 at 15:26
    
@AnnaLear: Oh, I'm sorry, I just realized you were actually a mod on Programmers. I didn't know, sorry about the question if you had a look at meta there. ^^; –  mafutrct Jul 5 '11 at 15:57
    
@mafutrct It's all good. :) –  Anna Lear Jul 5 '11 at 15:58

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