I don't mind so much when they explain... it's just the ones that don't talk to me that hurt.


1 Answer 1


It's natural. Most people feel that way. It's one thing to be told you're doing it wrong, it's another to be shut out with a form letter.

In fact, Stack Exchange had a math-savvy intern run the numbers over the summer, and it turns out the best way to get a new user to leave and never come back is to... Not talk to them. Even for users whose first question was closed, if there was so much as a comment left, they had a better chance of showing up again than the ones who got crickets.

It's why we actually nag the moderators on our beta sites to leave comments on closed questions. Lots of folks show up here and get it wrong the first few times out... A bit of time spent explaining things can make all the difference.

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    I was just having a bit of fun, but you're right it is natural. On the other hand, power is a funny thing. People take pleasure in having and using their power no matter how small it is. Both of my questions that were closed were first migrated to another stack site first... where they were closed for not being a good fit for that site. One of them was admittedly not a good question for any site, but the other was fully within SO guidelines. They don't like the question but it feels wrong to close it (since it is) but they feel they must do something so they migrate it. Silly isn't it? Commented Nov 20, 2011 at 23:21
  • I wonder if we can get that math guy to make an algorithm for detecting abusive moderator behaviour :) Commented Nov 20, 2011 at 23:53
  • @Brandon um, which one is the one you think was "fully within SO guidelines" - this one or this one? They both look like perfectly fine migrations to me. From that alone, I don't really see the "abusive moderator behaviour" and people "enjoying to use their power" - what happened to you is what happens to hundreds of questions every day
    – Pekka
    Commented Nov 21, 2011 at 0:12
  • @Pekka The latter. I believe what you mean though is that you agree they didn't belong on SO, not that they were perfectly fine migrations. Or if you did mean that, then you are suggesting that you disagree with the moderators who closed them at the sites they were moved to. Commented Nov 21, 2011 at 0:24
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    @Brandon oh, I didn't see it got closed on the target site, sorry. Right, I'm not sure I agree with that decision - it appears as if you had replaced "home server" by "work server", it would have been allowed to live. That seems ridiculous - although it may well be the way things are done over at SF
    – Pekka
    Commented Nov 21, 2011 at 0:25
  • @Pekka There are a plethora of SVN questions in the same genre as the one I asked and there are indeed tags for all the topics covered in it. It wasn't too broad a question, because as you can see it only got a few posts that I believe did a good job of answering the question. The site it was migrated to specifically states that it is for professionals at work, and not for people trying to do home networking or the like. I clearly fall into that category. But if you disagree with that I would be more interested in hearing why rather than just the fact that you disagree. Commented Nov 21, 2011 at 0:29
  • @Brandon I don't carry much weight on SF and have little experience there, but for what it's worth, I think the question is clearly off topic on SO - it's an administration, not a programming question - , but on topic on SF. Declaring it off topic on SF just because of the word "home server" seems weird.
    – Pekka
    Commented Nov 21, 2011 at 0:31
  • @Pekka I agree with you in regard to the minute difference between 'home' and 'work' as the question could have been just as useful to someone at work. But that's not the point. The point is that the moderator who moved it over there didn't care about that sites rules, they only cared about moving it off SO and that seemed like the best place to dump it... and that just seems a little hypocritical to me. Commented Nov 21, 2011 at 0:32
  • @Brandon but why? It is not a programming problem, is it? It doesn't belong on SO. If I were a moderator, I would have done the same thing. SF is clearly the place it belongs on.
    – Pekka
    Commented Nov 21, 2011 at 0:33
  • @Pekka I appreciate that you've just reminded me that you believe it's off topic on SO, but you still haven't said why?? Commented Nov 21, 2011 at 0:34
  • @Brandon because it does not deal with a programming problem. It deals with setting up and securing an existing version of a piece of server software. It's not about programming, it's about server operations and administration. That is very specifically what Server Fault is there for.
    – Pekka
    Commented Nov 21, 2011 at 0:35
  • @Pekka Have you read the faq on SO? I have, but you apparently have not. Commented Nov 21, 2011 at 0:39
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    @Brandon you don't really understand how these sites work, do you? Five Stack Overflow users voted to migrate your question to Server Fault. Five ordinary users like you and me, not a moderator. That they did so is the result of a certain community consensus that has grown from thousands of discussions on on-topicness, incredibly more fine-grained and specific than the FAQ. If you can drum up support and get five people to vote to migrate back, that means the consensus isn't strong. But in this case, I guarantee you, there will always be five members voting to migrate it to SF.
    – Pekka
    Commented Nov 21, 2011 at 1:15
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    @Brandon what you keep misinterpreting as "bias" is an incredibly strong community desire to keep the sites within a very narrow focus in order to maintain their quality. It's got nothing to do with "not liking your question." Your question is perfectly fine, it just isn't on-topic on SO. You've been a member for 25 days - would it not be worth entertaining the possibility that people who have been hanging around here for a little longer than you actually know what they're doing? And that the "arbitrary discussions" may very well be why these sites are still around, and functioning?
    – Pekka
    Commented Nov 21, 2011 at 1:23
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    Shog9, I think that fact by your math-savvy intern deserves a bit more prominence in the permissions page for close permission -- and maybe even the vote-to-close dialog. As a polite reminder that closing with no corrective instructions isn't very helpful. Thanks.
    – sarnold
    Commented Nov 21, 2011 at 1:29

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