I'd like to suggest that similar to the 'consider leaving a comment' on down votes, that for close votes on posts by new users - those voting to close be more strongly encouraged to leave a comment. Or perhaps even go so far as to not allow certain close reasons on very new users for the first few minutes.

Especially in cases where the question is unclear or incomplete but could be recovered by editing. Votes to close can happen very quickly before the OP is given a chance to fix their mistake and they aren't able to see why until after the close if no comments are given.

While the close reason itself would be the 'comment' as it were:

It's difficult to tell what is being asked here. This question is ambiguous, vague, or rhetorical and cannot be reasonably answered in its current form.

The rapid closing of questions by new users is undoubtedly demoralizing and can make the community seem hostile. So I'd like to suggest that new users be given more leeway to fix mistakes before the close happens.

  • Related question but with a slightly different spin: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/39057/…
    – PhonicUK
    May 13, 2013 at 11:48
  • Quick closing is just a consequence of the size of the site; if it were smaller it would be slower. As it is there's a constant deluge of questions that should be closed and people aren't able to look back at them all later in the day. Don't forget that the OP has as long as they want to formulate their question... they could fix it before they post. May 13, 2013 at 11:51
  • And if they don't fix it before they post, they can still fix it after it's closed.
    – Bart
    May 13, 2013 at 11:56
  • 1
    "This question is ambiguous, vague, or rhetorical and cannot be reasonably answered in its current form" - You mean to say this is the reason? This doesnot make any sense to me! Even before voting to close, you should add it as a comment why is the question vague or ambiguous? The OP may be a novice, not as professional as you and a little sentence could help him improve the quality of the question and to get his problem solved. People have become too impatient for great questions.
    – letsc
    May 13, 2013 at 12:49
  • @letsc You should add it as a comment - I disagree. Often lends to undesirable behavior. People have become too impatient for great questions. - sadly, most of the great questions have already been asked. These days, most of what gets posted to SO (at least in the tags I frequent) are either duplicates or too localized (didn't RTFM or had a typo).
    – Aaron Bertrand Staff
    May 13, 2013 at 13:13

2 Answers 2


Actually, users who can vote to close a question are not really new users, since the privilege of closing a question requires a reputation of 3000, against the reputation of 125 required to vote down a post.

There is also a difference between voting to close, and down-voting: The down-vote has an immediate effect, while voting to close has effect when 5 users vote to close (except in the case a moderator casts a blinding close vote before 4 users voted to close).
The closing reason gives more details than the down-vote tooltip does, which simply says "This question does not show any research effort; it is unclear or not useful" or "This answer is not useful."

Take the description for the off-topic closing reason as example.

Questions on Stack Overflow are expected to relate to programming or software development within the scope defined in the FAQ. Consider editing the question or leaving comments for improvement if you believe the question can be reworded to fit within the scope. Read more about closed questions here.

The description is more than a simple sentence, and it has a link to the FAQ. I am not sure what else a user could say about the reason to close the question.

Furthermore, prompting users to leave a comment would not slow down the closure of questions. On Stack Overflow there are so many active users that closing a question is quicker than on other Stack Exchange sites.

Quick closing a question is not at all negative: It avoids users answer the question before it is put into shape to be a good fit for the site. And since the closure is not definitive, there is no warm done to the question, as long as it is clear to the users who ask the question their questions can still be re-opened.
As a matter of fact, when a closed question is edited, the question is put in the review queue for the questions to be re-opened. Everybody with access to that review queue can vote to re-open it, if the question has been edit to be a good fit for the site.

  • 1
    I think you may have misread what I said (or I didn't say it brilliantly) - I know that not everyone can vote-to-close. I'm saying that the questions asked by new users are being voted-to-close with all 5 votes too fast after being asked.
    – PhonicUK
    May 13, 2013 at 12:29
  • @PhonicUK I understood perfectly what you were asking, and I am answering to why I think the users who vote to close should not be prompted to leave a comment about the reason they think the question should be closed. If the question is being closed as off-topic, there is no reason to explain why it is off-topic: That is said in the FAQ.
    – apaderno
    May 13, 2013 at 13:18

questions asked by new users are being voted-to-close with all 5 votes too fast after being asked

I think Ben is right: that is just a factor of volume (both the sheer number of questions, and the number of people actively deciding whether they're good questions). On the less popular sites, bad questions last longer. Is that a good thing? Not really.

Keep in mind that even though a question gets closed, the user can attempt to fix it and have it re-opened.

Unfortunately many new users don't familiarize themselves with how the site works, and make the wrong choices (like deleting their question, asking again with the same result, etc). The onus is on them to read the about page, FAQs and this meta to learn how the site works, not on us to be super nice to those who didn't read first.

Holding back a close vote on a bad/inappropriate/off-topic question only leads to low quality stuff hanging around for longer, with no guarantee that those users will listen to the comments. In fact I have seen several occasions where constructive comments lead to backlashes like, "just answer the question, or don't bother saying anything!"

Several of the reasons why we tend to not explain down-votes can also describe why we don't always explain close-votes. Additionally, the close reasons are usually fairly self-explanatory, though admittedly people sometimes pick the wrong reason (e.g. not constructive vs. not a real question), which can cause confusion. Though it's rare that a majority of close-voters will do so unless they're just dog-piling.

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