I'm still a little confused about the "minimal understanding" close reason and when it should be used. I'm afraid I might be defaulting to it a little too often. Shog recently posted the following:
During all of the recent discussions surrounding the close queue backlog, something's been bothering me... A pretty big chunk of the backlog is taken up by questions flagged or voted on using this "minimal understanding" reason. That's not surprising in the least - but it's a horribly inefficient way of dealing with these questions. It takes 5 voters to close a question, and because some amount of subject knowledge is required to properly evaluate them finding the right voters is extra-difficult. Meanwhile, folks who interpret the reason as "no effort shown" are pushing more and more questions into the queue every day...
...If they just down-voted the questions, a privilege available to nearly everyone flagging them, they'd drop out of sight a lot faster.
In response, I've started using more downvotes and using less close votes, but I'm still not certain I understand the close votes we have, or how they were intended to be used. I recently downvoted and voted to close this question:
I felt that the downvote was appropriate because the question didn't show any research effort (as per the tooltip). At the time, I felt the close vote was also appropriate because I felt that the OP should have included attempted solutions, etc.
Now I'm wondering if I should have used "problems with code you've written" because, based on the wording of the question, it would seem that the OP may have already written some code and thus does have a minimal understanding of the problem. The OP merely needed to include that code in the question. (The hazy distinction between these two close reasons was recently covered by Devolus, though I didn't find the answers very helpful.)
Then there's this question:
I chose to downvote it because I felt that the user could have easily found the documentation with a simple google search. But for this question I second-guessed closing it. The OP is asking about a specific problem and, while showing his/her code might have been helpful, in the end it wasn't necessary for answering the question. So I answered it with a link to the documentation and quoted the relevant section. I also added a bit of advice that I half-remembered from years ago.
This question, however, was closed as not showing "minimal understanding". (I'll also note that, for a while after it was closed, mine was the only downvote.) I think I disagree with that, because the OP clearly does have a minimal understanding... s/he knows the correct function to call, but is confused about the formatting of the string parameter. There was also clearly an attempt to write some code based on the OP's statement at the end: "">" and "<" are not listed in the Microsoft keys list."
So, while I don't think it was a good question and I downvoted it, I'm not sure if it's a bad question which deserves being closed.
Can someone help me understand how these close reasons should be used, or if they should be used, for the questions above.