5

I really like the fact that closing a question as a duplicate, or with the custom off-topic reason, auto-generates a comment.

This auto-comment often generates a discussion about the question, that helps educate the close-voters, the original poster, and the rest of the community about the topicality of the question. Many times, someone replies to the comment, and the votes on both comments indicate what the community thinks should happen.

Here is one example:

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Feature Request

Add an auto-generated comment for all close votes, regardless of the close reason. If another close-voter selects the same reason, the auto-comment should be upvoted.

This thread feature request Auto add comment on close vote is related, but that one emphasizes notifying the OP that their question is about to get closed. This request is different, because it emphasises educating the community1 about the topicality of questions, and also as a mechanism to achieve consensus.

1Myself included

  • 2
    I agree we should use these comments more often, but I think it should be optional. You don't always need to educate the community, if you close an obvious gimme teh codez question, an auto comment might just spark a fight with the author – Leeor Jan 4 '14 at 18:02
  • @Leeor But the author will see your name when it gets closed anyway. I don't mind it being optional, but I would like the default behavior to change – user000001 Jan 4 '14 at 18:05
10

Anyone voting to close is free to leave a comment if they wish to. Sometimes this makes sense, often it does not.

I don't see any particular reason to automate notifications for Opinion-Based, Too Broad or Unclear. Questions where these apply can benefit considerably from specific critiques and suggestions, but the close descriptions themselves are fairly broad - I wouldn't want to add to the comment noise there (potentially hiding more specific commentary).

However, Off Topic is another matter. We've moved to a system where off-topic reasons are often very specific, and yet post authors only see comments when someone chooses "other" - the site-specific, pre-defined reasons only show up once the question is closed. Ditto for "belongs on site", where early notification could save everyone time by allowing the asker to just delete his question and re-post it elsewhere.

Therefore, I think it makes sense to implement this for Off Topic closures only.

Finally, Pekka's concern is warranted: finding a bad question where the author is already ranting and raging isn't a great time to put yourself out there as a target for more abuse, but is also a situation where we absolutely don't want to discourage folks from voting to close! Therefore, I suggest making these comments opt-out, perhaps with a checkbox at the bottom of the voting form.

  • For that last point, wouldn't it be safer if it were opt in? I'm just considering what would happen if someone relatively new to the system votes to close and forgets (or doesn't know) to opt out. – Dennis Meng Jan 4 '14 at 19:17
  • If this is worth building into the system, it's worth making it on by default. If you want an opt-in system, you just use a userscript and skip the tedious "how do we make this work for everyone on all sites" stage. – Shog9 Jan 4 '14 at 19:20
  • would that require a 50 reputation points instead of 15? I don't see the reason for this. – Mhmd Sep 26 '15 at 14:49
  • Flagging for closure already requires 50 reputation points, @Mhmd. – Shog9 Sep 28 '15 at 22:02
  • @Shog9 so by "opt-out" do you mean we can self-delete the comment in our name if we want? – cde Apr 1 '16 at 22:40
12

I wholeheartedly agree with the request for having an automatic comment when a question gets closevoted. It should be identical with the close message, and be removed when the question finally gets closed, like it currently works for duplicates.

New users currently have to wait until a question is closed to see what it was closed for and that's arguably not a good situation.

Under absolutely no circumstance must the comment be seen as coming from the user who is casting the close vote, though. The resulting drama would very quickly deter anyone from closevoting at all.

A comment coming from the community user might work great, though.

  • This is also an interesting idea. Regarding the user being shown or not, currently it is shown on duplicates and I haven't really seen any drama there. – user000001 Jan 4 '14 at 18:06
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    Already custom close reasons and duplicates both leave an auto generated comment and I don't recall ever being caught up in any "drama" because of it. If closed this info is public anyway. – Martin Smith Jan 4 '14 at 18:10
  • 1
    @Martin those two close reasons are arguably the least controversial. The case is different for "unclear what you're asking", "too broad" and others – Pekka supports GoFundMonica Jan 4 '14 at 18:17
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    The benefit of having the comment come from the person who votes is that you get a chance to attempt to educate them if they're wrong... – ben is uǝq backwards Jan 4 '14 at 18:22
  • @ben that's a good point. Although the system could also forward any responses to the user without their name being publicly visible. – Pekka supports GoFundMonica Jan 4 '14 at 18:28
  • You mean actually implement @closevoter Pekka? The horror! I think the request should be implemented anyway, and I'm sure there'll be arguments if names are shown, but it's a shame to not be able to stop wrong things from being perpetuated because the person doing it doesn't know. – ben is uǝq backwards Jan 4 '14 at 18:31
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    @ben I used to feel the same way, but after a long string of negative and unnecessary experiences with leaving comments on bad questions I've arrived in the camp of those who don't want the trouble. I still comment on stuff all the time, but I don't want a system that does it for me, automatically – Pekka supports GoFundMonica Jan 4 '14 at 18:36
  • @closevoter would be a heck of a lot better than retributive downvotes before a question is even closed. – Josh Caswell Jan 4 '14 at 21:01
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    I declare that if these comments were automatically added without being anonomised, I would cease voting to close questions. The grief from posters who would rather argue than improve their posts would be too much. Shog's amended suggestion seems good enough. – Raedwald Jan 7 '14 at 23:54

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