I ask many questions. Some of them get upvoted. Some of them get downvoted. I am not always sure of the difference in the questions that make people vote differently. What I do know, however, is that I am always willing to update my question to increase the perceived quality. Sometimes I can get this kind of feedback through asking questions in the comments, but this is not always fruitful.

Would it be helpful to have specific features or affordances that help with the process of not only labeling bad questions as bad, but also to support and encourage processes that increase the quality of said questions?

In academic publishing, from which the peer review system of SE seems to take some inspiration, feedback is always meant to improve the quality of a manuscript, even if it is rejected from the journal. You never simply get rejected, but you always get feedback as well. Would a similar mechanism be possible at SE?

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    What you're asking for is hand-holding. Yes, in many cases, that's the best way to teach. But the situation on some sites like SO is similar to a lecture hall of 400 students and one professor. It's not possible for the professor to spend an hour with each student every day.
    – Mysticial
    Nov 20, 2015 at 17:51
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    @Mysticial - 4000 students, all from Elbonia... Nov 20, 2015 at 17:52
  • @Mysticial: Hand-holding is often helpful. Maybe there could be a system which indicates how responsive an author is to feedback. I more or less always update my questions in response to feedback, and wish there were better affordances to encourage this type of behavior.
    – histelheim
    Nov 20, 2015 at 17:52
  • Histelheim, there's always chat... Nov 20, 2015 at 17:54
  • @DeerHunter: The chat is useful when people actually comment or respond to comment, but when people just down vote or vote to close I can't reach out to them...I often feel that there is a toxic attitude towards question-askers (probably because there are so many bad questions), but I would often like to have better ways forward when I want to improve a question...
    – histelheim
    Nov 20, 2015 at 17:56
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    @histelheim That toxic behavior is result of the 400 students all running into the professor's office yelling "HELP!!! PLZ HELP!". The professor, well, gets tired of that, zones out, and slams the door on everyone.
    – Mysticial
    Nov 20, 2015 at 18:04
  • @Mysticial: I understand this, and also wrote so in my comment. This doesn't preclude features for identifying users who actually want to improve their questions and are responsive to feedback.
    – histelheim
    Nov 20, 2015 at 18:08
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    Histelheim, you can learn by reading questions with many upvotes and watching for patterns: cogent explanation of the problem, attention to 'detail' etc. It is a futile endeavor to do the hand-holding since many posters will not appreciate that, and the time spent on that could be used more productively on answering. Nov 20, 2015 at 18:08
  • What specific feature do you suggest? Of course it would be helpful if we had unlimited hours of volunteer time to apply to the problem, but do you have an idea that is practical and scalable to the volumes of new users and poor questions seen here beyond those already in place?
    – PolyGeo
    Nov 20, 2015 at 20:21

2 Answers 2


There are already at least two types of possible constructive review on "bad" questions:

  1. Through comments: some users do leave constructive comments when downvoting or voting to close, e.g. "Please post relevant code" or "This is too broad, please be more specific". That is valid use of comments, and the question author can improve the question using that feedback.
  2. Close banners: when a question is closed, there is a clear banner saying why it was closed which also includes a constructive feedback, for example:

    Again, OP can take this feedback and improve the question based on it.

So, I don't think we really need more channels, or to enforce something else.

  • It could, for example, to be helpful to be able to see the motivation for individual close-votes - before the question is actually closed.
    – histelheim
    Nov 20, 2015 at 20:23
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    @histelheim true, that's what comments are for. Those who want can leave a comment, as I said in the first bullet. Nov 20, 2015 at 20:24
  • When they close to vote - do they have to give a reason to the system?
    – histelheim
    Nov 20, 2015 at 20:25
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    @histelheim no they don't, and numerous requests to force them to leave a reason have been suggested here and all of them rejected. (So no point turning your question here to such a request) Nov 20, 2015 at 20:26
  • @histelheim When we vote to close we choose from the options that equate to the close banners, but also have an "Other" option to capture the remainder. I estimate that 95% of my close votes fit well with one of the options presented.
    – PolyGeo
    Nov 20, 2015 at 23:26
  • @PolyGeo: So if there is information on why someone voted to close - why is it hidden from the OP?
    – histelheim
    Nov 20, 2015 at 23:28
  • @histelheim It's not. It gets posted by the close process as a banner (in my estimated 95% of closures) and as a comment on the question for the Others.
    – PolyGeo
    Nov 20, 2015 at 23:32
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    @PolyGeo - I realize I can see it after it has been closed, but it would be helpful to see it as the close votes come in. I'm simply looking for ways to improve my questions in dialogue with the people who are voting down or to close
    – histelheim
    Nov 20, 2015 at 23:51
  • @histelheim I have a feeling that is already the case, but until I do my next one I can't be sure. If it is not, then that would seem to be a specific feature request that you could research/ask here.
    – PolyGeo
    Nov 21, 2015 at 0:24
  • @PolyGeo: I often see a couple close votes, and I have no idea why they are voting to close. Once it gets closed (or put on hold) it becomes visible.
    – histelheim
    Nov 21, 2015 at 0:25
  • @histelheim: There are feature requests on M.SO and here on M.SE to show close votes. Nov 21, 2015 at 8:59
  • See here for example: stackoverflow.com/questions/33878512/… This has one close vote, and I have no idea why. This is not helpful, since it gives me no information that I can use to improve the question.
    – histelheim
    Nov 24, 2015 at 15:13
  • @histelheim true, that's where people are expected to leave a comment. But still, it should not become a must in my opinion. If the question will really be closed, the reasoning will appear. For all we know, this might be a troll, voting to close just for fun and/or to revenge Stack Overflow in a twisted way. Nov 24, 2015 at 15:18
  • @ShadowWizard: I actually discovered that if you click on the close vote button you can see the counts of choices made for why it should be closed. Sweet. The person in this case just wants to move it to another site.
    – histelheim
    Nov 24, 2015 at 15:19
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    @histelheim agree that feature request asking to let users with any rep only view existing close votes on their own questions (without casting them until 250), will be valid. Nov 24, 2015 at 15:37

In addition to the existing answer above, which has clearly put the various methods of review, this is also something which you can do to improve yourself:

Use the community chat wisely. When you see multiple close votes and/or downvotes and/or when the discussion in comments aren't helping you, you can continue or spark up a conversation in the chat of that community.

Most of the active members in the community would be available in the chat room. So, you can get constructive criticism and get to improve the question and your understanding about posting high quality posts in the community.

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