In recent years, I subjectively experience an increase of the following outcome for a stack exchange question: In the comments, some people are quick to claim that the question is duplicate, not meaningful, or in another way invalid. Often, in those cases, others rapidly join in (occasionally in less time what is needed to read through the thread of comments or even the question). This can happen, even if I was careful in the question to point out that I have, for instance, considered other questions and found that mine was different.
In many cases comments are constructive and sometimes hint at e.g. searching help on another site of the network or express other valid concerns helping the quality. In a too-large number of cases commentators try to tell me that I am asking the wrong questions and should rewrite it in a way that changes the meaning, such that potential answers to the new question are not of interest for me anymore.
Sometimes, a moderator (with moderator I generally mean anyone who has a direct influence on the decision if a question is closed or put on hold etc.) may indicate in comments that he is stopping it until his requests are followed. But at that point, I usually feel that the person asking will have a hard time if he does not want to alter the question's meaning. Others will quickly vote close as well and (if they do) make orthogonal comments.
Again subjectively, I see this happening at random, i.e. independently of whether I take more or less time to search for duplicates or better words. I experience this decision-finding concerning the relevance of my questions more as a rapid group-dynamic thing. As soon as the question has the 'possible-duplicate' tag the odds are that it will be closed, even if I carefully respond to the criticism in the comments or edit the question to clarify. After so many years, I often feel unable to predict whether one of my question will trigger interest or immediate rejection.
The question(s) that I have here is(are) whether this is really just subjective, or is there evidence that supports this impression? Are there possibly flaws in the voting system that may cause a moderator who reads my question only superficially to vote to close it? Would it not make more sense to leave it to the whole community to decide on the relevance using the existing voting system and to permit answers to be written at any time? And finally: Has anyone made attempts to measure statistically the importance of sociological factors for that decision-making?
Now, go ahead and vote to close this question, or tell me that it is wrong. In this case it can count as an answer too if you were too quick;)
Replies to the requests for improvement
To illustrate a bit further: After several minutes the question has received 5 down-votes. Not the value I usually get, and perhaps I provoked a bit. So I can deal with it. But the request is honest (I am not making anything up). However, my experience is that the question will not recover from so many down-votes. Even if I carefully defend it, people will not change their opinions and go read it again, take more time or try to understand my arguments..
It is really a question, in the first place, but since several are trying to see a statement let me put it in another way.
In moderating/voting decisions that cause a question to be put on hold or closed I would love to see the following spirit reflected. I am a moderator, or another role involved. I briefly examined your question (honestly it took me 30 seconds, because I am a speed reader and I am making hundreds of those decisions a day while working on a bunch of projects). Your question reminds me of something that I have seen here before / It does not seem interesting to me / I think it is inappropriate in another way, so I tend to flag your question as a duplicate or too broad or ...
However, I see that you took an adequate amount of time and effort to ask your question in the first place. It is not entirely uninformed. You tried to formulate well and responded to concerns people had. I do not agree or have time to look at it in all detail, but I see that you are still interested for some reason.
So, given that I am human (despite being a speed reader), I cannot exclude that your question is valid after all. Considering this, I will leave it to the crowd to decide if the question deserves a decent account. Maybe later you want to throw some points at it to stress further that you really would like to know. Certainly, I, am not in effect requesting: "Change your question into something else or I am closing it.".
This may be a bit pointed, so don't take it overly serious. In a sense, I would like to see the spirit of a good teacher who will take you more serious when he sees that you are doing effort.
I am not seeing the described problem as fault of the people but the rules of the system may be facilitating it. The voting based on a couple of quick opinions may not be doing it well enough.
But the question, for real, is whether it is only me who is seeing this. I ask a lot of questions, more than I answer, so I may be more exposed than others.
One or two have asked for examples (which in itself would be a kind of reply).
Meanwhile the question turned itself into a close-to-perfect example for what I mean. Based on the comments, I have made several edits, honestly trying to respond to the comments and to make the question clearer. It has however been put on hold by a few. As far as I am aware, those have not contributed to the discussion or expressed which part of the question they do not understand. My previous experience is that they will not be coming back to activate the question again.
So my subjective experience here (and in a few other cases) is that the moderators/voters, who put it on hold, in reality simply do not like my question. They would likely prefer me to write another question that is easy to answer for them.
At the same time, the question has received an answer which has 5 up-votes. This seems to tell me that people think that it is a good answer to the question (which according to some, who only passed by, was not understandable). I consider that answer valuable (even though it seems to be in conflict with what happened here), and it would be great to have a few more, perhaps also by stack exchange users that are less active as moderators.