Two major things, and one remediation to what I feel is a tradeoff we’re going to (be forced to) make.
“Ask another question” is confusing
The presentation needs to significantly de-emphasize “or ask a new [question]”, and:
- when that link is clicked, have a prominent gate which explicitly instructs the user not to re-ask the same question, and
- instruct the user that if they want this question answered, they must improve this post.
This is covered in more detail in @Glorfindel’s answer, so I’ll focus this answer on the other item.
“Private feedback for you” should contain more information
Right now, with the exception of the list of close-voters (which I understand is the point of making this public/private separation), all the information about why the user’s question is closed is identical between the public and private view.
The header leads the user to believe he’s getting specific, private feedback about his particular question, but in reality he’s not: he’s getting the same generic rationale as the public does.
We’ve had closures forever and closure banners forever and users still ask “but why was my question closed? The banner says it’s Too Broad but it’s not, it’s quite specific”, etc. The particular suggestions for improvement almost always show up in the comments.
I don’t know what SO has planned for changes to comments, but as I said, there is usually a wealth of specific feedback in the comments which could give more focused guidance to the OP in this “private feedback” channel, and I think it should appear there somehow.
Additionally, if both parties know such feedback is private (gated by reputation threshold or editing badge, etc), then a peaceable dialog is more likely to occur. Maybe we could even obscure the commenter’s usernames until the OP accumulates a “positive question record”.
We might also limit the dialog in some way: the OP and/or each participant is allowed N comments, and after that, no more. Either the question gets improved or it’s swept up in the dustbin of history. No more endless debates about “you need to improve your question in this manner” // “the question is fine! Just stop being a rules lawyer and answer!”.
The user gets his feedback, and he can either improve his question or not, and no one is tied up in endless, useless, enervating debate.
If we do this, then I’d say we’d need an automatic link to a chat room under every question, because whatever the talk about this not being a social network, and comments being used only to suggest improvements, that’s absolutely not the only way they are used, and with us being human it never will be.
The comments are where humans come into contact, build relationships, build the community, a sense of a shared mission, that makes this whole thing tick.
We can limit comments proper to feedback on posts, and even limit the number you get per post, but we will still need a way for people to talk, and that invitation needs to happen where people organically meet here even if they didn’t seek out conversation: on Q&A.