I was browsing the Stack Overflow site (specifically the machine-learning tag (ML)) and I was surprised by how short the questions are becoming in that place. ML is fast growing, but there isn't any moderator to close down or remove posts on that tag. However there is another problem which occurred to me.

I notice that some of the "dumb" or bad questions (which are totally unrelated to their tags) are just too small. Examples like this and this.

In all these questions, one of the problems they all had was that they are too short. So why doesn't SO introduce a minimum character limit for questions? It makes sense to have a maximum and minimum limit on comments, but I do not see a problem with a minimum text limit on the questions itself too.

If some questions are indeed very small then it would force the OP to at least elaborate. This would produce much better questions that are more helpful and easy to understand.

Of course, it wouldn't work every time and you may get a whole page of [abusive word removed] but it would work on the majority of the questions. So, why doesn't SO implement this feature?

EDIT==> I think one of the links has been removed thankfully by a moderator. But it languished for at least 36 hours on the site. I think either we need a dedicated moderator or a minimum text limit....

  • 2
    Because all this random text Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, nam no modo sale omnis, propriae pertinax ut per. Ea soleat everti urbanitas est, eos an purto mutat. Legere definitiones sit ut. Eam te rebum iudico constituam would just be added to make up the minimum number of characters. Commented Apr 19, 2020 at 10:31
  • @DavidPostill I have mentioned it in my post. But the fact remains - there would always be more benefit from this idea than harm.
    – neel g
    Commented Apr 19, 2020 at 10:33
  • 5
    " I think either we need a dedicated moderator" That is the great thing about StackExchange, it is moderated by the users. You can vote a post down, flag it for attention, leave comments etc.. If you earn the rep, you can even delete posts or one vote close them with the right badges or go to a chat room and find others who agree with you, your options are numerous.. So rather than complain about how others aren't doing things as fast as you would like, get out there and get moderating those questions. FYI I strongly disagree short == bad questions.
    – Mark Kirby
    Commented Apr 19, 2020 at 10:39
  • @MarkKirby Hey, see my examples. Can you show a question where it is short (and is of this year, not those 11-year-old ones) that have more than 2 votes? Also closing questions require certain badges and rep which most ML people don't have coz it is a newly rising community....
    – neel g
    Commented Apr 19, 2020 at 10:41
  • 1
    Here are the top 1000 questions from this year with a score > 2 ordered by their length: data.stackexchange.com/stackoverflow/query/1228869
    – rene
    Commented Apr 19, 2020 at 10:47
  • "(and is of this year, not those 11-year-old one" Why must it be from this year? That seems to be you stacking the odds because I can find thousands of short questions with100+ votes, anyway here is one askubuntu.com/questions/1201991/shell-navigate-up-n-directories for the sake of it. "Also closing questions require certain badges " No anyone can flag or edit a question.
    – Mark Kirby
    Commented Apr 19, 2020 at 10:50
  • @rene Well, I can't argue with that. I just thought it intuitively that it would be better and would reduce the bad questions. I think that my method would help remove the tens of thousands of bad questions posted every year. These are only some that are exceptions...
    – neel g
    Commented Apr 19, 2020 at 10:51
  • 3
    we already deleted 189027 questions this year.
    – rene
    Commented Apr 19, 2020 at 10:57
  • 1

1 Answer 1


Stack Overflow has 18 moderators at the moment. None of them are required to close a question or even delete it. That's mostly done by ordinary users who have somewhat more rep than you currently do.

If you think a question is poor then

  1. use your downvote on it once you get 125 rep if you think it's not useful, does not show any research effort or is unclear. You're nearly there on that one.
  2. If it can't be answered because it's unclear or too broad or fits any of the other close reasons then flag or vote to close it. Have you flagged these questions for closure yourself? You can already be part of the solution here.

The first question you link to has been closed and deleted so user moderation is clearly working there.

The other question has 2 of the necessary 3 close votes so I imagine it will be closed fairly soon. Once you get the cast close and reopen votes privilege you'll be able to see these votes mount up. At the moment it looks to you as if nothing is happening to that question but that's actually not the case.

There are actually question quality checks and we get people complaining most every day that their question could not be submitted because it failed such checks, mostly when they try to just post a dump of their code without explanation.

You can however write a very short but perfectly good question on pretty much any site in any topic so some blanket rule about question length is always going to be insufficiently subtle.

There's also a chat room dedicated to closing questions so if you read its FAQ and take its tour perhaps you the people there will help you get questions closed if they are hanging around open too long.

  • 1
    "At the moment it looks to you as if nothing is happening to that question". Ahh, I never thought about that. Guess the community is not that static than I thought :)
    – neel g
    Commented Apr 19, 2020 at 10:47

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .