-7

Since the nature of posters there (tend to have not enough explanations or vague or unclear), there are many possibilities hidden even in the case at a glance it looks like, for example, lacking efforts on posters side (maybe just the poster don't know what to do).

I wonder if the answerers are overwhelmed by the amount of questions. But then you don't need to waste your time close voting so many and also you don't need to answer everything you see. If you feel "I just answered the same thing yesterday" then you can just skip it. Someone else will answer it.

Does StackExchange need "Best Answer" for every query? There's plenty of cases that can't decide on one answer to be the best. I see that as an incentive tool. I don't think it's more important than the posters' need and in some occasions even opinions of English natives are very helpful for students to English.

15
  • 5
    The goal of closing is not to lighten the load of the answerers, but to prevent the site from getting clogged up with low quality questions and to encourage askers to edit their question to make them better. ell.stackexchange.com/help/closed-questions
    – ColleenV
    Jun 7 '15 at 18:37
  • 2
    I've seen enough of overdoing close vote, while some say unclear without giving any help others are placing very meaningful answers. Also I don't understand how "Hi" or "Thanks" make the post low quality.
    – karlalou
    Jun 7 '15 at 23:51
  • 2
    It sounds like you don't like the way Stack Exchange sites are designed. There are other sites that are less moderated, for example, answers.yahoo.com/dir/index?sid=396545217
    – ColleenV
    Jun 8 '15 at 12:31
  • 7
    @karlalou Remember the aim of StackExchange is not just to offer help to the person asking the immediate question, but to build a high quality repository of good questions and great answers. Libraries need librarians. Also, salutations and valedictions (hi / thanks ) do not automatically make a post low-quality, not at all. But they should not be included, and including them is a clue that the person asking is not familiar with the site and its tenets. And that's the point: the OP may not know the answer to the question, but they should know how to ask properly. (cont'd).
    – Dan Bron
    Jun 8 '15 at 12:35
  • 4
    (cont'd) And asking properly includes more than just not writing thanks, etc, it includes expressing yourself clearly, doing your homework first, and making it clear you did so, and responding to feedback. That's the price of getting a good answer to your question. If one doesn't want to pay the price, he can't get the product. Sometimes that feedback is a comment, sometimes it's a +1, and sometimes it's a closevote. But all these things are signals the system sends so the poster does know what to do. That, plus reading other high-quality questions, is how our users learn.
    – Dan Bron
    Jun 8 '15 at 12:39
  • 1
    @DanBron Could I twist your arm and get you to write that as an answer instead of comments? :) The only thing I would add is that a close vote isn't a "delete". It puts the question on hold so that it can possibly be edited to be brought on-topic, and so that other community members can re-open it if they disagree with the close votes.
    – ColleenV
    Jun 8 '15 at 13:12
  • 1
    @ColleenV Sure, if you don't mind waiting a while. I tend to write answers more carefully than comments, and so they take more time and effort.
    – Dan Bron
    Jun 8 '15 at 13:56
  • 3
    ELL posters don't come here to give you project. They come here to ask their questions.
    – karlalou
    Jun 8 '15 at 15:36
  • 1
    Yes, I know there are so many other places for asking language questions. I used to like Stack Exchange but it's been changed recently but I don't need to stuck here. There will be always new poster here like everywhere else but once they know what kind of place this is then.. you know that..
    – karlalou
    Jun 8 '15 at 15:47
  • 2
    @karlalou Of course they come here to ask their questions. And the ones which are appropriate we answer and the ones which are not we do not. That's part of the project! It's possible someone could come here to ask us for a donation of money. Great! Fine! Question closed. Off-topic. Next! (That some users neither know nor care that they're participating in a project is, I suppose, immaterial. Though of course we do deliberately try to attract users who are aware this is a ongoing project with a specific set of aims, and want to join it, and help achieve those aims.)
    – Dan Bron
    Jun 8 '15 at 17:07
  • 2
    More than half the process of arriving at an answer is figuring out what the question really is. This part, for the asker to clarify their question for themselves, and to communicate it to others, should happen in comments and edits to the question, not answers. Otherwise the answer section gets confusing to read. Do you think these questions and answers are only useful for the person asking the question? If so, that's really not true—they're useful for all kinds of other people.
    – Dan Getz
    Jun 8 '15 at 18:05
  • 3
    Actually I disagree that posters come here to ask questions. They come to get answers. I know for a fact that many more questions are answered on StackExchange sites than the number of questions asked. I have asked one question on StackOverflow, but I have found more answers than I can count there.
    – ColleenV
    Jun 8 '15 at 20:17
  • 2
    @karlalou: Keep in mind that closing questions, even rather aggressively, has been part of the Stack Exchange model since before it was called Stack Exchange. If a question gets closed that shouldn't be, we can re-open; more often, if it gets closed and then fixed, we can re-open that too. Jun 8 '15 at 23:43
  • 1
    If the goal is to drive language learners away from the site, then an aggressive "edit or close" policy is a good way to go about that. My advice to overzealous people when they see a question that they don't like or don't know how to give an answer for is to move on and answer something else, if they can. One question I saw yesterday was closed because it was deemed a "proofreading" request when it was clear the OP was asking a complicated grammar usage question; something that only a qualified EFL teacher could probably answer well. Jun 12 '15 at 19:35
  • 6
    @RichardBurian It takes 5 people to close a question, and if a question gets closed when you feel it shouldn't have been, it can be reopened. What's worked in the past is to post on meta explaining why it shouldn't have been closed. Folks who are persuaded can vote to reopen, or a moderator can step in and reopen unilaterally. The answer isn't to stop closing questions, in my opinion, but rather to make them a better fit for the site through editing and guidance. Questions as well as answers need to be useful to more than just the asker.
    – ColleenV
    Jun 14 '15 at 20:55
8

This was going to be a comment, but as I kept typing, it evolved into an answer.

I would like to start off with this quote, which I think encapsulates the reason you're finding yourself at loggerheads.

ELL posters don't come here to give you project. They come here to ask their questions.

That is a sentiment that cuts both ways. I don't come here because I care particularly about the specific person asking the question. I post answers because I believe they will be of assistance to a lot of people during the site's lifetime. Once created, my answers takes on a life of their own; assuming SE and English stick around, my words could potentially outlive me.

So, my objective (and that of the StackExchange initiative) is to maximize the number of people my answers help. The best way to do that is to answer clear, concise and well-referenced questions. A jumbled, confusing and incoherent question about a passage divorced of all context and pulled (seemingly at random) from an unnamed book, might indeed be important to its asker, but how on earth is anybody else going to get any use out of it?

I do not want to create single-use, 'throw-away' answers to poorly asked questions that are never going to be read again. Helping one person is a waste of time when I could be helping many. More importantly, Stack Exchange does not want me to do that. That is why the close tools exist. The questions you're talking about are, in terms of what SE was created for, useless. Worse than useless, actually, because they actively take time to deal with, time that could be put towards better answering a good question, and increasing the benefit it will provide down the road.

There's an important difference in philosophy here. You think that this site is about answering somebody's question, benefiting the asker. Basically playing whack-a-mole. Question pops up, you smack it back down with an answer. The important thing is that each person who asks is helped.

But that's not actually the case. This site is about answering a question in such a way that it will provide an ongoing benefit to other people. And in quite a few cases, that simply is not possible, because the question just isn't constructed well enough, or is unclear, or one of the other close reasons. The important thing is not that a person who asked a question gets an answer - it's that a good question gets the best answer possible.

Which is, incidentally, the answer to the question

Does StackExchange need "Best Answer" for every query?

That is an emphatic Yes.

The way to get good answers is to have good questions. And the way to get good questions is to ensure that bad ones aren't rewarded. So we close the bad questions, and the asker either eventually learns how to ask a good question (yay!), or leaves (thus removing a source of bad questions). For us, that's a win-win.

You must log in to answer this question.

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