So I clicked "review". Then, my eyes popped out of a mixed feeling of surprise, shame and anger. There were 11 posts in the close vote queue! (And I had checked the queue a bit earlier)
First, just to be clear:
Close voting is essential for an SE, or any site that doesn't want to get flooded with crappy questions. It's simple:
If you feed help vampires, you'll attract them.
We need close votes if we want to attract experts and ultimately build a source of knowledge.
But . . .
I ended up agreeing with only 3 of the 11 closures; and I think I acted rather harshly.
For instance, this question received a downvote and a close vote, presumably from the same person. So,
- Is this question "primarily opinion-based"? Nope.
- Is this question "unclear" or "too broad"? No.
- Is this question "General Reference"? No way. They have proven they've looked up the dictionary.
- Does the asker need to do more research or provide more context? Not at all. In my very honest opinion, the question above is more interesting than a lot of questions I've seen.
In fact, if memory helps, 9 out of those 11 questions had the "Needz moar contekst or research" close reason. Obviously I can't speak for the voter here, but let's note:
- With enough research, any question is answerable.
- A lot of times the inquirer didn't have the correct keywords to do some or any research.
- We're here to help learners. Let's not forget our mission.
- Overdoing meta or being too strict with quality standards backfires.
Of course there's a lot of learning to do to be a decent close voter, but there's an option: "Don't close the question."
Now, I'd like to see everyone
- Comment when they sense there is a problem with the question. Sure, explaining downvotes or close votes isn't required, just as same goes with upvotes. 1 But let's face it: Telling "your question sucks" without explaining why sucks. 2
- Not vote to close questions they're not sure are gonna get closed.
- Not vote to close questions they don't know the answer to.
Stay tuned in; we'll probably strike with more meta posts about the how and the why of closing questions, and will try to refine the system. Clearly (well it's clear to regular reviewers), we get unjustified close votes almost everyday; and for a major part lack of teaching is to blame.
1: Some concerned ELLers in fact think there's a problem with upvoting wrong answers on ELL. That's another issue.
2: A lot of people in SO downvote without telling why because a lot of revenge downvoting or cursing happens afterwards; but I'm rather sure that's not the case about ELL. At least, not yet.