Recently, and by recently, I mean during the past month or so, we've had an emerging pattern of voting to close questions because they lacked research.
More precisely, questions used to be closed with this reason only for lacking context:
This question should include more details than have been provided here. Please edit to add the research you have done in your efforts to answer the question, or provide more context. See: Details, Please.
Recently, the emboldened add your research has gained more prominence, to the degree of becoming a standalone close reason. To be clear, I've seen instances of questions closed with this reason that had nothing to do with context, or a lack of context.
I do not approve of lacking research being enough reason to close a question, because firstly, it's a slippery slope, and makes closing a burdensome task, when you just see a borderline answerable question and you close it because why not; and second, because real life doesn't work in a way that would make prior research a prerequisite to asking a great question.
Great questions asked by people who didn't see fit to provide noisy Google results for things they obviously know would take the greatest hit. Don't get me wrong — I endorse detailed effort, but only when the question benefits from it. And when containing effort becomes policy, naturally questions that don't benefit from effort, questions where effort would be fluff, would either have to be closed or noisy.
As for the question, should we be concerned about research-only close votes, or should we continue closing questions this way, because not much is lost in your opinion?
I didn't want to invoke the meta effect, but the comments and the votes made it mandatory for me to provide examples for this discussion to continue. Please don't alter the fate of the examples below (don't vote to reopen or close, or don't up- or downvote if you land on the question from this meta post)
This question obviously doesn't need further context in order to be answered. Sure, I don't like it the way it's phrased and it would've been closed if we had a homework policy, but the "add context" close reason is being used as an "add research" one.
By contrast, this is a question I answered, which in principle, has nothing different from example #1. It demonstrates something that's seemingly contradictory, and hence interesting, but still, there's no sign of effort.
Again, no research demonstrated, but certainly enough context was provided, so doesn't make much sense to close it as a reason primarily used for lack of context in the past.
- Come up with a homework policy, which is still itself some kind of a slippery slope and science sites have been trying to get rid of it.
- Separate the context close vote into two categories of 'research', and 'context', each standing as a separate close reason. This might not be possible as there are a limited number of custom close votes available to moderators to modify.
- Be more consistent with closing questions as lacking research and continue closing even older questions with an obvious lack of effort, to prevent double standards.