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I am writing this Meta question as a question I posted on ELL today is currently sitting on four close-votes, precariously on the cusp of being closed. The reason people cite for their votes, I gather, is the question, as it was initially phrased, was a question about the meaning of the term and some people'd think the term I ask is a Googlable term.

Well, Google does show some results for amateur night, but the term is absent from all but two major online dictionary sites. The Oxford Dictionaries Online, one of the two dictionaries that has an entry for this term, has no example sentences, which people familiar with the ODO would know is rare as the ODO always has examples except for those extremely uncommon words/terms. The ODO even has examples sentences for uncommon adverbs that do not appear in other dictionaries.

Therefore, I didn't deem my question general reference or off-topic. Very soon it attracted two answers, along with some close-votes, and even a down-vote. See those close-votes, I promptly edited the question to be one about the adjectival usage of the phrase. Turns out the question goes beyond what the initial naysayers thought. One commenter points out another more prevalent term "amateur hour." That term is listed on several major dictionary sources, many of which also include its etymology and explain why the term is used the way it currently is. Apparently, had the term at issue been "amateur night" I wouldn't have to post the question and could have just do my own research. The two existing answers, as much as they are helpful and appreciated, didn't include clear etymological information.

Despite many upvotes this question has received, it is still on the cusp of being shut down. I don't understand why after I revised my question based on the initial feedback I saw, the close votes do not reset. There appears to be no mechanism that sends out notifications to people who have voted and invites them to review the newly edited question and reconsider their votes. In my case, I think the objection that some people have against the initial question has clearly been made obsolete and irrelevant. Also nobody has answered my revised question which has only been touched upon by some commenters.

Why should questions be closed first before they can be edited and reviewed again? If my question ends up being closed, I don't even know how I would possibly pitch its reopening, because the question would have had already been edited before its closing and there would be no change to consider in the reopen review. People would be staring at the same stuff on the two sides of the review panel and would decide to leave it closed since no change is made.

So what do you think? If you happen to agree with me, I humbly ask for your help to keep this question open. And if you happen to have close-voted it, please take another look and reconsider if it is really off-topic. Also I ask that if you know the answer to my edited and renewed question, please consider commenting or posting an answer.

  • If editing would simply remove current close votes, then it'd be very prone to be abused! Also, the upvotes are not very relevant because they mostly came from HNQ visitors ("the 101-rep users"), the one shown on the right side on all SE sites, who mostly could only upvote but couldn't downvote nor vote to close. – Andrew T. Aug 31 '18 at 12:05
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Over and over again, we cajole, we plead, we exhort, and we advise: Show your research. Give us some details, please.

Your initial question read:

I understand the phrase to mean 'amateurish' here. But is this phrase amateur night idiomatic? I can't find in on Google. What does it mean exactly?

It strikes me as a little odd that you wrote all of three sentences in your original question, yet here on meta you wrote six paragraphs, one of which says:

the term is absent from all but two major online dictionary sites. The Oxford Dictionaries Online, one of the two dictionaries that has an entry for this term, has no example sentences, which people familiar with the ODO would know is rare as the ODO always has examples except for those extremely uncommon words/terms. The ODO even has examples sentences for uncommon adverbs that do not appear in other dictionaries.

This makes me wonder a couple things:

  • Had you included such details in your original question, would it have been upvoted instead of close-voted? (I'm inclined to think so.)
  • Why have you included those details here on meta, but have not yet edited them into your question?
  • What did you mean when you said, "I can't find it on Google." (When I typed meaning of amateur night into Google, I got back 18,000,000 results.)

I like to remind people to hover over the upvote and downvote buttons on the main site, and read the tooltips. This question shows research effort.

If you look up a phrase in five dictionaries, tell us. Share what you found. Why would someone not include that information in their question? By including what you found, you save the rest of the community the effort of repeating what you have already done, and telling you something you already know, thereby increasing the chances that your answers will tell you something valuable and informative.

The two existing answers, as much as they are helpful and appreciated, didn't include clear etymological information.

Well, did you ask for clear etymological information? No, you asked:

What does it mean exactly?

If you want better answers, try asking a better question.

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    As a footnote, I think it's worth pointing out that the OP has asked some well-researched questions on ELL, such as this one. I don't mean for my answer to imply all their questions have been shoddy. – J.R. Aug 31 '18 at 11:53
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    This isn’t the first time a user has put quadruple the effort into a meta post discussing how their post was handled as they did into the post itself :( I think maybe I’ll write up a feature request for the system to display site specific advice to authors when they receive downvotes, low quality flags, or close votes. – ColleenV Aug 31 '18 at 13:26
  • I agree with your point on the need for questions to be clear and demonstrative of research effort. However, there's a couple of things specifically about the purpose of this meta-post I beg to disagree with. I will come back tomorrow and edit my thoughts in the post. I will just leave this comment as a place holder and badge grabber (10th comment on meta). – Eddie Kal Sep 1 '18 at 0:33
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    @L.Moneta - That's fine, but I'd like to add one more thing in the meantime: when I write an answer on meta, it's not always addressed solely to the OP or the OP's particular meta question. Instead, I often use the meta question as a "teachable moment" to address some other related but oft-recurring problem on the site. So I'll readily admit that some of your specific concerns have been left unaddressed by what I've written here. – J.R. Sep 1 '18 at 1:18
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I answered your main/title question first. Then I touched on some other points after.


Why is it that changing a question doesn't affect existing close votes in the slightest way?

I don't understand why after I revised my question based on the initial feedback I saw, the close votes do not reset.

That's just not how it works. Remember, once your question receives a close vote, it is placed in the Review Queue. From the help center (my emphasis):

Any post which currently has an active close vote or a close flag will appear in the Close Votes review queue. In this queue, users can either vote to close the question, edit the question, or recommend leaving it open. Edits or a sufficient number of "Leave Open" reviews will remove the question from review and immediately begin aging the close votes. If the question receives another close vote after being kicked out, it will re-enter the queue for further review. Questions with vote to close as a duplicate will also list each possible duplicate in a tab at the top for easy reviewing.

(Help Center > Privileges > cast close and reopen votes)

So after you receive close votes and edit your question, it's a matter of waiting for your question to be removed from the queue and waiting for current close votes to age away. Also, previous close voters can retract their votes if they notice the changes and are persuaded by your edits. You can search for more specifics on Meta SE.

By the way, improving your question does have another effect. It attempts to prevent future close votes. I took a look at the timeline. I don't think regular users can see when the close votes took place, but it appears that 3 of the close votes you got came before your edit. One came after, so apparently you didn't convince that user. But overall, I would say your edit is working.


The two existing answers, as much as they are helpful and appreciated, didn't include clear etymological information.

Etymology is a contentious issue here on ELL. There's really no point in including that if the question can be answered in terms of the current meaning or usage of the word or phrase. Etymology could be helpful or interesting, but it is not required as questions don't typically require that kind of comprehensive treatment or don't ask for it. Even if it is requested, the request should be framed in a way that addresses a learner's issue in order to avoid any controversy. If etymology is requested in a way that appears to be only for the sake of curiosity, it would likely attract negative attention (e.g. close votes). In such a case, you could consider taking it to ELU.


Also nobody has answered my revised question which has only been touched upon by some commenters.

That's not the indication you're giving since you've accepted one of the answers. If you feel that your question has not been fully answered, then you should wait much longer before accepting. The check mark implies that your question is fully answered and possibly discourages current respondents from improving their answers and new respondents from addressing the newly edited question.

Also, you should let current respondents know that your question was edited and that they haven't fully answered your question. That's what comments are for.


Why should questions be closed first before they can be edited and reviewed again?

Again, I think you misunderstood the mechanics. Reviewers and visitors to your question will see the updated version and then determine whether or not it's worthy of a close vote, or in the case of reviewers, worthy of a "Leave Open" vote. At that point, your edits should have been clear and convincing that it is on-topic. Then it would not attract further close votes. It would prevent closure.


If my question ends up being closed, I don't even know how I would possibly pitch its reopening, because the question would have had already been edited before its closing and there would be no change to consider in the reopen review.

You could just edit your question once it's closed by providing the plea you have here, although shorter and to the point:

I think my question should be reopened. I know it was closed because of D, but as I explained earlier, A, B, and C. Therefore, it is not D.

This happens with possible duplicates. I don't see why you can't do that in other cases. Of course, this does not guarantee that your question will be reopened. It's up to the reviewers and visitors to evaluate your points. If that fails, you could bring it up on ELL Meta. Again, it's not a guarantee that it would be reopened. Similar advice was given in this Meta SE post.

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    One thing I would add is that if someone has told you that they think your question should be closed, you might want to ping them in a comment to let them know you've addressed their concerns. – ColleenV Aug 31 '18 at 10:06

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