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My impression is that some of the 'denizens' of History SE can quickly organize (not necessarily consciously) a quorum to close a question almost immediately because it might not confirm to their ideas for an appropriate question due to their particular POV or even ignorance regarding the subject mattter, when nary a chance has been given for anyone to answer the question with an answer that might be right on target.

IMO it might be wise to consider allowing a question (except one that is blatantly absurd or offensive) a mandatory minimum life of say 48 or 72 hours before it is closed, or perhaps requiring more than 5 votes for closure.

I think this would open the door to more, and more interesting questions on the site, by mitigating the fear of your question being immediately closed, appearing foolish, and suffering a penalty. Why waste an hour writing up a well written and researched question, only to have it closed an hour or two later by five perhaps uniformed members on the subject matter of the question. Something seems not right about that.

It would also increase the potential for good answers, and perhaps some of us would learn that not everything we believe to be 'opinion based' or 'impossible to know what is asked' may not actually be so.

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Note: In this answer closing refers to both 'on hold' and 'closed' questions.

Close early, close often. Closing is an integral part of the Stack Exchange system designed to keep unsuitable questions from getting answers. Why? Because a poor question generally gets poor answers. If the question is closed, improved, and reopened, the asker then gets better answers.

Remember, closing is not permanent. It is far better to jump the gun and close a so-so question immediately than to wait a few days and see how everything shakes out. If the question should not have been closed or has been improved enough, the question can always be reopened.

You can still discuss in the comments of a closed question. However, if the question is not closed, it is still collecting answers which make it harder to improve the question without disqualifying the answers.

  • "? Because a poor question generally gets poor answers" - OK, understood. It's true, QC is all important. – user2590 Aug 19 '13 at 19:39
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In most cases where I vote to close a question I write a comment first, and only vote to close if that comments doesn't get a response, or if the problem with the question is not solved.

I only vote to close immediately if I think the question is irreparably problematic.

Although it's perfectly possibly that you get your post closed by uninformed members, you have to have 500 reputation to be able to cast close votes, showing that you aren't a complete nitwit, so I find that unlikely to actually happen.

Although I think questions sometimes perhaps gets closed when they should not, this is not a closing against the policies of the site, but perhaps a case where the policies might be relaxed a bit.

But most of the time questions here gets closed because they were not good questions. If the question gets fixed up later, it can also be re-opened, although admittedly that doesn't always happen as often as it should, at least on sites like Stackoverflow. On a smaller site like this it is probably more likely to happen.

  • "showing that you aren't a complete nitwit, so I find that unlikely to actually happen." As a programmer, you certainly know that one can be an expert in American History or Law, but a 'complete nitwit' with respect to technology and its history... – user2590 Aug 19 '13 at 16:50
  • No, I disagree with that. – Lennart Regebro Aug 19 '13 at 16:58
  • I guess you've never worked in the old school corporate business world. 15 or 20 years ago (not today so much) many executives in the USA TOOK PRIDE in being technological nitwits - they felt it was below them. I knew many people who could expound in their area of expertise but knew zilch about the workings and history of computers and programming, such that they would begin to tremble if you put a mouse in their hand! Do you seriously doubt that knowledge and savvy can be compartmentalized? – user2590 Aug 19 '13 at 17:22
  • There is a world of difference between being good at say management and bad at computers vs being able to spot a good question in American history and not being able to spot a good question in technical history. "Judging technological history questions" is not a different compartment than judging other history questions. So I don't think your experience with executives is even remotely relevant here. Also, none of those executives would be here, and they certainly would not be very good at answering questions. – Lennart Regebro Aug 19 '13 at 18:20
  • OK - I am not going to belabor this. "and they certainly would not be very good at answering questions" - Agreed! :-) – user2590 Aug 19 '13 at 19:34
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At the moment questions are put "on hold", so they are not closed immediately. You may consider this "on-hold" period as this delay.

  • This doesn't really answer the question. – American Luke Aug 19 '13 at 19:14
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    The last paragraph does. – Voitcus Aug 19 '13 at 19:18
  • Slightly. This question seems like an answer to a completely different question with a little note at the end that hardly answers the question at all. – American Luke Aug 19 '13 at 19:21
  • Ok, I've removed personal notes. – Voitcus Aug 19 '13 at 19:22
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    @Voitcus "...maybe you would like to have something like a graph, time-table of important innovations..." Yes, that's what the question is about. I edited now and almost spelled it out. If I do more, I can finish the research and answer it myself. :-) I thought that this site encouraged well researched answers - but I often get the feeling that if someone can't bang out an answer off the top of their head or with a quick google, they decide it's opinion based or impossible to answer etc and vote to close. – user2590 Aug 19 '13 at 19:31
  • @Voitcus - thanks for your response. Not personal-simply frustrating that sometimes people seem to vote to close, as mentioned. I have had a few questions closed because they were 'opinion based', when proper research could provide a statistically based answer - one was re-opened and Lennart provided a reasonable statistical analysis. – user2590 Aug 19 '13 at 19:33
  • @Voitcus - "You may consider.." - not really, because in the interim the question cannot be answered and by the time it's re-opened, sometimes it is already stale - things move quickly here, as I'm sure you know. But ALuke's explanation is reasonable. – user2590 Aug 19 '13 at 19:38

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