Admins need to give a reason when they close a question!

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If you close a question that hasn't been flagged and has people trying to help someone admins shouldn't be able to close a question because they feel like it. I was helping a new person out and the question was closed before she was even close to having an answer. I've seen people describe questions a lot worse and vaguer and they still get an answer. If people can just close a question on a whim, when you have people trying to help then what’s the point of this site? If a question has to be closed I think you should have to post a reason to why you closed it.
EDIT:

Answers (8)

Walter Roberson
Walter Roberson on 25 Oct 2012
The Close function prompts us for a reason. However, the interface does not allow that reason to be displayed. I suggest that you add your vote to the Wish-List #2 item for that enhancement.
  2 Comments
Walter Roberson
Walter Roberson on 25 Oct 2012
Doug sweeps through the Questions that have been flagged and makes decisions about what to do with them. I do not know why the question might have been flagged.

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Jan
Jan on 25 Oct 2012
There is a comment field in the dialog for closing a question already, but its contents is not "publicly visible".
Of course it would be helpful, when a closing is explained in the comment section.
Which thread are you talking of? Perhaps it can be opened again...

Daniel Shub
Daniel Shub on 25 Oct 2012
Whenever I close a question I add a comment as to why I have closed it. Of course this needs to be done prior to closing it. This has three effects: it lets the OP (and others) know why it was closed, it lets people know it was me, and it lets me know I already closed it if the OP does a minimal edit reopen.
  1 Comment
Walter Roberson
Walter Roberson on 25 Oct 2012
When a Question is Closed, it is intended that the poster of the Question will edit it to revise it, or else will choose to abandon it. There is a different mechanism for more permanent closure: we Delete the question instead.

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Doug Hull
Doug Hull on 25 Oct 2012
Edited: Doug Hull on 25 Oct 2012
I did indeed close this question. It had been tagged "DoIt4Me" and there was already a comment stating it was unclear. I agreed.
The purpose of closing is to avoid attracting answerer's time on questions that are not clear. I am not sure how to deal with the situation where someone is working off-line on a question that is marginal like this one was at the time I closed it.
It really looks to me like the questioner modified the question (as requested), so the system mostly worked.
There was reasoning sent to the questioner. IT is not public, but maybe it should be. I do not close questions that have answers in place.
  4 Comments
Jan
Jan on 26 Oct 2012
Edited: Jan on 26 Oct 2012
@Randy: You assume, that I know, why I close one of my own threads. This should let me think twice...

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Andreas Goser
Andreas Goser on 25 Oct 2012
I do not use "Close" at all. But I deleted a couple of questions when there was obvious content related to piracy.

Jan
Jan on 25 Oct 2012
When I look at http://www.mathworks.de/matlabcentral/about/answers/, I find a description of the closing feature in the "Earn privileges" list:
Close questions.
This privilege temporarily closes the question. If the contributor does not edit or resolve the question within 10 days, the system automatically deletes it from MATLAB Answers.
This means, that the closing should make it easier for the editors to delete a question, with giving the author a chance to improve it. As soon as the author edits the question, the closed status vanishes (as far as I understand). So if the author show just at least a minimal effort, the question becomes active again. This mechanism helps to remove the "orphaned" questions: The question is not clear enough, but the author does not react to questions of clarifications.
Formerly such threads got the tags "author has left the building" or "orphaned". The closing feature is smarter, but the reasons for closing should be made public such that the author understands what's going on.
  2 Comments
Jan
Jan on 25 Oct 2012
Wow, Daniel, this means that closing has a more virtual meaning.
I have the impression that my code-formatting re-opened the question implicitly. To find out more about closing, I'll open a test thread now.

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Daniel Shub
Daniel Shub on 25 Oct 2012
I think this discussion is useful in an abstract sense, but the comments made to Doug about the closing seem like an inappropriate complaint. The moderator tools we have are pretty limited. The question seems to have been flagged ( I believe that is how Doug found it). That is essentially a vote to close. Doug seconded the vote. No one else removed the flag. It seems like the system works.
It is important to remember that closing is not a big deal. The OP simply needs to edit the question for it to be reopened. As has been stated many times the SNR on Answers is very low and any work to improve it should be appreciated. There will always be a grey area, and I am not even sure this is one of those cases, and we need to respect the users who help clean up our site.
We also need civil discussion to establish the grey areas.
  5 Comments
Jan
Jan on 27 Oct 2012
@Doug: In my opinion, the "doit4me" tag is disastrous. My personal translation of this term is insulting and due to its rudeness not accepted and wanted in this forum.

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Azzi Abdelmalek
Azzi Abdelmalek on 25 Oct 2012
I don't agree with closing a question because it's not a Matlab question, because I've seen several answered questions that seem related to Matlab, but in fact, they are not, at least the main answer is not. I think we can't dissociate Matlab from mathematics, automatic,...
  5 Comments
Walter Roberson
Walter Roberson on 26 Oct 2012
Lucas, your arguments have been made many times over the decades. The experimental results of those decades is that the kind of system you suggest turn out to be significantly less usable than systems that retain a core focus.
I have been using and programming and maintaining and moderating electronic communications systems for over 30 years -- before Ethernet, before the Internet. Systems such as you discuss can attract large numbers of users (e.g., 4chan), but they tend to be rather weak to use as technical resources.

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