As the community grows up, we face an increasing number of interesting questions, but we can see also, sometimes, some questions that should be closed because they just don't fit within this site. They need five votes to be closed as

  • exact duplicate: This question covers exactly the same ground as earlier questions on this topic; its answers may be merged with another identical question.
  • off topic: Questions on Statistical Analysis - Stack Exchange are expected to generally relate to statistics, within the scope defined in the faq
  • not constructive: This question is not a good fit to our Q&A format. We expect answers to generally involve facts, references, or specific expertise; this question will likely solicit opinion, debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion.
  • not a real question: It's difficult to tell what is being asked here. This question is ambiguous, vague, incomplete, overly broad, or rhetorical and cannot be reasonably answered in its current form.
  • too localized: This question is unlikely to ever help any future visitors; it is only relevant to a small geographic area, a specific moment in time, or an extraordinarily narrow situation that is not generally applicable to the worldwide audience of the internet.

Few people actually have enough reputation (3,000) to vote to close those questions, and our votes, as moderators on this site, are definitive: if we vote to close once, the question would just be closed. A recent question has attracted two votes to close, which is a good thing because we are used to see only one such vote, not two. However, it cannot be closed by community members only.

Voting and flagging are two ways of helping this site developing well. As this site must reflect the entire community's opinion, I would like to encourage users with enough reputation to do so. I would also like to remind that everybody with 50+ reputation can leave a comment to suggest that a particular question should be closed because it falls within one of the above category. You can further flag a post ('Flag for moderator attention' needs only 15 rep) to draw our attention on this, or on a particular aspect of the question that you find potentially misleading. The Ten fold chat room might also be used to discuss such issues.

A last point: It might be a little bit disappointing for newcomers to see their response closed immediately or bombarded with negative comments. Please, simply explain what's wrong or point to possible duplicate(s).

  • 18
    $\begingroup$ (+1) Regarding the linked question, I would like to state here (rather than the comment stream on the main site) that I do not generally think it is a good idea to downvote a duplicate simply for being a duplicate unless the OP is doing something else egregious or obnoxious. This is especially true given that the search facilities are not always the best on this site and it's not always obvious that something is a duplicate. Indeed, in the case in question, there is a certain amount of grey area. $\endgroup$
    – cardinal
    Commented Feb 26, 2012 at 3:08
  • $\begingroup$ Major points for writing such an awesome post. :D You may also consider stealing this post for your meta. A number of sites have -- just make sure you attribute your source! $\endgroup$
    – Aarthi
    Commented Feb 26, 2012 at 3:13
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ +1 to @cardinal, I feel rather uncomfortable downvoting & I'm not sure I've ever downvoted a question. I tend to think a fairly lenient approach is best--even if a question is pretty similar to a previous one. I think it's better to leave a comment linking to the other answer, or asking for clarification; the OP may not have gotten what they needed from the other question. If nothing happens after a few days, perhaps then it could be closed. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 4, 2012 at 8:16
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ @gung: My feeling is we should be as welcoming as possible to new users in particular. In my mind this means displaying patience and eschewing strong negative feedback at the outset. Anecdotally I seem to have noticed that since the introduction of no penalty for downvoting questions, we see a lot more of that on this site, even for new users. I would rather see us help the user reformulate their question in a positive way to make it amenable to the site. (...) $\endgroup$
    – cardinal
    Commented Mar 4, 2012 at 19:14
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ @gung: (...) I don't downvote very often (questions or answers), but I have probably downvoted a handful of questions, generally from experienced users that I know are familiar enough with the site to know how to write a useful question. In some such cases it can be a useful feedback mechanism. $\endgroup$
    – cardinal
    Commented Mar 4, 2012 at 19:16
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @cardinal, +1 (or 2) again. I agree entirely, & I think your policy of only downvoting questions from experienced users is a good one. OTOH, I just made my 1st question downvote on an absurd & inappropriate question from a brand new user, so I guess there will always be exceptions... $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 4, 2012 at 20:47
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @gung: I'm pretty sure I know the question and I downvoted as well. Please vote to close if you haven't. You have the reputation to do so. Cheers. :) $\endgroup$
    – cardinal
    Commented Mar 4, 2012 at 20:54
  • $\begingroup$ Echoing some others, new users often have questions that could benefit others but don't always phrase it accordingly and thus draw the close votes. Using comments to help get question rephrased to benefit both the OP and others is probably wise, then close if no action taken by OP. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 18, 2018 at 17:07


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