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I have a question about my Cross Validated post: Central limit theorem over right skewed distributions

The reason I am writing this post is because as much as I appreciate the stacked change platform I noticed there are moderators, like those answering my question above, who take no minimal effort to understand the question asked and label duplicates such posts, making them invisible to other users who may answer and help sustaining the community. I invite you to read it and be honest, hoping you will do something about it. It is not either about my question per se, which I think I resolved myself and could have helped others asking similar questions. It is about the way these people answering get in the way and kill posts without understanding them or enquiring any further. I do not want to be right, but I want you to make the right thing, since I and others like me will likely be around asking and answering each other questions. Thank you

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    $\begingroup$ I considered editing your post to work on small points of English, but judge it better to leave it in your words, beyond noting that Stack Exchange is the name you intend. If you make that edit I will delete this comment. $\endgroup$
    – Nick Cox
    Oct 4, 2020 at 8:19

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Your comment touches on several generic issues. Here are some.

It is neither possible nor necessary that moderators understand all questions. For one, a question can be closed on the grounds that is unclear, namely that a moderator considers and/or others in the community agree that it appears unclear. Often in such cases the whole point is that people do not understand what (different) question is being asked. For another, even our widest-ranging moderators can't know in depth about everything covered by CV, and that's not the expectation.

More generally, a vote to close is always reversible, but there need to be specific grounds for thinking that a decision was not sound. I've looked at your question and don't see those grounds, so I support the decision to close. Many other people with enough reputation to vote to re-open like myself can consider whether they agree with the decision, and other moderators can do that too. Also, and crucially, you as OP have scope to re-edit the question and/or explain why it is not a duplicate and is also within the scope of CV.

What doesn't help one bit is to make general accusations without the slightest scrap of evidence beyond your own post. Statements like these are strong, but without extra evidence or detailed analysis they do not help your case or anybody else's.

there are moderators, like those answering my question above, who take no minimal effort to understand the question asked and label duplicates such posts, making them invisible to other users who may answer and help sustaining the community

these people answering get in the way and kill posts without understanding them or enquiring any further.

Note that a post like yours is not invisible. It remains visible for some time, precisely to allow re-editing (which you are encouraged to do) and to allow others to consider the decision. In principle, what happened to you can be the start of a negotiation, but the onus is on you is not just to complain. You have the right to do this, but also the duty to explain precisely why the decision is wrong.

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  • $\begingroup$ Ok, let's appeal evidence. 1- "Note that a post like yours is not invisible". False. When I paste the link to my post after logging out it's no longer there and therefore not visible to anyone. 2- In your words moderators do not have to understand the question asked: ".. is neither possible nor necessary that moderators understand all question..". If that was the case why then label my post as duplicate? Are you insinuating that moderators can do anything they want without understanding what is asked? 3- the poor and useless answers given to my post were utterly inconsistent. From one hand.. $\endgroup$
    – user298019
    Oct 4, 2020 at 10:00
  • $\begingroup$ .. whuber said that of course he read my code and that is why I should get familiar, in his mind, with CLT, from the other hand Richard clearly confessed he did not read my code at all. I simulated thousands of samples and plotted averages aiming at visualize a normal distribution. That was the question. 4- ".. What doesn't help one bit is to make general accusations without the slightest scrap of evidence beyond your own post..". What you called accusations I call laziness on your part to see what is asked and do what a moderator is supposed to do: understand the question and ask for clarity $\endgroup$
    – user298019
    Oct 4, 2020 at 10:08
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    $\begingroup$ 1. How on earth could I possibly read your post if it is not visible to anyone? 2. Moderators are accountable as well as fallible. Sorry, but escalating your reaction to a closure as duplicate to a generalised rant about moderation does not help your case or enhance your credibility. 3. In my view you got sensible comments on your original posts and the tone of your replies to them didn't help. It is fine to be new here, as we all were once, but even if you were highly experienced on CV statements like yours without evidence are just insults that don't help your case. $\endgroup$
    – Nick Cox
    Oct 4, 2020 at 10:09
  • $\begingroup$ .. if needed. And by the way, after all these arguments you have not yet explained why you think I should read and familiarise with CLT $\endgroup$
    – user298019
    Oct 4, 2020 at 10:11
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    $\begingroup$ I note your assertion about my "laziness". You make my point for me. Making this ad hominem is not a good way to convince me that you have a point. I read your Meta post, I read your original post, I thought carefully about replying here. I agree with the remarks made by people so far, whuber and Richard Hardy. . $\endgroup$
    – Nick Cox
    Oct 4, 2020 at 10:13
  • $\begingroup$ "How on earth could I possibly read your post if it is not visible to anyone?". Exactly. Why on earth whuber labelled my post as duplicate and made it invisible to people like you?? $\endgroup$
    – user298019
    Oct 4, 2020 at 10:15
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    $\begingroup$ I could read your post. It is visible to me. These are facts. I don't understand why you are claiming otherwise. Sorry if my command of English is insufficient to make this clear. $\endgroup$
    – Nick Cox
    Oct 4, 2020 at 10:17
  • $\begingroup$ When logging out and scrolling through my question I got redirected to stats.stackexchange.com/questions/3734/…. This is fact. Your command of English is more than fine. What I found unbelievable is the way how moderators are allowed to intervene and basically lie proposing false solutions to answers they have not understood in the first place. BTW I am not a newbie and held an account I left after keeping due distances. Now I remember why $\endgroup$
    – user298019
    Oct 4, 2020 at 10:35
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    $\begingroup$ I note that you are not new to CV. Your profile implied otherwise. But that makes your actions and statements here even more puzzling and even less defensible. I think it's best to let others say what they think, noting that silence connotes lack of support for you. $\endgroup$
    – Nick Cox
    Oct 4, 2020 at 10:43
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    $\begingroup$ I would be genuinely interested in any example of a technical forum that isn't improved on balance by moderation, peer pressure and documented guidance about what to do and what not to do. The price that some users don't accept decisions on or reactions to their posts is a predictable side-effect. $\endgroup$
    – Nick Cox
    Oct 4, 2020 at 10:56
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When I run the supplied code I see a plot which is a great deal closer to normality than the original sample so I find it hard to see what is going on here. The code itself seems to show more understanding of the central limit theorem than the quoted explanation of what the central limit theorem in fact states. I would suggest the OP edits the question in the light of the comments made here and under the original question to clarify exactly what they do not understand. I would suggest also inserting as an image the plots so readers who do not use R can join into the conversation.

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  • $\begingroup$ I finally see some evidence of inspection and attempt to understand my question. I actually resampled again df, increased the number of observations as well as the sample sizes and managed to come out with a perfect normal curve, so I somehow corroborated the CLT. What really set me off was the way how moderators closed my question and refused to engage in constructive arguments. At this stage I don't wish to reopen the question but hope moderators and experienced users having rights to close and reopen issues will follow a different code of conduct. Thank you $\endgroup$
    – user298019
    Oct 4, 2020 at 14:19
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    $\begingroup$ It's good that you have a better understanding of your original question. But your (closing?) comment should not remain unchallenged. The pattern of upvoting and downvoting and detailed discussion shows much disagreement both with your complaint and with how you expressed it. I can take some flak but insults and absurd accusations -- you do accuse several people of lies and dishonesty as well as much else -- remain here and rather undermine your stance that you are the injured party and have right on your side. $\endgroup$
    – Nick Cox
    Oct 4, 2020 at 15:49
  • $\begingroup$ Nick, I will make it clear once again. What you call insults and accusations I call legitimate reactions. Also I believe you have totally lost the thread (please don't feel insulted, I don't mean to): ".. good that you have a better understanding of your original question...". I was always very clear about my original question. It was you, Richard and whuber who were not. And who should I upvote? Myself for finding the solution to my own question? Apart from mdewey who bothered running my code and understood what was asked, none of you took a similar effort $\endgroup$
    – user298019
    Oct 4, 2020 at 16:48
  • $\begingroup$ My complaint is about the way you all handled my question that is all. If you expect me to apologise, I am willing to, on the condition that you, Richard and whuber do the same to me. Or just let us be adults and move on, hoping similar occurrences will not happen again. Thank you $\endgroup$
    – user298019
    Oct 4, 2020 at 16:48
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    $\begingroup$ I don't want to prolong this any more than you do, but I can't accept your tone or assertions as civil, let alone correct. While this thread remains anyone curious can read it and come to their own conclusions. $\endgroup$
    – Nick Cox
    Oct 4, 2020 at 16:59
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    $\begingroup$ @user5989376: There's constructive discussion about site moderation, & there's impugning the character of people who've taken actions you disagree with: please note that only the former is acceptable here. $\endgroup$ Oct 4, 2020 at 17:44
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I think the answers here already are spot on, but just want to add a few thoughts.

I've been using the site for a little while now, but it still fills me with wonder and gratitude that people have actually taken the time to read through and answer my questions. What's more, I have often got a response from people with so much statistical knowledge and experience. It's really quite amazing that people are so generous with their knowledge. I try to join in to repay some of that, but can only contribute at a basic level myself.

Looking back at my own questions, I think I could definitely have formulated some of them better, but I don't always find it easy to ask a question elegantly without a full understanding of the topic I was asking about! I've benefitted from comments and answers pointing me to look at areas that I previously hadn't properly understood, been aware of, or understood how they'd linked to my problem. The people answering guessed at where the gap in my knowledge was and pointed me in the right direction. I learned much more than I would have done from a narrow response to the question I thought I'd posed.

It's hard work putting together a question and disappointing if you don't get an answer. But it still doesn't mean that you are owed an answer, because that requires someone else to give up their time for free to get one! Actually my personal experience of Cross Validated as a community is that people have tried to answer my questions and I haven't felt like I'm speaking into a void. True, sometimes an answerer hasn't really responded to what I was asking and hasn't added to my understanding, or a comment pointing me in a helpful direction has felt a little sharp! But that person has still taken the time to respond to me and try to help, for free. I think that is still amazing and deserves to be responded to with courtesy.

Moderators regularly give up their time for free to try to improve and maintain the quality of the content of the site, and to guide users in the right direction. I think that is an extremely generous act, and I'm very appreciative of what they do. I don't think they are making minimal effort in giving up their time for free to try to help other people.

The moderators are people who know a lot about their subject, so if your question was unclear to them, on balance it suggests that it's likely to be unclear to many of the people on the site. Given that, I think it's best to work with the process wherever possible. If you disagree with the moderation decision and feel that your question was asking a new, different question, the best thing to do is to try to edit or reformulate your question to make it clearer what you are asking (and maybe explain what you think differentiates it from the marked duplicate).

Finally, if you have been able to resolve your own question, great! If you are able to edit your question to make it clear that it is new and not a duplicate, and then post an answer to your own question with how you resolved it, that would be a valuable contribution to the site.

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