Lately I've been asking myself how good/beneficial or bad can closing or putting on hold of new user's questions be.

The point is maybe many new users may have questions that don't fit the SE model but they might still be interested in having their questions answered. Or at least might have other questions which would totally fit in here, but due to a close etc. they might be deterred or discouraged and never turn back to our site.

Maybe I should add some details:

  • Of course I'd be glad if we could declare dream interpretation and questions asking for advice as off-topic.
  • I'm some kind of tired of reading questions about 3 times talaq or wife's asking whether they can ask for talaq...
  • I'm also aware that 75-90% of the new -posted- questions are duplicate of older ones, maybe some have some extra detail which is not treated before, but could be deduced easily by using ones mind or brain (if necessary) or in combination with other posts or questions.
  • I'm also tired of new users who ask the same questions again and again (with a slight difference) like

Should I Marry ... = What should I do


Does Allah accept such a marriage, Where the Hadith regarding Wali's ... and Who should we follow.

  • And yes there are a lot of question where I ask myself whether they are not homework questions. On the other side sometimes at first view a question seems pointless and one may find out that apparently scholars have different point of views on the topic I really tripped in a question like that, because from a logical PoV the question seemed silly!
  • My point is: If I see any question I'd normally like to close or declare as off-topic etc. I post a comment explaining this when the question comes from a new user hoping that it's not me who started a reviewing closed-vote queue and hoping that the new user would read this comment before his question would get closed. As I'd like to give any new user the chance to learn more about the SE model and at least feel welcome here...

So I'd like to know if this is only my view, if not what possibilities do we have to prevent this to happen and just discuss this matter.

  • 1
    I bet allowing questions on dream interpretation and marriage/engagement/gf/bf topics would decrease off-topic closures by 90% :)
    – ozbek
    May 13, 2016 at 12:11
  • @ozbek don't we have -it seems to me- hundreds of these kind of questions here, I mean marking them as duplicate is better than closing
    – Medi1Saif Mod
    May 13, 2016 at 12:23
  • That was a half-joke comment. I meant, if it was possible to truly interpret the dreams and post answers to those questions. That's not possible, dream interpretation is not a science - in all possible meanings of this word.
    – ozbek
    May 13, 2016 at 12:26
  • @Medi1Saif, on the whole, I agree with you. And I assume some adopted politics made the site a little unattractive, even I reckon it has a negative growing in its ranking... / Hence, it would be better to help the site by changing some politics of the site to be more attractive... / Good luck May 14, 2016 at 11:35

1 Answer 1


…due to a close etc. they might be deterred or discouraged and never turn back to our site.

I'm sure there's plenty of users that this would apply to, but in my experience the majority of low-quality questions from new users come from drivebys: Users who post their question and never come back again (or, at least, don't return under the same account). They've already left the site before ever receiving any of that feedback (positive or negative).

But even taking that into account, Stack Exchange has a fairly sharp learning curve, on this site and others. New users can't really be expected to understand what makes SE special unless they are willing to put the time and effort into learning our model. One reason the First Posts queue is so useful is because it gives the community a chance to handhold new users when they most need it, but even then it's still important that the user himself is actually willing to put the time and effort into working with us, rather than us willing to put the time and effort into working with him.

A few years back, Stack Overflow ran a campaign called the "Summer of Love". The relevant blog posts can be found here:

If you don't feel like reading through all of them, here the conclusion of the last post:

The choice here isn't between being nice and being right. You can be nice each and every time you guide someone to the right answer or the correct behavior, and doing so is not only better for the community morale, it's also more effective. That doesn’t take a welcoming committee, it’s something anyone can do. Even jackasses like me and you.

Keeping our site constructive, focussed and on-topic with proper voting and closing etc is a vital part of what makes Stack Exchange work. If you can do that while leaving a polite hand-holdy comment explaining why it was necessary, more power to you.

But letting them continue under the impression that their post and/or behaviour was appropriate here when it wasn't, that's not really helping him or us, any more than would (say) letting an American driver drive on the wrong side of the road in Britain just because he didn't know any better. You might let him off with a warning and an understanding smile (while holding back a few condescending comments about Americans in general), but the first priority is still to stop him before he causes more problems, and make it perfectly clear that that's just not how things are done here.

If a new user is offended by that — by the fact that the way Stack Exchange is designed doesn't let them use it how they want to use it (e.g. because they were expecting a typical Internet forum) — then no amount of hand-holding will really help. In such cases, whether the question is closed, or whether anyone left a comment, or held their hand or upvoted or downvoted or whatever, has no actual bearing on their return activity: Stack Exchange just isn't the site they expected or wanted.

And that's fine too, because Stack Exchange isn't for everyone, nor was it ever meant to be.

  • You got a good point here! And honestly I guess -at least based on my "little experience of 10 months here"- that at least 90% of those who leave a question via guest accounts never come back and even a big part of those who create a new SE account. Maybe I'm a bit impatient, but it feels like the site is more or less frozen.
    – Medi1Saif Mod
    Jun 2, 2016 at 7:24

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