First time posters often ask questions which fall below site standards, or outside site guidelines, or (importantly) which are perceived to by some group members.

I suggest that the present means of dealing with such questions is frequently unnecessarily discouraging and excessively hard on new users and often turns away those who might in time become valuable contributors to the site. People whose primary language is not English are additionally disadvantaged - not only by their inability to express themselves clearly in English, but because a core of existing users are "linguistically inflexible" (aka 'challenged') and their reactions often have a disproportionate effect on how new posts are dealt with.

  • The majority of group users are probably "western". While it may not be a primary aim of the group to spread 'international good will', those who receive a good reception and become part of the group are liable to usefully benefit 'international relations'.

    It is NOT my desire (despite prior assertions to the contrary) to encourage laziness, sloppy behaviour, poor questions or obscure language. I am not suggesting "spoon feeding" or excessive tolerance of unacceptable behaviours. I do believe that it is reasonable to assist those who are inexperienced with the site's processes and requirements to make the transition to acceptability without excessive barriers being placed in their path.

To 'cut to the chase', for the reasons mentioned below, I would like to propose that

  • Questions which fail or apparently fail to meet standards be given a 'review period' where clear notice is given that the question is at risk of being closed. (The period could vary but in many cases 1 week seems about right. At present a new user may ask a question one evening and find that by morning 'people far away' have judged their question wanting and closed it with no possible chance of response or action on their part. Once a question is closed it is much harder to interact usefully with the OP.)

    Questions should be clearly marked or annotated so that it is clear what is required and what will happen and when, if no action is taken. Addition of a header within the question may achieve this effectively with only a little more effort than at present.

  • And then, attempts are made to work with the user to both improve the question

  • Where necessary attempts are made to make it more comprehensible to group members who are "less flexible than some in their linguistic abilities". (While this could be achieved just by editing by others, a better long term result should be able to be achieved by assisting the OP with their wording.)

  • Questions where it is unclear whether they are asking for 'turn-key' solutions should be investigated to see if design aspect is involved or if it is indeed just a 'shopping' question.

  • Where closing or pending closure is intended, some reason should be given that is clear, relevant and helpful. The existing standard reasons often fail to address the real point to n extent which is sometimes farcical.

While some cases are clear-cut, whether a question is acceptable or not is often a judgement call and matter of opinion. Often a relatively small amount of discussion over a few days allows a question to be improved or makes it more obvious that the question is a reasonable one that was not well understood by some members.

In a significant number of examples of "poor" questions a significant factor is that English is not the poster's primary language. In some cases the result is essentially incomprehensible to all or almost all people, while in other cases the question is clear enough to those who are more familiar with unusually phrased material. It is not uncommon for questions to be essentially clear to some people and incomprehensible to others - and sometimes "the few" close a question which others would be happy to deal with and to help the OP improve.

In a significant proportion of cases, where a new user has a question closed it is never reopened or worked with. In some cases this is because the person has had only a transient interest in the site and, having been locked out, move on to find other more friendly places to ask. However, it is evident that some users who are capable technically, and who can manage a good level of English, still find the closed-question barrier too hard to overcome and never come back.

Some would (and some do) argue that the loss of such people is to the site's advantage, if they can't speak an "acceptable" [tm] level of English they are not wanted here and 'good riddance' to them. [[To my ear some such arguments sound to be verging on 'white supremacist' but that point does not need to be addressed in any depth in order to improve how we deal with this situation overall.]]

Much more could be said :-).
I have heard much on both sides of this argument in the past here and elsewhere. I note that arguments (on both sides) are not always logical or correct and that (often suspect) metaphors may be used in place of fact. This is a subjective area and deals with people's reactions and behaviours. Attempts to and force how people MUST behave are liable to be less than effective.


This question Why are we so strict with closing questions, can't we just keep them open? from 2011 is related but the issue seems worth addressing again 3 years on. Reading the prior material should be helpful.

Here is a 2011 example of what was indeed a very poorly put question. I'll paste it here as not all can see deleted questions.

  • How can I use a transistor with two circuits?

    I have two wires I want to control in one circuit. I have a control circuit to control this wires. How can I use a transistor to control those two wires with the control circuit?

It was closed within two hours of opening and deleted 2 months later. Despite the very poor phrasing I believe I understood what was required. I would almost certainly have had no problem working with the OP to improve the question to an acceptable level. Whether this site wants to bother answering questions at this level is probably an issue to some and may form part of their usually unstated reasons for "doing violence to" such questions wherever possible.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Thank you Russell for making this post, I really appreciate it. \$\endgroup\$ – W5VO Dec 8 '14 at 0:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ Your example "bad" question was deleted for an unrelated reason. However, closed questions are usually deleted after about a year. \$\endgroup\$ – W5VO Dec 8 '14 at 0:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ In my experience, "working with the OP" to improve a question rarely works. We do here often enough ask for clarification on some issue, but most of the time there is no response. The drive-by poster didn't get instant gratification, and instead of supplying all those annoying details we asked about, just kept on going to elsewhere. Good riddance, but note that that is despite our efforts. It's just not a good use of the finite volunteer time, which is much better spent writing good answers to well-written and comprehensible questions. \$\endgroup\$ – Olin Lathrop Dec 8 '14 at 18:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ I was confronted with the same situation when I asked a question I found it [hold on], so I remove it by fear of losing some points. \$\endgroup\$ – R Djorane Dec 16 '14 at 16:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ @CamilStaps Do you have any clue what the system and system users do with new users who have no rep at all or how important it is to surviving the 1st entry to this system when you have no points at all to keep your head down and not attract the downvoters and question closers and general knockers? For you or me a few downvotes is neither here nor there. For a newcomer they can essentially be the difference between survival or not. Many downvotes strongly appear to show the ignorance of the voter than the lack of merit of the question - but that doesn't help when you have no rep "buffer". \$\endgroup\$ – Russell McMahon Mod Dec 18 '14 at 16:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ You're right, I removed my comment as it wasn't very welcoming. \$\endgroup\$ – user17592 Dec 18 '14 at 17:48

10 Answers 10


One week is too long for a fix-it period. Even one day is too long. An hour or two is about right amount of time. After posting, the asker should monitor their post for about an hour. They should tend to their question.

Language aside, there is a very good reason for doing that. Clarification questions will be asked in the comments. If the asker can provide the additional information, then he can keep the momentum going. That improved the quality and speed of the answers.

In addition, if we allow for one week fix-it time, then our front page will contain a lot more low-quality posts, which in turn will encourage even more low quality posts.
(As an aside, if SE had a quarantine buffers then we could have a long fix-it period. The idea of quarantine buffers has been shot down, though.)

Russel, you seem to have a hypothesis that people here "Cannot tell a zombie from a person who does not use English as their primary language [recent] ." I don't think that this hypothesis actually holds. Plenty of low quality questions with good command of English language get dispatched. Plenty of low-quality questions that were originally posted in broken English fly alright.

recommended reading
meta.SO post: On large communities decaying over time, being nice or mean, and Stack Overflow. I'm deeply impressed by the references, which it's using : Why Online Communities Decay Over Time and A Group Is Its Own Worst Enemy. The latter is long, but it's well worth reading.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Russel is well aware of group dynamics. He moderates the PIClist with a light hand, supplying the gentle answer that turns away wrath. He has more experience with online communities than you do, so give full consideration to his opinions here. \$\endgroup\$ – markrages Dec 8 '14 at 5:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ @markrages Well then, I'll go check out PIClist. I've heard the name before. \$\endgroup\$ – Nick Alexeev Dec 8 '14 at 5:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ @markrages Compared to EE.SE, the PIClist looks barren. PIClist had 3 (three) posts yesterday. Posts, as opposed to threads. Nothing special about yesterday either, just the nearest full day. If we look in the archive at the number of posts on Dec 06 over the years, one might notice a steady decline since 2007. So, I will give Russel's opinion my every consideration. Rest assured. Thanks for pointing it out. \$\endgroup\$ – Nick Alexeev Dec 8 '14 at 6:16
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    \$\begingroup\$ @mark: Russell is actually more responsible than any other single person for the decline of the PIClist. Look at the volume over time, particularly noting when Russell became a admin. Now he wants his misguided ideas to apply here. \$\endgroup\$ – Olin Lathrop Dec 8 '14 at 15:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ What sort of response should I make to Olin's ad hominem attack? I suspect he may hold me significantly responsible for the situation which lead him to choose to leave the PIClist. The list admin decision process is an essentially democratic one and there are in fact 6 admins and a Jedi master overlord. Only 2 of the admins faces are usually seen on list (one being mine). I "fought" FOR Olin in private in admin discussions as hard as I do for people here who are disadvantaged. On that occasion there were 7 people involved. I have only 1 vote. SO my response to Olin's comment is - :-) \$\endgroup\$ – Russell McMahon Mod Dec 9 '14 at 1:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Russel When did you become an admin on PIClist? \$\endgroup\$ – Nick Alexeev Dec 9 '14 at 2:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NickAlexeev It must have been some time before the putative decline in popularity, No? :-). Maybe 2009, maybe before. I'd have to dig. \$\endgroup\$ – Russell McMahon Mod Dec 9 '14 at 10:42
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    \$\begingroup\$ @RussellMcMahon As a long time "luker" and past member of the PIClist (briefly and long ago), I applaud your efforts as an admin. Both there and here, you have made many valuable intellectual contributions without surrendering to the dark side. \$\endgroup\$ – Tut Dec 9 '14 at 13:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ For interest - one users records indicate the following message rate to the PICList over about 10 years in 5 groups. i.stack.imgur.com/9Ug1K.jpg \$\endgroup\$ – Russell McMahon Mod Dec 9 '14 at 13:45
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Russell: What I wrote is not ad hominem. I don't think you're a bad person at all. I do believe that your management philosophy had a lot to do with the decline of the PIClist, and I do believe said philosophy is misguided. \$\endgroup\$ – Olin Lathrop Dec 10 '14 at 18:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ I think the PIClist has declined from ten or fifteen years ago, as PICs have become less compelling a choice for microcontrollers. Hobbyists are into Arduino and AVR, and professionals are using ARMs and MSP430. \$\endgroup\$ – markrages Dec 11 '14 at 1:17
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Olin: The reasoning behind your "evaluation" of Russell's contribution to the decline of the PIClist is remarkably similar to the reasoning behind the relationship between global warming and piracy \$\endgroup\$ – EM Fields Dec 14 '14 at 16:13

With the tools we have at our disposal now I still think we should be closing questions that we don't understand or have significant issues. The reason for this is that there is no easy way to make sure bad questions get taken care of after a period of time.


  • We should try to give feedback as to why questions are closed, or what issues exist with the question.
  • If there is improvement on a question, we should try to work with the OP to help them understand what exactly we are looking for.
  • If you answer a question and you see issues with the question (e.g. a bit unclear, poor grammar or spelling, etc...) then you should improve the post. If you answer a question and it gets closed then that's your effort answering the question that's going to waste.
  • If you understand what the question is asking, please either fix the question to make it more clear, or make a comment about the subject matter.
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    \$\begingroup\$ Your third point is a good reason not to answer questions that might be closed. It may be hard to tell in the beginning, but after you've been here a while you can predict reasonably well which questions are going to be close, and avoid wasting time answering them. \$\endgroup\$ – Olin Lathrop Dec 8 '14 at 18:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ Sometimes I understand "not perfect" question which is already closed because 5 users don't understand it. I really like Russel idea with "review period", especially for "unclear" questions. \$\endgroup\$ – Kamil Dec 18 '14 at 22:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Kamil If you understand it, or if you can fix the question so that someone else can understand it, then edit it to fix it and then vote to re-open. \$\endgroup\$ – W5VO Dec 19 '14 at 0:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ @W5VO Sometimes I try to do that, but I could just answer instead of waiting for 4 more reopen votes. It may take few hours. This is discouraging people who want to help. \$\endgroup\$ – Kamil Dec 19 '14 at 0:47

IMO the treatment of 'bad' questions (bad in one form or another) is is OK, but sometimes the canned reason for closing is not very informative or accurate.

My personal contribution is that I never vote to close a question without writing or seconding an explanatory comment.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ I'm not quite satisfied with the close menu, either. A while back we discussed a reason along the lines of "you need to put more effort in on your own before asking this question", but it never materialized. Often I find myself in the close menu and cancelling out when it becomes too much of a PITA to explain it right. I know often someone will close it anyway -- without bothering to get it right sometimes. \$\endgroup\$ – Scott Seidman Dec 9 '14 at 15:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Scott: Yeah, sometimes none of the canned close reasons really fit. If you have a lot of time on your hands, you click on off-topic because, then on Other, and then you can finally enter arbitrary text. Even then you have to first delete the partial sentence that is automatically seeded into the edit box. Sometimes I bother with all that anyway, but sometimes it's too much hassle, so I click on the nearest handy close reason. Oh well. That's what happens when you write a crappy question, and when site management makes doing it right too much trouble. Not my problem. \$\endgroup\$ – Olin Lathrop Dec 10 '14 at 18:48
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    \$\begingroup\$ If you can't find a reason on the close menu, perhaps the question should not be closed. Otherwise, why have a close menu? We could just have one close reason: "I don't like this question." \$\endgroup\$ – markrages Dec 11 '14 at 1:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ @mark: Crappy questions need to be closed. There is also no excuse for writing a crappy question (which has nothing to do with the content of the question), so I don't have any sympathy for those that get their question closed without us telling them exactly why on a silver platter. Actually just about all close reason come down to "This question is so poorly written as to be too aggrevating to deal with or it's not allowed according to the site rules, which you obviously didn't bother reading. Either way it doesn't belong here, and neither do you if you persist doing this.". \$\endgroup\$ – Olin Lathrop Dec 11 '14 at 15:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Wouter As I hope you are aware, I have immense respect for your capabilities and the efforts you put into assisting others on this list and elsewhere. I'm aware that you lean 'somewhat' towards the school of hard experience side of dealing with people, but I suspect you are not as aware as you could be with the impact closed questions have on people coming here for the first time or how little warning or advice people receive in many cases. The realities of international time zones mean that many people ask a question and find it has been closed next time they have the opportunity to look.... \$\endgroup\$ – Russell McMahon Mod Dec 18 '14 at 17:42
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm aware, based on his explicit past statements that Olin doesn't care about how this affects people and considers that the group is well rid of those who don't survive this selection process. I believe and hope that you are somewhat more attuned to personal realities and are simply unaware of the bar to entry that the present system poses. I have successfully assisted a number of people to join the group who otherwise would certainly not have managed and consider it would be useful for those who care to try just a few "rescue" operations to see how hard it can be. \$\endgroup\$ – Russell McMahon Mod Dec 18 '14 at 17:47

I'm not completely aware of what type of feedback gets an user when his question gets closed, but it should be enough to understand that it's not the end. Closing just means that the question needs reworking before getting answers, in order to avoid misunderstanding and waste of time on the side of the answerers.

I agree that a comment before voting to close is a good first step, but only works if the OP can (and does) react quickly on that. The risk is that people might start rushing into answering to get some rep, and making the question a guess game.

I think that the current system works well - after all, it's been tested millions of times - and it's all about judgment.

And by the way, the new badges: Explainer, Refiner and Illuminator, have the specific purpose of encouraging editing the question that we answer. That IMO tells a lot about site policy.


My ten cents worth.

I wanted to comment on the first reply posted but cannot because I "need 50 reputation to post a comment"! So instead I am forced to post an answer! Does this make any sense?

Anyhow I wanted to share my impressions as a relatively new user. I can vouch that the first time I received a warning on one of my questions I was seriously discouraged. Even today I don't quite understand what was wrong with it.

Maybe I am missing the whole philosophy behind stack exchange but the initial impression I got was that there are a bunch of negatively oriented people out there just waiting to tear into my questions and criticize. Indeed I felt and still sometimes feel like "big brother is watching me".

But that's ok because compared to these minor niggles there is an incredible amount of value on the site and I guess much of it is a by-product of the auto-policing system that is built in.

Feel free to delete this post since after all "it does not add any value" - which is why I wanted to post it as a comment.. but cannot. Sigh. There's a hole in the bucket etc..

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank-you ... I think it is important to see how we are perceived from a new-user point-of-view. It could be helpful to see a link to your question. \$\endgroup\$ – Tut Dec 11 '14 at 13:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ I just checked, and you have only asked two questions here. Both were reasonably answered without any negative comments. Both received 1 upvote and no downvotes. Neither went thru any edit revisions. I don't see any "warning" anywhere. \$\endgroup\$ – Olin Lathrop Dec 11 '14 at 15:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ Olin, my warning was gained in another forum. Actually I do not really understand the divide between fora, for instance why reputation gained in robotics should not be useable here and vice versa. But of course I readily apologise for having made what I now see was a sweeping statement. Indeed I am grateful for the replies I got here, which were incredibly useful and informative. \$\endgroup\$ – Galahad II Dec 11 '14 at 16:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ And I feel really liberated to be able to post comments now! Thanks for that. \$\endgroup\$ – Galahad II Dec 11 '14 at 16:11
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    \$\begingroup\$ Please note that different stack exchange sites have very different communities and different ways to deal with questions. That you can comment now, is because this is your own post ;) \$\endgroup\$ – user17592 Dec 11 '14 at 16:46

This issue comes up occasionally in various guises, but it's basically the same thing each time. I wrote a lengthy response to this when is was being proposed that bad questions be put "on hold" for a while instead of being called "closed" right away. I just re-read it, and just about everything still applies because the underlying problem is the same. Instead of repeating this here I'll just point to it here.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Looks like it's working to me (it goes straight to your answer). \$\endgroup\$ – W5VO Dec 8 '14 at 16:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ @W5VO: Wierd. I'm glad you see it as intended, but when I click on the link I end up at the top of the question. I then have to scroll down to find my answer. If most people are taken directly to my answer, then I'll just leave it alone. \$\endgroup\$ – Olin Lathrop Dec 8 '14 at 16:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ To sorta explain the convention in the link, the "181250" is the question ID, and the "223010" is your answer ID. You never get a page with just your answer - it just uses some code to pick a place on the page. \$\endgroup\$ – W5VO Dec 8 '14 at 16:16
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    \$\begingroup\$ @OlinLathrop (-1) The answer you referenced (and therefore added to this discussion by proxy) reads like an opinion piece with many assertions that don't seem to be validated. For example you summarise: "Put another way, the newer users see themselves more as takers than givers, and identify with other takers. How do you prevent them from becoming the majority of this solid core you talk about?". Whereas my experience is that there are many contributors with <1000 rep contributing very good answers. \$\endgroup\$ – akellyirl Dec 9 '14 at 17:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ (@akellyirl re: last sentence in your comment.) Olin is talking about new users, while you are talking about "contributors with <1000" rep. Those are very different populations. Simply look into the stats yourself. By far, not every new user becomes a contributor with <1000 rep. I wish more of them did. I wish we had new users who would post some answers before posting their first question. \$\endgroup\$ – Nick Alexeev Dec 9 '14 at 23:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NickAlexeev I understand your sentiment. But the groups referred to by Olin in his post are i) "the expert original core"; and ii) " the more recently joined and less expert growing base". Perhaps you have more context to know Olin's true meaning; but I'm afraid I can only comment on what he wrote, and in that I see nothing that tells me that contributors with <1000 rep should not be in group (ii), the group who " is looking out for themselves ...[ who want]... access to getting good answers, unlike the original core that want a place for high quality discussions". \$\endgroup\$ – akellyirl Dec 10 '14 at 9:59

I'll have to agree with Olin. This site doesn't need coddled poor questions. It needs more good questions. I think that has to start with all of you. I try and ask questions here, I see a few from the regulars, maybe the other's get lost in the noise.?
There could be many more. More questions and answers at a higher level. Aren't you all working on something..? The format also limits discussion.

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    \$\begingroup\$ George - you are agreeing with part of what Olin says - BUT that is not what I am seeking to address. One way of advancing the point you raise is to make life unbearably hard for new users that do not meet the standards set by whoever is making the decision. That is Olin's openly stated approach (voiced in prior discussions) and is indeed one way of "getting rid of" "substandard users". What I am advocating is making it more possible for new users to find their footing, understand what is required of them and do what it takes to make their questions acceptable. \$\endgroup\$ – Russell McMahon Mod Dec 10 '14 at 4:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ "Coddled poor questions" is a straw man. That strongly suggests that the aim is to allow poor questions to remain poor. To suggest that that is what I proposed is to miss my point utterly - whether accidentally or intentionally. \$\endgroup\$ – Russell McMahon Mod Dec 10 '14 at 4:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ Hi Russell, as mostly a newbie, I'm not really sure what I want. But higher quality and more discussion would be at the top of the list. I guess I expect a question to have a certain standard, and that should be spelled out somewhere. Show a schematic, a link to important parts, and a decent over-view of what you are doing. \$\endgroup\$ – George Herold Dec 12 '14 at 4:22


Thank you Russell for protecting non-English users.

I think there is no need to change anything in that matter.

EE community is very friendly to "bad English" users who speak English good enough to communicate without lexical errors/missunderstandings. By lexical errors/missunderstandings I mean when someone say "adopt" instead of "adapt" or "transformer" instead of "transducer".

My English is bad, I make a lot of grammatical/language mistakes. A lot of my questions and answers were edited and fixed by other users (thank you!).

There is another kind of non-English users - people who probably don't speak English at all and use some translators like translate.google.com and they think that they can get help here. In most cases they will realize that they don't understand answers and go away sooner or later because you can't talk about engineering if your english is too bad.

So in my opinion - more tolerance will not help "very bad English users" anyway. They will not learn English in one year. EE is not language school.


I really like this idea, because sometimes I understand questions closed because user was "unclear". Sometimes I feel that some questions closed for diffrent reasons could be "recovered" too, but some crude people just use "close" button and move on to next question.

It is not very serious problem on EE compared to other sites. For example - superuser.com is most unfriendly community on whole Stackexchange, because diffrent people interpret rules diffrently. One question is at +10, and other very similar is closed because one guy flagged it as "shopping question" and other 4 flagged it too, because they saw close(1).

Maybe close votes shall not be visible to other users? To avoid herd behavior effects (he did it, so I do the same).


In my experience, "working with the OP" to improve a question rarely works. We do here often enough ask for clarification on some issue, but most of the time there is no response.

I have similar experience, but I don't have to do that if I think thats waste of time. Maybe someone else have more patience. I think there is nothing bad in giving a little bit more time and having few "not good enough" questions open.


There is a code of conduct on this site and I think we'd go a long way to improving how "poor posts" are dealt with if we all abided by them.

  • Rudeness and belittling language are not okay.
  • Be welcoming, be patient, and assume good intentions.
  • Don't expect new users to know all the rules — they don't. And be patient while they learn.
  • Don't be a jerk... Focus on the post, not the person...

In my relatively short time here I've noticed that there is more confrontational behaviour in contrast to other sites and less helpfulness.

Even in this discussion I can see "rudeness" and "being a jerk" being broken; and the relevant comments getting upvotes!

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    \$\begingroup\$ A lot of users on this site feel that they are above those rules \$\endgroup\$ – Chris Laplante Dec 13 '14 at 18:28

Some maybe radical suggestions:

  1. Split the site. Create a new 'beginners electronics' SE site, or expand the scope of the Arduino site. Send all the basic questions there instead of closing them.

  2. Or be ruthless. Quickly delete all poor questions without giving a chance to save them. There are a lot of learning electronics resources on the net. This site doesn't have to cater for everybody, it should aim at the electrical engineer level.

  3. Rename the site. Not sure what, but something that sounds sufficiently complex to make people think before posting.

  4. Keep the core happy. Tens of thousands of rep points means a lot of time spent teaching people for free. For many selfish reasons I would hate to see them go.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Related: a beginners site has been proposed for StackOverflow. Deleting poor questions as well, but Jeff's answer doesn't port to EE.SE. \$\endgroup\$ – user17592 Dec 10 '14 at 18:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think that SO beginners site might have crashed and burned in Area51 -- shut down by the admins, IIRC, and rightfully so. Separating out beginners is not a great approach. Why would superusers want to hang out at a site explaining Ohms law over and over? \$\endgroup\$ – Scott Seidman Dec 10 '14 at 18:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ @CamilStaps Instead of spinning-off a newbie stack, the SO had spun-off the professional stack Programmers.SE . \$\endgroup\$ – Nick Alexeev Dec 10 '14 at 20:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NickAlexeev the scope of programmers.se is a bit different, isn't it - not just higher level? Anyway, yeah, I just wanted to provide some reference. \$\endgroup\$ – user17592 Dec 10 '14 at 20:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ @CamilStaps Semi-officially, the scope of Programmers.SE is "Whiteboard questions/conversations about software development." Programmers.SE is a lot more refined site than SO. It's very tough too. They don't entertain questions "How do I start to write 'hello world!' program." The questions that are not about software architecture, software design, software development best practices get closed or migrated. \$\endgroup\$ – Nick Alexeev Dec 10 '14 at 21:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NickAlexeev exactly, but IIRC no programming question is tolerated, not even very complex ones, so that's why I would say the scope is different. But it has been a while, I might very well be mistaken. \$\endgroup\$ – user17592 Dec 10 '14 at 21:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ my money is on 2. Write the rules on presenting a question on this site and hold/remove as usual. \$\endgroup\$ – Oleg Mazurov Jan 14 '15 at 5:55

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