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On occasion, when I come across a particularly bad question (e.g. homework with no attempt; or requests such as "why doesn't this work", where no schematic or sufficient detail is given), I'll go ahead and immediately vote to close.

I'm beginning to wonder, though, if this is in bad form. Perhaps I should down-vote, paste a standard form comment, and give the OP a day or two to comply.

How do "you" approach these questions? Is there a generally agreed upon (albeit unofficial) grace period?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ In the majority of cases it is rather obvious if the op would address any issues, there you might want to wait a moment \$\endgroup\$
    – PlasmaHH
    Jan 1 '18 at 15:10
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When I was a 3k user, I didn't have a grace period policy. Grace period would naturally occur because it takes 5x users to close-vote a question.

Then I became a moderator, and my vote closes the question immediately. So, I post a comment asking the O.P. to demonstrate his initial efforts to solve the problem. A few hour grace period follows.
[earlier post: My strategy for homework questions]

If there's any hint that it's an exam question, I close it with extreme prejudice. I also delete it immediately, to prevent some do-dooder from answering in the comments.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ This makes sense. Thanks. Sounds like I’m on par, and I’ll just continue calling them as I see them. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 29 '17 at 23:02
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If it needs to be closed, it needs to be closed. The questions can always be reopened.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I'll add. If the post [the homework question] has been edited, the downvoters can take back their downvotes too. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 29 '17 at 21:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks @W5VO. This is what I was hoping to hear. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 29 '17 at 23:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Nick: They can. I won't. I'm not interested in helping lazy students probe the site to find out exactly what they can get away with. The downvote is for flagrant abuse of the site and for the laziness in persuing their studies. That still happened whether it was subsequently modified or not. I will retract downvotes due to technical errors when I'm notified the problem was addressed. Experience shows, though, that it's very rare the OP pings me to say something is fixed. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 30 '17 at 15:11
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Perhaps I should ... give the OP a day or two to comply.

Absolutely not!

  1. There is a good chance you'll forget to come back and vote to close. There is no mechanism within SE for a reminder.

  2. It noises up the site and dissipates volunteer energy. It's fine to tell the OP what you think is wrong, but it's important that bad questions get closed as quickly as possible. A lengthy comment chain going back and forth with the OP is not desirable. Everyone should be held to the same standard consistently. Letting someone slide by because you wrote a comment reduces overall site quality.

  3. As long as a bad question remains open, it is vulnerable to some selfish wannabe that can't resist looking smart at the expense of the overall site. Think about it. That's why there is a close mechanism in the first place. If everyone could be trusted to not provide the desired result for a bad question, we wouldn't need to lock out new answers by closing questions.

  4. It puts the OP on notice that the comments about things needing to be fixed are serious. The clock is ticking. Fix it or else. These are empty threats until the close process has at least been started.

  5. The first close vote puts the question on the close review queue. That gives the question more attention from others to specifically evaluate whether it should be closed or not. Otherwise, a bad question with a uninteresting title might not get enough attention to ever get closed.

  6. It doesn't work most of the time anyway. Most bad questions that receive comments are never edited. It's a fool's errand waiting on the OP to come back and fix a problem.

  7. The site is more important than the salvage value of any one question. We get plenty of good questions here. We're not hurting for traffic. Spending time turning a bad question into a mediocre one is not worth it. A new good question will come in soon enough. Spend the time to answer that instead. Meanwhile, the bad question needs to be dispensed with as expediently as possible.

  8. Consider the volunteer resources that make this site work a limited and finite resource. You want as much of that time applied to providing good answers to good questions as possible. That builds the best repository, which is a stated goal of SE. Time spent dealing with bad questions is time not spent writing good answers to good questions. Therefore, it should be clear that bad questions should be dealt with as expediently as possible with the least amount of volunteer drain.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Well said; I agree on all points. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 30 '17 at 17:57

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