This is a difficult question (maybe a bad question), and maybe especially difficult:
- Because I'm asking about questions-in-general, instead of asking about one specific question.
- Because I feel vaguely dissatisfied but don't even know what question to ask
I'll try and ask anyway, though.
I get the impression that some of the questions on this site aren't very good, or could be better:
- It's badly phrased
- It doesn't give much detail
- It's theoretical (e.g. some speculation about Buddhism and physics)
- It's similar to other existing questions
- And there are other ways in which a question might be not very good
On some other sites one of the ways in which a moderator is active is filtering incoming questions:
- If a question isn't good then the answer is 'put on hold'
- If the question is improved by editing then it's reopened, otherwise it stays closed.
The disadvantage is that someone asks a question and their question is closed. If they don't improve their question then it doesn't get answered. Sometimes they get emotional. Someone needs to explain (or at least post to reference a FAQ to explain) what's wrong with the question and how to improve it.
The advantages are:
- The site has only good questions
- Good questions are easier to answer well
- Almost any/every question on the site is worth reading
- With fewer, higher-quality questions people might concentrate on fewer, higher-quality answers.
The requirements are:
- Someone needs to decide whether a question is good enough to answer, or whether it should be closed
- That "someone" should preferably include moderators and regular/experienced users
To do that we might need well-defined rules, and/or examples ("case law") of questions which are good and bad.
- FYI allowed-questions is a list of all the meta-topics which discuss what types of question are allowed/not allowed on this site.
- Help for newcomers: allowed questions says there should be a list of rules, which doesn't yet exist
- Do we have a clear idea what is on or off topic? has answers which begin to discuss that
Here are my questions:
- Should it be easy/permitted to ask question even if they're bad?
- Should moderators decide that some questions ought to be closed? Even if we (users) haven't defined a clear set of rules yet?
- Can you identify specific types of question that you think are bad, or specific types of badness, which you think should be closed or for which we need to improve the rules? Or instead of posting that here, revisit/renew the answers to Do we have a clear idea what is on or off topic?
- As a user (not a moderator), if I see a question which I don't understand (which may be too often), then I think, "Maybe someone else will understand or answer or comment or close this" and I do nothing. Is that good behaviour on my part, or should I do something different/better?
In theory there are five reasons why we ought to be closing questions.
Is “opinion based” a reason for closing a question? says that all answers need evidence.
Maybe we get too many questions that are too broad? A very broad question requires a lengthy answer (impossible on this site) or a very shallow / high-level answer.
unclear what you're asking
I often find questions unclear:
- Because I'm not an expert
- Because we don't have helpful rules for writing clear questions
- Because Buddhism is a complicated/subjective subject
- Because some users who ask questions here are inexperienced
Perhaps many of our question might be duplicates and we ought to be using this close reason more often. But it's difficult to say that one question is a duplicate of another, when questions are:
- too broad
- not very well tagged
There's another SE site (Skeptics.SE) where I read every question; sometimes I read a question and think, "I remember, an answer to a question like this one was posted here two years ago", I find that other question and I vote to close the new question as a duplicate.