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Re: Kyrie Eleison is Greek, but what is the proper Latin Translation?, just closed, I think the question is pretty straightforward, and while it's not up to the written standard for translation questions, it is good enough for (and maybe even better than) our de facto standard.

Besides, as a user that still feels foreign in most sister sites, I think this kind of legitimate but maybe too formal reaction toward casual/recent users is what makes some feel frustrated by StackExchange at times. It's subjective, I know, but I think we shouldn't close these questions that fast. In the past (in other sites) I've felt like the door has been closed in my face for stuff like this. What do you think?

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This is a good discussion to have. I am in favor of the closure, but I am not opposed to reopening if that is preferred. A couple of remarks on this:

  1. I just posted an announcement that now 3 (instead of 5) votes are enough to close or reopen a question. That means that you and other non-moderators can realistically and actually quite easily reopen a question closed, whether closed by a moderator or other users.

    I would like to see users act out their preferences through that mechanism more. I see you have already cast your vote in this particular case, so it only takes two more.

  2. I think it is best if unclear questions are closed quickly. I realize that quick closure feels bad, but I actually think that quick closure serves the OP (original poster) best. (Based on lengthy discussions in our moderator chat, I know I am not an outlier among our moderators with this opinion.)

    The rationale is as follows: If a question is unclear and contains too little context, it is common that the OP wants something other than stated in the question. The background and context are important, and we often have to guess and supply them in order to answer. The OP gets something that they will actually benefit from if we push them to elaborate on their goal before anyone starts answering. If the question is not closed quickly, there can be an answer based on a misinterpreted premise. This will unfortunately waste the time of the asker, might leave the OP with an answer that is not applicable to their actual situation, and can discourage future answerers.

    Moving goals are frustrating when answering a question, and the point of closing quickly is to fix the goal clearly before anyone gets to answer. The purpose of quick closure is to reduce eventual frustration for all parties, at the possible cost of some initial frustration.

  3. More elaborate questions are better for future reference. If it lays out the details, then a future reader has an easier job understanding the question and the applicability of the answer in a case the reader is interested in.

  4. When someone asks a question on our site, they are asking for volunteer help. In general, I expect someone asking for help to be cooperative with the helpers.

    For example, if the OP leaves out details that help writing an answer, the answerer might have to spend quite a bit of time figuring out something that the OP could have shared easily. Disregard for the time others spend helping you is rude in my book. It's no joke when I write something like "please elaborate on your goal in order to help us help you" under a question.

  5. It sometimes happens that extra information is added in comments rather than edits. All the key items must be mentioned in the question itself. In this particular case I would be happy to reopen the question myself if the content of the comments is edited into the question body to set the stage more clearly. This is not a major task but it makes a major difference.

  6. There is no clearly drawn line on these things, so whether my thoughts above are valid in this specific case is up to everyone's judgement. And that brings me to point 1: please do vote when you disagree.

    If you disagree with the general ideas I presented here, that is best discussed either here on meta or in our chat. It is inevitable to have some disagreements between experienced users, but they should mostly not be aired in comments under a newer user's question.

These remarks are in no particular order. I numbered them just for easier reference.

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First, I want to say thank you for bringing this up. Not only do we allow user input here, we really appreciate and encourage it. I think that alone makes us a bit different from other sites.

I believe I should chime in on some specifics, since I closed the thread, and Joonas has covered the basics of the theory behind it. The way the thinking goes is:

A) The question doesn't meet the criteria that the community laid out for translation questions. It wouldn't be fair to close others, like those asking for mottoes from English to Latin, but not this one;

B) It wasn't all that quick. The question as it was stated can be answered with a quick Wikipedia search. As the user wanted more than the basics, I asked that he include that information in the question. So far, the thread remained open during that time.

C) It was only after getting a reply from the user that seemed to me to indicate they weren't familiar with the the guidelines here, which, as Joonas points out, aren't arbitrary, but have real effects on the community. It was only then that I closed it and directed him to the Meta discussion guidelines and then offered a few other tips on how to improve the question.

It has often been brought up how closures can feel. At the same time, someone who isn't willing to engage with a community can also make for a hostile environment. Some other Stack sites have problematic users and mods are too lax, leading to an exodus. Others close too quickly and don't offer up advice. I believe we choose the best middle path forward -- close when necessary and offer comments on how to best improve the question.

I cannot think of a time where a question was kept closed despite some editing by a question, even if it does not answer all of the concerns. The bar is fairly low here. But I think it is a mistake to remove it completely.

To sum, we should close questions when necessary. When closing a question, we should always offer advice and guidance and how to re-open. I believe that these guidelines are good for the community as a whole (even if it's annoying to the one asking the question) and that the closure in this case follows them well.

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  • I agree to most (if not all) what you say. Perhaps the only thinkable thing left to do is to edit ourselves the comments into the questions, but no one is obliged to do so nor expected to have the time to do it.
    – Rafael
    Commented Jun 15, 2022 at 21:21
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    @Rafael I know some users hate having their questions edited, while other sites do it freely. I can't think of a reason not to do it, so long as it adequately captures what the OP desired or expressed via comments. Go for it!
    – cmw Mod
    Commented Jun 15, 2022 at 21:47

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