I was reading some posts on improving question quality and narrowing the definition of the General Reference when I had an idea. What does ELU Meta think about putting a question on hold when "more research is desired" (MRD)?
The first point made here is that poorer quality questions don't show enough research. I think it's possible that when there's no research present, interesting questions can get mistaken for them -- this is what I believe happened with this question about the origin of "bunk".
Of the close-holds I know, I think there's a place for it:
- Is the question meant for SE? (Closed as Spam)
- Is the question meant for this SE? (Closed to Migrate, for Proofreading, etc.)
- Is the question unambiguous? (On-hold as Unclear)
- Is the question supported by good reasoning/research? (On-hold because more research desired)
- Is the question sound? (On-hold because of typo or like mistake)
- Is the question answerable from ELU's resources? (Off-topic because POB)
- Is the question already answered from ELU's resources? (Off-topic because GR)
(I hoped to order these based on which to generally look for first, given criteria such as their dependencies on each other. But I go back and forth on the placement of some.)
I think much good can come from adopting this, particularly if we use it only when we feel the question will remain open (or become protected) when more research is added. This is tricky, because we may not fully understand a question's potential without sufficient research. (This is why I rank GR after MRD, though arguably such a question should be on-hold as unclear.) But the asker has an idea of its potential, so MRD forces the responsibility of demonstrating it back in the asker's hands instead of into those of the reviewers/answerers.
But does this responsibility ever leave the asker? Can't they edit their question on request at anytime? Why have a close-vote?
In addition to preventing mis-closure for another reason, the best practical reason I see is enforcement. This way a question must meet ELU's standards before getting an answer, if an answer has not already been supplied in comments. (Following the ranking above, the question has already been approved as right for ELU; it just needs a little more refinement is all.) If the question appears to be from homework or a test, the asker is forced to show external work to get an answer from ELU. It sounds a little harsh said that way, but I believe it is also reasonable and fair -- provided we have members willing to go through recently edited MRD questions to reopen them as needed.
From the list of the first point made above, the asker who gets their question reopened by necessity amends their question's following shortcomings:
- Showing little research or effort
- Being extremely short
- Not being revised
The remaining points may end up amended in the process too.
I tried to choose the simplest but most general wording I could, but it's possible there's a better title. I have toyed with replacing Research by Detail/Effort, since the former could tempt us into looking at the number of links/quotes per question. I myself have posted questions that presented little (formal) research because I recognized a pattern but did not know where/how to search for its description. But a downside to using Detail/Effort is that the asker may add more informal discussion when formality is desired. I think as long as we flaggers agree that Research can mean the user's own reasoning / readiness to provide examples / etc., we'll be ok.
I envision the MRD pane leading to a link of authoritative resources that might help the question. As a parallel to GR's help text:
You can improve this question and have it reopened by the community by adding citations from other sources. A list of accepted resources can be found here: LINK
Where LINK leads to a page mapping topics to handy websites:
- Origin? Try Etymonline / Google nGrams!
- Meaning? Try MW or other dictionary!
- Grammar? ...
What do you think, ELU Meta?