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As Mari-Lou A pinpointed in Extraordinary spike in low-quality questions by 1 rep users, we have been swamped with Low-Quality-questions (LQQs) recently and it has been overwhelmingly difficult to deal with them especially when high-rep users are not actively involved in close-voting them and informing new users of the rules and guidelines of this community.

We can't read all the questions on this community and some users might not notice some LQQs that should have been closed unless they use the moderator tool where you can see the questions with most close-votes.

I want to propose a weekly or bi-weekly (once in two weeks) Meta post to include LQQs that should be closed, but received not enough votes so that they could be closed more efficiently and effectively. If they don't receive enough votes, the existing close-votes will be cancelled and it would be more difficult to close them and ultimately delete them.

If we don't close a blatantly-off-topic question, it could be used as an excuse or justification for other uses to ask another similar off-topic question.


The format of a weekly or bi-weekly post would be like this:

Title: LQQs on the week 1 of 2016 Feb.

  1. What does swing exactly mean?: Even though the OP says (s)he checked a dictionary, it is general reference.

  2. The difference between the phrases “leave the house” and “leave home”: Lack of research, general reference. Better suited on ELL.

  3. Another question: Brief reason why it should be closed.

and so on.

This post could be edited by any user who wants to include a question that should have been closed in the previous week and questions that are closed would be deleted from the post.

What is your opinion about this?

Edit: I am adding more questions that should have been closed in my opinion.

  1. Shorter words for “likely to be IN apartment names”?: Unclear, no context. Received only 2 close-votes.

  2. What preposition should be used with “map”, “in” or “on”? (please see my examples): General reference and could be a duplicate. All 3 close-votes were cancelled.

  3. Usage of “take a step forward”: General reference, lack of research, better suited on ELL. All close-votes were cancelled.

  4. Is “make a day” ok to use in an ad slogan?: Primarily opinion-based. The three votes could be cancelled soon.

  5. Is it normal to struggle a lot trying to understand spoken English in a noisy environment?: Primarily opinion-based. The three votes could be cancelled soon.

  6. Is WHO an acronym or an initialism?: Duplicate. The two close-votes could be cancelled soon.

  7. Is that the correct use of past perfect?: No research. Why is that? type of question. The two close-votes could be cancelled soon.

  8. Is this correct? “One of the things that makes him great is…”: Asked in Mar. 2015. Exact duplicate.

A few of them above could be still in a queue. The purpose of this suggested post would be prevent as many close-votes as possible from being cancelled and close/delete those questions.

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    Why do a whole lot of extra work when the review queue already has that list? – Mitch Feb 4 '16 at 14:30
  • What is like to see instead is a list of the most common types of low-quality questions we get, all collected under one question, each LQ questioned treated in its own answer, detailed what is expected of it, and what research, preparation, context, etc, it must contain to prevent its closure or merit re-opening after closure. That way we could add comments with links to these specific answers on low-quality questions, VtC, walk away with a clear conscience. – Dan Bron Feb 4 '16 at 14:48
  • @Mitch If I'd had more time, I could have found more examples, but the first question in my post was not close-voted when I wrote this question. Actually it prompted me to write this question. What is your opinion about the first question, "What does swing mean"? If I had not close-voted it myself, it would not appear in the review queue now. – user140086 Feb 4 '16 at 17:12
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    @Rathony the problem is also that people are actively answering these questions, or adding stupid comments that don't help anything...so the questions get a buzz or life that makes them live. – michael_timofeev Feb 4 '16 at 17:16
  • I checked the dictionary for swinging and there are two possible definitions. At least the OP could have said they weren't sure if the party was exciting or was for swingers...some kind of research. – michael_timofeev Feb 4 '16 at 17:18
  • The second one should have been posted on ELL...but three people answered. – michael_timofeev Feb 4 '16 at 17:19
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    @Rathony the 'swing' question is gen ref for ELU. I voted to migrate to ELL because the explanation and choice of which meaning/metaphorical meanings when straightforward is appropriate there. – Mitch Feb 4 '16 at 17:57
  • Question #6 on the additional list of questions you want to close is a duplicate of "Is IOU an acronym or an initialism?" only in the sense that both questions focus on assigning an abbreviation to one or the other category. The IOU question has a more general component, but the WHO question does not; it is specifically a question about whether in actual usage people pronounce WHO "w-h-o" or "who." I don't think the WHO question can be answered by reference to the IOU question because the answer to the WHO question depends on real-world usage, not on application of a general definition. – Sven Yargs Feb 5 '16 at 16:47
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    Whether WHO is pronounced "w-h-o" or "who" in the vast majority of occurrences of the term in TV and radio news is a matter of fact, not opinion, isn't it? The poster reports having heard it expressed both ways on different occasions and seems to be asking what the preponderance of usage is. Your answer that the preponderance of usage favors "w-h-o" is not, it seems to me, based on mere opinion; it's based on your experience with real-world usage. I continue to think that the WHO question is a valid, nonduplicate question, albeit one that I don't know the answer to. – Sven Yargs Feb 5 '16 at 17:13
  • What do you mean by "close votes were cancelled"? Votes can't be cancelled, but they can age away. That is, they can die but they can't be killed. – Andrew Leach Feb 5 '16 at 20:31
  • It seems to me that since it only takes one close vote for a question to be queued for review, more 3k+ members of the community should be reviewing (or voting to close, but reviewing makes that easier). – Andrew Leach Feb 5 '16 at 20:33
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As far as I know, there is no rule against posting on Meta an annotated list of questions that you would like other people to join you in close-voting, or against updating such a list as often as you like. Since questions that have been nominated for closure already appear in a list in the Review queue, I think it's fair to say that this standing or recurring list would amount to an ongoing lobbying effort designed to recruit Meta readers to support your (and presumably others') close preferences. Undoubtedly, precedent exists for such lobbying in the form of Meta posts that users submit in favor of reopening particular questions that they feel were incorrectly closed.

Your proposal differs from those one-off efforts in being a systematic attempt to rally opposition to the questions you (and other close voters) think should not be on the site. If successful as a lobbying tool, it would increase the number of closed questions on the site. So one question that other site participants might ask themselves is whether they share the view that the current system—lacking, as it does, the additional publicity of a weekly or biweekly hit list of questions identified on Meta as Low-Quality Questions—is unsatisfactory as a way of dealing with suspect questions.

My view is that any innovation that increases the likelihood that questions on the site will be closed also (though certainly not intentionally) increases the likelihood that good questions will get swept up in the dragnet and closed. And to me, few things are more counterproductive to the goals of this site than closing good questions because they superficially fit into one or another close category.

But there is a second issue with this proposal that I think deserves careful thought. EL&U's current review system requires reviewers to assess the merits of questions nominated for closure (or computer-identified as potentially being of low quality) in random order as they pop up in the Review queue. This arrangement works against targeted reviewing. Posting a list of particular questions on Meta under the heading "Low Quality Questions," in contrast, invites targeted close-voting. This undoubtedly makes close voting easier—because a person can jump straight to the question and click 'Close.' But I think it also throws the vetting process out of balance.

After all, there isn't a 'Leave Open' button on the post itself that a person who disagrees with the claimed LQQ status of that question can click. So a person who sees a post on the LQQ list of the week and agrees that it should be closed can click the link to jump directly to the question and vote to close it, but a person who thinks that it should stay open has to reach the question the old-fashioned way (through the randomly ordered Review queue) to vote to keep it open.

To equalize that system, it seems to me, we would have to add a 'Leave Open' button next to the 'Close' button on each posted question, so that voters could register their support or opposition to closing a particular question with equal ease. Otherwise, we skew the system in favor of closure.


Conclusion

If adopted, this proposal to establish a recurring list on Meta of posts recommended for closure might significantly increase the number of questions that get closed and the speed with which closure happens. Whether you think that result would be a good thing for EL&U depends in part on whether you think the site's current review system strikes a satisfactory or unsatisfactory balance between closing worthless questions and preserving valid ones. I am opposed to maintaining on Meta a standing list of questions that should be closed, because I think this approach would create a path to closure that sidesteps the existing closure system and enables pro-closure voters to exploit the fact that individual question pages have a 'Close' button but not a 'Leave Open' button.

I recognize that some site users may be deeply frustrated by the number of bad questions they see open on EL&U at any particular moment, and that they may not believe that closing good questions is much of a problem. If I shared that view, I might very well support this proposal. But I think that the current Review queue system for closing questions—random as it is—is a better and fairer way to deal with questions nominated for closure.

  • Thank you for your long and detailed answer. I agree with your points and share your legitimate concern. Users seem to agree with you by downvoting the question. – user140086 Feb 8 '16 at 9:13
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    It should be said that [this] would further enable pro-closure voters, as it can and does happen anytime someone chats or meta posts. I think this hints at what half of Mari-Lou's question is looking for; it's the loss of the pro-closure click (which is a bad thing for the health of any SE site). Furthermore, I think this 'Leave Open' button should exist; that CV's should no longer expire and instead cancel each other out. If SE had a billion users over 3k, everything would be closed by tomorrow morning. – Mazura Feb 9 '16 at 2:56

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