Our mods are doing a great job keeping this site as good as it is. Most of the work they do is behind the scenes and goes unnoticed to most of us.

However, in the last 24 hours or so, I've noticed two questions have been closed by a moderator vote.

The power of these votes is such that, on their own, they can close a question. This is of course for good reason: questions that harm this site should be stopped as soon a possible.

However, in the two cases I've seen, the justification to close the question is debatable at best.

In the first case the question was closed as "Not suitable for this site". No additional explanation given to the new user (what's with our welcoming policy?!). By now, the question has been re-opened, after some rewording, but it took 24 hours. A comment from a second moderator after the question was re-opened, indicated that the original question was closed for "resource location". The question may not have been worded in the best way possible, but asking for the kind of technologies (not products) are in use for drone detection is definitely not resource location.

The seconds case was closed a "Needs more clarity". A user voted to close and suggested to the new OP how the question could be improved. Next thing, a moderator closes the question. There was no need to hurry here at all! The (new) user added information within a short time and now the question is perfectly clear. Unfortunately it can't be answered because it's closed now...

In my opinion, our community is active enough to close questions in reasonable time. Often people jump in to help the OP with improving the question before it is closed. In cases like the two described here, there is no added value of the god-hammer of the moderator. These are not cases of spam, name-calling or endless rants. These are simply cases that sort them selves out in a matter of time, without doing any harm to the site.

So please Mods, use your powers when needed, but let the community have its way when possible.

I know these mod-actions come from a good place. So again, thank you for all your dedication to this great website.

  • $\begingroup$ I'm not sure mods are the (only) problem here, but it might be how users upvote/downvote too. It feels more like reddit than stackexchange. (This page explains how votes work and their alternatives: stackoverflow.com/help/privileges/vote-down ; I linked it on a couple other questions as I felt people downvoted me because they disagree or didn't like something) $\endgroup$ – Florent Henry Mar 10 at 22:18
  • $\begingroup$ @FlorentHenry I don't think the voting is the big problem here. If you want to discuss up- and downvoting, why don't you ask a separate question here on Meta? I think it would be helpful if people explain why they cast their downvote, but the consensus is that no explanation is owed for a downvote. $\endgroup$ – DeltaLima Mar 10 at 22:50

We don't use our powers that much, but I see how by time to time there might be instances when it feels that way.

For your first example, the way it was phrased it looked like as a spam seed to me, and in the best case scenario was resource location. And on top of that I am still not convinced that it is a subject that is on topic here (but the community has spoken, so I won't add anything).
As for not commenting, the user has enough experience around the SE network, I did not feel there was the need to hand-guide them. I'm quite bothered by people treating me like I don't know how SE works when I ask a question on a new site, so I try to treat people the same way I would like to be treated.

Your second example, instead, it's a user that - given the information I have access to - has already posted homework questions, was told to improve them, and did not bother at all to improve them.
For me there was need to hurry, I have seen enough times people answering a badly posed question interpreting in one way, then someone else coming along and editing in such a way that the answer is completely unrelated. Closing -> clarifying -> reopening is the best course of action for the site, and during the weekend closing takes forever if a mod does not intervene.

Given what I observed in these years as moderator, the community is mostly active and can take care of things, but sometimes items stay in the queue for days, particularly on weekends. While I'm fine for it to be the case for answers, I think that questions need to be dealt with faster, to avoid the situations I described, where quick answers are made obsolete by successive edits of the question.

  • $\begingroup$ Closing spam seeds and taking no other action on them may not actually stop spammers from answering them. The server doesn't actually block answers to closed questions until four hours after closure, so a determined spammer could get around the client-side restriction easily. I'd recommend protecting possible spam seeds (in addition to closing them, if appropriate) as that block takes effect immediately. $\endgroup$ – gparyani Mar 2 at 10:31
  • $\begingroup$ @gparyani but given that it was only a hunch, and not a blatant and obvious spam seed, it was not needed. otherwise I would have deleted. $\endgroup$ – Federico Mod Mar 2 at 10:35
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you, @Federico, for offering your perspective. I appreciate your approach to considering a user's network wide experience and history on this site in your decision on how to communicate with them. I didn't look into those aspects so far, but they do shed a different light on the matter. Also, I wasn't aware that we have open issues in the queue for so long at the moment, it seems to me that the community dealt quicker with these topics in the past. How could we improve that? ... $\endgroup$ – DeltaLima Mar 3 at 10:27
  • $\begingroup$ ... I still disagree on classification as spam / resource location, but that doesn't matter. I understand your approach, and it's perfectly fine to me. $\endgroup$ – DeltaLima Mar 3 at 10:27
  • $\begingroup$ @DeltaLima thank you. As for improving the queue situation, there's not much to be done, except remembering that if you have privileges, you should have a look at the review any time you have some time on your hands. Maybe we were quicker in the past, but participation has been declining for a while sadly. $\endgroup$ – Federico Mod Mar 3 at 10:41
  • $\begingroup$ Participation may also have declined because the most important questions have already been posted and answered... $\endgroup$ – xxavier Mar 12 at 14:25
  • $\begingroup$ @xxavier that's a discussion as old as Q&A sites. sure, some "easy" questions have been asked, but I would not underestimate the human ability to come up with problems. $\endgroup$ – Federico Mod Mar 12 at 14:39

IMO the first example (drone detection) was justified, because when spam is posted, it will not be unsolicited, and that's always a headache to deal with.

The second example (cold fronts) is probably due to the usual time when the regular reviewers aren't as active. I found it refreshing -- my experience with the review queue in almost five years is it's slow and sometimes issues remain unresolved / guidelines not followed. And in many cases the askers don't bother to make edits.

A couple of examples I very recently faced I'd like to share to highlight my point:

That's half of my recent review queue (not counting the dupe closures). Yet they remained open. Makes one wonder why even bother. That's why I found today's example refreshing.

Just sharing how I see it. I know it doesn't answer your title question.

  • $\begingroup$ Thank you @ymb1 for your response. I wasn't aware that the community is taking so long to deal with closing questions that need closing. How could we improve that? Regarding your example questions: #1, I agree and casted my close vote. #2, I agree it's probably not within aviation law/reqs, but still within aviation. $\endgroup$ – DeltaLima Mar 3 at 10:40
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ #3, is not shopping or resource location. But I am in two minds on this one: on one hand it is answerable in the form of a definitive list of aircraft that meet the requirements. On the other hand, that list is unlikely to be complete so you will be getting new valid answers. The value of such a question and answer list is very low in my opinion. $\endgroup$ – DeltaLima Mar 3 at 10:41
  • $\begingroup$ 1/2 @DeltaLima: Re #2: the Q asks about legality, so if it's not within aviation regs, it's off-topic. It's a matter for a very local admin division, a city hall for example. It reminds me of this meta post of mine. $\endgroup$ – ymb1 Mar 3 at 13:06
  • $\begingroup$ 2/2 Re #3: a Q that is answerable by different products is the very definition of shopping; shopping not as in I want to buy, but as in unsuitable for the way this site is designed. Note that my intention is not to close those, I could have easily started a meta post for each with references, but at this point it's become tiring. My intention was to show why I found it refreshing to see the diamond :) $\endgroup$ – ymb1 Mar 3 at 13:06

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