We had a couple of questions in the past few days that were not generally bad but rather unclear and broad:

All of these questions received comments from different users describing what and why should be improved in the questions.

All of these questions received answers despite the fact that all of them clearly (whole question is two lines) need improvements. My problem is that, the OPs won't improve their questions if they see that they can get their answers anyway. Also there is a possibility that their future questions would have the same low quality because that worked previously.

What shows that these questions are unclear that two of the answers contain further questions requesting clarifications from the OP.

This is the reason why questions [on hold] cannot be answered but unfortunately we cannot close these questions fast enough now.

We should not consider question closure as an act rudeness or unwelcoming behaviour. Just make sure to leave comments what should be improved and participate in reopening when necessary.

All in all, I would like to ask everyone to wait with answers and let the OP show some effort for improvement.

My intent with this post is not to emphasis question closing but to wait at least 1-2 days before answering questions that should be improved.

  • Does 'short question' necessarily imply 'requires improvement'? Showing research is helpful but some questions don't really need paragraphs worth of context. However, I'm not disputing those specific examples as being in need of improvement.
    – Aurora0001
    Jan 7, 2017 at 12:40
  • 1
    @Aurora0001 It does not imply generally, but in case two of these particular questions it does. Jan 7, 2017 at 12:44
  • "We should not consider question closure as an act rudeness or unwelcoming behaviour." You may not, but the authors of those questions certainly will, and as has been proven over and over again, there is nothing you can do about that, except to consider that cost before you act. Jan 7, 2017 at 22:20

2 Answers 2


Closing questions serves two purposes:

  • It stops users from answering questions that really shouldn't be answered (too unclear, broad, or the question is too off-topic for the site)

  • It gives the author a reason to come back and fix the problems with their question, by taking away the one thing they came here for - answers!

If you answer when the question really ought to have been closed, the motivation of closing the question goes away, which is very frustrating. There's also the problem that you may not be answering the question that the OP meant to ask, because you might have to guess what the OP meant in the question.

However, a lot of close reasons are based on the close voter's judgement, and you might simply disagree that the question deserves closure. In that case, answering isn't too much of a problem, but you should still consider the following advice.

If the author doesn't come back and address any issues, feel free to edit the post a little more drastically than you would normally do. Salvaging bad questions helps the site greatly (but take care not to invalidate the answers of other users if you can avoid it).

So, in summary, close obviously bad questions; edit and answer questions that you feel can be saved!


I think anyone who does answer a question which is later put on-hold as too broad should (after allowing the OP time to return) make some effort to improve the question themselves. In some cases, the most obvious way to explain how to clarify a question can be to answer it - I accept this doesn't help the OP to learn about the site though, and we prefer questions to be opened again (particularly in Beta). On the live sites, answer and close seeems more productive some of the time.

  • I tend to improve such questions if I can, like this one also this one should not be closed as it is now. But sometimes it is not enough, and yes also a reason for the OP why should not he bother to improve. Jan 7, 2017 at 12:50
  • Also I understand that we need new users and open questions, and I do not want to scare away anyone. Jan 7, 2017 at 12:58

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