So, yesterday a dumb question was asked.. It was closed as Not A Real Question in less than an hour, and reopened mere minutes later. This isn't the first time that this has happened. It usually results in lots of arguing and acrimony and generally all comes out of a simple misunderstanding.
There are 5 reasons you should close a question:
- If it's a Duplicate of another question.
- If it's Too Broad. Questions are expected to be reasonably scoped. A request for a complete walkthrough of a 20 hour RPG is Too Big for a single question. Other examples include requests for very large, or itemized lists, questions that don't have a clear focus, or when multiple questions have been buried in one text box. I've written elsewhere, extensively about question scope. As a very simple and not always accurate rule of thumb, ask yourself the following question: If I knew the answer to this question, would I be willing to sit down and write it up in a single sitting? If the answer is no, the question is probably too broad to be reasonably answered.
- If it's Off-Topic and outside of the scope defined in the FAQ. Note that the FAQ does not prohibit Stupid Questions, much as I might like it to.
- If it is Not Clear What The Question Is - that is to say, if it is ambiguous, vague, and not clear what the actual question is, as opposed to merely poorly written. In short, NARQ is for 'questions' that don't have answers. If there is a Real Answer (and not just a poll or discussion), it is a Real Question, no matter how stupid it is.
- If it is Primarily Opinion Based. Note the definition here - POB is meant for questions that will incite arguments or opinion polls. This is not the same as merely 'Not Useful' - POB is specifically defined in this context as likely to solicit argument. If the answers to the question are capable of being supported by facts and evidence, it is probably not POB. Note however, that inciting arguments about the propriety of the question itself is not grounds for a Not Constructive closure.
Now, mouseover that there little down arrow next to this post. See the tooltip? Read it recently?
This question does not show any research effort; It is unclear or not useful.
Note how that doesn't have much overlap with those 5 close reasons. While a question that deserves closure for one of the reasons generally isn't useful, there are plenty of other useless questions that don't meet any of the criteria above.
What am I getting at here? The point is that it seems that every time one of these Very Stupid Questions comes along (and this wasn't the first, and it won't be the last), people rush to close it. This is not the appropriate response. A Close Vote is not a Super Downvote. It is a new and seperate tool entrusted to 3k users because after earning 3,000 reputation, you should be able to tell the difference between the two, and not use them interchangeably whenever a question comes along that grinds your gears.
Quite frankly, I'm tired of having the same exact argument every time one of these questions comes along, so I'm putting this on Meta so I can stop repeating myself and just link this reminder in the future. And I hope, that in so doing, I can make it happen in the future just a little bit less.