1 out of 4 question are being closed for being off topic. The majority of them are not closed by the community but by a moderator. Could the community be allowed to help close questions? Could a disclaimer be used instead of closing questions dealing with personal questions?

How can we encourage better quality questions?

  • I do not really understand how your title relates to the body of the question. Please clarify: do you suggest to get "less off-topic" Qs by relaxing our off-topic standards? Apr 16, 2019 at 22:35

2 Answers 2


As with all SE sites, we get fewer closed questions when users read the help section and understand site requirements before posting. In particular, the section entitled What topics can I ask about here should be read and understood.

The community does close questions fairly regularly. Since a single moderator vote will close a question while it takes 5 non-moderator votes, it's natural that many questions end up being closed by mods. I actually let many questions I think probably need to be closed to remain open so I can see what the community thinks. The exception to that is questions requesting medical advice. I close those instantly because the community has long agreed that such questions shouldn't be allowed (and shouldn't be answered either).

We already have a disclaimer. Nonetheless, allowing medical advice questions isn't going to happen. That's an old debate that goes back to the founding of the site and it has always been widely agreed upon by the community. Please read this meta thread. If you want to get medical advice from anonymous strangers with unknown or non-existent qualifications, there is no shortage of sites on the internet where that can be found, but the community here has long agreed this isn't going to be one of them.

I'm not quite sure why you added the link in your question. It's from the very early days of the site when the scope was less rigorous, but even then it clearly stated that medical advice questions were off topic.

  • Interestingly, your name doesn't even show up in the CV-stats? How's that possible? Other mods appear in that list. Apr 16, 2019 at 22:28
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    @LangLangC Do you mean medicalsciences.stackexchange.com/review/close/stats ? That only shows close votes cast from the review queue, if you access a post from the main feed it does not accrue there. I know my stats show way fewer than the number of close votes I've actually given, because there are few enough questions here that it's easy to see them all as they come in if you are active every day or two.
    – Bryan Krause Mod
    Apr 16, 2019 at 22:38
  • If you look at my profile under the votes tab, I've cast over 3500 votes, 1844 of which were close votes. I rarely look at the review queue because I see the new questions virtually every day, so I'm unlikely to miss much.
    – Carey Gregory Mod
    Apr 16, 2019 at 23:33
  • No. If I look at your profile the votes-tab doesn't expand. Perhaps that's different for diamonds, but ordinary users see that you cast 2418 votes (up&down). That's it. No info on reviews or CVs. Apr 16, 2019 at 23:50
  • @LangLangC (shrug) I'm not really sure how that tabulation works. I've never paid much attention to it to be honest.
    – Carey Gregory Mod
    Apr 17, 2019 at 0:13

Closing a question is not a bad thing if it is a bad question.

Closing a question is not permanent: closed questions can be reopened if they are improved.

Closing a question is to prevent answers before a question is improved.

Not closing a question requesting personal medical advice is dangerous, because that allows it to be answered, and may require the moderators to then delete answers that are inappropriately providing medical advice. Even worse, those answers are most likely to come from people who are not regulars on this stack (because they do not understand the prohibition against personal advice) which makes them even more likely to be dangerous.

Some relevant posts about close-voting on the main meta that discuss the purpose of closing questions and recommend immediate rather than patient use of the close vote:

How soon should I "vote to close"?

What is a "closed", “on hold”, or "duplicate" question?

What is the purpose of closing a question?

  • 1
    "Closing a question is to prevent answers." Maybe self-evident, but is that written out and reasoned/explained somewhere? Apr 16, 2019 at 22:25
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  • Clarified slightly also, because what I meant to refer to is the quick closing of questions, since this is what the OP was mostly referring to (in advocating for more close patience). Preventing answers to questions that need to be improved before they are acceptable is the main purpose of closing questions quickly rather than being patient.
    – Bryan Krause Mod
    Apr 16, 2019 at 22:32
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    What OP wants remains a bit elusive to me right now. But I think the comment links might be better placed within the answer. –– What I currently ponder about is the effect that closing has if there already are answers (here this mostly effects old Qs bumped to the frontpage…) Apr 16, 2019 at 22:39
  • @LangLangC You're right; done. I agree that for old questions the purpose is a bit different, but not entirely. Old questions and their answers have to be viewed a little differently since standards change, but I'd argue that it's still good to prevent new answers to old questions that don't fit the modern standards of the site. Closing has a second, long-term purpose of eventually leading to deletion, which I feel applies equally to new and old questions.
    – Bryan Krause Mod
    Apr 16, 2019 at 22:44
  • But an upvoted answer prevents deletion? And if an answer exists for an OTQ then it not only stays free from roomba-action but also free from competing (perhaps needed/better) answers? Apr 16, 2019 at 22:46
  • @LangLangC I did not realize closed questions with an answer are not roomba'd eventually. Might be worth a separate meta to discuss what we should do with such questions here. It does seem that closed questions can be voted for deletion after some time has passed, though: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/5221/…
    – Bryan Krause Mod
    Apr 16, 2019 at 22:52
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    I do on occasion close old questions for being medical advice if I happen to come across them, and I've also deleted some answers to them. But with old questions I usually only do that when they're fairly egregious or they've attracted poor/incorrect answers. Otherwise I'm more likely to protect them.
    – Carey Gregory Mod
    Apr 16, 2019 at 23:32

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