This is more of an appeal than a question really. Namely, when a new user asks an off-topic question it is often close-voted without explanation or comments. To me, it makes sense that the first person to cast a close-vote leaves a comment to explain to the new user why this is done and (perhaps) where they can find some guidelines on asking questions on SE. When the question gets closed it does get stamped with a standard explanation, but leaving an additional comment would have two additional benefits:

  • If carefully worded it sounds more friendly and makes the site look less unwelcoming to new users;
  • Some questions can be salvaged and an early comment can achieve that more efficiently that five people voting to close and than five people voting to reopen a question.

(Yes, I know that most off-topic questions are rarely edited by the OP who is new. Still, we are a growing community and leaving an early comment would make a good policy, IMO).

  • 1
    OK people, really! I've voted on seven questions that were nominated for closing just now, only one had a posted comment (by Carey). There was a question that was being close-voted for being unclear, without a comment - how on earth will the OP know that they should clarify their question if we don't tell them? How hard can it be to write: 'hey, we have no idea what it is that you are asking, can you please clarify?'.
    – Lucky
    Oct 18, 2016 at 21:58

2 Answers 2


I try to leave an explanation if I'm the first vote, but I'm not 100% on that. When I don't it's usually either because I think it's obvious, or it's just a crap question I don't think can be salvaged. And yeah, being in a hurry matters too.

But if I had a couple of stock responses I could provide with those shortcuts you mentioned in comments then I would always leave one. Can those be created by mods?


I'm pretty guilty of close-voting without explaining why by your description. I see a lot of the good "standard responses" pop up from power-users and occasionally moderators.

I would add a comment if these standard responses could be recorded somewhere for ease of copy-paste. Maybe meta is the place for this?

  • 2
    That is a good idea. There are some shortcuts (maybe you are familiar with them): typing help in square brackets will spell out 'help center' and make a link, and typing meta in square brackets will spell out 'health meta' which will link to meta. It would be convenient if at least such shortcuts would exist for the meta questions that we usually point the users to as well as the standard text that we could copy from somewhere.
    – Lucky
    Oct 3, 2016 at 12:10
  • 1
    I'd love a [PMA] for personal medical advice. Thanks for the info about help center
    – John
    Oct 3, 2016 at 13:10
  • @Lucky Dang! I've been on SE way too long not to know that but I didn't. Thank you!
    – Carey Gregory Mod
    Oct 4, 2016 at 4:32
  • @Carey That's exactly how I felt when I read it in ELL's formatting sandbox :-). You're welcome.
    – Lucky
    Oct 4, 2016 at 5:17

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .