We've now mostly hashed out what kinds of questions are welcome on the site, and this is reflected in the official FAQ.

We should cull unwanted questions. We should reflect, and perhaps codify our tagging practice. We should build a community FAQ. The aim here is to make the site more welcoming for new users.

All of these are, in fine, the community's job. Moderators have access to tools that can facilitate things, for example we can merge tags and delete questions, but community moderators do not make the rules. So what else should we, the community, do? How can we moderators help?

2 Answers 2


We need more questions, and more users - i.e. we need to promote the site.

  • 1
    Definitely. But if there are things on the site that could scare potential contributors, it's better to clean up first and publicize then. Still, I'll bump that question.
    – user56
    Commented Feb 27, 2011 at 19:32
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    @gilles I don't think there is anything that would scare potential contributors - but I think more (good) questions would do the most to help convince these people to stay when they find the site.
    – Tony Meyer
    Commented Feb 27, 2011 at 19:55
  • @gilles define "scare" -- what do you mean? Can you provide links of examples to it Commented Feb 28, 2011 at 4:37
  • @Jeff: I was thinking of the stream of list questions asked early on and the subsequent haphazard closing. Maybe “scare” is too strong, but it was somewhat off-putting. I don't think this is a problem anymore, but I want to have other opinions.
    – user56
    Commented Feb 28, 2011 at 19:43

Stop closing so many questions. Hyper-sensitive admins destroy a site faster than anything. I've looked around and seen so many closed questions it makes me want to bugger off.

If it ever gets to the point where there are a zillion questions and so off-topic questions take up significant resources, then ok. Until then, loosen up. You closed someone asking for a sci-fi recommendation because someone determined it's off topic. Blerk.

Loosen up. Really.

  • @bev - if I could upvote this a million times I would. Thanks! Commented Mar 11, 2011 at 11:04
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    The reason why: Broken Windows Theory. The past 45 or so Stack Exchange sites, as well as the hundreds of Stack Exchange 1.0 sites, have demonstrated not being strict early on leads to crappy sites nobody visits anymore.
    – user366
    Commented Mar 11, 2011 at 17:28
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    I'm sorry if you feel we as moderators are intentionally picking on anyone, we are simply following what we believe the community and the Stack Exchange owners want us to do. The format of a Q&A site has some subtle but fundamental differences from a discussion forum, thus not all posts are going to be acceptable. When the FAQ was created, it was decided that certain types of questions are off-topic. I don't think there are any sites in the Stack Exchange Network where you can simply post whatever you wish without it being subject to peer-review and perhaps closed if it is off-topic. Commented Mar 11, 2011 at 19:35
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    I joined up after the recent closing of many open-ended questions that just prompted a list of many equally valid answers (e.g. Is there a sci-fi book where <insert sci-fi trope> happens?). It certainly made the place feel less inviting, wading through all those closed questions.
    – user1027
    Commented Mar 11, 2011 at 21:48
  • @Keen - In the FAQ of every stack exchange site it says : "Chatty, open-ended questions diminish the usefulness of our site and push other questions off the front page. To prevent your question from being flagged and possibly removed, avoid asking subjective questions where …". If you were in our shoes, would you ignore this explicit directive and the reasoning behind it? Commented Mar 11, 2011 at 22:05
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    @MarkRogers I know and appreciate that those were off-topic, I'm simply saying that as a new user, the fallout from mass question closing makes the place feel like the rules are restrictive, and new users must post with caution.
    – user1027
    Commented Mar 11, 2011 at 22:12
  • @Keen - I agree with that, we sincerely wish there was another way, and we are hoping that once the community grows it will becomes less of an issue, at least for the moderators. Commented Mar 11, 2011 at 22:15
  • @Mark, I know the broken window theory. It applies to criminal activity, not well meaning people in a voluntary community, all of whom want a good experience. I never said, and don't think, that you are 'picking' on anyone. I never said that there are sites where you are not subject to peer review or that I thought such was a good thing. I never said that there shouldn't be subjects that are off topics. The fact that this is what you picked up from my comment indicates to me that you didn't read it carefully, since none of those characterizations are remotely close to my meaning.
    – bev
    Commented Mar 12, 2011 at 17:33
  • I said that you are being much too strict in deciding what is and what isn't off topic, and that this is very offputting. Right now I am a member of around 6 SE sites, and the ones I visit and like are the ones with a little leeway. Not even a lot of leeway, just a little. The sites I never visit or join are the ones with overly critical moderators who close a large percentage of questions. That's just me. Maybe I'm unique. You asked for my input and there is it. Take it or leave it. There is absolutely no reason not to have sci-fi recommendations on this site. That alone is a reason to visit.
    – bev
    Commented Mar 12, 2011 at 17:38
  • Oh, lastly, unless someone did a serious study on why some sites are 'crappy' (your term), you have no way of knowing that the lack of strict moderation is the culprit. That's the sort of projection that strict moderators always seem to make. It's a way of distorting reality to prove oneself right that, lacking a study, has no rational basis. I'm not saying you're wrong, I'm saying you have no idea whether you're right, and using that unsupported opinion to make a site seeking members seem less inviting (to people like me) is counter-productive. You need to loosen up.
    – bev
    Commented Mar 12, 2011 at 17:43
  • @bev - We're definitely trying to figure out how to make the site more welcoming to new users and you have some valid points. On a side note, you may not know that there are two different Marks in this thread (just checking). Commented Mar 12, 2011 at 17:43
  • related: Too much censorship in this community? Commented Mar 12, 2011 at 18:25
  • @Mark Rogers - Thank you. And you're observation was correct. I didn't, at first, notice that there are multiple Marks hereabouts. Sorry about my mix-up.
    – bev
    Commented Mar 12, 2011 at 19:08

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