What is this and why does it need to be discussed?
An illustrative example
Consider the following discussion on the closure of a question:
- User A: I am voting to close this question as a duplicate of question X.
- User B: Why? Question X is obviously different.
- User A: The answers to question X answer this question.
- User B: This question is asking for […], but question X is asking for […].
- User A: Look at answer Y. It directly provides an answer to this question.
- User B: Yes, but this is not what is asked here.
- User A: Talking to you is like talking to a brick wall.
- User B: Your father smelled of elderberries.
This discussion leads nowhere and escalates because User A and B are arguing on the wrong level. They agree about each other’s assessments (“the answers to question X already answer it”, “question X is different”), but argue about them. However, they fail to see that they disagree on a more general level, namely what suffices for closure as a duplicate:
- User A focusses on similarity of the answers.
- User B focusses on similarity of the questions.
Our general problem
Going by previous discussions, comments left by close voters, and in custom close reasons, I think that we have a problem similar to that in the example: We discuss on a rather specific level; we argue from different motivations on a more general level; but we never address those differences. Even worse, I have the feeling that some people think that some motivations are carved in stone, even though they do not agree with them.
Before discussing about closure in detailed cases, I therefore wish to establish or confirm a common ground, i.e., a set of good motivations for closure.
What are good, sufficient motivations for closure on this site?
Please mind the keyword sufficient: Naturally many of the above reasons tend to coincide, but that does not mean that they are good motivations for closure on their own.
- Each answer should only contain one motivation.
- Answers should be roughly one level more basic than a pre-defined close reason. If possible, elaborate why it is acceptable to close a question with this motivation and provide examples.
- Each answers should elaborate whether it is acceptable to answer questions fitting the motivation (i.e., that one votes to close with this motivation).
- As duplicate closure is considerably different from other reasons for closure and there seems to be no major disagreement about it, I would exclude motivations specific to it from this discussion.
- Indicate your agreement or disagreement by voting.
- To keep things simple, please refrain from playing devil’s advocate and posting motivations that you disagree with.
To provide some example answers, I will post some motivations that I consider good.
Furthermore, here are some motivations that I observed being given for closure (not that I agree with them):
The question is better suited for/belongs on another site.
The question has a low quality.
The question cannot be answered by us.
The question is not about design per se.
The question can be answered by a simple Internet search.
Answers to the question only help the asker.