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We get many questions from students (usually in high school, or less-advanced undergrads) that are clearly off-topic since they’re well below research-level. Mods and high-rep users are generally efficient at closing these appropriately and promptly. However, often no additional explanation is given with the closure; for the asker, this is highly unwelcoming, to the point of severe rudeness. I don’t think most of us intend to be rude at all — it’s just enforcing the site rules — and equally I think we know not to take it personally if our own questions (here or on other SE sites) sometimes get closed or downvoted. But on many other social media platforms, things like downvotes and post removal/closure are a more serious sanction — so for askers unfamiliar with SE, it naturally comes over as quite harsh and rude.

We do want to turn these askers away (at least for now), but we don’t want to leave them with a bad impression. Mainly out of basic civility, but also because the immature kids of today may be the good PhD students of a few years from now. In the real-world, if a student comes and asks about class homework during the department happy hour, I think most of us wouldn’t dream of just shutting the door wordlessly in their face — we would say something like “Sorry, I’d rather not talk about class topics now, but I’d be happy to answer this during my open office hours.” I suggest we should try to always give some such firm-but-friendly explanatory comment when closing questions from new users. I usually write something when I close-vote, unless someone else has already; I notice a few other regular users who also consistently do this, but often questions get closed with no-one having commented.

I’m writing this question partly to promote this practice, partly to find out if others in the community disagree with it, and finally to gather example comments that can be easily copy-pasted as needed.

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An example comment to accompany a close-vote, taken from this question, and suitable (with minimal customisation) for many closeworthy questions:

Hello [asker’s username]! MathOverflow is specifically for questions about research level maths, so I’m afraid your question is off-topic here. Student questions like this are welcome at our sibling site math.stackexchange.com, though make sure to read and follow their guidelines for how to ask your question there.

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