I see many questions which are downvoted and locked immediately, most of them from fairly new users. How about we give them a chance to re-frame the question or remove it themselves, rather than locking it down? Considering this is UX.se I feel we should be better than that.

I see a question along the same line on meta, So are we allowing subjective questions, or not?. I feel these questions should be re-framed to a pro vs con (or some suitable) structure and the discussions should be encouraged. UX is not about finding one answer, it is about reasoning. The one which I liked was the 'abusive names blacklisting' one, it was a nice debate from either sides and was quite a learning experience.

If you argue that these discussions can be taken over to chat, I call that a lie. Few people visit the chat, and on top of that there is no sense of continuity. Two people might be discussing the question when someone else jumps in and starts another discussion.

Edit 1:

closed as not a real question by ........ 1 hour ago

It's difficult to tell what is being asked here. This question is ambiguous, vague, incomplete, overly broad, or rhetorical and cannot be reasonably answered in its current form. For help clarifying this question so that it can be reopened, see the FAQ.

This is the prompt which goes on closed question and hence my 'confusion'. Anyhoo, I see that there is some work being done to improve that. I would just add the suggestion of changing the prompt ^ too, in addition to the move from closed -> hold and make it clear to the OP that he should revise the question if he so wishes.

  • 10
    How about we give them a chance to reframe the question or remove it themselves That's exactly what closing is, moreso the chance to reframe than remove it themselves though. The only thing is we don't want answers while they're reframing the question, otherwise you can end up with multiple answers referring different, past states of the question which makes it all just a mess.
    – Ben Brocka
    Apr 4, 2013 at 13:19
  • 4
    Your issue with the Not a Real Question, and the other close reasons is also being addressed so you're certainly not alone in not liking how it currently works.
    – JonW Mod
    Apr 4, 2013 at 14:21
  • Nice to hear that!
    – rk.
    Apr 4, 2013 at 14:22
  • +1 It's always nice to have our standards evaluated and questioned! Apr 5, 2013 at 19:48
  • 1
    @BenBrocka - If "chance to reframe" is one of the reasons to close, why is it not explicitly mentioned in the closing message?
    – Mohit
    Apr 6, 2013 at 5:17
  • @Mohit it usually is; there's almost always a "in it's current form" or other hint to edit in there; all of the close reasons except Duplicate do. Though I've love thought they should include a direct link to edit the post itself to make that implication clearer
    – Ben Brocka
    Apr 6, 2013 at 7:25
  • 1
    I just had one of mine closed.. I understand that yes, it could be interpreted as an unproductive image request, but it was a question about what a good fitting icon is in a given context. I don't understand how that's not productive and healthy discussion on this site. Okay, maybe it was too open ended and we're not looking for discussion? Then why does this site exist? This is not programming, there's not one correct answer. It's UX. GUI design, graphic design, IA, etc.. ux.stackexchange.com/questions/37799/…
    – Eric
    Apr 8, 2013 at 15:25
  • Here we are with a stick up our butt again: ux.stackexchange.com/questions/48321/toilet-paper-orientation < this site has got to loosen up if it wants to stay relevant. Just look at the community exploding on the UX Slack group. They're getting something right. Sep 3, 2015 at 5:21

2 Answers 2


Locking (or Closing, as I suspect you refer to) does give them the chance to reframe the question. That's really the purpose of closing posts - it stops bad answers coming in and making things even worse all round.

Yes, the term 'Close' is a bit scary, but that is is currently being looked at and should start rolling out across Stack Exchange sites in due course. In summary of that post:

For the first five days after a question is closed, questions will display as [on hold] rather than [closed]

  • Combined with better clarity on what to fix, this should give questions their best shot at being improved right after closure (which gets them added to the re-open queue)

  • If the question is not reopened within five days, the indicator will automatically change to [closed]

  • During the [on hold] period, the only difference is the temporary verbiage change; all the closing mechanics remain the same, so it still can't get new answers, etc.

Leaving poor low quality posts around the site means you'll get low-quality answers. Once a question has been answered and those answers upvoted it makes it harder for the question to be removed or edited because at that point you're impacting the people who answered it.

It is far better for everyone concerned to temporarily close the question (i.e. closed for repairs) and leave a suitable comment against the question explaining why it has been closed and provide advice for how to improve it.

Hopefully the poster will take the closure in the spirit it was meant and improve the question at which point it will automatically be raised in the 're-open' queue for the community to decide if it's suitable for reopening (well, for community members with over 3000 rep to vote on anyway) and they can start to get answers to it that benefit not only them but future visitors too.

Subjective questions on the other hand are difficult to deal with. Yes, you say Chat isn't always busy but that's a bit of a vicious circle - without people in there chatting other people won't come in because it looks too quiet. If Chat is busy then it's more attractive for people to come in and talk.

Just today a visitor who hasn't been in Chat before asked a fairly subjective question:

Can I use fireworks for clickable/interactive prototyping ? could anyone suggest me if there is any other tool?

And received several answers too:

I have no experience with Fireworks, but when I need a working prototype I either use Keynote or Axure

I tend to use HotGloo a lot, but the best tool depends on many factors

Omnigraffle is also pretty good

So Chat does get used for such questions, as well as for general conversations between UX professionals.

Discussions work better in Chat, but bear in mind that UX.StackExchange is a Question and Answer site, not a site for discussing pros and cons of various options. There is no correct answer to such questions. They may be interesting but the format of this site doesn't accomodate them so well, which is why we suggest Chat for such discussions.

  • Thanks for the clarification on the 'close' question. Which tool to use is a fairly simple question and can be answered in chat, I am talking about more discussion focused questions like, why do we not change the age old icons for tasks, why should we ban vulgar usernames, etc. I understand SE is a Q&A site, but UX is not a particularly focused Q&A domain. Hence the issue.
    – rk.
    Apr 4, 2013 at 14:15
  • The vulgar names question is still open and doesn't have any close votes currently so such questions are allowed. The issue comes from answers that are just unsubstantiated opinions, that's where some problems come in. Having opinions is fine but they need to be supported by reasoning or evidence otherwise you'll just end up with loads of answers effectively saying 'I Agree' or 'I Disagree' which don't actually help solve the question at hand.
    – JonW Mod
    Apr 4, 2013 at 14:20
  • I know it is still open, there are many open discussion questions, at the same time there are many questions which are also closed due to the same reason (discussion focused and no clear question). Then you downvote the I agree/I disagree answers, not the question itself.
    – rk.
    Apr 4, 2013 at 14:22
  • 4
    Exactly, and that's the problem. If you upvote only the I Agree or I Disagree all that results in is a popularity poll and doesn't actually help solve the problem. If the OP wants to know if it's better to use a button or a link in a certain situation and all the answers just say 'use a button' or 'use a link' they don't have anything to base their decision on other than popularity of an option. A good answer would be 'Use a button because...' and that is something that they can use to make their decision.
    – JonW Mod
    Apr 4, 2013 at 14:24

I recently asked my first question on ux.SE.

Within a few minutes, it received 3 downvotes and eventually closed. I am a frequent user of several other SE sites, and did not take offense. However I imagine that many users who are not familiar with other SE sites would take offense.

JonW's answer makes a good point about the purpose of closing, to which I agree-- questions can still be edited and then re-opened. I also agree that the wording of 'closed' is unfortunate, and should be changed; but that is up to SE as a whole, and should be addressed on MSO.

However, JonW's answer does not address downvoting. For my question, I was directed towards the FAQ for why it is off-topic. I read over the FAQ, and still didn't find a satisfactory answer for why my question was off-topic. I suspect this scenario is common, as the rules and domain of SE sites are often nuanced, and must be learned from repeated interaction with the site.

My personal philosophy is to vote to close off-topic questions, but not to downvote unless the user is a repeat offender or if the violation is particularly egregious. While closing a question is often necessary to keep the site on topic, I don't think that downvoting serves this same purpose. It's likely to scare off new users, and perhaps this is what some people want, if they expect that future questions from the same user will be equally bad.

  • 3
    Personally, I try to provide a reason whenever I am the first one to flag/point out to the questioner if the question is off-topic or something. And I do agree that questions shouldn't be downvoted (ideally, for new comers atleast).
    – rk.
    Apr 13, 2013 at 2:11
  • 1
    While there is no requirement to comment after giving a down vote, in my opinion if you can't be bothered to explain why you're down voting then just flag or vote to close. Downvoting with no explanation reflects poorly on UX.SE as the answer above perfectly illustrates. Personally, I view casting a downvote as admitting that you failed to save the item in question. A helpful comment can either help fix the item in question, or educate the user so that they provide better content in the future. Skipping straight to the down vote is lazy. Apr 16, 2013 at 15:27

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