I'm wondering if something has changed and I'm not aware of. Not necessarily rules, but maybe mods have instructions by owners to make the site more friendlier an attract more visitors or whatever. Really don't know, just guessing possible reasons.
The thing is I'm seeing more and more chatty, opinionated and blatantly off topic questions being accepted as normal, which could support the "lighten the rules" fact. The curious part is that I'm also seeing some questions with valid and documented possible answers being closed and NEVER reconsidered. Saying this because I've mentioned a few times that the posible answers were extensively documented, and a few times I answered to show this, yet answers kept closed.
I've also observed that this has a correlation in answers, and now the "because I say so" answers are the norm and accepted without any support or proof, while documented answers are getting rarer and at some point "non desirable". This is just a hunch, but I see a lot of chatty answers being accepted, usually for chatty questions or people looking for validation for their own views, so documented answers would probably go against them. IMHO, this is lowering the quality of answers, but might be wrong, of course.
Anyways, this is not a rant, I do this for fun in work pauses, so it's not like I'm worried or anything, just would like to "get with the program" so to speak. And for this, I'd need to know what the program is since I feel a bit lost.
To improve quality of answers, wouldn't it be great to include references for answers, kind of what Yahoo answers does, and reward answers with references 1 or 2 upvotes by default, or maybe badges for certain amounts of documented answers, like 50 documented answers: bronze / 100 documented answers: silver / 200 documented answers: gold. This way answers would be improved almost automatically, and chatty "because I say so" answers will still be posible, but people asking questions may notice they're not desirable.
as per JonW request, just the latest I have seen the last few days for each case: