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Every 3rd or 5th new question I see instantly has close votes. Someone asks about something a little opinionated - instant close. Someone writes a question that is a little too broad - instantly 2 close votes instead of just leaving a comment and telling the person to do so:

Approach for Designing the Mobile App for an Existing Desktop Optimized Web Application

Doesn't this kind of moderation behavior suppress the community in a way? Isn't it going to be more helpful for everyone to have somewhat opinionated answers rather than no answers at all because the question is closed?

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Having been on this community for a number of years and now in my second year as a moderator, this is my take on the question.

Firstly, I think that this community does have a slightly more strict guideline on the type of question asked, and there are a number of reasons. The most significant reason(s) to me are that UX is a multi-disciplinary field and hence a lot of overlaps with other communities, so we try to direct them elsewhere if there is an already established field of expertise (e.g. Graphic Design or Programming).

Secondly, the type of questions that can be answered without ambiguity or ending up being too generic of an answer is very high. More importantly, without proper context they often end up being misleading or subject to interpretation by both the person asking and answering the question.

Thirdly, the type of questions that are too specific and don't provide value to anyone else in the broader community (e.g. I have this assignment question or I have this problem at work) means that over time the knowledge built up in the community is of lower quality and benefit to the members.

The question that you refer to is in the grey area, and although it has already attracted a number of close votes, I personally don't see the need to close this question although it does refer to practices that are probably not as relevant depending on the maturity of the organisation that you work at. However, this is the reason why there needs to be a number of close votes required for it to be closed, and there are also mechanisms in place to reopen votes if it is deemed suitable to reopen (and we provide opportunities for this to happen).

I recognize the fact that this community doesn't necessarily evolve at the fastest pace (something that always frustrated me as a user), but considering that the resources given to moderation is not exactly high and that we do try our best to cater for a very diverse audience group, it is probably appropriate given the level of engagement from the community.

However, I do think that the change in question value has opened up to more people asking questions without necessarily an immediate improvement in the quality of the questions, but it is worth monitoring and I hope that more people (such as yourself) will engage with the community and moderators to keep improving the quality of the forum.

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I hear your frustration and agree that some of us may be a bit too aggressive with the votes to close.

However, I also agree with the sentiments that Michael Lai expressed—especially the notion that this is a multi-disciplenary field. I don't believe it's immediately obvious to uninitiated users what exactly "user experience" entails and how it applies to this site.

Most of what I've seen closed recently are question that address the following out-of-scope topics:

  • Product support—"Well, I'm a user, and I'm having trouble with this software"
  • Site reviews—"These guys know their stuff, so I'll just get their feedback on my site"
  • Attempts to collect survey responses—"They're here to help, so surely they'll take my survey"
  • Tool, technologies, or software recommendations—"I need to know what the best tool is for this task / Is there a framework for x?"
  • Various other issues that have tangential connections to a user—"User experience... well my problem does affect a user"

My understanding of the proper workflow: I cast a VTC when I believe a question to be off topic, but I'm always sure to leave a comment (or see that someone has already) with advice on how the question could be made better. I do this immediately because it's fairly common for new users to never be heard from again after their initial post, and I'd rather not let the question settle without addressing it with the appropriate close reason. If the question does get closed, and the user edits, we'll surely see it in the reopen queue (our queues seem to be pretty actively monitored).

Additionally, it's a relatively new field1, which I think may lend itself to a bit more misunderstanding of its scope and what it offers.

So yes, a lot of votes to close, but it's still kind of a niche profession. It's often hard for non-UX-focused people to write a good question when they don't even know what they're trying to ask in the first place. Hence, many questions get posted that are too broad or opinion based.


Regarding the particular question you highlighted: I voted to close that, as I felt that it's only tangentially related to user experience. It reads as more of a product development- or project management-flavored question. I believe there may be a small taste of UX meat to it (e.g. creating pages with consistent layouts will provide the user with a sense of "stability," allowing them to quickly create expectations) ~but~ that did not seem to be what OP was seeking.

"...have UI components that are being used repeatedly..."
"...any good approaches/frameworks that I can use..."
"...only redesign 1 and use it as a template for other 3..."
"...mobile app is a native android app. We will be planning for iOS version later..."
Emphasis added.

Sounded more implementation- or development-driven.


1: Certainly this field of study has existed in some form for quite some time, but as it applies to interaction with modern technologies, it's still fairly new.

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  • I agree with you on all points besides "Tool, technologies, or software recommendations". I can see how it can be a somewhat ugly question sometimes with answers that contain nothing but links. But at the same time I feel like every designer could benefit from a well asked question that has a tool recommendation as an answer and is voted up high, meaning that it must be good. But if the community guidelines are this way then I'm not going to make a huge deal out of it. – Big_Chair Feb 6 at 17:47
  • Funny enough just 1 hour prior to your comment I posted a question that actually falls under that category: link. With hindsight of this answer I guess it deserved to be closed as well. But at the same time I am left wondering where else I would gather recommendations for the best approach to that if not here, from other UX experts. That's why I felt like tool recommendations do fit the SE format. – Big_Chair Feb 6 at 17:50
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    @Big_Chair I agree it's useful information. I guess the ideal place for that would be discussions in the UX chat, but unfortunately that's a great place to go to be alone. I just think, generally, that questions asking for a list of different options unfortunately don't fit well in the Q&A format... If I have 4 recommendations, how do you know which one people are voting on? Are they voting on the actual advice, or the quality of my answer? Should I post them as 4 different answers? – maxathousand Feb 6 at 18:20

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