The same person who offered to "throw (their) hat in the ring" at 2022 Potential Moderator Election: Community Interest Check wrote a day later in the Pod Bay:

One of the reasons I still use Skeptics is it is very quick to remove bad questions, those with no notability, and folks trying to spread political propaganda

I feel that Space SE could receive very high marks on the welcoming scale, partly because we do not "close early, close often" but instead are nurturing and helpful to new users, offering constructive criticism under new user first questions without initial downvoting or just going ahead and edit, making proactive adjustments to head off close votes and teach by example.

I feel this community has gotten good at this because of the unique situation of having a large and diverse community and a modest question rate.

I feel this important because of the special nature of space exploration which attracts both experts and noobs, space veterans and young people, orbital mechanics and those who don't yet have any idea what's up there but would like to know.

Our Space Exploration "encyclopaedia" must be just as interesting to young people and space noobs as it is to experts.

Stack Exchange can be both a floor wax and a dessert topping. Yes the answer base is an encyclopaedic resource, but answer posts are not possible without questions, and question posts are not possible without users.

I shudder at the notion that we might start ending the interest of new users in Space SE because we shut down their first question quickly as lacking sufficient "notability".

I hope we can instead continue to work with new users to help them improve their questions in real time, without the laborious close-reopen cycle.

Close early, close often is a leftover from Stack Overflow, it simply does not apply to Space SE with its large and helpful user community and wide range of questions.

So before any election process starts, I'd like to hear views from the community about my fear.

Question: Are we going to suddenly reverse course and 'quickly remove bad questions, those with no notability', or remain welcoming to young people and noobs?

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    $\begingroup$ "Notability" is a specific requirement on Skeptics only - the idea being that if someone can't prove that a concept is really being passed off as truth, we're wasting the time of people on the site to refute it. There must be sufficient evidence that such a claim exists. Can you explain why you think that would be pulled into another site - specifically this one? $\endgroup$
    – Catija
    Commented Jan 27, 2022 at 23:17
  • $\begingroup$ @Catija there is a long history of discussion between me and the potential candidate about quickly closing questions before this. You probably have better tools than I do to find them (search both user names, plus perhaps "insta-close") I've expressed my concern as a concern. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented Jan 27, 2022 at 23:21
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    $\begingroup$ I'm not super interested in being pulled into a dispute. I felt it necessary to clarify the term "notability" because you didn't in your question, which... honestly, felt like a bit of fearmongering. While you don't name the candidate, your question reads almost like you're campaigning against him. As with any situation, if you have concerns about a specific user, we generally recommend talking with the mods about it or raising something for our attention. $\endgroup$
    – Catija
    Commented Jan 27, 2022 at 23:23
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I understand, but that's not what's happening here. I am certainly campaigning for remaining welcoming and expressing concern that we could loose some of that, ideally answers will assuage my concern. The only fear I've mongered in Stack Exchange is the contamination of Enceladus' ocean. There is no dispute to be pulled into, I've simply answered your query "Can you explain why you think that would be pulled into another site" to the best of my ability, and offered you a way to read further if you wanted to. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented Jan 27, 2022 at 23:26
  • $\begingroup$ This comment is applicable to many SE sites, sometimes it's not just the questions that are "bad" or "questionable", but some answers are as well. I'll come up with something soon. $\endgroup$
    – Fred
    Commented Feb 2, 2022 at 9:47

4 Answers 4


I see no reason to make any drastic changes to the types of questions allowed on this site. I would be interested in hearing more specific proposals if they are there, but there is really no reason I see to make a drastic change now, or likely ever.

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks! I think my question does make it clear that I'm particularly interested in hearing about maintaining the way that we help new users with their first questions by commenting and helpful editing, without the downvoting and quick-closing seen in some higher Q rate sites. Any thoughts on that (i.e. maintaining the status quo vs the old close early, close often approach)? $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented Jan 28, 2022 at 6:34
  • $\begingroup$ "a large and diverse community and a modest question rate" - no change necessary, +1. Try over at ELU where they get 1000 Qs a day and 1100 of them are crap, and they're all dupes. Then your meta Qs become, plz help stem the tide of this incoming drivel. $\endgroup$
    – Mazura
    Commented Feb 6, 2022 at 4:06

Sometimes it can be painful reading a "bad" or "nuisance" question, or answer, from someone who has little or no knowledge or experience of a subject matter. Particularly if that someone is a repeat offender and more so if the person is also prolific.

I am aware of one person who is or has been a member of a number of SE sites that I also am a member of. This person has been quiet for a very long time, but for a period, the person repeated asked "bad/nuisance" questions.

When such people become apparent and another question appears from the person, it is easy to think "not you again!".

However, despite all of the numerous questions asked by the person I have in mind, occasionally, the person would ask a question that was at least half reasonable - almost a gem in dross.

It's easy for biases to develop. Quickly closing questions would be poor form. If the question can be rehabilitated that would be preferable. If it can't be rehabilitated, the question will naturally wither.



This question has many facets.

  • First, the OP cites a recent opinion by a specific user on a particular subject (namely, closing new users' questions early). One could interpret that the OP is seeking opinions on the said quote of opinion, against the current practice. But the question is not formulated clearly that way.

  • The OP draws our attention to the fact that the specific author of the quote is also future candidate to a potential Moderator election (explicitly linking to the announced candidateship) . One could interpret that to mean the OP thinks a future candidate should not express such an opinion. But the question isn’t clear about this, and it would not be very compatible with the interpretation of the above topic of discussions.

  • The question:

Are we going to suddenly reverse course and 'quickly remove bad questions, those with no notability', or remain welcoming to young people and noobs?

Can be interpreted as: independently of whether the majority of users is for keeping the current practice, we can witness in future a sudden reverse course, because there is a potential coming election.

Can we really exclude such an interpretation with the question written as is?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Thanks for your request! It's lunar new year today and I'm not supposed to do anything that isn't happy, relaxing and celebratory, so I'll reply tomorrow. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented Feb 1, 2022 at 10:03
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    $\begingroup$ @uhoh +everybody celebrating New Lunar Year, best wishes for the new Tiger year! $\endgroup$
    – Ng Ph
    Commented Feb 1, 2022 at 10:51
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ My question (the part with the question mark) is as written. My hope is that it results in more "No" answers than "Yes" answers. There's been a fairly stable moderation configuration here for quite a long time. The only "newbee" is gerrit, elected 2 years ago whose transition was seamless from my perspective, and who is a "satellite and earth observation" person and whose other moderation duties and experience are also on another relatively low question rate science-based site with a wide range and diversity of noob to expert questions. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented Feb 2, 2022 at 0:05
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ My concern is that a new moderator with plenty of moderation activity in very high question rate sites where closing activity is seen more as triage and where "close early, close often" may still be alive and well might bring new urgency to the closing of new users' first questions to "teach them a lesson how not to ask", rather than just leave it open for a day or two to see if they can improve it themselves, or we can help them improve it. So I think that if I understand your query correctly, "Yes" is the answer it seems? A new mod could potentially over time bring us back to insta-closing $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented Feb 2, 2022 at 0:08
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Perhaps if we do have a moderator election, we can include some kind of question that explores the helpfulness and encouragement rather than quick-closing that we have developed here in Space SE and ask potential candidates if they are comfortable with it as it is, or if they'd like to see the site start to close more quickly. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented Feb 2, 2022 at 0:15
  • $\begingroup$ @uhoh, (1) I am relieved, for 2 reasons. First, you can remain sereine and nice, as you often are, not only during Lunar NY. Second, we broadly share the same opinion about how question-closing should be practiced. So, to avoid ambiguity, a more engaging attitude especially towards new users (which I consider to be part of) is what I advocate for, 100%. I would add that I understand the reason for the attitude of "in doubt, we close". But that justification is flawed, as soon as we recognize that the true solution is in correcting the mechanism used in vetting questions. $\endgroup$
    – Ng Ph
    Commented Feb 2, 2022 at 17:41
  • $\begingroup$ @uhoh, (2) Where we differ could be that you avoid to go the end of your logic. I don’t need to point out that you know that the candidate you quote has been active, transparent and consistent in his opinion. If there is a majority to vote that person in, it means a majority agree with what the candidate advocates. We (at least, you and I) would be a minority. We would have to democratically accept the consequence (I know what I would do accordingly). This is to say, there is nothing as a « sudden reversal» in this particular (hypothetical) case, just a reinforcement of a known trend. $\endgroup$
    – Ng Ph
    Commented Feb 2, 2022 at 17:54
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ "...you avoid to go the end of your logic." Actually it's simpler than that. You don't know how I would vote, I don't know how I would vote, we don't know who might formally nominate themselves once the process starts and we don't evn know if there will be an election. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented Feb 2, 2022 at 19:47
  • $\begingroup$ @uhoh, nobody needs to know how you vote, or if you vote. The essential is everybody know that you are pushing hard against a particular practice, and that you fear a "sudden change". The only thing that can trigger a sudden change is when the seed to make it happens is already planted. Independently of who may be voted in, an increase in the number of elected people in a group holding special powers, increases this likelihood of the seed germinating. We should trust a system with a resilient mechanism of power separation, than blindly trust the leaders we vote in. $\endgroup$
    – Ng Ph
    Commented Feb 3, 2022 at 10:52
  • $\begingroup$ I've satisfied your request for clarification. That's as far as we go on this, I'm not going to engage in conversation. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented Feb 3, 2022 at 12:41

The welcomingness of this site is imho a treasure, and it could serve as a good example for the lesser lucky, larger communities with a high question closure/creation ratio.

Note, mods have typically not so much power over the moderation. On lesser lucky sites, they try to maintain the site hostility by being single-sided for the hostile users of the meta. But it does not affect directly, how people is actually voting in reviews and (un)deletions. The unwelcomingness of a site roots in that the power users focus to the moderation and not to the content improvement. The general tone of the meta has only little effect.

In my opinion, a new mod election is not needed. The current mods can serve the current load, and a new mod had not too much to do - but might have some effect to the current balance. But mods are coming from the community, and we are friendly. Thus, likely also a new mod would be friendly. This is why I do not see a new election as a problem source, I only see it as unneeded.

Instead of a new election, I believe, we should focus our mental efforts to the site stats. We need growth. A way for an ordinary user to catalyze growth, if we focus our effort to improve lesser quality content, instead of moderating it.

People deserving extra support:

  1. First-time answerers giving HQ content
  2. Professionals (we have no way to check it for sure, but we can see it from their answers)
  3. Avid question posters with high ViewCount/Question creation ratio (@uhoh is the top, we need a lot more)

The long-term growth of the site depends on the google hits, and google has quite fine algorithms to determine, how good content is found here by the visitors. So the important thing is: target how a google visitor would feel if he see that page.


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