I've noticed that basically nothing gets closed, ever. If something does get closed, it's by a diamond moderator, not by community voting, and even then, it's hit and miss.

There also seems to be absolutely no discussion about what's on topic. The very first of The 7 Essential Questions of Every Beta is "Are questions about [subject] on or off topic?". Browsing through the newest questions on meta I see very little of this.

"Give me a list of [things]" questions are usually really easy to close. Here's a list of no-brainers from the 50 newest questions (all still open, and unanswered):

I feel that the quality of questions here is extremely poor, and I find the site increasingly boring. It seems like the intent is to be a forum more than to be a good Q&A site. The standard seems to be that anyone can ask any question that's at least a little bit related to amateur radio (or not at all), even if it shows zero research effort, is subjective, or hugely broad (please tell me about all the legislation in the world!)

What the hell, people? Are there not at least five people on the site that know where the close button is?


With so few questions coming in per day, I'm reluctant to close any of them. Still, those that are blatantly off-topic (FM, for instance) I cast my close vote knowing it probably won't gather 4 more, and I move on.

I don't think that a small community needs to be so strict. It will evolve over time, and as the questions pick up pace the community will start to define the line, and act on it.

It's ok to have a lot of variation until then, and a lack of a well-defined line. If we do develop some questions which we later find out aren't on topic, but bring a lot of good traffic we can lock them, and close future attempts to start similar questions.

It's going to take a long time, though. Be patient.

Probably the best way to combat this is to ask good questions, and give others a good chance to answer them. It seems there are a lot of people committed to this site, but they aren't here to ask questions, they want to answer them. A lot of them have already stopped coming due to low traffic, but they'll visit occasionally, and if they see the pace has quickened they'll come more frequently and answer more questions.

When Stack Overflow was new it was a free-for-all, in fact closing and deleting didn't even exist for awhile. That site isn't suffering now because of low quality questions asked in the early stages - and while there were growing pains they didn't doom the site.

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    $\begingroup$ I see your point, but I disagree. I think to make this successful, we will need to do something to differentiate it from all the ham forums that already exist. There are a lot of places where I can go to read a bunch of bad questions and poorly informed answers already. Why would I come here if it's the same? The SE format, with its community moderation, is really good at cultivating quality questions and answers. I think quality will do more than quantity to drive participation in the site. $\endgroup$ – Phil Frost - W8II Feb 25 '14 at 15:58
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    $\begingroup$ I completely agree with Adam. Treat this beta just like you were the first to launch a site like this, while keeping the history of stuff that went horribly wrong on other sites in mind while you do. Don't fix problems that aren't problems yet :) $\endgroup$ – Tim Post Mar 4 '14 at 16:27

Different people find different stuff valuable. And in the beginning of ham.se people may be less likely to aggressively close questions, even those not well suited for this format, out of some respect for "being new" and to "see where things go" (give it time). As the site grows you will see it develop more maturity in culture about what is and isn't acceptable.

Lets take a minute to gather some context on user close votes today. According to the privileges page you need 500 rep to cast a close vote. According to the users list page, it appears to me that there are only 21 users total (as of this post) who even have the privilege to cast a close vote (that number includes you too as well as 3 moderators who don't need to vote if they can just unilaterally close a question). Of those (18 non-moderators with close vote privileges) it is also likely they won't all agree. You may have people counter-acting your close votes with don't close or reopen votes.

If you are inviting discussion about what is on-topic and what is worth closing, let's do a little reflection here. As of this post, your top voted question is:

I hate contests. How can I avoid them?

Where do you think this question fits in the spectrum of close-worthiness? Be honest with your self evaluation here...

I consider that question to be at least equally "forum-like" quality as any of the other highlighted questions and not well suited for the Q&A format. It also doesn't demonstrate any research effort or critical thought. Something to consider when you step on the soap box.

I think your expectations are just a little too high for the stage of development this community is at today.

We need to grow site participation, which will in time produce more users with sufficient reputation to cast close votes. Also in time our standards for questions will be clarified as the community matures.

  • $\begingroup$ It's always the case that the highest voted questions are the most obvious. On electronics.SE, my highest voted question is How can I efficiently drive an LED?, with 40 votes and 28 favorites. It's also a self-answer, which you'd probably discourage. I'd also point out "could be answered with research" is not a close reason, and that question was asked when contest was topic of the week. $\endgroup$ – Phil Frost - W8II Feb 23 '14 at 11:54
  • $\begingroup$ I'd like to know what about my question you think makes it close-worthy. It has an answer, the answers (the upvoted ones, anyway) contain information (did you know about WARC bands?). What's your standard for closing, if any? Are you arguing that we really shouldn't close anything? Or are you just saying we shouldn't voice opinions on meta, or "step on the soap box" as you put it? $\endgroup$ – Phil Frost - W8II Feb 23 '14 at 11:57
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    $\begingroup$ Phil, I did not state whether your question was close worthy but rather asked you to reflect on your own question vs. the 3 you pointed out in your post (that's the "soap box" part). What I said is that I think your's is equally close worthy as the 3 examples you pointed out (Obviously none are closed). If I voted to close those three, I would likely vote to close your's as well. They are on par for quality and relevance to ham.se. Your follow up comments (again) ignored the key point, which is that we don't yet have enough participants to make close votes a well used feature. $\endgroup$ – BenSwayne Feb 23 '14 at 23:00
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    $\begingroup$ @PhilFrost I also don't discourage self answers if they are a result of a legitimate question with no documented answers after searching elsewhere (tried some research). Here's an example from stackoverflow of my own self-answer: stackoverflow.com/q/11963870/1002041 Note it is not a fabricated question for me to write to the world, it was a genuine problem solving learning opportunity which I overcame and was obviously valuable to the development community. I encourage that kind of self answering! $\endgroup$ – BenSwayne Feb 23 '14 at 23:11

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