"Welcome to Stack Exchange. Your question has been closed."

So goes the old joke. Here's a classic example of a post from someone who's clearly not very tech savvy, looking for help with a problem.

OSX version 13 (406) 128 GB

Clearly, no one is going to post an 'answer' that will solve the question, but in the absence of more information, might an 'intermediary answer' actually be a better response -- both for the questioner and the site in general?

"You need to provide us with the following information, but in the mean time, take a look at these canonical reinstall-the-OS answers / Apple Support docs".

This answer could then be re-written or deleted once more information comes along.

And if we're closing questions to prevent low-quality answers, then couldn't we just delete the low-quality answers instead?

Closing the question immediately seems a bit unkind, and I suspect there are many people who don't return to fix their first question, because they find the 'response' unhelpful, and just assume that SE isn't for them.

At the least, perhaps leave a comment asking for more info, but leave it open for a week?

  • Tricky topic. The OP of the linked question hasn‘t come back since posting the question.
    – nohillside Mod
    Jul 16, 2023 at 12:10
  • 1
    @nohillside And I'd wager that they probably won't, because the response was "CLOSED!"
    – benwiggy
    Jul 16, 2023 at 16:54
  • From what I can see, they left the site/closed the browser tab more or less immediately after posting the question. By default, they get a daily mail summary of any Inbox entries they missed. In this case they would have gotten at least the first comment and the close notice, most likely even both comments. Both the comments and the "on hold" reason say the same thing ("add details").
    – nohillside Mod
    Jul 16, 2023 at 18:37
  • Having said that: I get your point, sometimes we may close too quickly and a partial/assumption-based answer might help to move the question forward. Problem is rather if it doesn't, because in that case we end up with a bad question and a half-baked answer.
    – nohillside Mod
    Jul 16, 2023 at 18:39
  • 1
    Questions like apple.stackexchange.com/questions/462164/… or apple.stackexchange.com/questions/462114/… are difficult to keep open though, unless we want to have a lot of questions with similar generic answers (which would again be a reason to close them :-)).
    – nohillside Mod
    Jul 16, 2023 at 18:43
  • Let's see what happens with the performance question you just answered. IMHO, even when providing a generic answer, a comment asking for details should be added as well.
    – nohillside Mod
    Jul 17, 2023 at 7:19
  • @nohillside "a half-baked answer" -- As I said, that answer could be deleted after ... a week or so, if it hasn't yielded fruit. Taking a more 'transitory' view might be better for the site. (This also feeds in to recent question about "useless old questions".)
    – benwiggy
    Jul 17, 2023 at 8:06
  • 1
    The challenge with to-be-deleted answers is that each poster needs to handle that themselves, the system won't remind them. And mods shouldn't go in and delete answers unless they are clearly off-topic, so all I can do in a week (if I remember) is to go in and close due to lack of detail. Which means that we end up with a number of half-baked questions and answers which reduce overall quality of the site. Hmm.
    – nohillside Mod
    Jul 17, 2023 at 8:27


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