Here I got a close vote. I have no issue with it but how can I know the intention behind closing voters. How to get their attention. Are voters required to explicitly justify their actions?

Apparently, I see nothing off-topic or not constructive with its current shape. It discusses possible academic activities to encourage collaborations.

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2 Answers

up vote 13 down vote accepted

Close votes are anonymous by design. You can't specifically message the person who submitted the close vote and they aren't required to specify why. It's intended to be a "anonymous majority" deal.

Consequently, you'll occasionally have questions with lone close votes, such as yours. Someone, for whatever reason, voted to close. The community clearly has—through their not voting to close—voted otherwise. This is fairly common, and you shouldn't let it bother you.

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eykanal has answered regarding the mechanisms of SE. I'll add a point about the vote to close: it is not mine, but I hesitated to cast one, so I'll explain my reasons.

So-called “big list” questions are discouraged, as being not constructive:

“this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion

The idea is that asking “what activities can we do to improve research group atmosphere?” is not so different from “what is the best programming editor?”, “what are good resources on research ethics?”, and so on. Basically, if one can come up with 20 totally different but all equally valid answers, it means there is something wrong with the question. As the FAQ says:

What kind of questions should I not ask here?

You should only ask practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face. Chatty, open-ended questions diminish the usefulness of our site and push other questions off the front page.

Your questions should be reasonably scoped. If you can imagine an entire book that answers your question, you’re asking too much.

The question you linked is somewhat borderline. To me, you gave it enough specifics (“what can a PhD student do”, e.g.) to make it viable, but by some aspects it is very broad (look at the variety of answers you got).


Finally: it appears to me, as a moderator on two other SE sites and someöne who joined the Academia.SE fun recently, that the Academia community allows itself more leeway on this rule than other SE sites do. Good for us, as long as it doesn't lower the quality and usability of the site. We should keep that goal in mind when we cross this type of question and wonder whether to close them or not.

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Thanks for giving the whole picture F'x. –  seteropere Dec 21 '12 at 0:04
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Part of the reason for the greater latitude is the inherently "softer" nature of the questions, which call for opinions as often as procedures. That means personal judgment needs to be used, and that makes answers more subjective. If we could only answer objective questions, we wouldn't have much of a site! –  aeismail Dec 21 '12 at 0:27
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