Recently, dozens (!) of old questions have been unilaterally closed in Web Apps SE as “needs details or clarity”, or closed as duplicates of questions also closed as “needs details or clarity”. (Some of them are also locked.) None of them have any comments indicating what specific details or clarity would make them reopenable, and this comment (or a similar comment) was left on those questions by the moderator who closed them:

This question doesn't meet the current quality standards.

The comments link to the help center article, “Why do I see a message that my question does not meet quality standards?

That help center article is for users whose questions were automatically blocked by the SE server and are automatically notified that their “question does not meet quality standards”. However, the questions in question were posted successfully and not blocked, so that article should not apply to them.

I'd agree that that Help Center article should not be linked to in these cases, because it's about a completely different situation, as you point out.

- comment by V2Blast, a Community Manager, to a Meta SE post where I inquired about this (screenshot)

The Web Apps SE help center also categorizes that help center article under "Closed Questions", as if it's a reason for closing questions. Screenshot:

I made this meta post because I’m puzzled that the “needs details or clarity” close reason has been connected with the help center article for questions that are automatically blocked by the SE server, as if it is site policy. I’m wondering whether this was an intention or purpose for the “needs details or clarity” close reason.

I would like to ask for clarification about this practice of closing questions as “needs details or clarity” and referring the askers to the aforementioned help center article. The article suggests that questions should show research, among other things.

  • Is the “needs details or clarity” close reason connected with that help center article?
  • Is this practice consistent with SE policy?
  • Is it applicable to all SE sites or only to Web Apps SE? (I've only noticed this practice in Web Apps SE.)
  • Does this mean that questions without research will be closed in Web Apps SE? (A cursory look at questions on this site, will show that most of them do not show research.)

I appreciate any clarification on this matter.

Note: I originally posted a version of this question on Meta SE, asking if this practice was appropriate for all SE sites, but it was closed for the reason that I should have posted it on Web Apps SE Meta instead. Therefore, I am posting it here with some modifications to make it specific to Web Apps SE.

Relevant Web Apps SE meta posts for context about the closure of the questions in question:

Relevant Web Apps SE meta posts about some of the specific questions closed (Notice the votes of the question and answers; the Web Apps SE community is generally not in favor of closing these questions):


1 Answer 1


Yes, it's connected, and yes Community Moderators unilateraly do things.

You among very few other users recently have requested, while not using the best terms, a more specific explanation than the one provided in the system post notice added to closed questions, particularly with the "Needs details or clarity" reason, sometimes complaining about not having specific comments and when having them not showing an honest interest on improving the question according this site scope.

From answer to What is a "closed" or "duplicate" question?

Needs details or clarity: The way the question is currently written, it's hard to tell exactly what is being asked. The explanations in the question are not clear, or it is not clear what kind of answer is expected, or there is not enough information to solve the problem. The question may be reopened if it is clarified or if the missing information is provided.

While I have tried to explain to you and this very few other users how you migth improve the respective question to make it a better fit for the main site it looks that there is nothing be considered reasonable than getting a question reopened, no matter what. Examples of this are the abuse of the use of hyperbole, non-sequitor statements, unsupported statements, the reiteration on the reopening demands by playing the victim here and in Meta Stack Exchange.

Unfortunately there isn't a core community willing to participate in your posts. In some we had the fortune to have the participation of members of sister communities, most of them aren't involved in discussing the workings of this site and don't participate in the main site moderation.

It has being argued that there aren't network wide "rules". I disagree with this assertion. There are a lot of rules, what is missing is a formal rule collection supported by a controlled vocabulary. This might not be an accident but as "by design" in order to give room to each community to put in place their self-governance and site workings. But this model is sustained in the existence of a core community, thing that is not happening here.

Community Moderators have privileges assigned to help their community. It's opt to them when and how use those privileges according to a moderator agreement. In other words, Community Moderators can use their privileges but while do according to the corresponding rules.

It's clear to me that is one more attempt in your quest to get certain very specific posts reopened taking advantage of any defect or error but, with due respect doing it without preparing properly your complain and criticism. Complein, criticism even rant are allowed but they should be positive and constructive, but more importantly they should be looking to help the community to achieve its final goal collect quality content in the form of questions and answers, not as the laymen might understand these concepts but as they are intended to be used derived from the model inherited from Stack Overflow.

From my point of view there are quality standards that are the same for all Stack Exchange sites, as they are the premise that support the model. There have being several attempts to elucidate these standards but there isn't an official publicly available formal document. The closest that we have available is the content of a help article which is the same, AFAIK, for all Stack Exchange sites. It provides the information about the quality standards briefly and using the simple words. This article is located in the help center of each site in the following path https://{site-domain}/help/quality-standards-error.

While its purpose is to be the target link included in a system error message, it has being referred multiple times in Meta Stack Exchange, some times directly other time inderectly by pointing to Meta Stack Exchanche FAQ which is linked in this help article.

I know that pointing to this help article is not the best. Instead a link to a discussion in this site should be used but such post doesn't exist and creating one now is naive due to the lack of a core community.

I beg you to stop waisting your time and the time to others fighting to open posts without making and honest effort to create exemplary questions. I'm not saying that the closed posts should be exemplary to be reopened, actually the posts could be reopened without my intervention, what I'm saying is that you should show more interest on the site content quality and get involved in process to generate it with a different attitude.

Regarding the closing of other posts, mosts of those posts had brieng to my attention because the were bumped, some due to a new answer, some due to an edit. Some other were bring to my attention because the appeared in the Related panel or suggested as duplicate targets.

While the score, views and age might be interesting, the question review have being done considering the current standards. Old question that are not exemplary are . Some of these users that recently are looking to get a post reopened no matter what have being using some of those posts to demand that the newest post be reopened instead of talking about the value and quality of the new post.


  • 3
    Can the other moderators please chime in? Do you agree with Rubén that all these good questions should be closed as lacking clarity or questions, even old upvoted ones?
    – Flimm
    Commented Apr 25, 2023 at 8:14

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