The question What do the red dashed lines mean in Google Maps? was closed, but I don't see a reason why it should stay that way. While it may have been unclear in its first revision, I edited to make it into a "great question", including adding a link where other users can verify that this is a reproducible question about a web app. I also checked to make sure it is not about something on the Detailed Don't Ask list.

While this may not be the most complicated question (which fortunately means it can't be too broad), I searched for an answer on other sites, and found only red herrings and wrong answers, even one from a "Diamond" forum user. I think the question should have a proper answer (that is, one under the question and not in chat, which is hard to read and can't be updated).

Unfortunately, I am unable to put this question into the review queue because I lack the reputation to vote to reopen. Can I get some votes to reopen here, or else a clear explanation of why it's off topic?

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    I'm sorry. I don't see the question in focus as a "great question". It doesn't look like a practical, detailed question. It doesn't look like an actual problem that someone is facing. Ref. tour.
    – user311306
    Commented Aug 15, 2023 at 15:02
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    I would not say the question is "great", but I also don't see how it's unclear.
    – pppery
    Commented Aug 15, 2023 at 17:56

2 Answers 2


I agree that the question should be reopened, and I respectfully disagree with the closure of the question. The issue stated in the question is clear and understandable to anyone who uses Google Maps. I do not see what further details or clarity are required.

I also want to point out that the question is similar to the first Web Apps SE question: How do I delete my Facebook account? (+160 votes). That question also simply states the problem that the asker wants to solve without providing any background research or additional details. Yet, it was not closed, and it received helpful answers. I don’t see why the question about Google Maps should be treated differently.

Yet-to-be-explained "I know it when I see it" policy

It would be helpful if the moderator who unilaterally closed the question could explain, specifically, what details or clarity should be added to the question to have it reopened or prevent it from being closed in the first place.

There seems to be some yet-to-be-explained "I know it when I see it" policy regarding showing research as a requirement, "meeting quality standards" (which are not clearly defined), and what other details are needed to avoid question closure.

Relevant meta posts:

The votes on these meta posts and their answers indicate that the community is generally dissatisfied with the moderator policy of unilaterally closing questions based on their personal judgment. These moderator actions do not reflect the community consensus.

Until we have an official moderator answer on one or more of these meta posts explaining the reason behind the question closures, I fear we will be seeing more of these unexplained question closures. A clear and detailed explanation of the criteria for avoiding question closure would be very helpful so that the community can provide constructive feedback and suggestions on the proposed policy. Since this is a community-run site, the community should have a say in setting the policy, not just the moderators.

"I know it when I see it" is not a good policy. It is vague, subjective, and inconsistent. It does not foster a welcoming and constructive community.

I also concur with pppery's comment on my answer and find the Web Apps SE moderation to be concerning:

The standard the moderators are applying, of course, is unattainable - every single question asked in the last 4 days has been closed and of the ~60 questions asked since the end of the moderation strike ~45 of them have been closed.

The last thing that an SE site with very low activity and user participation needs is stricter question requirements. This would be counterproductive. Stricter question requirements would further reduce the number of questions and answers that are allowed to be posted on this site, which in turn would discourage new and existing users from participating and contributing to this site. This could lead to a downward spiral of declining activity and quality.

I suggest that we focus on encouraging more questions and answers rather than imposing more restrictions. This way, we can foster a more active and vibrant community that can attract and retain more users and, ultimately, improve the quality and relevance of the site.

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    The standard the moderators are applying, of course, is unattainable - every single question asked in the last 4 days has bee closed and of the ~60 questions asked since the end of the moderation strike ~45 of them have been closed.
    – pppery
    Commented Aug 15, 2023 at 17:58
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    I suspect that the underlying problem here is that this site does not have functioning community moderation - as evidenced by the fact that I still have a suggested edit pending since June, the last 6 close reviewers date back to 2021, etc. The moderators thus have to make decisions themselves, or the site is left functionally unmoderated.
    – pppery
    Commented Aug 15, 2023 at 18:09

As I explained to the OP few days ago, the question was not improved enough to be reopened. As of September 10, 2023 the question stays without any improvement I will mark this question as .

The OP has used the question asked to be reopened as an example in their answer to Does Web Apps Require Research?, providing several statements that weren't shared in the private chatroom where this question was discussed.

If those arguments are presented to ask for the reopening of the question, that should be done by posting a new question or flagging the question for moderator attention. This is suggested from a pragmatic point of view as the people having non-binding vote-to-reopen privilege have been active for a very long time, so the question might likely need to be reopened by someone having a binding vote-to-reopen privilege; in other words, to reopen the question it might be necessary the intervention of a community moderator or a community manager.

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    Could you edit your answer to provide a clear, self-contained statement of what requirements this post violates? The question asks for a "clear explanation of why it's off topic", but your answer just says "not improved enough to be reopened". To me, that does not seem like it provides what was requested. The post notice of "unclear / needs details" doesn't help me understand, either. I don't think we should have to guess.
    – D.W.
    Commented Sep 11, 2023 at 4:36
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    None of the points I raised in the other answer are new. In the question I said "I searched for an answer on other sites, and found only red herrings and wrong answers" and then in the (then public) chat I said "What could [OP] possibly do to solve this problem on their own? Google's documentation is (imo) horrible, and in Maps there is no way to interact with the markup on screen to figure out what it means".
    – Laurel
    Commented Sep 11, 2023 at 11:37
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    If you're talking about the detailed essay I wrote in the other answer, it seems you're missing the point. At this point, I've spent hours on the closure of this one question, which is something I only did in the hopes that we can get to the point where people don't have to spend hours getting a single question reopened. I'm not willing to do that again.
    – Laurel
    Commented Sep 11, 2023 at 11:47
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    I have removed the status declined tag on this question. While I understand that everyone wants to move things along regarding the closed questions, we need to do this in steps. We first need to come to a consensus first and develop a policy then once a policy is established previously closed questions will be reevaluated. Please be patient until that time and continue to discuss the research needs pros and cons in the Meta question.
    – Bella_Blue StaffMod
    Commented Sep 11, 2023 at 15:55

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