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I thought there was a question for this, but I couldn't find it. When someone asks a bad question, should it be answered? For example, this question seems like a very poor question as it stands. However, it has already attracted 2 answers, both of good quality. Is this correct practice, or should bad questions be left alone until they are fixed or closed?

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You are correct. Users should refrain from answering bad questions and should instead vote to close and get them clarified. In this case, it's two experienced users who should know better. I've put the question on hold and have only not deleted the answers because I am a kind and generous person.

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Answer them with caution.

The primary goal of this site is to help people. If that means answering a bad question or a not completely defined question occasionally, so be it.

Bad questions and answers will be sorted out by votes.

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    \$\begingroup\$ "Answer with caution" is good advice, as is accepting the votes where they fall. But why advise people to rush to answer a question? There is no rush. And to the contrary, answering bad or incomplete questions only encourages people to ask bad or incomplete questions and discourages them from fixing them up. The best encouragement to post good, clear questions is to withhold answers until the question passes minimum standards. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Sep 17 '14 at 16:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ there is a difference between bad questions that meet the requirements set out by the site guidelines, and bad questions that do not. The former can and should be dealt with by votes, the latter should be put on hold until they meet site guidelines. Otherwise you send out a really mixed, wrong message about the way the site needs to be used, particularly for new users. In the end all you do is create more problems for the future \$\endgroup\$ – Wibbs Sep 17 '14 at 19:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ How on earth does this answer rate down voting? There is something fundamentally wrong with a community that down votes such an answer. It is pithy, it makes good points and says nothing incorrect. \$\endgroup\$ – Protonflux Oct 21 '15 at 13:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Protonflux To the contrary, it says something extremely incorrect. You are currently big on criticising the way the community works, but have shown little evidence of attempting to learn how it works first. Such criticisms would be meaningful if your assumptions about what the site is for were correct, but you are still deeply mistaken about what the site is for. I am hoping you might still correct that error, though. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Oct 21 '15 at 18:32
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A number of users disagree with the ◆moderators over where the line should be drawn on "bad questions" as a matter of degree.

If I see a question, and I can answer it, I'll answer it. Even if it's not ideally worded. Even if I suspect one of the ◆mods is likely to VTC it... because, unless I think it's fully well and across the line, I'll always choose to answer.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I suspect this is getting downvoted because answering questions which need to be improved or which don't fit the scope of the site rewards poor site mastery, encourages further similar behaviour, and thus makes more work to maintain the site's quality in the future while reducing the number of new citizens who recognise the need for such work. \$\endgroup\$ – BESW Sep 28 '14 at 23:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ I see the moderators making the site continually less and less useful by overzealous closing of threads. My opinion of the mods has continuously gone down further and further, almost to the point of driving me away by bad moderation. I will say that people I've suggested look here have found it a toxic environment due to the overzealous moderation, compared to, say, programmers. \$\endgroup\$ – aramis Sep 29 '14 at 4:10
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    \$\begingroup\$ @aramis That's funny. I felt that way when I started to use this site, but I've already figured how things more or less work, and I really can't complain on the mods behavior. Sure, they can't please everyone all the time (that's not their job), but we can't really say "bad moderation" is an issue around here. \$\endgroup\$ – T. Sar Sep 30 '14 at 11:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ I find the use of the term "thread" to be oddly out of place here, since when coming from a new user it's a red flag that they think we're a forum or otherwise misunderstand the purpose of the site. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Sep 30 '14 at 17:46
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    \$\begingroup\$ My issue is not all "bad" questions are obviously bad. I know I behaved rudely in a comment thread after one of my well-researched, useful answers was downvoted into oblivion because a few other users thought the question was too broad, while I didn't. It had several parameters to help narrow it down, and being a game-rec automatically limits answerers' scope to games they have personal experience with, I felt it was very answerable, so I answered. I think downvoting of the answers should be done only if a question is OBVIOUSLY bad, not just in a gray area. \$\endgroup\$ – gatherer818 Oct 1 '14 at 2:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie the overzealous emphasis on "good questions" has resulted in days where the "new questions" is NOTHING but closed or on hold. That's toxic for a Q&A site, no matter the format. \$\endgroup\$ – aramis Oct 2 '14 at 1:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ @aramis As far as Stack Exchange is concerned, that's operating as intended and actually quite desirable. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Oct 2 '14 at 4:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ @gatherer818 The problem with game-rec is magnified because of the very thing you mention ("being a game-rec automatically limits answerers' scope to games they have personal experience with"), because a question that is too broad before it's narrowed by answerer's limited experience results in popularity contests—something we must explicitly avoid, since that's the only way we can avoid banning rec questions entirely like most SEs have. We'd like to avoid that end, so personal experience of the asker is not an acceptable source of question narrowness, for keeping-open purposes. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Oct 2 '14 at 4:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie even without it, the question was narrow enough, I felt. The asker had several discrete criteria - I was only personally able to come up with one system that I knew fit most of his criteria. That's not to say it was the only right answer, of course, but a question can have multiple right answers and still be useful. \$\endgroup\$ – gatherer818 Oct 2 '14 at 10:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ @gatherer818 That's why we have a community-voting system for holds/closure, but reserve it for experienced users: judgements will differ, and require a lot of familiarity with the meta debates on game-rec, to judge well. It will always feel too strict for game-rec, because people love giving recommendations; that's also why it's strict, because self-control is hard when we see a possible fit with a game we love. I've done it myself. The alternative isn't looser standards though, it's not having game-rec at all. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Oct 2 '14 at 15:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ "you optimize for pearls, not sand." Good metaphor, but you don't get pearls without sand. \$\endgroup\$ – Protonflux Oct 21 '15 at 13:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Protonflux The point of the metaphor is that sand is everywhere and common, and we will never lack for it, even if we optimise hard against sand. So we optimise for pearls, knowing the sand is inevitable, and if something is good for pearls but bad for sand, it will be done with no compunctions for the fate of the sand. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Oct 21 '15 at 18:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'v been using the site for years, and see the mods getting more and more damaging to the site's utility by ignorant closure of questions that they mistakenly think are duplicates. One where the difference is subtle but important. I've seen 5 of those in the last few months. \$\endgroup\$ – aramis Oct 26 '15 at 11:42

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