I've been seeing feedback from people in other 3DP communities that they think this stack exchange site is driving away new users by holding newbie questions to an excessively high standard for quality. On one hand, we all know SE works best with clear and logical questions that lead to clear and logical answers. But the majority of people seeking help with 3d printers don't seem to have enough of a technical foundation to know how to ask good questions. There's a large potential userbase (perhaps MOST potential users) that will need handholding for their first few questions.

How do you guys want to handle this?


3 Answers 3


The important thing is to make sure that people understand that a closure is not permanent, which is why questions are given the "[on hold]" suffix rather than "[closed]".

On Robotics, one of my Copy-pastable comment text for common problems with questions? is:

Questions by new users for closed for other reasons

Welcome to *robotics* XXX, but I'm afraid that questions like this really aren't a good fit for a stack exchange site. We prefer *[practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face](http://robotics.stackexchange.com/help/dont-ask)*. Take a look at [ask] and [about] for more information on how stack exchange works. Also, the [*Robotics* question checklist](https://robotics.meta.stackexchange.com/q/1302/37) has good advice on how to write a good question. If you edit your question to fit our community guidelines we can reopen it for you.

Closure is intended to temporarily stop people answering questions which can't be easily answered in their present form, while the question is being improved. As such, I disagree with tbm0115's suggestion that we should artificially delay closing a question (at this stage in the sites life there aren't enough people closing questions as it is) and suggest that we always close a poor question as soon as possible, but give people the information they need to fix the problem.

Instead, I offer the following suggestion:

  • If you want to vote to close a question without writing a comment to say why, with suggestions as to how to fix the problem, think about how this looks to a new user and how they might feel about the rejection.

If people assume there is nothing they can do about their question being closed, and this drives them away, then we should do all we can to correct that misunderstanding, encourage them to learn how Stack Exchange works and ask better questions.

Finally, don't forget the importance of broken windows theory.

The quicker poor questions are closed, the higher the good:bad question ratio is, the more likely new users will see examples of good questions, and the less likely that they will base their own question on a poor example of a question. This is why good questions are the most important thing on a new site. They draw in experts to answer them and they set a good example for how new questions should be framed.

So, close early, close often, and comment with the information needed to get the question re-opened.

  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for sharing this! We should probably make our own template answers such as the one you've shared for this site as well! $\endgroup$ May 3, 2016 at 18:56

I have to agree with the both of you; the best kind of question are those that are clear and logical, and thus can be answered as such.

On a site such as SO, these are the kind of questions that ends up "staying", getting a high view counts and the great answers. There are, however, also a large amount of new questions on SO that never meet those standards, but rather face the same kind of problems that we see here.

I believe the issue for most new users - here and on SO - is that in order to ask a good question, you more or less already need to know the answer, or at least the format of the answer. And with 3D printing being such a novel technology for most users, they simply do not have the required experience to ask the "correct" question at their first attempt.

Perhaps our job should lean more towards helping users to find out what they really should be asking about, rather than simply voting down or closing the question right away because it does not uphold our desired standard. As for how to accomplish that, I think the points mentioned by @tbm0115 could be a good starting point.

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ +1 for the And with 3D printing being such a novel technology for most users, they simply do not have the required experience to ask the "correct" question at their first attempt. It's sometimes difficult to find the balance between maintaining the integrity of the content and helping newbies. We've all been a newbie to the technology, and I remember "not knowing what I don't know". $\endgroup$
    – tbm0115
    Mar 20, 2016 at 22:03

I think you highlighted one of the more important points, in that "SE works best with clear and logical questions that lead to clear and logical answers". From what I've noticed (and I just went back through my own voting history), there have been a number of "primarily opinion based" and "too broad" questions. I believe it's important to maintain quality questions/answers especially in this early stage of release. Please regard this other meta post asking what the guidelines are for proper 3D Printing community questions.

I, for one, feel that I learned the most SE etiquette by reading a large number of questions on SO as opposed to the SE documentation. It seems that a few of the questions we've gotten lately have been from completely new users to the Stack Exchange network. I don't like scaring people away from the site, so it is best to try and coach these new users.

I retract the following suggestion as I agree with Mark Booth's answer given his explanation.

I would suggest an informal guideline for closing questions:

  • First, notify the OP to the condition of their question. Perhaps even suggest a means to fix the errant condition(s).
  • If, after at least 24 hours of the comment, the OP has not either responded reasonably (within SE etiquette) nor updated the question, then begin the process of closing.

I'll leave this open to the community for amendments below:

  • $\begingroup$ This is why I love community building on Stack Exchange, people always seem to be ready to revise their opinions in light of other peoples ideas and explanations. It reinforces that this is a place to learn, not a place to argue. $\endgroup$
    – Mark Booth
    Mar 24, 2016 at 9:34

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