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The amount of posts being voted to closed is getting ridiculous. The last two posts have been printing related, one looking for information and the other a design question for 3D printing yet both have been voted to be closed.

Yes, I have read the other Meta post about how closing is not permanent (Closing/locking too many questions?) but this site does not have much to offer right now and I can tell you if I was new here I wouldn't stick around and edit the post time after time to get an answer when I'm sure most people here can answer the question. The site is now running at 1.2 questions per day and I don't see that going up at all if the criteria isn't changed for how people are voting. If that's how everyone wants the site run then that's fine but I'm sure you'll be alone here.

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I absolutely agree. I believe we all want this site to maintain high quality, but right now almost no questions fall within our desired scope and form.

I think we either need to:

  • Change the acceptable scope of questions to be asked
  • Change how we welcome new users

Right now most new users do not ask questions "the SE way", which quickly leads to down-votes and closing votes. For new users this is a direct slap in the face.

What we rather should do is to encourage new users to improve their question, and if they do, give them the highly desired up-votes to make them come back for more.

I think the reputation system on SE sites is a great motivator for writing good questions and answers. And if we want this site to grow, we need to let our fellow users grow with it.

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    $\begingroup$ I agree, but how would you suggest making "cases" widely known within the 3D Printing SE community? $\endgroup$ – tbm0115 May 3 '16 at 18:06
  • $\begingroup$ You bring up a very good point: where do we direct users to see relevant topics and question forms for our community? When we time and time again close questions as off topic or too broad, we at least need a reference - both for ourselves and those who asked the question. As of now I still haven't found such a reference made specifically for this site. Perhaps this will be a good start? $\endgroup$ – Tormod Haugene May 3 '16 at 19:06
  • $\begingroup$ My goal for the post you linked above is to eventually have the content to update this page which has been waiting for moderator intervention. $\endgroup$ – tbm0115 May 3 '16 at 19:32
  • $\begingroup$ Ah, thank you for the link! I have been looking for "the help center" several times without actually finding it... :) $\endgroup$ – Tormod Haugene May 3 '16 at 19:35
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    $\begingroup$ No problem, it'd be a good page to bookmark and include in comments when trying to close or flag posts on the site.... Once it's updated, that is $\endgroup$ – tbm0115 May 3 '16 at 19:37
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One thing that I have noticed, especially after having been away for nearly a year, is how the mood of the site has changed, ever so slightly. It is just that recently there seem to be a bit more of the "Did you google first, before asking here" type comments (accompanied by a vote to close), in particular to newbie questions, or at least questions from those new to SE, but maybe not so new at 3D printing. I don't remember these types of comments so much prior to a year or so ago.

While I agree that people need to do research, or at least demonstrate that they have done a bit, if people are coming here and asking an honest question (which is not a lazy homework related - and let's face it, there are not many, if any, 3D printer related homework questions) and that question is from someone genuinely interested in 3D printer with a tangible problem, then try to answer it, or at least provide a helpful comment.

Seeing as we are not-quite-desperate-for-users but have an issue with user retention, then we should really not be throwing google in their face - no matter how frustrating a question may seem, or how obvious the answer appears to an old hand. Do we really want them running off to Reddit, or Quora, or Ask (Jeeves) or (god forbid) Yahoo answers, or some other place? Or is it better that we get them to stay here?

Believe me when I say that I know how irritating it can get, I have been there myself. I ended up not spending much time on SE.Arduino, for that same reason - in the end most of the questions started to seem nonsensical, repetitive and idiotic... because I had seen the same topics asked over and over again. I realised that I had to take a deep breath and step back a little - just because I knew the answer and had helped too many people before with the same issue, it didn't mean that someone new would not come along tomorrow and ask the same thing.

Yes, they should have checked google first, and yes, they should have seen the duplicate question had already been asked. However, maybe they didn't have the luxury of time to spend hours googling, or maybe they had not used the right search terms, or maybe English isn't their mother tongue, or whatever. However, it didn't mean that they needed to be made to feel daft.

After all, if someone asks a question here, it probably isn't because they want to wind us up and make us angry - why would they do that? And it can't be judged as lazy, because, let's face it, it takes longer to formulate and ask a question on SE than it does to search for something on Google.

A couple of friends of mine, independently of eachother, sent me this image which, while it made me laugh, also (rather sadly) sums up the "Why are you asking me that?" mentality that StackExchange is perceived as having by the wider techy internet community - this is not a good reputation to have..!

Working at SE

So, all I am trying to say is, when you see a question asked by someone with a rep of 1, be nice and try to encourage them to stay, rather than scaring them off as soon as they set foot through the door. Don't forget it is probably their first question here and are quite nervous as to how they will be perceived (as one generally is when approaching a new group of people and having to ask something).

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  • $\begingroup$ Yeah that's a feeling I got when I first started posting here. My answers were usually picked apart hard. Oh well don't answer so stupidly. I remember I post a joke once on topcoder and got torn a new one. 7 years later still remember it and have never gone back. While I was not actually torn a new one, here, a text format can easily come across as hostile and aggressive without very strong soft skills. The bigger issue is these non engineer types are not used to a non forum style website. A good guide and on-boarding process would help us. $\endgroup$ – StarWind0 Jun 1 '18 at 19:52
  • $\begingroup$ For example, I didn't handle @0scar friendly jab at my hasty answer yesterday as softly as I could have even after numerous edits. My chiding of his joke being in the wrong section could have turn off a newer member. Which sure I meant that as a tit for tat friendly jab back, but many wouldn't have seen it that way. Especially when you factor the international audience. $\endgroup$ – StarWind0 Jun 1 '18 at 19:55
  • $\begingroup$ @StarWind0 - Hmmm, yes, I saw that yesterday, and it could have come across as a bit of a moody comment, which I am sure it was not meant to be. The problem is that text is not expressive enough, especially in hastily written, and character constrained, comments, and it is easy for something to be taken badly or appear to be a little harsh (the same can happen in email where the number of characters isn't limited). I am not one for emoticons and emojis but a smiley face can help, now and again. Also, the this-is-not-a--forum thing is true too, and can take a while to get used to. $\endgroup$ – Greenonline Jun 1 '18 at 20:14
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We've discussed this issue before here in Meta, but I think that part of the issue (and I'm guilty of it) is that regular users expect a certain amount of effort or back story from questions. To me, it seems that most closed grey-area questions seem to be related to materials. So, questions that may be considered too broad as a general materials question may be a viable question for a newbie to the 3D printing world. A new comer may not be familiar with various material types (ie. PLA[filament], ABS[filament], Stainless Steel[powder], Bronze[powder], etc.).

Focusing on material questions may be a good start to the concern. While it may be technically too broad asking materials questions, in reality, most questions (in FDM/FFF realm) are going to be either about PLA or ABS (maybe Nylon) unless there is a specified purpose for the object. So, if a user specifies (or hints) the preferred printing method (FDM/FFF, SLA, etc.) then I think we should let people use their better judgment in answering the question.

Would it be appropriate to consider re-opening closed questions with the before mentioned criteria?

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  • $\begingroup$ It looks like several of those questions could be answered. One in particular is a user asking about how to determine if a material is food/dishwasher/microwave safe. One could have answered with what must/must not be present in the material chemically to make it safe and other things to observe like temperature and how porous the surface is. $\endgroup$ – tjb1 May 3 '16 at 18:10
  • $\begingroup$ Another question - 3dprinting.stackexchange.com/questions/40/… could be answered simply by pointing them to one of several pages on the reprap wiki...one of which I started myself which was a table of most of the printers on the wiki with their build size and other miscellaneous information. I will have to find a link to the page when I get home but that question could have been answered. Also, one of the comments on it could have been remade into an answer with just a few links to repositories... $\endgroup$ – tjb1 May 3 '16 at 18:14
  • $\begingroup$ I've posted a new Meta topic to potentially list viable topics on this page $\endgroup$ – tbm0115 May 3 '16 at 18:23
  • $\begingroup$ @tjb1 - Would it be worth re-opening the question, in order for you to post an answer? $\endgroup$ – Greenonline Jun 4 '18 at 21:18
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I've been active on SO since it was in beta, and have participated in numerous SE sites when they were in beta.

It's my impression that there is much more enthusiasm for close votes here than in other sites which launched out of beta. I know that seems to discourage me from participating more, and may discourage others likewise.

Whereas for programming and electronics my first goto is always stack, I'm finding that other sites are having better answers and a "nicer" approach to my n00bism in 3d printing.

Just IMHO and FWIW!

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  • $\begingroup$ Part of the problem is the questions though: we get a lot of questions that do forget to tell us the essentials: their printer, their print material, their print settings and yet show us only their fail. If I show you a broken bolt and ask you "Where does this belong?" I can at best tell you that it is a broken bolt and maybe its sizing, but not where it belongs - Look around your house and you will find a couple dozen m3 bolts. How am I supposed to know where the broken one is missing?! The extra info I usually ask for is to dial in the problems from everything to a handfull. $\endgroup$ – Trish Jan 8 at 15:04
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    $\begingroup$ @Trish, that's reasonable. Just based on my own experience though, I think I've gotten as much closure grief here as I've had in all the other sites combined, so I've sort of migrated my interest over to reddit-land and facebook groups. I hope things turn around though, since this could be a great resource. $\endgroup$ – Mark Harrison Jan 10 at 21:43

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