From today's newest questions page 12 of 15 questions that is 80% had issues with at least one close vote or even closure.

translation of indirect speech in english
How would I ask for superking(extra large) cigarettes in german? 2 close votes
Wort wie »Begriffspaar«, aber für drei Begriffe 4 close votes
Adjektivendungen ohne Artikel
Can someone tell me a sentence that sounds really angry involving cake closed
Warum wird Konjunktiv 2 benutzt? 1 close vote
direct speech of indirect speech in 1st & 2nd person singular form reopened after edit
Can we write any objects before the subject? 3 close votes
Was ist der Unterschied zwischen gestalten und bilden? closed
Is there an expression that translates to "building character" in German? 3 close votes
"Es waren … darunter" 3 close votes
Context meaning of »über« 3 close votes
Groß/Kleinschreibung von "Er/er" in Arbeitszeugnissen
Was sind Knochenscheiben? closed
Von Namen abgeleitete Adjektive: groß oder klein? closed

Only one of these question could be reopened after several edits.

Please do not discuss single instances listed here. They are just for illustration why this came up. It appears to be a more general and a rather long-standing issue we have. Did questions really become that poor recently? Are some of us overzealus in close voting?

What should be done?


3 Answers 3


The only way to improve questions is to enter into a dialogue with the person posing the question. Such dialogue takes time and patience, whereas voting to close the question does not. The fact that communication often involves a language barrier doesn't make this any easier.

I haven't been here very long, but one thing I noticed is that people use the notion duplicate way more loosely than I would. My feeling is that a question should not be considered a duplicate solely because it addresses the same topic as another question. Only if one of the answers to that other question actually answers the poster's question should it be considered a duplicate.

Unfortunately, I have the sinking feeling that the topic itself, i.e. the German language, will always invite a large number of poor questions. There will be language learners with poor command of German and English, asking questions that a textbook could have answered for them. There will be native speakers, asking about the same kind of Zweifelsfall over and over again. That's unavoidable.

Still, my takeaway is: Engage with posters before voting to close.

  • 1
    Communication is vital indeed. Increasingly questions were closed without comments (we always get a flag after that happened). This may be OK in obvious cases but it should not be done on new users or on question that may only lack some elaboration.
    – Takkat
    Jan 15, 2019 at 9:19

Um die eigentliche Frage zu beantworten: Nein, die Fragen sind nicht schlechter geworden. Solche Phänomene, dass ein Großteil der aktuellen Fragen close-votes aufweist, sind immer wieder einmal zu beobachten. Ein paar Tage später kann sich das Bild aber auch komplett umwenden.

Ich denke, das Problem liegt einfach darin, dass bei den Nutzern unterschiedliche Sichtweisen vorliegen, welche Fragen on-topic sind und welche nicht. Die Ursache hierfür ist eventuell die Definition der Site. Wie bei den meisten anderen Sprachen auch enthält sie "... discuss the finer points of the language ...". Und da kann man schon feststellen, dass viele Fragen dieses Kriterium nicht erfüllen.

Für das Englische ist das elegant gelöst: dort gibt es eine Site für "Lernende" und eine für tiefergehende Fragen. Da dieses Konzept aber für Deutsch nicht umgesetzt werden kann, sollte vielleicht die Definition überdacht werden. Die Erfahrung zeigt, dass ein Großteil der User eben nicht die "feineren Punkte" disktuieren will, sondern grundlegende Fragen zur deutschen Sprache hat.

Nur, wenn die Community das akzeptiert und auch "einfache" Fragen als zulässig ansieht, werden vielleicht die close-votes zurück gehen. Ein positiver Nebeneffekt könnte dabei sein, dass wenn diese "einfachen" (vielleicht auch regelmäßig ähnlich wiederkehrenden) Fragen geduldig und freundlich beantwortet werden, auch die Zahl der Fragen stabil in die Regionen steigt, damit wir endlich die Beta-Phase verlassen können.

  • 2
    Good you brought this up again. This exactly was why we abolished the "finer points". In both, the Tour, and the Help Center it now says: German Language and Usage is a bilingual question-and-answer site for speakers of all levels who want to share and increase their knowledge of the German language.
    – Takkat
    Jan 15, 2019 at 8:47
  • @Takkat In der Übersicht über alle Stack Exchange-Sites aber nicht. Kann man (also ihr) das dort auch ändern?
    – IQV
    Jan 15, 2019 at 11:55
  • Nein, das können wir nicht. Das hat vermutlich von uns auch noch niemand gemerkt, wir schauen da nicht so oft hin ;)
    – Takkat
    Jan 15, 2019 at 12:03
  • 1
    Siehe: german.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/1455/… - habe einen Bug Report abgesetzt, der dann evtl. abgearbeitet wird.
    – Takkat
    Jan 15, 2019 at 12:18

There will always be differences of opinion as to whether a question should be closed. That's why four close votes are needed. One or two close votes on a question are not a sign of a systematic problem.

The longer a forum like this exists, the more likely it is that certain themes will constantly recur. One example is the Platzhalter-Es (es ist etc.). German-learners constantly stumble over this and there is a steady stream of questions, often just different enough to not qualify as duplicate, but effectively the same question. It's very tempting to immediately mark these as duplicates. Elsewhere this would be covered by a FAQ. Maybe we need some kind of canonical question/answer (in German and English) that we can refer people to.

That questions are reopened after an edit is not a problem at all. That's the way the system is designed..

No matter how much you tell people ist to do research beforehand you will always get some 'dictionary-lookup' questions or users trying to treat GLSE as a translation service. The only solution is to close them quickly and move on. And there always be some questions that can't be reopened even after several edits.

  • 1
    It is not an occasional close vote on single questions, that would be OK with me. Today we had 80% of new questions with close votes upon. That appears to be way too many. Do you say that this is normal and we just should keep this high rate?
    – Takkat
    Jan 11, 2019 at 11:31
  • 2
    @Takkat Some of these questions were IMHO correctly closed. Some of them have close votes which I don't agree with: the vote on them is still open. And some of them were edited and the vote on them is under way. I don't see any of this as a major problem. I think it's a sign of a mature forum where a lot of the good questions have already been asked and users are fed up with seeing the bad ones constantly repeated
    – PiedPiper
    Jan 11, 2019 at 11:59
  • Related: german.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/987/…
    – PiedPiper
    Jan 11, 2019 at 12:06
  • 2
    @PiedPiper There's only three handful of people voting at all. On a mature forum, there should be more. If these few people interpret our typical guidelines strictly, there's almost no way that questions come through. That's not to say these users are wrong. Maybe we should try harder to edit bad questions into good ones, or we could loosen our guidelines to make close votes a little less likely.
    – Philipp
    Jan 11, 2019 at 14:52
  • @Philipp Unfortunately there is no way to turn most of these questions into good ones, or it's not worth the effort. And if you edit too heavily the OP might not get the answer they're looking for. Some of these questions were edited to be useful
    – PiedPiper
    Jan 11, 2019 at 15:28

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