Refer to the question here.

I believe this is a valid question; I have a problem (my staff member is so reactive that he behaves like a human robot that can only parse exact instruction, he can't use even a bit of common sense), I describe the symptom of the problem in great detail (no, it is not rant), and I ask the participants here whether they have any solutions to deal with this kind of problem.

But then my question was closed, although it is a valid question.

Can it be reopened? Or can the closers be more helpful and suggest edits so that this question can be reopened?

Some irony: I come here to ask for tips to manage my employee, and my question gets closed, and I am told to go back to manage the employee. I think the mods are getting a bit too zealous in closing meaningful and well-asked question. No good.

  • My answer wasn't good enough?
    – Jim G.
    Mar 26, 2013 at 2:32
  • 4
    @JimG., whether your answer is good enough is one thing, but whether the question should remain close/open is quite another.
    – Graviton
    Mar 26, 2013 at 2:36

2 Answers 2


It's clear in your post, in the way you write, that you're frustrated. A frustrated writing style lacks objectivity, and on a site where we expect answers to be backed with facts, references, and specific expertise, it's absolutely paramount that questions set the right objective tone so that these subjective questions can get the best answers that will be helpful to future visitors.

This post in it's current form really isn't a good example of a good, Stack Exchange question; it's not objective. It's also full of meta-commentary, displayed in large, bold-faced font. Those edits should go in comments instead. In short, your question should ideally look like something that will last for years to come, be well-written, and help future visitors.

To possibly get a post like this reopened, focus instead on cutting out details that aren't completely important to understanding the context. Instead, explain the facts in a clear, objective manner, without emotion, dramatics, and what may appear to others as over-exaggerations. I suggest removing anything that may make it seem like you might be exaggerating.

In my experience, when telling someone that you think a colleague isn't pulling his weight, if you sound "breathless" while explaining it, chances are, the person you're reporting to will take it as a rant and won't take it very seriously, same as our community has done.

Now, I'm not saying this is a rant, but after reading it, it does have a feel like someone blowing off a little steam. Editing the post to present the problem in a more calm, organized manner will not only make the post more valuable, but also address the concerns of the close voters (and any other future close voters; thereby, preventing it from being closed again after being reopened).

With that said, the post also appears to be a duplicate of another post you created in January, Delegation tasks by stewardship to someone who is reactive. I'm not sure I can tell you how to solve this problem until the other problems have been fixed.

My suggestion is to start with some edits to make it appear more objective. Leave out dramatic words and phrases and focus on the facts and behavior. Afterwards, it will become more clear whether or not we can reopen the post. Keep in mind that, if you need more help with your edits, there are a few folks who hang out in the Water Cooler Chat Room who are good at these types of edits. Hope this helps! :)

  • I've already edited the question. Deleting as much descriptive phrase as I can.
    – Graviton
    Mar 26, 2013 at 3:54
  • 1
    Hi @Graviton, I edited a little further to adjust some of the wording. If I missed anything/changed anything that was important to your point, please feel free to add that back in. I also expanded your bold question just a bit. I assume if he hasn't been fired yet, you haven't completely given up, but if that's not right, please feel free to clarify. I'm going to drop a link into our chat room on this post. I'd like to give the community an opportunity to provide some feedback as well. Thanks for making your edits!
    – jmort253
    Mar 26, 2013 at 4:40
  • I assume if he hasn't been fired yet, you haven't completely given up-- yes, that's right.
    – Graviton
    Mar 26, 2013 at 5:29

If it takes you nearly 600 words to explain your question it's probably has a ton of extra text.

In this case, you are fundamentally asking:

  • I have a direct report who does not take any initiative with his project work and does not have detailed or defined job responsibilities. I am expecting him to provide more initiative for his work, for example, when managing the website, he does not back-up the site (because it has not been clearly defined as a responsibility).

    How can I more effectively manage this employee? It seems he only responds to exact instructions and does nothing more.

or something like that.

You use a ton more words (with lots of personal commentary) to effectively ask this.

Edit: here's a sampling of phrases which strike me as "rantlike:"

  • "can only parse exact instructions"
  • "He appears to not be able to use common sense"
  • "The problem is still that he is just too reactive"
  • "not able to think for himself"
  • "is just like a human robot"

... I'm going to stop here, that's just from the first 1/3.

This is not how someone trying to solve a problem describes the situation. It's how someone complaining (or ranting, if you will) describes it

  • 1
    I am so sorry that my question gives you the wrong impression. If I weren't specific enough with context, you would say my question is not specific, if I tried to portray the correct situation with adjectives you said that it's rant. There seems to be no way for me to get my question across because either too specific or too broad will result in a closure. Work SE is indeed a hard place to ask questions thanks to the wierd standards adopted by mods.
    – Graviton
    Mar 27, 2013 at 2:12
  • 1
    @Graviton the reason it feels like a rant is because you spend most of the post talking about how frustrated you are with this employee rather than presenting the needed details about it. Yes, you are frustrated with them - but acting like the employee is a complete and utter idiot is not really the way to deal with the situation.
    – enderland
    Mar 27, 2013 at 2:38
  • you are frustrated with them - but acting like the employee is a complete and utter idiot * -- now, this is a rant and personal attack, and an unwarranted one. I am coming here to ask for advice and I outline the whole situation as clearly as I can, and you said I am an idiot? *you spend most of the post talking about how frustrated you are with this employee rather than presenting the needed details about it-- this is simply very wrong as I provided details and examples, it's just that you prefer to interpret my details as rants. This is most unfortunate.
    – Graviton
    Mar 27, 2013 at 2:47
  • 2
    @Graviton I'm explaining why your post comes across as a rant. Complaining about an employee with that sort of language will be interpreted as a rant by myself (and quite a few others apparently). I'm sorry if you don't understand this.
    – enderland
    Mar 27, 2013 at 10:58

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