9

Executive Summary

Questions with a lot more comments than upvotes tend to be problematic for our site. When you see a question without a lot of comments from different users, consider a close vote for "Unclear What You're Asking", or editing the question to include clarifying information from the comments below.

Background

I was browsing the front page this morning trying to see what questions were active. I came across this question:

Is it a good or bad sign if a potential employer is willing to bend over backwards for an interview?

9 upvotes, 2 answers, one with 21 upvotes. Looks pretty good.

Only there are 14 (!!!) comments on the questions, and clarifications under the top answer too. Yet no close votes. If there are 14 comments needed to discuss the question but not having enough meat to be an answer on their own, to me it's pretty clear that the question is "unclear what you're asking" (and have voted to close as such).

I don't think the question is necessarily bad, just that as-is our community is having issues understanding how to answer it (which is why people comment). Also telling is that the top answer has double the upvotes as the question itself.

Solution

If we want to keep question/answer quality high, I think questions like this should be fixed early either by closing and then commenting/editing, or by a quick edit when it first appears.

I created a quick query that identifies posts like this. And a lot of them seem to be problematic.

  • 1
    Another possibility is "primarily opinion based". The way I tell the difference is generally if people are asking questions in the comments or if people are giving unsubstantiated opinions in the comments. – jmort253 Apr 8 '14 at 1:48
  • 2
    @jmort253 I've voted that reason very few times since it was added, I think the majority of our questions fall into the "what are you asking" or "what is your problem" territory. – enderland Apr 8 '14 at 2:39
2

I think that it would depend on the type of comments out there.

If it's more a conversation being held between a few people (as it seems to mostly be with the linked question), it may be best to simply point them to the Water Cooler or other chat room, where it's much more suitable to hold a elongated conversation.

If the comments seem to be shaped more like simple answers (which I've also noticed quite a bit), we may consider encouraging the user to expand on the comment and post it as an actual answer.

However, if most of the comments are questions asking for clarification of the question, or if they're those comments are trying to make assumptions that may or may not be reasonable, then yes, we should consider closing the question for one reason or another.

Comments should be used for short bits of clarification on the question (or answer), not for answers by users looking to avoid being voted upon, and not for conversation.

  • This is a good point, if most of the comments are 'me too' or jokes then it's better off having those comments deleted, than holding the question – Rhys Apr 8 '14 at 19:00
  • Fully agreed panoptical. If you (or any other member of the community) see things like this, adding a comment pointing them to The Workplace Chat (you can use [chat] to automagically add a link), editing the question with any clarifications, or encouraging people to flesh out their comments in to actual answers would be appreciated. Thanks in advance! – jmac Apr 9 '14 at 1:46

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .