Recently, the question How often should one evaluate a plan for an academic career? has been closed without a single comment explaining why it should be closed, while there was already an upvoted answer.

I decided to reopen the question, because the next logical step is to delete the question, and I have no idea why it should be the case, and it's likely we're stuck with an "on hold/closed" question. As I already stated here, comments are very helpful to maintain the site, especially that we are still on beta, and that we don't exactly have hundreds of questions each day. Helping a new user understanding why his/her question is too broad or off-topic is important to help the community grow.

To be clear: I'm not saying that this question should necessarily be kept open or should be closed, but if you know why you're closing the question, then leaving a comment should not be that difficult, and if you don't know why you're closing the question, then perhaps you should not be voting to close in the first place.

3 Answers 3


Expecting users to offer justification for why they're closing questions is part of the spirit, if not the letter, of the new "on hold" policy. I think questions need to have some constructive comments for improvement. Otherwise things can get out of hand.

  • Fair enough, sounds like a good plan.
    – user7130
    Jul 5, 2013 at 23:43

The close reasons provide explanation of why a voter is voting to close.

Nowhere on Stack Exchange do up-votes, down-votes, close-votes, re-open votes or delete votes require comments from non-mod voters.

And there's no reason why Academia.SE should be an exception.

The re-opening was an unfortunate mis-judgement: one that's reversible. The question still asks "How do you plan your career?" which is ludicrously broad for a Q&A site, as evidenced by the answers so far: do any of those look like an identifiably correct answer? No, they don't. A whole book might (but probably wouldn't) provide an identifiably correct answer.

  • I do not agree with your assessment, just because something is not required of you doesn't mean that there's no reason to skip it. I mean there's no law that requires you to say "sorry" if you bump into someone on the street, but you still do (I hope). It's good manners, and in this particular case, it helps a new user get acclimated with the site.
    – posdef
    Jul 8, 2013 at 10:06

Personally, I think it is not only polite, but also potentially helpful for the member.

Sure, it does not have to be done, but look at it this way - put a question on hold, the member may not know the reason exactly why, even with the close reason dialogue, it does not hurt to comment some suggestions so that the member may edit and improve their question and things can get back on track.

The same especially applies to downvotes - a downvote without a comment explains nothing.

Just because the established members know the nuts-and-bolts of writing a question, does not mean a new member will automatically know these.

In any case, this is what I am going to be doing from now on.

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