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As part of our ongoing efforts to reboot CogSci we agreed on introducing a new close reason to enforce the minimum expected question quality:

We agreed that a lack of initial research is reason for closure. Research, here, is defined broadly; it can also can be a logical train of thought and relevance.

However, being broadly defined there were varying interpretations on what this 'minimum question quality' should be or how to describe it, e.g., dependent on context, initial research, or motivation behind the question.

To make implementing a new close reason concrete and actionable I suggest the following. Each answer to this post should:

  1. Provide a short label for the new close reason (for referencing/discussion purposes only, this is not shown when a question is closed).
  2. Provide the bullet point text listed as part of the new off-topic close vote reason. For example, see our current 'self-help' close reason. Self-help close reason

  3. Provide a short description on how and where the close vote reason draws the line of expected question quality.

  4. Optionally (but encouraged), link to questions on the site which should be closed or edited when the new close reason would be adopted, and which could stay open but are borderline.

On Aug the 1th we will convene in chat (18:00 GMT) to look at the votes and decide on the one which will be implemented, as well as discuss further steps (changing FAQ, tour, welcome message, attracting new experts, ...).

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    I picked the first of August since I will be on vacation until the 31th of July. If this date is not suitable, please arrange a new date/time. – Steven Jeuris Jul 20 '17 at 10:17
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Unscientific framing

(Proposed by Steven Jeuris as part of a discussion on refining our target audience.)

This question is not framed within the cognitive sciences. It is based on assumptions which are not made explicit, are not well-motivated (e.g., referenced), or are not held to be true within the cognitive sciences.

"Cognitive sciences" here could be replaced with "Psychology or Neuroscience" if we adopt that as the new site name.

We should make it very clear that although non-expert questions are welcome, we shouldn't allow questions which aren't founded in any way. Even non-expert questions shouldn't be hypothetical. Stating you heard something once, but don't recall when or where doesn't constitute a good question. Non-expert and expert questions alike should show proof there is reason to ask the question.

The difference lies in what proof. If a non-expert can link to dozens of articles/forum-posts/TED talks and the like, there is reason to believe his question is founded. There is nothing wrong with being skeptical and asking for more scientific resources. They usually don't expect a very broad answer, just a push in the right direction so they can attempt to look into it themselves. This will guide them into self-learning and being able to ask a more professional question on the topic the next time around.

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    I can't vote since this is my post, but this is my favorite out of the ones currently listed. – Steven Jeuris Jul 19 '17 at 12:34
  • I am not sure on "not scientifically framed" as that can be covered with off-topic (Other) – Chris Rogers Jul 29 '17 at 21:54
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    @Chris All custom close reasons are subcategories of `off-topic'. They are merely there to clarify more specifically why it is off-topic, as that can be complicated to understand for new users unfamiliar with the site (or even active users). – Steven Jeuris Jul 31 '17 at 9:48
  • Well in that case @StevenJeuris that would cause confusion IMHO. The question can be on-topic but lack research so having a lack of research close vote under off-topic is confusing to me. Heyho. If that's the way it's done I suppose... – Chris Rogers Jul 31 '17 at 10:16
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No initial research

(Proposed by Krysta.)

This question gives no information about what steps the author has taken to answer the question on their own.

The only concern I have with this feature would be figuring out what level and source type of initial research "counts"--but personally, I'd be fine with anything at all because even a link to a foolishly-written blog entry would give us a lot of information about sophistication level and perspective.

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Insufficient context

(Proposed by Robin Kramer as part of a discussion on refining our target audience.)

This questions provides insufficient Cognitive Science specific context to be satisfyingly answered. Please modify your question according to this FAQ. Currently, the question shows no initial research and/or relevance to CogSci.SE.

The close vote is flexible: it leaves room for a minor "slip-up", where relevance is only accompanied by deliberation/popular science references; These questions may still be interesting and answerable. Another benefit of the flexibility is that we can close questions of which the quality is questionable.

  • @RobinKramer You can elaborate on this post as per the OP to include example questions, or add to the argumentation for this specific close reason. – Steven Jeuris Jul 19 '17 at 12:04
  • I feel 'context' is subjective here and does not provide any guidance to the person whose question got closed. – Steven Jeuris Jul 19 '17 at 12:27
  • I think it is made specific with the last sentence : it shows no initial research and /or relevance. – Robin Kramer Jul 19 '17 at 13:49
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Insufficient motivation

(Proposed by Steven Jeuris.)

This question provides insufficient motivation. It provides no information on why the author is asking the question, nor why others would be interested in it.

At a minimum, I believe the user's motivation for asking the question should be clear:

Why are you asking this question? Who else has been asking this question? What would answer the question? This does not imply elaborate research, rather requires a minimal level of logical reasoning and relating one's own opinion to that of others.

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Unsubstantiated hypothesis

Questions to validate an unsubstantiated hypothesis are off-topic. You either need to ground your hypothesis in scientific research, or ask for clarification on a specific scientific topic.

This is based on having given some personal guidance on a few questions which were suffering from this problem. It focuses on the unsubstantiated hypothesis problem we seem to be suffering from, but clarifying what to do about it.

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Close Reason - Lack of Research (Separate - Not within 'Off-Topic')

bullet point text
Please provide initial research conducted. It adds clarification and stops those answering your question taking extra time going over what is already known. For more information, see [Why was my question closed for 'lack of research'?]

The [linked page] could list suggested websites for reliable research and point out that sites and pages/articles within websites which do not reference their sources are not always reliable.

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short description on how and where the close vote reason draws the line of expected question quality.

If the question lacks any research indications (linked website articles or fully referenced journals and books), then the new close vote is given.

As @StevenJeuris points out,

although non-expert questions are welcome, we shouldn't allow questions which aren't founded in any way. Even non-expert questions shouldn't be hypothetical. Stating you heard something once, but don't recall when or where doesn't constitute a good question.

0

questions on the site which should be closed or edited when the new close reason would be adopted

Close reason changed or edited

Waking with no sense of time passing?
Why can young children count to 3 but not higher
What is the evolutionary significance of the confirmation bias?

Borderline

Sex and love -Why does it always come to sex and could possibly become on-topic if clarification was given with initial research although it could run the risk of being too broad

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