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So there is this question that I asked. In the first redaction, it was short and nice, and I liked it. Eventually people started to drop by and comment on how they do not like this or that aspect of the question. I introduced several edits to address the issues raised. Eventually a moderator came by and "put my question on hold", which is fundamentally the same as "closed". A conversation in chat where I tried to achieve understanding has been terminated as well.

  • The comments I received are not consistent; indeed, two moderators clearly disagree in their judgement. I also disagree with the particulars of their judgement, but who cares.
  • On a personal level, I am very unhappy with the way things are going, and especially with how one of the moderators has positioned himself.
  • The question has, in the meanwhile, mutated into a mess that I cannot associate myself with.

This has been the most sad, bitter and laughable experience I ever had across Stack Exchange. I am considering to remove my question, and withdraw from this community. What are my alternatives?

 

P.S.   I gather from other posts here on meta (examples: 1, 2, 3) that there is some kind of a crusade whereupon a clique of power users devoted to nudge this site towards research level take it on themselves to purge it of questions they find not to be up to their implied standard. This is of course not how Stack Exchange should work, but seeing how this group of, like, 5 people apparently constitutes the majority of visitors, it would be pointless to try and argue for a saner policy. Let this post be a warning to other good willing, curious lay people.

Turns out this is not news.

I would love to be pointed to the particular questions/answers where you feel we acted too soon or unjustly, and how it could have been handled in a better way.

So I point you. Your moderation is not only overboard. Your handling of the question in question is, first and foremost, poor. An early intervention has more effect than late. If it is a wrongful intervention, it will have more negative effect. If there are 4 independent, contradictory interventions, negative effect is multiplied.

Put a banner on top of your site, say it straight that your guidelines for asking questions here are much more strict than elsewhere on Stack Exchange, so it is better not to even try. You will save yourselves a lot of time, and the unwary visitor a lot of pain.

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In the first redaction, it was short and nice, and I liked it.

...

The question has, in the meanwhile, mutated into a mess that I cannot associate myself with.

You are always allowed to restrict yourself to answering concerns in comments (in my opinion even preferred over 'p.s.' amendments that are not integrated as a whole in the question), or roll back edits you disagree with. I would advice against it in this case, but ultimately it is your decision.

The comments I received are not consistent

Why would you expect them to be? Disagreement is natural. Even if they are consistent, the comments might still not be consistent with how you feel about it. I have the impression that wouldn't have made you feel any better. And, in all fairness in a way they are consistent: the question is deemed too broad and primarily opinion-based. Rather than focusing on discrepancies in feedback, I suggest you focus on the commonalities.

This has been the most sad, bitter and laughable experience I ever had across Stack Exchange.

I suspect the difference might lie in this being a scientific stack. In a way, we follow the scientific process. As part of peer review, reviewers also give feedback which might not always overlap, or might be plainly irrelevant. It is up to you to interpret the best way to move forward given the intentions you have and the community you want to target. Feedback can be confrontational, but it is an essential part of research.

there is some kind of a crusade whereupon a clique of power users devoted to nudge this site towards research level take it on themselves to purge it of questions they find not to be up to their implied standard

...

This is of course not how Stack Exchange should work

I believe to get a better/fuller picture of this it might make sense to have look at a community review we did in the past: Cognitive Sciences 2012-2016: Community Review

[This] overview serves two purposes: (1) it creates an agenda of problems that need to be addressed and (2) it can be a stepping stone for new users to pick up were others left off, outlining why past decisions were made.

...

However, we do seem to agree on what makes a good question: based on literature, assumptions made clear and backed up.

...

How do we attract and retain experts which are capable of answering questions, not just asking them?

This is very much how Stack Exchange works. This is the best course of action the community has decided for this community to take, in order for it to be useful resource to many people, not just any individual looking for an answer here.

Put a banner on top of your site, say it straight that your guidelines for asking questions here are much more strict than elsewhere on Stack Exchange

From the 'tour, the first page when visiting this site:

Psychology & Neuroscience Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for researchers, academics, students, and enthusiasts needing expert answers to advanced questions in the "cognitive sciences": i.e. cognitive science, psychology, neuroscience, and psychiatry.

If you have suggestions for an improved formulation for that description on 'tour', and the underlying section with the examples of what is on and off-topic, you are welcome to share that; I would suggest a new meta question for that, which then can be up/down voted to see how the community feels about it.

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  • So, is this question not advanced enough? What is an "advanced" question at all? This is a kind of a sentence that sounds pompous, but does not actually carry knowledge. What you should put in a banner is that questions are peer reviewed in a certain way specific to this site. Is Stack Exchange not peer reviewed by design? It is. There is a system of votes. The difference is that here we have peer review by an elitist clique, and this is something you have got to explain up front. If only a small fraction of humans are qualified to ask questions, how is it a useful resource for many people? – Ignat Insarov Dec 1 '19 at 16:57
  • It turns out after several days of nerve wrenching that there is a whole host of assumptions that are not made clear and not backed up in any way — not on my side, but on yours. – Ignat Insarov Dec 1 '19 at 16:59
  • What is an "advanced" question at all?" ... read the rest of the sentence. " ... in the "cognitive sciences": i.e. cognitive science, psychology, neuroscience, and psychiatry." Thus, for example: in psychology, there is the concept of X and Y, I have a question how X relates to Y. – Steven Jeuris Dec 1 '19 at 17:12
  • The specific close reason your question would have been closed as in case it were not advanced enough would have been 'not framed in psychology or neuroscience', which links to more details. It wasn't; it was closed as too broad/opinion-based. Do you still have questions as to why it is considered too broad? If so, ask, so I can make those arguments even more explicit if need be. – Steven Jeuris Dec 1 '19 at 17:16
  • So the only thing the quote from the tour warns is not applicable to my question. But nevertheless I have experienced significant and uncommon difficulties while putting forward my question! The case I am making here is that this site's behaviour is very different from many other sites in the Stack Exchange network, in the way I describe, and that this fact is not apparent from the decorations, but has to be inferred from unfortunate experience or extended observation. Would you agree with that? – Ignat Insarov Dec 1 '19 at 19:19
  • Yes, this site's behavior is very different from many other sites, and many other sites are very different from other sites. Stack Exchange strongly encourages separate communities to define their standards and guidelines. We did, however, clearly communicate expectations (the main feedback does overlap) to you when you posted your question. You simply seem to disagree and seem to be unwilling to accept our guidelines/community norms. – Steven Jeuris Dec 1 '19 at 19:44
  • That is not to say you are not allowed to participate in discussions to change said norms, as you are doing now (thank you for that!), but I encourage you to take the time to get to know the site and the existing community, and its history, while doing so. That is why I linked to the summary of this site's history in this answer. – Steven Jeuris Dec 1 '19 at 19:46
  • Seeing how these supposed community norms are not codified in the decorations of the site, I have no ground to even assume them to actually be community norms. What I saw is that the feedback I have been given merely overlaps, not coincides. So, no single set of norms has been presented. Therefore, it was reasonable for me to conclude that what is being communicated is, in a significant part, personal opinions, as opposed to actual agreed-upon norms. And even now I am not actually seeing a community, but a clique. And common interests of a clique is not the same as norms of a community. – Ignat Insarov Dec 1 '19 at 20:04

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