At present it feels like a lot of close votes are being branded around, and a lot of questions asked in good faith are being closed as off topic without a huge amount of explanation as to why.
I understand that a site is still somewhat under definition in its beta phase, especially early beta, but it feels like there's still a lot of uncertainty about what is and isn't on topic. We should be careful with this; users who want to participate and do so in good faith are likely to be put off if they suddenly see close votes with no reason as to why.
I'm not saying people shouldn't vote to close questions they think are off topic, far from it - where we've established in meta that a certain type of question is definitely off topic, a close vote should be used and a comment left with the meta discussion explaining why.
At present though, it seems some people are voting to close questions they think might be off topic at a whim, often without an explanation as to why.
The example that comes to mind immediately is Can the bug with class 10 SDHC cards be fixed in firmware? - currently on 3 close votes with no comment whatsoever as to why. Personally I think that's a bit rude (yes, it's my question but that's besides the point - I'd think the same for any other). Then there's this question with 2 close votes currently - Is the Raspberry Pi suitable for running continuously, 24/7? - admittedly I agree it is somewhat subjective, but why so quick to close? The content could well be edited to ask a number of non-subjective questions instead that improve it dramatically. Then we had the issue with How can I determine when an SD card needs replacement? - the close votes are now gone but initially there were a number of votes for that question simply based on the fact it's hard to answer. To me, that makes it a good question.
With that in mind, there's a few points I think are worth chewing over:
- If the boundary is fuzzy as to whether a question is / isn't off topic, then why jump to close it? Discuss in meta first, and only vote to close when it's been decided (then preferably link to the meta discussion in a comment.)
- If a subjective question can be made less subjective relatively easily by a bit of editing, then do that rather than closing it.
- If a close vote is used, and no comment has yet been left explaining the reasoning, do so. If it's a quick and easy decision to close, it should be quick and easy to justify in a comment too.