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We have many rock questions and some excellent guidelines on how to ask them, guidelines which are not usually followed through. There's been plenty of discussion on meta on those questions before, such as this clean-up request, and since recently we have a custom close reason.

We get many questions that do not follow the identification request guidelines, but are answerable nevertheless. For a recent example, we put on hold Can anyone identify the rock this amethyst crystal was found in?, which does not follow the guidelines, but now this question has two re-open votes and comments stating that the answer is clear without further information.

How do we want to handle identification-request questions that fail to follow the guidelines, but are still answerable? Do we keep them open and answer them, or should we be principled and request that the information is added? Although I can sympathise with the idea to not close questions needlessly, they may serve as broken windows. How should we handle this?

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    $\begingroup$ Yes, we should. We can vote to close, and in the meanwhile add the answer in the comments (as I often do). $\endgroup$ – Gimelist Jan 9 at 3:38
  • $\begingroup$ @Gimelist Can you write that as an answer rather than a comment, please? For the purposes of gauging community opinion, it is important that users can both up- and downvote on meta posts. $\endgroup$ – gerrit Jan 9 at 10:02
  • $\begingroup$ I did what Gimelist says in one, i hoppe correctly but not sure. I began to think, so it is us loosing time? Because, seriously gerrit, waht is what is happening? I commented one to reopen because the guy was trying to give info and the pictures weren't bad, and it is nice if they do eg the volume test Spencer posted. Then yes, we are here for free for love of Science all, but normaly they just dissapear. Isn't better only ask for info if the piece has a particular geological interest for students and not all of us asking ourselves: mmmm should I answer should I close should I ask for info? $\endgroup$ – Universal_learner Jan 13 at 0:44
  • $\begingroup$ To aditionaly close it, even the geological question is answered (for students), can mitigate a bit the flood and I guess google's spider checks comments too. $\endgroup$ – Universal_learner Jan 14 at 2:11
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There's a practical difficulty beside the broken-window one - which is that there are (relatively) many people who can review close and re-open votes, but few who have the expertise to know whether a rock-id question is answerable.

I think that in principle if it can be answered, then it shouldn't be closed as having insufficient info - but that does mean that the job of closing the majority of rock-id questions (as the majority are not answerable) then falls only on those with relevant expertise.

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    $\begingroup$ Upvoted. I see lots of ID questions getting VTCed lately, that have at least 70% of the required info. Can we be a bit less harsh, please? $\endgroup$ – Jan Doggen Mar 12 at 15:36
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I would suggest holding off on closing for a day or two so an answer can be posted. I also think most people asking the questions would be happy with an answer that essentially says, "it is probably..."

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    $\begingroup$ I like give comment, time to fix, then start blasting. $\endgroup$ – Joshua Feb 1 at 2:26

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