I'm wondering in how far the introduction of the off-topic close reason pointing to the ID guide has 'helped'.

'Helped' can be interpreted in different ways, and I find it hard to describe measurable criteria, so maybe these need to be defined first.
I'm especially thinking about the value of the site for its (first time) users.

Things that come to mind:

  • How much faster are they put on hold than before the introduction?
  • Is the percentage of ID questions put on hold decreasing?
    (That seems like the ultimate goal to me: ID question being well written so that they stay open and get answers)
  • How many are edited, reopened, then answered? Again, in relation to 'before'.
    (I see very little posts in the reopen review queue, actually)
  • Do first time users with ID questions that are put on hold ever come back (edits, new questions, comment responses)?
  • (How fast) Do questions put on hold get deleted so that they disappear out of view?
    (I'm not sure if this is actually a good thing, a certain amount of [on hold] questions may put out a signal to ask good questions).


I'm not proficient in SEDE or the site data structures.

I suggest one answer each for the points in this question, with the query, the interpretation of its current result, and maybe a graph.
And please feel free to edit other points into this question or put them in answers as well.


2 Answers 2


Let me start with saying that it is not possible to get exact numbers because the off-topic sub reasons are not recorded in the posthistory table. On the other hand, there are not many data points so I expect that hand checking might be quicker then trying to get this right.

Here some stats for you on questions closed as of-topic. Notice I use '2018-12-03 05:59:59' as the cut-off date for before/after.

Query one (2 Resultsets): Time in days to close as off-topic


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We are doing what we said we'll do. Bad questions are being closed or putted on hold, and rene's answer shows we are doing it quicker than before.

That's fine.

Maybe the system can't do much more, but the warning the system now shows is not enougth however. The problem is still there. There are sometimes 5/6 questions on top 10, giving the look of spam still, as most of them don't provide practicaly any info and do not provide what should be obligued: a good picture and location/place found.

Has it helped? Yes I guess. Sometimes the user tries to edit the info and some of them may have been discouraged to post anything after seeing closed related questions on the list.

I wonder if the system could do anything else to discourage users not interested in interchange serious info to fill our inbox of questions, wich, unfortunately, is still hapenning.

We, we can't do much more. We are doing what we can with our tools as users and we are well organized.


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