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I'm going to be slightly revolutionary and be slightly counter to typical SE culture here, but please bear with me...

When we moderate things, as a community, could we make an effort to be gentle with people when the question asked calls for it? Some of our questions are light and easy to ask, like: asking for water on a long bike ride, or dealing with wait staff at a restaurant. But on the other hand, some of our questions are a little deeper and a bit more emotional and have more consequences for the person asking...

I'm not trying to turn the system upside down or anything, I'm just asking that people take the weight of the question into account when they moderate things.

Sometimes these questions aren't perfectly phrased because the person asking is emotionally fraught. They're dealing with some hard stuff, cut them a little slack. I'm not saying that we shouldn't moderate, I'm saying that we should take our time and be kind when we do it.

The site is still small enough that we have the time and ability to be patient with people when it calls for it.

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    Understandable. But have we done ungentle moderation yet? Are you sure? :) – NVZ Oct 9 '17 at 5:47
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    Can you propose where we need to change our ways? Is it our close reasons, comments, the quick downvotes we send out? What is it? :) – NVZ Oct 9 '17 at 5:49
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    Do you refer to interpersonal.stackexchange.com/questions/5143/… ? Could you go a bit more into detail? – Anne Daunted GoFundMonica Oct 9 '17 at 5:56
  • There's also this question interpersonal.stackexchange.com/questions/5141/… but here I find myself conflicted. The OP's aim is unclear and ambiguous. – user3114 Oct 9 '17 at 8:59
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    What changes are you asking for? What are some examples where you think the community did the wrong thing? Without one or the other of those, this question will just be vague navel-gazing about broad principles we probably already agree on. Specifics, please. – Monica Cellio Oct 9 '17 at 15:37
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Not sure what you want here, but no, I'm not going to stop close-voting questions just because they're dealing with hard stuff.

Sometimes these questions aren't perfectly phrased because the person asking is emotionally fraught.

That is a perfectly valid reason to write a question that's not up to par. But it's not a reason to not vote to close. In such cases, I'm willing to refrain from downvoting, but I am going to vote to close.

They're dealing with some hard stuff, cut them a little slack. I'm not saying that we shouldn't moderate, I'm saying that we should take our time and be kind when we do it.

Cutting them slack is wrong. May I remind you that you were also the person asking How should we address chameleon questions on this site?. To prevent a question about a difficult topic from becoming a chameleon question, the first thing is to close it to prevent half-assed answers.

Taking time to do so is wrong. If you see a question that should be closed, close vote it. If you're uncomfortable or find doing so harsh, feel free to leave a comment to sympathize with the OP, and give them as much guidance as you can on how to improve their question.

When we moderate things, as a community, could we make an effort to be gentle with people when the question asked calls for it?

Yes, we can make an effort. Not by stopping close-voting, but by leaving comments and helping the OP to make a good question that can get good answers. In the end, this will benefit both the community and the OP: good questions help us grow, and good questions get good answers that the OP might actually benefit from.

The site is still small enough that we have the time and ability to be patient with people when it calls for it.

That's exactly the reason why close-voting quickly is necessary. We are still small, we should be able to keep up with close-voting unfit questions. If we don't we get a backlog of questions that should be closed but aren't, befuddling our scope.

If questions aren't closed, OP's aren't pushed to better word their questions. This will leave a mess that gets harder to sort out the bigger it grows.

Be kind, but don't refrain from close-voting while doing so. A sympathetic comment and a close-vote are better than an answer to a bad question.

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    A sympathetic comment and a close-vote are better than an answer to a bad question : it's all said. Beside that, we don't need to jump out of the box, but rather think about what's asked, and help OP to improve. I usually take time, because my understanding of the Q might be biased (and sometimes, it is!). And comments from others help me. Before that, I don't DV or VTC as I want to be right and honest with OP and myself, and not act like a jerk or a jack-in-the-box, missing the point. – OldPadawan Oct 9 '17 at 9:12
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    I have a feeling that @LostGuest isn't going to come back and edit their post. I hope I'm wrong because the question is very valid IMO. – user3114 Oct 9 '17 at 9:46
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    @Mari-LouA I don't know what will happen. IMO it should be edited before it is reopened, but all the comments are there so let the community decide. And, this is going to sound mean but IMO you can't just throw stuff like that over the fence and never look at it again... that's not what SE is for. – Tinkeringbell Oct 9 '17 at 10:04
  • Yeah... but I've seen hundreds of unregistered users post questions and never post a single comment or accept an answer. If the site is lucky, the question is written so well and so clearly it is on topic and no editing is necessary. @Stacy's question is the most striking example How do I tell my new boyfriend that I make a lot of money? The Q was posted Sept 03 and that coincides when she was last online. – user3114 Oct 9 '17 at 10:17
  • That's bothering me as well... But I don't think there's something in the comments that's mean enough that a well-meaning OP wouldn't feel free to edit their question on both questions... I'd like to add that I personally haven't downvoted the question from @LostGuest for that reason as well... So yeah, it's happening that questions are posted and never looked at again. Hence the IMO part in the previous comment. I must say I feel this especially strong when somebody posts a question about a difficult topic, and doesn't even answer comments. – Tinkeringbell Oct 9 '17 at 10:29
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    @Mari-LouA : when I see a nicely crafted Q from unknown user, I suspect this person to be a SO/SE network user who wants to ask something being entirely anonymous. They don't want anyone to know they "site-cross" (is that correct?) – OldPadawan Oct 9 '17 at 10:50
  • @OldPadawan that doesn't stop them from commenting (unless she self-deleted her comments) or accepting an answer one or two days later though, does it? Yes, Stacy could be a user on another site, she had this one Q and she posted it, never to return again. My point being that unregistered users are, on the whole, unreliable. – user3114 Oct 9 '17 at 10:57
  • @Mari-LouA "My point being that unregistered users are, on the whole, unreliable" Now we're getting somewhere :) I got the impression from your first comment (that LostGuest wouldn't come back), that this was still about 'us' being mean by close-voting (as that's what's the question here is about). Yes, unregistered users are unreliable. And the question we are talking about was ambiguous (some think they can answer, others definitely aren't reading that much between the lines and would like to see things stated more explicitly). Thus, IMO it was closed righteously :) – Tinkeringbell Oct 9 '17 at 11:01
  • EDIT: Keeping a question closed because a user is unregistered, ergo unreliable, is not a good enough reason. The question could help others, it could help someone right now. Closing it is a missed opportunity. This is a useful question to have in the IPS archives, but it's only useful if we have a selection of good quality answers submitted. Of course, it's impossible to "improve" or "fix" the question today it's not about grammar, wording, or formatting. But the question is sufficiently detailed and of topical interest that it deserves to be reopened. – user3114 Oct 9 '17 at 11:08
  • "Closing a question because a user is unregistered, ergo unreliable, is not a good enough reason." I'm sorry for confusing you, but that's not why I voted to close the question. My reasons are clearly stated in comments underneath the question :) If you really feel so strongly about this question, maybe you could make a meta post arguing for its reopening now. Otherwise, since we're having a good discussion going already, I'll make a meta as soon as I'm off work. I think this is one of those questions that really needs to be discussed on meta as part of defining our scope :) – Tinkeringbell Oct 9 '17 at 11:13
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    @Mari-LouA "Keeping a question closed because a user is unregistered, ergo unreliable, is not a good enough reason." Agreed. We don't keep questions closed because users are unregistered or unreliable. We close questions because the community thinks a question isn't fit for SE as it is. And if the question isn't edited by the OP, it remains unfit. And thus it remains closed because it is unfit. I can see that you're feeling really strong about this question, so I would ask you to make a meta about it 1/2 – Tinkeringbell Oct 9 '17 at 11:41
  • Because arguing the opening/closing/on-topicness of a specific question isn't the goal of this meta post. Please write a meta post to argue why the question is a good fit for IPS as it is, so we can use that to learn what to include in our scope and what to exclude, and continue this discussion in an appropriate place. That way hopefully other people will let their light shine on the matter as well, and it won't be just us colliding with two very different opinions of what this site should allow and what not in an obscure comment thread hidden under an unrelated meta question. 2/2 – Tinkeringbell Oct 9 '17 at 11:45
  • I edited my comment, I meant to say "keeping" there's a time limit of 5 minutes whereby users can edit/fix comments... In any case, I'm done with posting Qs on meta :) I don't have much luck with them, and you shouldn't take my comments personally. This is a discussion, we can air our opinions, and thoughts, without being on the defense. Last objective data though: three users on the review queue voted to keep the Q open, so I don't think I am alone this time. No need for you to reply. You have made a strong case and you have to go to work. I also have a job too! – user3114 Oct 9 '17 at 11:50
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    @Mari-LouA Ah, don't stop asking metas. I don't stop. You can either watch and learn, or ask and learn. I'm more of the "ask and learn" type. – NVZ Oct 9 '17 at 15:10

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