Upon review of Coworker mumbles to herself when working, how to ask her to stop?

This question was pinned as a potential duplicate of How can I ask someone in a quiet library to stop clearing their throat?, and it is true that it may be one if OP does not know said coworker very well. The thing is, we don't know how close OP is to their coworker; whether they work together or have in the past, whether they talk about personal stuff, and so on. I believe that there is not enough information to provide complete answers to this question.

Now to the issue. This question hit HNQ this morning, and incomplete answers, addressing an incomplete question, continue to come. I'm bothered by the fact that it's HNQ because 1- it leads to poor quality answers that need to be handled by the community and the mods and most importantly 2- it gives a biased idea of what IPS is about to SE users. This can't be good.

I wondered what to do with this question; OP didn't address the clarification questions, the community didn't vote to close as a duplicate or because it's too broad. I don't want to single-handedly close it until OP addresses the questions, especially because we had a question hitting HNQ a few weeks ago that also got closed (and again, I don't think it gives a good image of what IPS actually is about. When our only HNQ question is closed, what does it say about the site?).

Which leads us to the last option. Removing the question from HNQ. This is something mods can do when a question is not a good fit for HNQ. It's usually used when a controversial question leads to heated conversations or a significant number of very poor quality answers- yet our example does not fit into either of these categories.

Which is why I wanted your advice. What do you think we should do with incomplete questions hitting HNQ? Should we close them more quickly? Should mods remove them from HNQ, knowing that it won't be eligible for a further selection? Should we be more reactive when it comes to handling such questions, i.e. faster in asking for clarifications, faster in casting close votes, faster in helping OP to improve their question?

1 Answer 1



If the question is not answerable as is, close it. If it's attracting bad answers, protect it. If all other options are exhausting and it's still bringing too much bad content, remove it from HNQ.

When a question hits HNQ that we feel is incomplete (there are unaddressed comments asking for clarification), the course of action to take depends on how incomplete the question is. Some incomplete questions can still be answered, while others can't. I see 3 possible courses of action for a question like this.

  1. Close the question
  2. Protect the question
  3. Remove the question from HNQ

Which action to take depends, as I mentioned earlier, on how incomplete it is.

Close the question

In my opinion, whether or not to close the question is the most straightforward of the 3 options. Between the help center and our question guidelines I think we have some good guidance around when to close a question. If the question fails to meet our guidelines in a way that makes it unanswerable, then it should be closed. In the case of the question you're asking about, I don't think closing is the right option because the question is still answerable as is (albeit the answers may not be the best possible answer).

Case in point, at the time of writing this post there are 3 non-deleted answers on that question. 2 of those 3 answers cite relevant personal experience where the answerer has been in exactly the same situation and taken specific actions to solve the problem.

Protect the question

Knowing when to protect the question is slightly harder than knowing when to close it, but also not extremely difficult. I see two main reasons to protect a question.

  1. If it is likely to attract rude/spam answers based on the nature of the question
  2. If answering it well requires more knowledge specifically of how the IPS site works than an average question might

This particular question is not a hot button issue, and thus is less likely to collect rude answers (though it does currently have one answer deleted as rude). Despite this, I think protection is the correct course of action (and in fact it was protected about 2 hours ago). The reason for this is that due to the missing details, it is going to be harder for an inexperienced user of IPS to answer since the answer needs to account for the fact that there are details missing (not to say that new users are incapable of answering well as both of the two, IMO, good answers are the first answer written by those users).

Remove the question from HNQ

This is arguably the hardest option to know when to use, due to the fact that the question can never go to HNQ again, but I think this answer from Em C does a really good job of outlining when a question should be removed. Quite simply:


  • we've already tried editing it

  • it's not closeable

  • protecting it doesn't help

...then we'll have to consider removal.

In the case of incomplete questions, first check to see if they are closeable, if not then look at protecting them. Ultimately, it's going to come down to signal to noise ratio. If the question is valid for the site, it should stay open, even if clarification would make it easier to answer. The only reason to ever remove it from HNQ would be if it can't be closed, is protected, and is still generating far too much bad content (answers and comments) which drowns out any good answers.

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