Over the last 90 days, we’ve closed 17.5% of questions asked. That strikes me as not egregious; however, I would like to see the extremely low reopen rates increase. Far, far more questions are edited after closure than are reopened, which suggests we have an opportunity to improve how we communicate the changes that would be required to bring the question to our expectations.
One place we can start working on that (but not the only place) is our close reasons. I took a look at the last 90 days’ worth of closure data and wish to make a proposal. Note that we get three custom close reasons, in addition to the out-of-the-box reasons.
Of the questions closed, more than half (52%) were closed as either "unclear what you're asking" or "off-topic - Questions on problems in code you've written ..." (roughly 26% each). This aligns with a general sense of mine, that I've heard expressed by others as well, that we have a large and poorly-differentiated group of questions that have a problem with the information being provided: there's no code, there's no error message, there's no detail besides "it doesn't work" or "I don't know how ...". That's something we can work on and communicate more effectively.
"off-topic - Question that are intended to propose ideas, solicit opinion or provoke discussion are better asked in an alternative forum (http://salesforce.stackexchange.com/help/on-topic)." was used only five times, one-half of one percent of closed questions. I don’t think this close reason is useful (we can use "other" or "primarily opinion-based", the out of the box reason).
"off-topic - Programming questions not specific to Salesforce are off-topic here, but can be asked on Stack Overflow (http://stackoverflow.com/about)." was used to close just over five percent of closed questions. We don’t need this close reason because there is an out-of-the-box close reason, "This question belongs on another site in the Stack Exchange network", that addresses the same question population.
I propose to deactivate the three existing custom close reasons and add the following two custom close reasons:
- Questions about implementation problems need to include a specific description of the problem (including exact errors and stack traces, if any) and the code or metadata to reproduce the problem. Please limit code inclusions to only the relevant elements, such as an MVR (minimum viable reproduction). This question can be reopened when it is edited to include those details.
- Questions about requirements or objectives should demonstrate the work or research you’ve done so far and ask a specific question. Providing complete implementations based on a list of requirements is not a goal of this community. This question can be reopened when it is edited to include the needed information.
(The latter rephrased in accordance with Derek F's helpful suggestion).
The objective of these changes is to more finely target the issues within that 52% of closed questions, while being more explicit about what changes are required to reopen.
That would leave us with one remaining slot for a new close reason. I am open to suggestion as to what that is (along with feedback on the above proposal), or to holding that slot for future community needs.
Possible third reason, also suggested by discussion below:
- This question does not fall within this site's scope. It may be about programming other than on the Salesforce platforms, pertain to a third-party vendor, or not be answerable from public information. A community member should add a comment to clarify how this question is not on topic.