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In the past few months a number of questions on Contract Bridge have been closed in, to my mind, an overly aggressive manner:

While not perfect, I believe all of these questions can be answered within the site guidelines. A few of us have worked diligently over the past two years to try and expand the usefulness of B&CG as a resource for beginning and intermediate bridge players, and having these questions closed so aggressively seriously undermines our efforts.

Can I ask those of you who review the Close queue but are not accomplished bridge players to exercise a bit more caution? Rapidly closing these questions likely drives away new users who would help us to expand this site out of Beta.

Update:

As per discussion below, it has been noted that the sparsity of strong bridge players on the site requires that those with only a casual acquaintance with the game are needed to help maintain the tag.

Perhaps if casual and non-Bridge players could refrain from casting a First vote to Close or Reopen, and attempt to look beyond just the first comment or two before making a decision. Also, please consider choosing the Skip button when you don't feel that a strong case has been made.

Do others feel that this proposal is workable within the guidelines for the site?

  • @Tom Au: Can you help out with this perhaps? – Forget I was ever here Aug 16 '15 at 15:41
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    All of those questions seem to have explanations or clarification questions in the comments that indicate why the question should be closed. In fact, in the second and third examples, you made comments indicating that the question should be further clarified or narrowed. – murgatroid99 Aug 16 '15 at 16:23
  • @murgatroid99: 1) Of all the close votes cast for those 4 questions, only one was cast by an actual user with significant contributions to the Bridge tag on this site. 2) re #3, OP clarified in a comment - I have edited to place in question. 3) re #2 - I also commented at the time that the question was answerable despite the flaws. – Forget I was ever here Aug 16 '15 at 16:29
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    1. Moderation on this site is not on a per-tag basis. On each of the first three questions, the first comment indicates that the question needs further clarification, and that is going to be the primary source of information for reviewers. 2. In question number 3, the question was closed as "too broad", then it was clarified, and now it is in the reopen queue. This is exactly how question closure is supposed to work. The point is to stop it from being answered until it really can be answered. The same goes for question number 2: it was clarified, and now it's in the reopen queue. – murgatroid99 Aug 16 '15 at 18:08
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    @murgatroid99: Say what! If a reviewer has no knowledge or understanding of the tag beyond what the first comment says, they absolutely must select Skip rather than either Close or Keep Open. I do not judge MTG questions for this reason, as I am a very casual and occasional player; I request the same courtesy from MTG players with no knowledge of Contract Bridge beyond casual acquaintance with the rules. – Forget I was ever here Aug 16 '15 at 19:00
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    It's hard to get an exact number, but there appear to be very few users on the entire site who both have substantial interaction with the [bridge] tag and have enough reputation to close questions, even though [bridge] is the second-most popular tag on the site. If we leave the moderation of that tag entirely to those users, no [bridge] question will ever be closed because you just won't have enough close voters around. – murgatroid99 Aug 16 '15 at 19:27
  • @murgatroid99: I concede the point; perhaps if non-Bridge players decline to cast the First close vote. Then only one of the four above would have been closed (Aryabata is definitely a competent Bridge player) and I could live with that. If we keep chasing Bridge players away we will never get to having a strong Bridge community here. – Forget I was ever here Aug 16 '15 at 20:55
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    Ironically enough, not knowing enough about bridge, I just skipped your four reopen requests, before coming here to see what was going on. – Radhil Aug 16 '15 at 21:12
  • @Radhil: If it sways your decision on any of these re-opens, I already have an answer posted for three of them - I am looking to invite additional answers for those, as well as to complement @Ruds answer regarding Smolen on the third for partnerships not prepared to play expert conventions. – Forget I was ever here Aug 16 '15 at 21:42
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    @PieterGeerkens - didn't even know I could (I'm newish). If you think you can move 'em forward, then sure, votes are now in. – Radhil Aug 16 '15 at 21:53
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Thank you for bringing these to my attention.

I reopened them all with some editing. Only one deserved to be closed. I don't believe that any close votes were cast maliciously so this meta post is a great way to find some consensus.

People with the close vote privilege can absolutely do what they want. My preference would be that folks consider their level of knowledge about the game before casting votes to close and abstain when they aren't sure and the post isn't dangerous to the site.

That said, I have a complaint/challenge to the bridge players on this site.

Your tag is not awesome. It reads like a wiki page. That isn't what tag descriptions should be about. A brief description of bridge is cool, but I wouldn't go much farther than the excerpt is doing now.

Use the extended tag info to tell people how the bridge tag is used on this site. Describe how people should ask questions, including their level of knowledge, the bidding conventions used, etc. It would also be great to standardize on how to describe the hand.

Done correctly, the first comment on each of those questions could then be a simple directive to look at the tag info for clarification.

  • Great idea Pat. I will check out the tag now and see how I can improve it. – Forget I was ever here Aug 17 '15 at 4:41
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The four questions have been fixed, and the people that read this meta post will likely show more restraint. What about everyone else? We need a long term fix.

Pat challenged the Bridge experts to improve the Bridge tag wiki. I think that is a step in the right direction, but how many people actually read the tag wikis?

I have a more visible solution. When a user clarifies the question in a comment, immediately move that clarification into the question. In addition, leave a comment to let the user know that the proper way to address comments is to edit the question.

Thank you for clarifying. I went ahead and added your clarification to the question. The question is clear to me now, but if you think of any additional details, be sure to add them to the question.

If I see that comment, I will think twice about close voting. I might even pick up your good editing and commenting behavior. Asking the users that read this meta post to show restraint is a short term solution. Demonstrating good behavior is a long term solution.

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    I have added a "How to ask a Bridge Question" section at the top of the Tag wiki. That can at least be used as a reference now. All comments and suggestions welcome. I also like your idea of being more diligent and prompt in moving comments up into the question, and will act on that going forward. – Forget I was ever here Aug 17 '15 at 14:58
  • It's definitely good to edit clarifications into the question, and potential close voters are exactly the people who should be doing that. If someone votes to close without bothering to check the comments to see if they clarify sufficiently, they're probably being a bit too eager to close. It's understandable (it's easy to just read the title, skim the body, and ignore the comments) but we can do better. – Cascabel Aug 20 '15 at 1:14
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This site takes a long time to get review tasks done in general and trying to limit who can do reviews on certain tags will only make it worse. Looking through the review history and I am seeing items that are close to a week old that still need votes on them to be completed.

Also looking at the questions.

In the first question you are making assumptions and state that in your answer which would suggest that the question is not clear enough and more information is needed to properly answer the question which is the close reason it got.

In the second question you also start your answer by making assumptions which should be a clear sign that not enough information was provided. In this case it was closed as to broad because the question could be answered in several different ways which you indicated in your answer.

In the third question you are asking a lot of questions in the comments which would make it seem that a lot of information is missing

The simple problem is that while it may be a "top" tag with 209 questions it has only 31 questions asked this year so there will be a smaller base of people who will be able to properly handle the questions which in the end most likely means that nothing will ever happen to those questions if left alone.

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    Part of the problem is that, everywhere, this always happens when bridge players ask a stronger player for advice. If I ask Joan Eaton (Canadian International whom I have known for 40 years) for advice on a hand where I have only remembered 40 or so of the cards, she will first chide and prod me to see if I can remember a couple more, then answer my question. This is part of the learning process for weaker players - that remembering more of the hand is probably more important for improving their play than the advice they are actually asking for; it doesn't mean the question is unanswerable – Forget I was ever here Aug 17 '15 at 5:16
  • Coming mostly from 2 Stacks that are rabidly more active in every area, or others where I just view/browse due to lack of knowledge, my first inclination is never to look at the review queues because I'm used to nothing being there. I also think this Stack is also more ..complicated?.. than first glance might suggest - if it's a unique product question, an answer may be simple but it requires direct experience. On the flip, if it's a question on an old classic, most general questions are long answered, and usually only true experts can pick it up. It's a surprising bar for some, I bet. – Radhil Aug 17 '15 at 23:21

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