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Inspired by the question found here: Three beginner clarifications about Cribbage

The three questions put forward in the above post are not individually problematic; they each are, or have the makings of, clear and objectively answerable questions. However, the issue lies in the fact that all three are posted in the same "question".

From the perspective of someone seeking answers in the future, going through the tag and finding a post labeled "Three beginner clarifications about Cribbage" wouldn't really help me. Whereas three distinct and individually titled questions would be of more use to me for knowing whether that answer deals with whatever issue has come up, or whether I can just ignore it.

Also it would increase the number of questions and answers on the site. Just saying.

I believe the general practice across StackExchange sites is to discourage such posts unless the included questions are clearly and tightly related. If the questions are distinct and related only by their tags, they should probably be closed and re-posted as separate questions.

Is there yet any policy for dealing with this situation here?

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This is an interesting question. It's true that the questions, being only tangentially related, should have been asked separately. And it's certainly true it won't be much help from a searching perspective in future. From that point of view, a vote to close seems appropriate. But it's also true that the question asker is new to the site, and can't be expected to know much about our Q&A system. Closing their question sends a strong signal, and can be perceived quite negatively.

If the OP shows willing to re-ask the questions, then that's fine. But for the community, there's no straightforward way to split his question, short of re-asking on his behalf.

So, for new users, I'm basically on the fence. I'm not going to take any action, since as a moderator, my vote to close would be binding. I think leaving a comment, as Pat did, was an excellent step. If the community really dislikes it, they can vote to close. At the end of the day, the OP got their answer, and may stick around. I think if we don't see any response from the OP, then closing this in a few days seems reasonable.

For reference, your question prompted me to ask a variant of this on the main meta: What do we do with "multiple question" questions?

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    Is actually answering the question sending a mixed signal to the user in this case? Holding off on an answer would motivate the user to actually split and re-post; he has no reason to fix a question that's obviously succeeded at getting a good response. – goldPseudo Jan 30 '12 at 5:47
  • On the other hand, if we don't close the question and explain how they should be asked, it becomes more difficult in the future to explain to other users why they should have one issue per question. It's true that the closing process leaves something to be desired with respect to how it looks from a new user's perspective, but I think it's still important to guide them toward expected behavior on the site. (It would also help if there were a magic tool mods could use to split the OP's question into three under the OP's name, but you'd have to split answers too, I think.) – Dave DuPlantis Jan 30 '12 at 12:49
  • @goldPseudo - yes, probably. But the tendency to answer is strong, and can't be managed by policy - by design, no one can stop someone else posting a useful answer. – ire_and_curses Jan 30 '12 at 17:24
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Expanding on my comment to ire's answer, I think the best time to get a new user accustomed to how things work is on their first post: just like mods will convert a non-answer into a comment or remove it entirely as appropriate, I think it's best to close a question like this one and explain how they need to be asked.

For one thing, it'll get them accustomed to closing and opening ... eventually most of us will have a question closed, and it's good to get new users to understand what it means (i.e. closing means "paused" rather than "FAIL").

For another, it avoids the appearance (or the actual process) of having two sets of rules, one for new users and one for established users. Leaving a question open that would be closed for another user might simply be postponing the discussion of "why was my question closed?"

The OP's point here about usefulness of the title is a good one as well. I don't think we want to compile a single question that covers all of the basics of cribbage; if we're going to have separate questions for each part of the game, it might be better to split up questions like this one now.

The fact that we'd get three new questions instead of one is a nice side effect ... and while closing it temporarily may give new users pause, keep in mind that if we get them to split up their question, assuming they show research effort and are useful, suddenly that new user is getting three times the upvotes!

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  • Ok, but bear in mind the perhaps more likely outcome to immediate closing will be no new questions from that user. Maybe we're fine with that. Also note that we aren't ignoring the education aspect - I think leaving a comment encouraging the question to be split is essential. – ire_and_curses Jan 30 '12 at 17:22
  • Also note that I am not saying we don't close the question. I'm just saying allowing a grace period may be reasonable. In fact, if diamond mods don't act, then there is a built in grace period, since it needs 5 community members to close. Since the question is ultimately shut, I don't see a problem with explaining the rationale to future users. – ire_and_curses Jan 30 '12 at 17:25
  • Yes, that's a consequence I grudgingly accept ... barring a change in the SE-wide closing process, closing a new user's question is going to look like "Sorry, you failed, go away." And I think we're in agreement with respect to what a mod should do in a case like this: as you point out, your vote is binding, and I note that there is also only one close vote, mine, and one upvote, so there doesn't appear to be any sort of consensus yet. – Dave DuPlantis Jan 30 '12 at 18:06

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