I am a little upset with my recent treatment on this forum. I had one question put on hold. I do not know why, I received some boilerplate about not being off topic because it was not or no longer reproducible.

That just seems pretty lazy to me. Tell me what you encountered when you tried to reproduce it, Just an easy sentence or two. Or ask for clarification. Do not just shoot it down under the assumption that I am an idiot asking a dumb question and wasting your time, which is what it felt like.

So I took my licks and reposted with some additional data and also responded to the hold best I could. In my experience with Stack Overflow when a question is tagged it is effectively dead, never to live again so there is no reason to edit. I reposted.

Someone then tagged the new post duplicative. Yes, yes it was. This person obviously did not read and understand either post fully. So I edited the post to point this out and ask that it not be marked such as asked not to be treated like a child.

Obviously this was taken well because my post was deleted very soon after. Sorry if that was petulant, I do not respond to contempt well.

I work very hard on my forum posts, re-examining my problem, trying to frame it in a way than can be duplicated and probably spend far too long crafting them. I can't claim to always be successful, but I do try. When I ask for help, I do not take it for granted, I do not just blow off some text in 10 seconds and move on.

When I answer another's query, I take it just as seriously.

If you believe I made a mistake by reposting rather than editing, say THAT.

So please communicate better, it is MUCH more helpful than some boilerplate. And please understand that people may make some mistakes. Please be patient and help us be better.

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    your comment "I tried that too, maybe the problem was fixed" seem to indicate that it was resolved. Please edit your question it will be placed back in a review queue for re-opening. There were 3 votes to close 1 to leave open. The GIS Stack Exchange is community driven. Mods are only here to help not discourage.
    – Mapperz Mod
    Commented Jul 28, 2016 at 20:14
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    I also said the server was down. I was just supposing, or hoping it was fixed. When it was back up today to check, it was still not working right. I assumed it was the community, not the moderators, that voted it out. But no one left a comment as to why. it seems good manners to say why you voted to close, or vote down or whatever. Not doing so leaves a mystery which is the opposite of help. Commented Jul 28, 2016 at 20:37

3 Answers 3


I was not involved in voting to close your original question, but when I saw the same question asked again, I voted to close it as a duplicate. We seem to agree that it was a duplicate and unlike on a discussion forum, duplicate questions on a focussed Q&A site like GIS SE are closed as duplicates as soon as they are noticed.

From the history of your question it seems like your comments indicated that you were not in a position to provide more details because your server was down, and this led to it being placed on hold, pending your server becoming available again for you to resume work with the potential answerers on trying to assess and answer your question, if it remained a problem.

As we say on the first page of the Help:

We are not a GIS Software Support Site. We encourage you to seek official routes for support for specific issues you may have.

That help is linked to from the 2-minute Tour that each user is expected to have taken before asking their first question, and which states near the beginning:

This site is all about getting answers. It's not a discussion forum

I am sorry if the protocols of this site are not suiting your requirements but our volunteers are trying to answer as many as possible of the questions posted by nearly 50,000 users.

We wish we could spend more time helping to answer every question but to try and utilize the time volunteered here to maximum effect we are continually learning about the formats of questions we can do that for without burning out our potential answerers.

I hope you will continue to use the site and work with us to answer your and others' focussed GIS questions.

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    Thanks for additional data on what happened. And I really do appreciate the small percentage of those 50k users who do most of the heavy lifting! I guess all I am asking is for some real communication. If the reason the question was put on hold was the server being down, then please just say that. I was instead left in a mystery with no other course of action than to ask the question again (which I now understand I did improperly - I take correction well when given well) I did not know the server was down (not my server) until I checked back again a couple of days later. Commented Aug 1, 2016 at 18:53
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    @BradMathews I am concerned that what you may be calling "real communication" is the type of dialog found in a discussion forum or a social network. The Stack Exchange network does not seek to be either of these things. It provides focussed Q&A using concise communication instead because this is what we have found works to create clear questions with clear answers. I note that you still have not taken the Tour for this site which communicates how this site works and leads to advice like meta.gis.stackexchange.com/a/3353/115
    – PolyGeo Mod
    Commented Aug 1, 2016 at 22:08
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    I took that tour when you pointed it out to me. It is pretty much the same as the main SO one which I read years ago. A refresher is never a waste. I am not asking for discussion. If I want discussion I will go elsewhere - I come to SO for answers. I am just asking for better quality communication. If you downvote someone, leave a comment as to why. If you put a post on hold, say why. If the one does not know why, then how can he improve his questions and answers? A boilerplate response is a generality. It is usually difficult to properly respond to a generality. Commented Aug 1, 2016 at 22:33
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    I note that you have now completed the Tour - thanks!
    – PolyGeo Mod
    Commented Aug 1, 2016 at 22:40

It's not about your personal feelings. It's about making a better site for anyone who has a similar question and wants an efficient, concise answer to their question. It's completely objective and thus the type of discussion atmosphere you are seeking just doesn't fit the profile of what SE does. I myself use this site almost daily and owe a lot of my professional development to it. I remember being "put off" on a few occasions with some of my early questions getting put on hold or closed due to me not fully understanding the nature of the site. To fully disclose the attitude of the site, which makes it better, even the use of comments like "thank you" and "please" are extraneous here and don't serve the intended purpose. Think of it as though we are all building a technical database together, full of concisely written questions and answers that are direct and efficient. You wouldn't find discussion in a technical document, not having it here is what sets this site aside from others.

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    This matches my experience exactly. My first few questions were closed, which I agree with the OP is a frustrating occurrence. 5 years later and I can't use other technical forums as I find them far too confusing and convoluted. Stack Exchange is brutal but efficient. Commented Aug 8, 2016 at 23:10

I agree, the criteria for posting seems really vague, and I don't understand the reason mods put questions on hold or close them without explanation. If you think it's the question is vague or off topic, then I don't see the harm in leaving the question for someone else to answer, as you are under no obligation to answer the question. Seems really arbitrary and petty.

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    To gain the understanding you seek I recommend reviewing a paragraph headed You gotta get this to get us. Questions are only Closed 5 days after being placed On Hold, and only if not improved. Questions are placed On Hold to give their askers a chance to address any issues that experienced site users think would attract downvotes and cause potential answerers to overlook them. Questions are easily re-opened via the review queue once they have been improved.
    – PolyGeo Mod
    Commented Aug 3, 2016 at 21:24
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    I was about to share the exact same paragraph as Poly. I'd also like to direct readers to the Introduction section of Eric Raymond's classic post.
    – Tom
    Commented Aug 8, 2016 at 21:41

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