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I've noticed that on Biology.SE there are so many poor questions at Biology? See for example here, here, and here. They usually appear as first questions of new users, don't show the faintest sign of research (as mentioned in the first comment of this question, they could have been answered if only the OP had googled it) or the will to ask a well built question.

It appears to me that the rate of VTC (vote to close) on this site is bizarrely low compared to other SE sites. Shouldn't we assure a higher level by closing more (ideally all) of these poorly-phrased, poorly-researched questions?

Edit: this is related to this question and also this one.

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    $\begingroup$ VTC? Vehicular Technology Conference, Vesicular-tubular cluster, Video teleconferencing, Veterans Transition Center? (From Wikipedia) or "The opposite of fun" from Urban Dictionary? Give us a hint. $\endgroup$ – David Jan 29 '18 at 21:40
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    $\begingroup$ @David Alas, it's not "vesicular-tubular clustering" but "vote to close", which could be classified as the opposite of fun indeed... But awesome list otherwise :D $\endgroup$ – LinuxBlanket Jan 29 '18 at 22:09
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    $\begingroup$ One I should have known as I seem to play the grim reaper in that respect. But I agree with your sentiments. $\endgroup$ – David Jan 29 '18 at 22:26
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    $\begingroup$ Very related: General quality of BioSE questions vs other SEs $\endgroup$ – Remi.b Jan 29 '18 at 23:25
  • $\begingroup$ @Remi.b edited in the question! $\endgroup$ – LinuxBlanket Jan 29 '18 at 23:45
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I also have noticed a trend towards poor-quality questions becoming abundant. I think there are several reasons for the overall quality being relatively poor at this stage:

  • The number of active reviewers has dropped; at this time there are 57 close-voted questions in the review pane. It has been brought up before that not enough people perform the review tasks so essential to the SE network. I have mentioned it in chat, other mods have done the same thing, but nonetheless the review queues, especially the close-vote queue is sky rocketing. As a mod, I sometimes go through it, but I don't like to use the mod-hammer. It's the community's task to vote. Note that the linked examples in your post are already close-voted, and hence appear in the queue, but not enough people go through the effort of adding more votes to reach the mandatory 5 votes.

Folks - Please Review!!!

  • Since our relatively recent graduation, people have become less stringent in letting questions pass [yes, the reviewing has slacked].
  • The number of questions per day has been steadily increasing which may put more work into proper reviewing questions;
  • The folks here that are critical, and start commenting, downvoting and close-voting are often frowned upon. I receive quite some rude comment flags and often that involves comments to poor questions. OPs don't like it when their post is being shot at. It has to happen though and I fully support downvotes and critical comments [be nice though 'What a stupid question' won't help much :-) ];
  • Downvoting is often frowned upon here, which is a bad habit. Downvoting is good and I encourage it. It is good practice to comment in addition, but because of the often harsh reactions to suspected downvoters, people often don't comment I guess. Well, I do both and yes, I've been [expectedly] the target of revenge downvoters. Well, bring it on. Upvotes bring in a lot more rep than downvotes so I encourage evryone to accept that downvotes are part of the SE system. They are important. Im downvoting more and more. It also signals other users that there is something wrong with a post and it draws in more people to look at it. It certainly helps me to identify problematic posts;
  • The topic of this community is pretty broad which attracts a lot of people with little or no experience in biology. I also notice that in the related stack Psychology & Neuroscience - the proportion of totally rock-bottom quality questions is actually high there [higher than here]. However, due to the low #/questions per day, pretty much every questions receives attention there and the overall level is pretty good there, and admittedly higher than here.
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    $\begingroup$ Now you were faster and I can stop writing :-) I fully agree here. $\endgroup$ – Chris Jan 17 '18 at 9:58
  • $\begingroup$ @Chris - Thanks and my pleasure :-) please feel free to add another post, or edit my answer. It may not be complete :) $\endgroup$ – AliceD Jan 17 '18 at 9:58
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    $\begingroup$ One more point: The topic of this community is pretty broad which attracts a lot of people with little or no experience in biology. $\endgroup$ – Chris Jan 17 '18 at 9:58
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    $\begingroup$ Not nessary, you covery pretty good what I wanted to say :-) $\endgroup$ – Chris Jan 17 '18 at 9:59
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    $\begingroup$ I'm sorry I haven't been around for a while and did not perform my janitorial duties :P Moved to new place and was busy with setting up work and all.. I'll be back soon.. $\endgroup$ – WYSIWYG Jan 20 '18 at 9:58
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    $\begingroup$ I would also add that I noticed a tendency in answering questions despite their low quality. This behaviour is addressed quite seriously in other SE communities. This was a comment to answers to a poor quality question in Interpersonal.SE: "Answering questions that don't meet our standards encourages users to continue to post sub-par questions because they know that despite the fact that their contributions don't meet the standards, they'll get an answer anyway. Also note that if the answer has a positive score, the question will not be automatically deleted by the roomba. (1/2) $\endgroup$ – LinuxBlanket Jan 22 '18 at 14:31
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    $\begingroup$ (2/2) Answering off-topic/low-quality questions encourages low-quality contributions and brings down the quality level of the site." The answers, despite being of acceptable level, were downvoted. (This is the question I'm talking about: interpersonal.stackexchange.com/questions/9404/…) $\endgroup$ – LinuxBlanket Jan 22 '18 at 14:32
  • $\begingroup$ @Chris For instance, biology.stackexchange.com/questions/69782/… got an answer even though it's a poorly phrased question and doesn't show any research effort. Should we prevent these answers? I'm asking to the mods. (Also, should I modify the body of the answer to include this point? I don't know how Meta works) $\endgroup$ – LinuxBlanket Jan 22 '18 at 14:47
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    $\begingroup$ I also noticed that one needs to have at least 3000 points to access the privilege to cast a "close" vote. This seems to be the norm, but it may be too much for this site - it looks to me that a lot of answers get only 1 or 2 upvotes regardless of its quality. Apparently, it can be changed: in interpersonal.SE this privilege is unlocked at 500 points. Could such a change improve the overall quality of this site? $\endgroup$ – LinuxBlanket Jan 29 '18 at 14:20
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    $\begingroup$ @LinuxBlanket beta sites have different threshold criteria for their privileges than graduated sites do. Your IP. SE site is still in beta. We are graduated. The close voters were pretty active in the past and we have enough 3k rep users to do the job. I think people have to be motivated somehow. There are badges to be earned for reviewing. $\endgroup$ – AliceD Jan 29 '18 at 23:24
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    $\begingroup$ Ha! Ok, I wasn't aware of these differences in beta. Thank you! $\endgroup$ – LinuxBlanket Jan 29 '18 at 23:42
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Just addressing the title of this question (Why?), I would add:

  • The large number of students from certain countries with large populations, intense competitive pressure and low levels of support in education. This means that we will continue to get a flood of questions from people who only want a free answer. This makes it difficult to know whom to advise about the rules/procedures of the site, because in most cases it will be a waste of effort. We should try to flush these out as quickly as possible but I have no suggestion how to do this.
  • The fact that this is a hybrid site with questions on concept-based biology (molecular biology, physiology etc) mixed with naturalism — plant and animal identification. Now the latter questions are very popular, but by their very nature they encourage "Identify this" questions (i.e. without research) and factual answers of the "It's a greater lesser-spotted moderator". This has two effects. 1. By example it encourages people to post unresearched questions in concept-based areas. 2. It puts off biologists in molecular areas from contributing to the site. I'd suggest a split, but I suspect there is a problem with this.
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