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We received this question What are some modern chinese girl names? and I can think of multiple reasons for it being off-topic:

In my mind, it's about as off-topic as a question could get: I'm finding it hard to find a close reason that does not apply here. I'm wondering why users aren't voting to close.

Question: Why is "What are some modern chinese girl names?" receiving answers instead of votes to close?

The community needs to learn to take the initiative on closure. Sure, we can diamond-hammer close these questions, but it totally overrides the democratic process and the community's opinion.

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I'm going to post this as an answer because it's kinda long for a comment, and I wish to draw attention on the importance of the review queue.

I did see the post being close by Tang Ho, and though that was the correct course of action.

Then I completely missed the fact it was reopened. Not long after, I saw the post in the review queue and incorrectly chose "No action needed".

I read the title, and thought it sounded legit enough "What are some modern Chinese girl names?" without paying enough attention to the actual content of the post.

So that's surely a bad review on my part. Close/open reviews are available from 500 rep on this site and are an important gateway to spot inadequate content early. We have usually very short queues, so it's definitely possible to take the necessary time to make sure the review is appropriate. (I'm mostly telling this to myself).


With that out of the way, please let me highlight a different issue here: should moderators even reply to off-topic questions in the first place? Let's assume always good faith; nevertheless, in my opinion, it generates some degree of entropy.

So now I come to the OP's question:

Question: Why is "What are some modern chinese girl names?" receiving answers instead of votes to close?

On Chinese.SE the rep threshold to cast close/reopen votes is 500. That's low for the Stack Exchange standards, if we take reputation as a measure of the user's experience with how this website works (not just as a measure of quality of contributions). Navigating Meta Stack Overflow, where most of the community knowledge about the functioning of the network resides, is utterly extenuating. It's an abyss of hyperlinks.

So diamond behavior is going to be the only realistically viable way to influence and direct the behavior of less experienced users on lower traffic sites as Chinese.SE.

I'm going to conclude that the consistency of users' responses to any community issue is directly proportional to the consistency of diamonds' response to those same issues.

Anyway, I did a bad review.

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Not going to lie, this took me by surprise: I saw it after 15 hours with only a single close vote. It suggests to me that we need to be better informed about...

The close-edit-reopen cycle

  1. We close questions prior to providing answers. Close-voting is better done by non-diamond members of the community: If 5 users....

    1. are familiar enough with the site to be able to vote-to-close, and
    2. are thinking "oh, maybe it's off-topic, but I'm not sure",

    then it's close enough to off-topic to be closed---but this won't happen unless users vote! We want questions that are undoubtedly on-topic, not "maybe it's a bit on-topic".

    Don't be too afraid to vote-to-close: it takes 5 close votes to close, and it can always be reopened.

  2. The OP edits the question to be suitable for the site. (And, if we can, we help out editing too.) Since there are no answers, the OP doesn't render any answers obsolete by editing---they have the freedom to completely change the question.

    If the OP doesn't care to edit, or is incapable of making it on-topic, it might be autodeleted:

    If the question was closed more than 9 days ago, and ...

    • not closed as a duplicate
    • has a score of 0 or less
    • is not locked
    • has no answers with a score > 0
    • has no accepted answer
    • has no pending reopen votes
    • has not been edited in the past 9 days

    ... it will be automatically deleted.

    In this way, the off-topic question doesn't clutter the site forever. Although it won't work if people fail to vote-to-close, upvote, and answer off-topic questions.

  3. We reopen the question, and now it's suitable for the site, it should receive better-quality answers (vs. the unedited version). We might also upvote the question (or retract our downvotes).

Closure is not some kind of punishment: the question is paused until it's edited to be suitable for the site, then it's reopened. Afterwards, we upvote the improved question, and provide better answers.


Nicely done on Please tell me what symbols in image mean (!!!) This is exactly how it should be (not a diamond hammer in sight), and everyone is being welcoming and helpful.

If nothing changes, it'll be autodeleted in 9 days (and I don't think anyone would even notice). If it's edited and improved, we can (and should) reopen it and give good answers.

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I did close it because the OP didn't state her first name in the question. And then I saw her user name was Ruby, so I re-opened it because now people have enough information to make a suggestion.

Unlike asking for a translation for a random phrase, deciding on a Chinese name for someone who is going to study in China for four years is an important thing to do, so I gave her the guidelines for transferring foreign names into Chinese names and intended to close it later. And I think it is time.

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