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Last night, I asked a question here. It immediately received two downvotes and a close vote as unclear without explanation. I inquired as to the reason that it was unclear, both on the question directly, and in chat with no response. Since it had been flagged as unclear it showed up in the close vote queue where it accumulated an additional close vote, and a comment asking for sample outputs (which was already provided in the question, leading me to believe that the user did not read the question very thoroughly) and test cases. I used the review history to determine the user who had cast the vote so I could ask them how it was unclear. I pinged them in chat but got no response, another user voted as unclear without any explanation as to what was unclear and finally I got an explanation. Xnor raised the issue that I was unclear, and even self-contradictory about what constitutes a fold, and voted to close. As I was fixing the issue one last user closed the question.

I rewrote the main body of the question to satisfy the issue brought up by xnor and included a diagram to illustrate it. I replied to xnor informing him of the change. Since I had resolved all the issues that I was aware of I voted to reopen, shortly followed by another user. It was then pushed to the review queue where to my surprise all the reviewers voted to leave it closed without any comments. Neither of these two users was directly pingable in chat so I asked the chat room as a whole what was unclear. I did not receive a response and the message has since been buried.

Now no one owes me an explanation as to why my question is unclear, they are free to vote as they please without reason. But I find it incredibly frustrating that despite my desire to make my question clear I am utterly unable to. Since 7 users (2 being after the most recent edit) have voted in favor of the closure of my question there is obviously some clarity issue.

What is unclear about my question? What can I do to get better feedback on questions closed as unclear in the future?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I think you just need a reference implementation maybe, or at least some examples of a few different I/O methods \$\endgroup\$ – ASCII-only Aug 19 '17 at 16:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ASCII-only As mentioned in the post the later is already included in the post. I will include a reference implementation. \$\endgroup\$ – Sriotchilism O'Zaic Aug 19 '17 at 16:54
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    \$\begingroup\$ No I don't mean descriptions, I mean actual examples \$\endgroup\$ – ASCII-only Aug 19 '17 at 16:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ASCII-only I don't understand what you are saying. How are examples of I/O methods different than descriptions of I/O methods \$\endgroup\$ – Sriotchilism O'Zaic Aug 19 '17 at 16:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ Hmm they're not I guess, but examples would just stand out more/make it clearer? And also people would be able to verify correctness \$\endgroup\$ – ASCII-only Aug 19 '17 at 16:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ I mean you might not find them helpful but for most others some examples is better than no examples \$\endgroup\$ – ASCII-only Aug 19 '17 at 17:08
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What can I do to get better feedback in the future?

You already know the answer to this question. You just choose not to do it.


What is unclear about my question?

Because the I/O is virtually unspecified and no concrete example is given (the two diagrams illustrate the subject more generally but not the structure of a complete output, much less the structure of a non-trivial complete output), I'm not sure just by reading the question what form the output might take. I feel that that sentence was also ambiguous, so to try to explain by example: you say

one could simply output a list of vertex folds, each represented by a series of angles.

but a series of angles doesn't seem to be sufficient to represent a vertex fold: surely each would also need at the very least a coordinate pair, and possibly additional information to encode which ones must be done simultaneously? Could you take e.g. the turtle example from the paper Folding and One Straight Cut Suffice and present both a diagram showing the turtle and an example of how the information encoded in the diagram would be output as "a list of vertex folds, each represented by a series of angles"?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Perhaps My question was unclear. I was asking how one might get feedback once their question has been closed. Or are you suggesting migrating to the sandbox upon closure? \$\endgroup\$ – Sriotchilism O'Zaic Aug 19 '17 at 23:06
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    \$\begingroup\$ I had misunderstood that, but I do think that migrating to the sandbox upon closure is the second-best option (after sandboxing before posting to main in the first place, and before pretending that the sandbox doesn't exist at all). \$\endgroup\$ – Peter Taylor Aug 20 '17 at 7:21

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