Questions without winning criterion should be closed early (as 'not constructive', better, if possible, with an own category: Missing winning criterion.

Else, people start working on CG-solutions, and emphasize the charcter count. Soon everybody follows and threats it as a golf question. They vote each other up, and nobody can stop it anymore.

Closing the question later is too late. The first answers more votes. I guess many people revisit a question rarely after publishing their own solution - except, if they earn much upvotes.

Close early!

Vote to close, and leave a comment that you did so, and explain why. A closed question can be reopened, if the winning criterion is added later, but it avoids answers.

We need more discipline in handling the rules. I like CG-questions too, but I don't like to pretend that I did not see the missing criterion, nor do I like to produce the de facto pressure, which exists, after 2 or 3 answers where submitted with "48 chars" or "55 chars" in the headline.

I guess this is the better way to handle questions without winning criteria than handling the answers as discussed here, which would be the way to handle it late.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Why is this important to you? This problem you describe doesn't bother me. Should it? \$\endgroup\$ – Steven Rumbalski Jan 10 '12 at 20:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ Well - you loose time, if you start working towards a winning criteria, but the person who asked the question decides otherwise. But if you wait too long, everybody submitted his answer, and you're too late, because you waited too long for the official criteria, while the crowd does what it likes. \$\endgroup\$ – user unknown Jan 10 '12 at 20:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm not quite sure I understood why a closed question should be considered better than a "drifted" one. \$\endgroup\$ – J B Jan 11 '12 at 17:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ What is a "drifted" question? Drifted from Stackoverflow, for instance? Or drifted to SO? The difference is, that it should a) encourage the asking person, to explicitly state a winning criterion, and to prevent the crowd from answering before the criterion is clear. \$\endgroup\$ – user unknown Jan 11 '12 at 19:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ The from/to SO drift you describe is usually referred to as "migrated". Why I think of by "drifted" is those questions, you know, with little to no objective winning criterion, whose answers tend to "drift" towards some attractor criterion. Possibly code-golf. But you still seem to assume that such quesetions have a chance of getting corrected by the author. I haven't seen that happen a lot. \$\endgroup\$ – J B Jan 11 '12 at 23:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ Well, yes, I think so. The community should enforce the rules, at least try to enforce them, or change them, to fit to the status quo. Rules which aren't enforced are useless. They only hinder the honest. A question which is good, beside missing a good criteria, can be healed by the community, if the original author doesn't care. But the rules should be clear. And the more the normal users care, the easier it is to educate the newcomers. But same rules for everybody. \$\endgroup\$ – user unknown Jan 12 '12 at 0:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ Rules could indeed be enforced, but sorry, I don't even think this should be in the rules. In my eyes, a question isn't good before is has that good criterion. And the community is already kind of healing such questions, by assuming golfing. You look like you've got a gripe against golf for some reason. \$\endgroup\$ – J B Jan 12 '12 at 7:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ Might I go out on a limb to add that the site is (in URL form) codegolf.stackexchange.com? As a newer user to this SE site, I assumed that any non-flagged/specified questions would be code golf. It seems natural to me that, in the absence of other, contrary information, CG is a reasonable default to work with. \$\endgroup\$ – Gaffi Mar 16 '12 at 19:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Gaffi: Are all question on stackoverflow implicitly about stackoverflows? \$\endgroup\$ – user unknown Mar 16 '12 at 21:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ @userunknown Touché. However, I'd still argue for a default objective when none is stated in the original posting. \$\endgroup\$ – Gaffi Mar 16 '12 at 21:23
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Gaffi: How do you distinguish a badly prepared challenge, where the winning criteria was forgotten, from a fine prepared one, where the writer assumes a default measurement? With Q&A in the comments? That's less useful, imho, than a tag and an explicit statement from the beginning. \$\endgroup\$ – user unknown Mar 17 '12 at 3:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ @userunknown I agree with you that initial clarification on the part of the asker would be preferred, but I do think the comments are ok to hash out details. In other cases I've seen of what appear to be perfectly acceptable challenges, certain constraints or rules have been omitted, but someone else has come along and asked about it, and the asker changed the question accordingly. This question for example... (see comments by sepp2k). Why is this one specific specification so critical over the other details that can be missed by the asker? \$\endgroup\$ – Gaffi Mar 17 '12 at 13:26

I agree that we should close early. We are now at a stage where we have more reviewers than things to review (within a 12 hour period), so should vote to close whenever a question is close-worthy.

However, we should be just as ready to reopen questions when they are reopen-worthy. It must be a two-way street, or our system will fall over.

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    \$\begingroup\$ This is the correct answer. Closing questions with issues ASAP gives the poster the opportunity to fix the issues before answers start rolling in, avoiding entirely the headache of invalidating answers. \$\endgroup\$ – Mego Aug 2 '16 at 22:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ I wish some of my early questions were closed sooner... And that I'd used the sandbox! \$\endgroup\$ – wizzwizz4 Aug 3 '16 at 8:28
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm all in favour of closing early for any doubts. It's the one aspect of the Q&A site format that works perfectly for challenges. \$\endgroup\$ – trichoplax Aug 4 '16 at 13:24

I have been reluctant to close questions without giving the poster a chance to fix them. Perhaps this is not the right strategy, but I would like to see some interest from the community. In the past the "Please fix this or I'll close it" comments I've left have not received much by way of upvotes or supporting comments.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Well - you don't take them the chance to fix them. Au contraire! After changing the post, it is eligible for reopening, either by a moderator or by some (I guess 4) reopen-request. Close easily, and reopen easily. It works well on Skeptics.SE \$\endgroup\$ – user unknown Jan 12 '12 at 4:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ About closing specifically, I don't even think we've got enough active users with that right for any strategy based on that to be efficient. (and I don't even think we should adopt that strategy in the firts place) \$\endgroup\$ – J B Jan 12 '12 at 7:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ You close questions so they can be fixed. It's only fair to answerers too \$\endgroup\$ – Ben Brocka Aug 11 '12 at 21:21

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