As we observe the operation of the site we notice situations that appear to negatively impact the goals and purpose of it. For example downvotes have been disabled because they caused several situations where new users were discouraged, communities were split with half upvoting and half downvoting questions for no other reason than to support/disagree a point of view rather than the content. This behavior is well know and documented on other social sites.
Post closings seem to be the next example of good intentions occasionally going the other way. This applies to me as well, I have closed many posts that I later regretted, in fact in hindsight I can't see the value of any post closing that I've performed. So why do we even need them?
The concept of post closing has been imported from StackOverflow but the reasons for having that in SO are radically different. We need to recognize that the content produced at SO covers a radically different domain. The answer to How to sort a list in Python will not change from one year to the other. It is perfectly valid to use the answer to the old question and close every other such question as a duplicate.
Bioinformatics is different. It is a rapidly advancing field where the correct/recommended answers may change within a short period of time. The rationale of trying to maintain a single set of answers does not apply. Most importantly old and potentially highly voted answers may actually contain somewhat obsoleted advice. Fact is we don't go back to old answers and correct them, nor do people usually visit old questions to add new, updated answers (it happens but not it is not common).
So I propose to remove post closing. Only post deletion remains and should be applied as follows:
- If a post has no answers or comments then the original poster (author) may delete the post (this removes the post with no trace and no option of restoring the post)
- If a post is radically off topic with no possible bio-science connection then moderators should comment on it (to notify the author) then delete the post (this action can be reversed)
- If a post is spam then moderators should delete the post and suspend the user (both actions can be reversed)
Actions for posts that previously may have been closed:
- If the post is a duplicate question (identical to a previously asked and answered question) paste the link to the duplicate into an answer and let that be the answer.
- If the post appears to be slightly off topic: python programming, plotting with R, installation of a software tool, how to get started in science, please put a link to the more appropriate forum/resource into a comment or answer