I've noticed that oftentimes the questions that are closed are asked by members with few reputation points, many of whom have only recently created their accounts, and are posting their first C.SE questions.

While closing questions that have been answered before and are not worded in a way that presents a new angle on the question seems reasonable, would providing something more of an explanation beyond the one to two sentences mentioned in the text in the "closed by [users] for ..." comment be more welcoming to new users?

Speaking as a new user myself, if the goal is to grow the site and provide a valuable resource, then it seems like responding to some new users' first efforts to contribute by closing their questions and providing only a terse explanation for doing so may be counterproductive. To someone new to the site who is not yet familiar with the community guidelines, it could easily be interpreted as a summary rejection from the moderators, even though that is not what the moderators intend.

If any think that such is the case, what would a more welcoming way of still closing repetitive questions be?

2 Answers 2


As you might know, welcoming new users—especially by avoiding overly terse and snarky comments—is a current focus on the network as a whole. Personally, I think the idea of welcoming new users is an extremely important habit for small sites, such as ours, to get into. In fact, I've written a set of guidelines for a sister site.

The message you mention is, in fact, generated by the system. There's not much we can do about the text of the message. However, we can make a note in the comments even after a question gets closed. If you see a message that's closed as a duplicate, I recommend writing a comment such as:

Welcome to Christianity--Stack Exchange! That's a great question. It's so good, in fact, that it's already been asked. Do the answers to that question help? Remember, you can always edit your question to show how it's different and ask for it to be reopened. Thanks again.

(As you point out, terse comments can be seen as rude.)

At any rate, let's encourage behavior that helps the site—even if it's just providing a rewording of an existing question.


As a mod if I close something I try to let the user (Specially new ones) know both why I am closing the question and also what I feel they can do to improve it.

This is encouraged, but is not required. If the question is not being closed as a duplicate it probably deserves a comment.

This has actually been a discussion on the larger SEI blog recently


Basically we need to be kind to our new users, even the ones that ask bad questions (which is pretty a lot of them). It's better if we can leave guiding comments either advising edits or at the very least giving a "why this is bad."

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