A thought occurred to me last night on a long-standing problem that several StackExchange sites face, and I'd like to get a feel for whether this idea has merit, and if so, I'd like to start working on it.
During the early stages of the site, we had many questions and answers that simply would not fly by today's standards. There's a hesitation among all of us to delete them for several reasons, not the least of which is that half the old-timers would lose serious reputation points.
There are other reasons, of course... Some of them are useful to have around so that when others come up, we can close as a duplicate, etc. Deleting bad questions does have the drawback in that we lose that VTC reason, so it's more likely we have to handle the same question over and over. Some of them actually did get good answers, even if the question was iffy. Some of them have value in another way, shape, or form.
At any rate, the dilemma is that we don't want new users to say "Hey, why is my question closed, but this one is still open?", but we also don't want to get rid of it because there's some value in having those types of posts around.
This is something I run across a lot as I'm reviewing "First posts". New users often post answers to questions that really just shouldn't be left open. It gives the wrong impression of the site, and I feel like a heel telling them "On this site we're not looking for personal interpretation or opinion" when the question is written in a way that it's clearly asking for opinion.
It'd be nice to have an easy way to alert users that "Hey, this question isn't what this site is about" and links to one of the may Meta posts that explains the site guidelines. Sort of a proactive approach to teaching the guidelines, as opposed to a reactive "Comment after they've answered' approach.
Often these can be closed, and comment can be made explaining why it's closed, but many of these have a long string of comments, and it's not feasible to expect a new user to be able to pick out the "right" comments from the the others. I'd think that if we want to be sure new users understand the guidelines, we'd want the close reason to be much more visible.
So, here's my suggestion. What if we, based on current guidelines, close those questions and edit them to put a moderator notice at the top that says something like this at the top:
This question has been closed by a moderator as off-topic per the current site guidelines. This question is (insert close reason here from the standard list of close reasons). For more information on these guidelines, see (list of Meta posts relevant to the post)
Is there any merit in that? And if so, what would you suggest for standard verbiage, so that the message is consistent?