Specific examples can be found, but I'll avoid singling out any specific users or their questions unless it's really necessary. Basically, some questions have such extreme lack of care in the formatting, and when their askers blatantly ignore requests to improve the question, the best course of action is probably to delete the question from the public's eyes, or to simply close it (which would usually be a required first step before being presented with the "delete" button).

VLQ (very low quality) questions can sometimes be flagged, which triggers the VLQ review queue, from which reviewers are asked whether or not they want the question deleted.

The VLQ flag is not always offered though, for example here.

In such cases, it seems that the only recourse that we have in order to remove the question, is to:

  • flag it as spam, rude or abusive (but it might not be any of those things),
  • vote to close it due to something like "needs details or clarity" (even if it does not need more details, but suffers from extreme neglect in formatting and lack of care to make the question presentable),
  • issue a custom flag that diamond moderators would have to spend time handling manually, or
  • have it get downvoted by so many people that it automatically gets removed (but this site basically has a policy not to downvote questions, and deleting the question altogether is not necessarily required or desired when the less painful closing of the question is an option).

We have two more "custom close reasons" available to us by default, and I propose to make one of them a closure due to "Extreme lack of care in formatting, or VLQ".

I welcome everyone's thoughts on this though!


1 Answer 1


The VLQ flag is not always offered though

I believe it is offered for posts that are at most 7 days old and that have a score <=0. If the question is so terrible as to not be presentable at all, I'd argue it shouldn't have been upvoted in the first place. Conversely, the upvoting user(s) are implicitly saying the question is not of very low quality.

Can custom "Needs improvement -> A community specific reason -> Other - add comment" flags be handled by the community as well as moderators? If so that seems like a sufficient solution, unless the site is experiencing an epidemic of terrible but upvoted questions. (If there is one, I haven't noticed.)

  • $\begingroup$ About the "Needs improvement -> Other - add comment" flag, I'm not sure if it can be handled by non-diamond moderators (if so, it would give users with very low rep the option to cast a close vote), but the alternative option of high-rep users clicking "Close -> Other - add comment" seems like a good temporary solution. Thanks for that suggestion! Why shouldn't we make a custom close reason for it though? The reason why I posted this question was because I have seen an epidemic of terrible questions (why does it being upvoted matter? not only do we have no control over who upvotes, but $\endgroup$ Aug 19, 2023 at 0:57
  • $\begingroup$ flagging as VLQ will delete the question altogether, when we may just want to close and give the user a chance to fix it without strongly discouraging them from using the site by deleting it). I'm not surprised that others haven't seen as many VLQ questions as me, because I've made over 3000 edits and for a long time I was fixing essentially every formatting issue myself (along with help from others sometimes, but they were making almost a factor of 10, now closer to but still above 3, times fewer edits than me). $\endgroup$ Aug 19, 2023 at 1:01
  • $\begingroup$ @NikeDattani I guess I'm not expressing myself very clearly. Your example being 2 days old is entirely consistent with being "at most 7 days old", and it has a score of 0, so it meets both criteria, and you can use the VLQ flag on it. The reason I mention upvoting is that if someone upvotes the question (and there isn't a balancing downvote), the score would be >0 and the question would not be eligible for VLQ flagging. $\endgroup$
    – Anyon
    Aug 19, 2023 at 1:01
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for correcting me, I was just about to say that I now spotted my error. You said "up to 7 days old" and I accidentally read it as "at least 7 days old". In subsequent comments, I have made other arguments about the part about upvoting though. $\endgroup$ Aug 19, 2023 at 1:03
  • $\begingroup$ I have deleted my first comment: I think we can strive to take care of VLQs within 7 days, but would like to be able to close VLQs if they are VLQ (regardless of their net score). $\endgroup$ Aug 19, 2023 at 14:10
  • $\begingroup$ I remain agnostic as to whether a custom close reason is needed (due to my lack of exposure to these questions), but not against adding one. That said, using the VLQ phrasing may be confusing given how it's used site-wide. Calling it something like "severe formatting problems" may be better. In any case, hopefully others can drop in and give their opinion. $\endgroup$
    – Anyon
    Aug 19, 2023 at 15:37
  • $\begingroup$ I totally agree that we can customize the close-vote reason, and we don't need to call it VLQ (which has an existing network-wide meeting). "Severe formatting problems" is a great suggestion. $\endgroup$ Aug 19, 2023 at 23:51

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