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Several community members on PMSE have flagged questions recently where the question-asker polls the community in an attempt to locate software that solves a specific problem.

Below are some examples of questions that have been asked that, as some users point out, could probably be answered by searching the pm-software tag:

Software to to work with band practice

Which Collaboration Software Do You Use?

https://pm.stackexchange.com/questions/4263/pm-software-that-handles-both-large-projects-and-small-tasks

Software for task tracking

What time tracking / time management software do you use?

The answers are of course very similar and oftentimes contain the same links to the same resources, which is a strong indicator that they are polling questions. But aside from the fact that these are polling questions, which the StackExchange Management team would not consider great questions, how do you as members of the PMSE community feel about these questions?

At the moment, I plan to continue doing what I'm doing and leave a comment on questions that I personally view as possibly being off-topic. However, I personally don't plan to close them unless there is community support.

Many PMSE community members have 500+ reputation. These users have the ability to participate in driving the site by commenting on questions and even voting to close questions they feel are off-topic; however, I am not sure whether people are not using those because they feel the questions are great or because those community members aren't aware they have this privilege.

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As far as I can see, most of these questions are being raised by new users in PMSE (the most seasoned ones already know that there are plenty of topics on the pm-software tag). Still, as we're running Beta, closing the topic could cause a bad impression for a person that could in the future contribute with the community. As a Brazilian, I can't help it but thinking of feelings and impressions on every action.. hehe.

So I agree with you, the best we can do is adding comments towards two main objectives:

  • If this question is similar to one question already raised, point it to the user (as a comment), asking for what's the difference between user's question and that other question
  • If the question is identical, let the community itself comment act and close the topic, gathering the five close votes.

Even if it's a clear dup, I'd say that still worth to hold our horses at least for a couple of days. Hopefully, having the community itself knowing it's own (flagging / closure) power, we'll have further down the road even more peers closing / flagging questions, making your mod life easier.

So, summarizing...

As a beta, I'd say we have to conduct our users (specially the new ones) rather than restrict their actions.

Cheers

  • Good points. We don't want to drive any new people away who have something valuable to contribute. To clarify, I don't think one has to be a pro to contribute, but I do believe one does have to ask questions that aren't so generic to where every answer is correct. Thus, is there a danger of driving away pro-PM's who might see basic academic questions or one-liners and move on? Also, some SE sites have had success closing questions as a temporary measure. They encourage posters and community members to clean up the questions and then re-open them. Could this model work for our site too? Thanks! – jmort253 Mar 20 '12 at 1:36
  • I believe the so generic to where every answer is correct nail down what we need to avoid: if any answer is valid... the question itself is not. I'll use it as my own rule of thumb. Thanks, j! – Tiago Cardoso Mar 20 '12 at 2:07
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I'm one of those people who always flags these questions for you & the other moderators. To my mind there are many duplicates (or at least a lot of overlap) and at least in the short time I've been part of this community these questions tend more toward polling (e.g. "Which Collaboration Software Do You Use?") rather than the Q&A format through which the community can help solve a problem.

On other SE sites, my understanding is that after some sort of critical mass of similar questions has been reached, the questions are in some way combined and edited to produce de facto answers to "is there a canonical x/list of x" answers. Because I'm newish, I don't know if that's an editing process or a convert-to-community-wiki process (or both), but personally I would like to see that sort of cleanup/combination happen. Doing so would then give us the ability to clearly say "this is a dupe, here's the ID" when we flag, but more importantly it would allow us (as a community) to have that already vetted wiki-like area in which this content is more easily discovered and is of more use.

Also, I didn't realize that 500 was the vote-to-close threshold; I don't have that much rep, but it seems really low compared to others sites, such that it didn't even cross my mind. Maybe others don't realize that it's so low here, either?

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    Programmers has the occasional "Is Java better than C#" type questions, I believe they merged them into a wiki as you suggested. Since no one else has voiced an opinion, I plan to simply continue to comment on the pm-software questions to see if we can get more specifics from question-askers. I encourage everyone to use the comments to elicit more specifics from users. At this time, I don't plan to take any action other than commenting. But let's definitely keep an eye on this. Thanks for flagging. – jmort253 Feb 24 '12 at 6:15

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