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We've had previous discussions about technical support questions we recieve. Repeatedly. There have been concerns about how many [on hold] or [closed] questions that this places on the main page.

The two biggest problems with the number of technical support questions we are receiving, as I see them:

  • Roughly a third of the displayed questions on the front page are closed as off topic. These just sit there and can't be answered by anyone because they are closed.
  • Some users will answer these questions, which encourages further off topic questions.

I have a proposal that I think will help deal with a few problems these technical support questions are generating.

Let's delete technical support questions soon after being closed

I think deleting these questions relatively quickly will do a few things:

  • Clean up the front page. This is the page that many users will see first when visiting the page and presenting a list of open questions is better than a lot of closed "Nope, can't ask that here" questions.
  • Remove the incentive for users to answer questions that are obviously off topic. If their work is removed because the user is asking how to fix an issue, instead of asking about hardware, we make it less likely they will answer these types of questions in the future. Combined with the first benefit, these users may provide their time and knowledge toward questions that fit better.

Question to the community:

In the past 7 days, 14 questions have been closed with the technical support reason (accounting for about 3/4 of our closures). In the past month, we've had 42 questions closed with this reason (accounting for about 2/3 of our closed questions). Deletion requires 2000 reputation. There are only 4 users in the community with that reputation level. One of those is me, a moderator. While the community is continuing to grow and distribute reputation to others, would you be opposed to moderators deleting these technical support questions in the meantime? As the reputation levels of community members increase, this task would slowly be transfered back to the community.

I'm looking for feedback, both pro and con, about why we shouldn't be removing these large numbers of off topic technical support questions.

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  • I'm only going to say that I totally agree with you. Too many off-topic questions clogging up the front page. I think you have the right idea. – user1691 Nov 30 '17 at 16:13

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