I would like to offer a suggestion to improve the Standard Practices for administration of the Philosophy.SE.

I see that it is not irregular for hasty down-votes and closes, and that this is causing members to be upset, feel put down or excluded. I think that in its the basic practice, this process is an excellent method to maintain and promote quality questions and answers. However, we do not have such a high frequency and dynamic community to balance critics with advocates. The current method often circumvents the process of crowd evaluation, and therefore upsets what is at the core of why Philosophy.SE exists - To ask questions to engage answers from a wide spectrum of philosophical sources.

A question is answered by a person as best as they can. Another person reads that answer and down votes and/or flags. It's possible that the original poster's answer is removed before they know what happened. They did not have the opportunity to improve their answer.

Its often in the process of improving answers that more people become involved. It's really after that, when you will gauge the quality of the thought behind the answer. If we can agree that...

1) The understanding that monitoring is necessary and productive

2) Ideally posts should be evaluated more strongly in terms of content, and less influenced by the semantics and personal opinions of the writer and reader.

Then, perhaps we can all agree that some additional patience and consideration may be appropriate for administration of the Philosophy.SE

My suggestion is that we begin by institutionalizing a time frame for closes. It can be balanced between the number of down votes and a fair time to respond.


  • After the first down vote person has 10 days to edit the item in question (question or answer). If they cannot solicit up votes by improving their answer in that time period, it will be closed.

  • 3 down votes will cause the item to be closed after 5 days.

  • More than 5 down votes will close/remove it in 2 days.

The time periods are just a suggestion, but I think implementing a practice like this would be a good opportunity to improve Ph.SE

Please up vote the question if you are in favor of the proposal. Thank you.


1 Answer 1


If the proposal is to change Philosophy.SE settings to be a bit more forgiving of automatic deletion of posts, then yes, I'd be all for that. Understandably, it makes sense to give new users a chance to update posts to something that fits with what we're trying to build here, and encourage new users in the process.

If the proposal is for participants to avoid closing questions that should be closed, or deleting questions that should be deleted, or down-voting posts that should be down-voted, I would disagree. I know it can rub people the wrong way, but:

  1. Precisely because there isn't that much traffic on the site, poor questions already take a while to get 5 close votes.
  2. Participants should understand (and we should figure out how to make this more clear) that a down-vote is not a personal attack, it is constructive feedback. Presumably, people are on this site to receive constructive feedback, not simply to be told how smart and wonderful they all are.
  • I am referring to the first explanation of the purpose of the proposal. Additionally, we can perhaps influence a change in the interpretation of a down vote by allowing a timer to prevent hasty closes and deletes in those cases where the opportunity deserves to be allowed. The time counter I'm suggesting will result in the same closures and deletes in most cases. There is also no change to any general behaviors of a SE site. Jun 7, 2016 at 0:16

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