Olin's mention of "the self-evident logic of how to ask a question" suggests that, while he may have great experience in Electrical Engineering, he has little to no experience asking questions on a forum. (I assume one is due to the other)
I do have a lot of experience asking questions on many forums, and I have seen all kinds of answers to all kinds of questions. The one thing I have learned is that there is no correct way to ask a question, and it can be hard to predict the sort of response you'll get. I have asked quick one-liners, and been rewarded with great answers, bad answers, answers to different questions, arguments, and suspensions. I have also asked in-depth questions, which carefully lay out what I know, what I assume, what I don't know, and what the question is, and been rewarded with the great answers, bad answers, answers to different questions, arguments, and suspensions.
Isaac Newton, no Mr. Thickie himself is claimed to have said: "I can calculate the motions of the heavenly bodies, but not the madness of people."
Let's try to re-word Olin's quote:
"The self-evident logic of how 45 people will each read the question in a different way, from a different perspective, and react emotionally to it."
We can see that the words "self-evident logic" have no place here.
To see why it is pointless to punish questioners who apparently don't follow the "self-evident logic", let's look at something else with self-evident logic, software. There is really no good excuse for writing an incorrect algorithm. The logic is quite evident, yet I'm sure all of us has written a laughably incorrect algorithm and wondered for ages why it doesn't work.
Now, imagine that whenever this happens, some self-important busybody who has never written any software comes along, scolds you, and deletes your code. This is essentially what happens when someone closes a question.
In my humble opinion, closing a question should be a last resort, and should only happen when we're sure all other avenues have failed. If I could make one change to the Stackexchange sites, it would be this:
Before a question is closed, there should be a purgatory period where the community helps the questioner improve the question. Currently this period is not explicitly implemented, instead there's a period where the community shouts at the questioner and tries to make them feel bad about their failure.
A couple of ways this could be implemented are:
- When someone downvotes a question, they are required to give a reason. There could be a few common reasons to click on, and a text box to write your own.
- When someone votes to close a question, they should give specific reasons, and should also say what changes should be made to the question for the close vote to be removed.
The question would be labelled as [needs improving], and the questioner should have a few days in which to make the changes before it's finally closed.
Don't think "bad question - close it", think "unfinished question - fix it".