I'm curious as to why the moderators on this site are so zealous about closing topics that they perceive as off-topic, "not real questions," etc. There are many questions, and I count one or two of my own among them, that the average informed and reasonable person would probably consider fairly relevant to discussions of theoretical computer science...even if they might be 0.5% off-track as far as adhering to the guidelines of the site for optimally phrased questions. These questions will be asked by someone with only the best intentions at heart, and will be immediately "voted to be closed" and commented upon by moderators, typically in a fashion that might be characterized as abrasive, if not rude.
I recognize the importance of keeping the site clean of obvious spam and questions that truly detract from the experience of using the site or the general quality of the content...but do we really need to be so harsh on people who post at least semi-reasonable questions? Rather than immediately write a comment to the effect of, "This is the worst question I've ever seen, I think it should be closed immediately," why not work with posters of sub-optimal questions to try to help them improve the quality? You could give people twelve hours of grace (or something) before the topic is closed. This way, I think you might do a better job at avoiding driving newbies away.
I'm not asking this question in the spirit of being accusatory; I just want to make a gentle suggestion that someone rethink the topic closure policy. I think that given that one of the goals of the site is outreach to non-experts in the field (and I'm certainly one of these non-experts!), I think it would make a lot of sense to think seriously about doing a quick cost-benefit analysis of being so strict on topic closure. What do you gain, and what might you lose by being so strict/abrasive?
In order that this question might not get closed as "not a real question" :), let me ask one: What is the justification for the strictness on question closure? I am not sure that there isn't one, so perhaps I should ask if there isn't some deep-seated StackOverflow cultural mandate that I wasn't aware of that would make my comments above appear foolish. If there's a perfectly good reason for handling topic closure the way it's being handled now, I'd love to know what it is.
Thanks for any thoughts on or answers to this.