As this site is getting more and more popular, I forsee that more people will create one-time accounts, posting a question with a meaningless title (such as the above) and trivial content with no research effort (such as Japanese to English : need help with a sentence).

These questions currently get closed as "too localized" (as per What questions are not allowed on Japanese Language and Usage?) but still fill up the board in an unsightly manner. Since one-time accounts are used, etiquette considerations (e.g. How to title translation request) will not work.

I would prefer to move them someplace where they can get answered quickly and likewise quickly be forgotten about, so they do not obscure the more interesting questions. I am thinking of some kind of meta⁻¹ board ("meta" constituting a higher level of abstraction, meta⁻¹ therefore the "lower reaches").

How should we address rogue translation requests?

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I think this will be more important going forward, as the FAQ has been replaced with the Help Center. I imagine very few new users will find their way to what used to be the top of our FAQ, describing what sorts of questions are off-topic. –  snailboat Jun 6 '13 at 14:09

3 Answers 3

Auto-deletion should kick in for old (over a year) questions with zero or lower score, zero answers and one or less comments (see the Mothership for details). Moderators can also delete questions. Some time (48 hours) after closing 10k users can vote to delete, I believe (not sure if we have many/any of those here yet).

Closed questions can, in theory, be improved and reopened. We should aim for this - and most of these could be made into sensible questions with some editing and nudging of the poster. I would say:

  • Do not answer (removes any motivation for improvement of the question)
  • Comment, if more details are required from the poster to make the question into something sensible.
  • Edit, if it's just the title/formatting that needs fixing.
  • Flag, if it's obvious abuse of the system and needs deleting by a moderator.

If you want to see a list of the newest questions minus anything that's been closed, search for closed:0 then click "newest" or make this a bookmark. You can also use this with tags, e.g. the search [translation] closed:0 will show translation questions minus any that have been closed. Another is [translation] score:0 which shows only questions with a score of 0 or above.

ETA: just checked, access to delete votes takes only 2k here. I guess I don't check old closed questions.

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Automatic deletion goes a little bit faster now under certain conditions. I don't think having the mods delete everything is a sustainable solution, and shifts a lot of the burden onto the moderators. –  Troyen Jun 18 '13 at 6:08
    
Sorry, I probably didn't make it clear - I would only think flags were for abuse like repeatedly posting new copies of closed questions in an attempt to get an answer or something like that. –  nkjt Jun 18 '13 at 7:47

You can always downvote them. A score of -4 will push them off the default front page, both preventing them from obscuring more interesting questions and showing the few people that see them that these questions might not be a good idea (with a score below zero).

Alternatively, a more new user-friendly approach would be to just close the question as off-topic. When the new close reasons come out, we'll be able to specifically say "translation requests are off-topic" instead of the old closing as "too localized".

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Thanks for pointing the -4 constraint out. That way we could quickly answer the question and get it off the screen. –  Jens Jensen Jun 18 '13 at 8:52

The existing answers are correct but there is now a specific close reason for translation requests that don't show any effort/attempt by the asker. The specific off-topic reason to be used for such questions is:

Questions asking for translations are off-topic unless prior research effort is clearly indicated; we're here to help you learn, not provide a bulk translation service. See: We don't do translations.

It's also important not to answer those questions (including in the comments) as this encourages people to ask them in the future. If an asker gets the right answer, they quite often don't care whether the question gets closed or not.

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Would ex post facto updates be reason to either leave it open or reopen a question? Generally speaking these seem to result in a quick "Google says...is that right?", which is only marginally more helpful and only 2 more seconds of effort. –  Kaji Apr 30 at 6:49
    
@Kaji I admit that's tricky but I think that they should be reopen. For new translation questions, you wouldn't know if someone used Google translate and spent 5 seconds or put in a real effort unless they stated it explicitly. So all questions should be treated the same. When they are later viewed, that shouldn't matter if they were closed and reopened. There may be some edge cases though. –  Szymon Apr 30 at 9:11

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