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The fact that you use automation to produce your responses doesn't make you any less responsible for them.



I'm not shirking responsibility for putting the responses there. I'm saying that they aren't condescending. The messages are to inform people why their question was closed and to help them improve it.

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If the messages are written in a tone that people generally find condescending, then they are condescending. The intent may be positive but doesn't change the impact of the writing style.

As a matter of interest, do these template responses make it clear that they are indeed templates and not hand written?

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They're not inserted as comments, but as a block of text that's offset from the rest of the post, so I think it's pretty clear that they're auto-inserted. You can search the site for "closed:1" to find questions with different messages that get inserted.

http://stackoverflow.com/search?q=closed%3A1

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Fair enough - it does look obvious to me that those are automatic 'rubber stamps'.

They don't read as particularly condescending to me, but I imagine that if one was used in error or with questionable judgement it might well come off that way.

Is there any mechanism for quality control on how they are used?

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There is some control over how they're used. In most cases it takes 5 users with at least 3000 reputation to vote to close a question. The close reason that the majority selected is the one that gets displayed. Moderators (and employees of Stack Exchange) can close questions with a single vote if they're flagged, but we generally try to encourage people to use close votes if they have that ability.

Also, any closed question can be reopened by community vote whether it was closed by a moderator or by voting.

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It doesn't seem condescending to me, I think the people being moderated are just taking it too personally and can't believe that they unwittingly committed a faux pas.

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