Recently, some questions have arisen about why questions are closed. This is intended to give an overview from the moderators as to...
Why Questions Are Closed
Stack Exchange sites are a unique type of Q&A site with a very specific focus in mind. Sometimes, questions are closed here that would otherwise be allowed on other sites. To quote Jeff Atwood:
We believe asking questions on our site is a privilege, not a right. If, after a few fair attempts, you haven’t been able to prove that your contributions to a particular Stack Exchange make it at least … not-worse … then we reserve the right to refuse your questions. If we don’t do our part to cull the bad questions, then we risk alienating the true experts who provide what really matters: the answers!
Remember that we're after what you're after as well: high quality answers. In order to get those, we have to separate out the chaff from the wheat. We close material (either questions or answers) that are of too low of a quality so that we can encourage high quality content. Make sure that your questions and answers are the best they can be. If not, then you might find your question closed for one of these reasons:
The Text: This question covers exactly the same ground as earlier questions on this topic; its answers may be merged with another identical question.
When It's Used: If a question seems to be too similar to another question, the newer question may be closed and redirected to the original question. Occasionally, if the answers to the new question merit saving, they may be migrated to the original question.
The Text: Questions on Martial Arts - Stack Exchange are expected to generally relate to martial arts, within the scope defined in the faq.
The Text: This question is not a good fit to our Q&A format. We expect answers to generally involve facts, references, or specific expertise; this question will likely solicit opinion, debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion.
When It's Used: Generally, if a question includes "What's the best...", it's probably going to be not constructive. These questions solicit opinions, create debate, or are aimed toward personal biases.
not a real question
The Text: It's difficult to tell what is being asked here. This question is ambiguous, vague, incomplete, overly broad, or rhetorical and cannot be reasonably answered in its current form.
When It's Used: This becomes a common reason for closing. Generally, the question is not a good fit, and doesn't seem to be reasonably answerable. It doesn't mean that people won't try to answer it, but that the answers may be trying to pigeonhole the question to be relevant.
The Text: This question is unlikely to ever help any future visitors; it is only relevant to a small geographic area, a specific moment in time, or an extraordinarily narrow situation that is not generally applicable to the worldwide audience of the internet.
When It's Used: Generally here we use this when people ask about local instructors, or finding training in their area. This may also indicate a scope issue. It can also be applied to extremely narrow events (e.g. a strike at a 45° angle to the left armpit when a right haymaker is thrown in a -30° downward arc...)
My question was closed as Not a Real Question, but it has an answer!
This may be, but you chose the answer, which means it was good enough for you, but not necessarily for the community. There's a good chance that a question marked Not a Real Question has some other significant issue with it as well, and would likely be closed for another reason. Having an answer does not necessarily make the question a good fit for the community.
Does a closed question mean it's not worth asking here?
Not necessarily. Many questions need an adjustment to their wording to accept an answer of our particular expertise. When in doubt, ask the community for help! Chances are, somebody can help shape your question so that you'll both get the answers you need and the community gets the information it needs.