Update based on SE Meta:
From the answer to the SE Meta site question How soon should I “vote to close”?:
Always vote to close immediately. I explain the rationale behind this approach in further detail
In summary: Yes, it increases the chances that the question will be
closed, but that's actually a good thing for a couple of reasons:
It increases the likelihood that the user will take notice and actually fix their question in response to your suggestions. Unless
you're dealing with a particularly conscientious user (and this is
rare, because their questions are unlikely to be candidates to close
in the first place), it's more likely that they'll ignore your
comments as long as they can continue to get answers.
It prevents a flood of immediate answers (arguably a symptom of the well-known "Fastest Gun in the West"
that are speculative at best and/or will be completely invalidated
after the question is modified to turn it into a real question. Those
answers don't do anyone any good, and they're best avoided if at all
And no, it does not force the author to re-post his question, not
immediately or ever. Even questions that have been closed can be
edited by the owner. So once the question is closed, that would be an
appropriate time to sit up and take notice of the helpful comments
that have been provided by the close voters. And once the question has
been sufficiently improved, it can be re-opened, either with the vote
of 5 different users (they can be the same ones who voted to close) or
the binding vote of a moderator.
If you see a user posting a second question because his first one was
closed, flag and/or close the second one as a duplicate of the first
and ask him to go back and edit the original question instead.
If you look, you will notice that the question was not closed because it is a homework or home networking question. The question was put On-Hold as too broad because the question cannot be answered without knowing the device model. Different devices choose the port to be used differently, That is implementation-specific; there is nothing in the standard that dictates how to do that.
In any case, your premise, the the question in title of your question, "Seriously, can we stop closing questions just because they include the word “homework” or “home network”?," is incorrect for the original question to which you refer. That is clearly not the case.
The question is quite clear that the OP's question is about the table in the embedded answer. Notice the parts I highlighted:
The answer is:
NAT Translation Table
WAN Side LAN Side
126.96.36.199, 4000 192.168.1.1, 3345
188.8.131.52, 4001 192.168.1.1, 3346
184.108.40.206, 4002 192.168.1.2, 3445
220.127.116.11, 4003 192.168.1.2, 3446
18.104.22.168, 4004 192.168.1.3, 3545
22.214.171.124, 4005 192.168.1.3, 3546
With that given, my question is regarding the answer. I understand
the IP addresses. However, are the port numbers randomly chosen or
does the order of 3345, 3346, 3445, etc. have a sort of logic given
That question is unanswerable, as asked, because we do not know the provenance of the table.
Edit for the new question:
Can we err more on the side of leaving questions open when multiple
interpretations exist and some might be off topic/too broad?
The problem with questions that are too broad is that I still find open questions from years ago where more information or a narrowing of the scope was requested but never supplied. Some of these questions have no answers, and some have answers with none accepted The additional information or narrowing of the scope was requested, not supplied by the OP, and then everyone lost track of the question, and the OP never got his answer.
The proven SE method is to request more information or to narrow the scope, then place the question on hold. This has proven effective to spur the OP to provide the additional information or narrow the scope of the question.
As far as off-topic questions, leaving them open encourages answers to off-topic questions which are not wanted on NE. Getting an answer to an off-topic question encourages the OP to ask more off-topic questions. This has happened several times, even when the first off-topic question was closed after being answered. Also, by closing the question with a comment on a better place to ask can get the OP an answer faster than letting an unanswered, off-topic question languish on NE. Even if you point the OP to a better site and do not close the question, then other SE sites consider that cross-posting and often close the question on the correct site because it is cross-posted.
In either case, the text box that is placed on the question when it is put on hold explains to the OP what to do to try to get the question reopened. Most off-topic questions are really not salvageable, but some do get rehabilitated and reopened. A lot of questions that are too broad get modified and reopened, but there are some people that simply do not bother. In general, someone asking a question has no interest in modifying the question unless prodded to do so by something like placing it on hold.
I would argue that placing a question on hold is not being dismissive, and the SE way is to keep a site on focus of what the community has decided. Placing a question needing work on hold serves the purpose of keeping the site within the SE ideals of a specific question that gets specific answers within the guidelines of the site's purpose. This is very different from other Q/A sites on the Internet, and it is what SE wants for its sites to be distinguished for its quality of questions and answers.
One thing that I will point out is that NE is generally more friendly and helpful (especially when it comes to providing guidance for questions that are put on hold) than most of the other SE technology sites where often the best you can hope for is to simply have the question put on hold with no other explanation than is in the box, then completely ignored from then on. The worst case is that you get mercilessly chastised for even considering to ask the question on the site. I have spent a lot of time with people asking questions, going back and forth to rehabilitate a question, then reopening it. That is not something I have observed on the other technology SE sites.
There is a good explanation of On-Hold or Closed on the What does it mean if a question is "closed" or "on hold"? page:
What does it mean if a question is "closed" or "on hold"?
Why are some questions marked "on hold"?
Questions that need additional work or that are not a good fit for
this site may be put on hold by experienced community members.
While questions are on hold, they cannot be answered, but can be
edited to make them eligible for reopening.
Questions that are edited within five days of being put on hold are
automatically added to a reopening queue for community review.
Questions that are not reopened within five days will change from
[on hold] to
Each closed or on-hold question provides a reason that helps the
original poster (or other community members) know what they'd need to
do in order to get the question reopened.
There is also the What if I disagree with the closure of a question? How can I reopen it? page (the highlighted text is highlighted in the original text on the page):
Stack Exchange is collaboratively built, maintained, and moderated by
the community. If you see a question and you disagree with the stated
reason of its closure, you should first try to edit the
question to improve it as much as possible. Read the close notice
and any comments carefully to address concerns raised there. Closed
questions that receive edits within the first 5 days of closure are
automatically put into a review queue to be considered for reopening.