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Is the “not constructive” close reason appropriate for meta?
Discussion tag in meta

I find it curious that we have a tag labelled on Meta, yet there are times when discussion is frowned upon, leading to a torrent of down-votes and the question being closed as not constructive:

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. See the FAQ.

Discussions usually generate debates and arguments as people tend to have different opinions, leading to further discussions. So is it still valid to ask a discussion-type questions on Meta Stack Overflow since it only accepts questions and answers?

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marked as duplicate by Anna Lear Dec 5 '11 at 5:38

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

    
@Mat: I am referring to meta –  Question Overflow Dec 4 '11 at 16:00
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It's actually the "not constructive" close reason that's out of place. An exceedingly small number of questions get closed as not constructive here on the Meta. You almost have to be trolling us to get it to happen. –  Bill the Lizard Dec 4 '11 at 16:06
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@Bill related: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/107073/… –  Jason Plank Dec 4 '11 at 18:19

2 Answers 2

up vote 11 down vote accepted

This is what the tag wiki excerpt says:

A tag for questions that may not necessarily have a clear-cut right or wrong answer and are often subjective. If it's not a bug or feature-request [sic], it is probably a discussion.

So it's helpful to frame it in the context of bugs and feature requests.

Let's say you have a problem with feature on the site and it's clearly not supposed to work like that. There's an intended functionality, and it simply isn't doing what it's intended to do. That's a bug.

Now let's say there's something you'd like to see differently about a feature on the site, different from it's current intended functionality. You have a specific change in mind and you want to see it implemented. That's a feature request.

Finally, let's say there's something that bothers you about a feature on the site, but you're not sure what the solution should be. You want to point out the problem and solicit input from other community members on:

  • whether it really is a problem, and/or
  • if it is a problem, what a good solution might be for it

That's a discussion.

Now, as to why there's a "not constructive" close reason even though there's a discussion tag: some "questions" are not actionable: the user wants to rant about a problem, they want to joke about something, etc. They might be tangentially about the site, but they really aren't contributing to the betterment of it. That's not constructive. Different from a productive discussion about how to fix a problem with the site.

The "not constructive" close reason could be made clearer, but the close reason is global across all sites on the network, and this is honestly the first time I've seen a complaint about it: if you're using a question to discuss an aspect of the site in a productive manner, there's no chance of it getting closed as not constructive.

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I get what you mean. Thanks! –  Question Overflow Dec 4 '11 at 16:07

(on Stack Overflow) is a meta tag that needs to be burninated. We need to go through and close all the questions where the tag applies and remove it from those questions that can actually be answered.

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In light of your comment that you're talking about Meta, Mark has your answer. I'm leaving this here as a reminder to clean it up on SO when I have time. –  Bill the Lizard Dec 4 '11 at 16:01
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a tiny fraction of the discussion questions on SO are about Facebook conversations and another tiny fraction should be tagged discussion-board which actually exists –  Kate Gregory Dec 4 '11 at 16:51

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