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IMHO this reason to close is used too often. Take What’s wrong with C++ compared to other languages?. IMHO this question is entirely deliberate but I've seen other questions like this closed for the "subjective and argumentative" reason.

Perhaps we need to rename this reason "trolling"? That's what I think the standard is aimed at (and should be).

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trolling has a negative connotation; it's a slur. Subjective and argumentative is plenty clear and avoids name calling. –  Jeff Atwood Jun 28 '09 at 14:39
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Yes but S&A is overused as a reason to close IMHO. It's too broad. it covers "should I use X or Y?" questions and those are often entirely valid. –  cletus Jun 28 '09 at 15:34
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@Jeff, the term argumentative is inflammatory and is obviously not clear enough. I've seen many comments (and made a few myself) on a closed question such as "This might be subjective, but argumentative??? Are you kidding?". It also (unfairly?) reflects badly on the closers. –  user135186 Sep 1 '09 at 3:43

4 Answers 4

I think this question is subjective and argumentative.

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I think this answer is subjective and argumentative. :) –  cletus Jun 28 '09 at 22:58
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I think the above comment is subjective and argumentative. –  TheTXI Jul 4 '09 at 15:35
    
question... answer.... comment, yep! you've covered them all. What's left for others? –  Nathan Fellman Jul 6 '09 at 9:59
    
+1 @Jeff. Here are some more characters. –  Matt Ball Aug 21 '09 at 18:12
    
[any noun except Jon Skeet] is subjective and argumentative. (How's that for completeness?) –  Super Long Names are Hilarious Sep 15 '09 at 19:06
    
@Jeff Atwood: Your comment isn't subjective and argumentative - it's rude or offensive! (No, I didn't flag it) –  Andrew Grimm May 30 '11 at 8:28

I think part of the problem is that subjective questions, when answered properly (and yes, it depends on the answer) might be actually helpful and shouldn't be closed. However, argumentative and loaded questions that don't provide a benefit should be closed, if not closed and deleted.

What really matters, at least in the more subjective questions, is that the answer doesn't just give a solution, but also explains why this is a good solution and what the drawbacks might be. If I take a question like "What's the best IDE?", I would expect a few things - (1) the question is in wiki mode, (2) every post is about one IDE and there is only one post per IDE, (2) people who support one IDE upvote and edit the post to add additional pros/cons of their favorite IDE.

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Questions like "What's wrong with C++?" are actually not subjective in the literal dictionary sense. There are answers to the question - C++ has advantages and disadvantages - but "it depends". Usually it depends on the project you are working on, and often above all the people available. To quote Joel, who as usual said it beautifully:

How do you decide between C# and Java? The only real difference is which one you know better. If you have a serious Java guru on your team who has build several large systems successfully with Java, you're going to be a hell of a lot more successful with Java than with C#, not because Java is a better language (it's not, but the differences are too minor to matter) but because he knows it better. Etc.

There can be useful and informative answers: the answers to that "what's wrong with C++" question are interesting. Anyone willing to give a definite answer (other than "it depends") is probably argumentative and inexperienced - and the answers should be downvoted. IMHO these folks are aware that other people are more expert than them in technology they haven't used - C#/Java/Ruby/whatever - but they lack the confidence to be relaxed about it - it upsets them.

But the questioners might just be genuinely seeking guidance, and not argumentative at all. I'd give that "what's wrong with C++" krebstar fellow the benefit of the doubt. I guess if the argumentative answers get argumentatively upvoted, the question might have to be closed - but the answers and upvotes are the problem, not the question.

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In the name of consolidation and simplifying the existing standard close reasons, we're changing this reason from "subjective and argumentative" to

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.

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