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I recently asked a question about features that people thought were missing in Visual Studio on SO. I tagged my question as subjective when asking, but it was quickly closed as "subjective and argumentative".

I presume that subjective alone is not a reason to close a question. There are many questions out there that are purely subjective from which I personally have gained a lot from reading - world's greatest developer mouse, etc.

I'd be interested to hear opinions at to why this question is judged "argumentative", other than in the positive sense of that word.

Edit: The question is no longer marked as closed, and there is no apparent revision history! Man, is that freaky to you?

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Someone could technically argue that nothing is missing from some piece of software and others may think differently. Subjective questions always bring some sort of potential argumentive component to them. They go hand in hand many times and others not so much. It is the nature of such questions to attract that kind of responce depending on how passionate the answerers are.

Everyone has an opinion, some of which feel the need to cram that down everyone they know. Others just speak their mind, respectful, and will listen to other points of view.

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+1 for pointing out that it's impossible to be subjective without also having some level of argument. – Ben S Sep 23 '09 at 20:04
Sure - the way you answer means a lot whether you agree or disagree. I am passionate about what I do and I will therefore tend to express my opinions passionately also. This is not a bad thing in any way, it is entirely human. To ask what is missing from a piece of software is subjective, but it is not argumentative in an inflammatory sense. Is it not good to ask your users what they want that you do not currently give them? – Sean Kearon Sep 23 '09 at 20:29
Pretty much anything that can have differing opinions could potentialy become an argument. It is just a matter of someone pushing it to that level. – Troggy Sep 23 '09 at 20:37
@Sean: True, it is not a bad thing. It is just the SO sites trying to avoid that kind of content. – Troggy Sep 23 '09 at 20:40
@Troggy - quite agree. However, what will happen to the quality of discussion if we run shy from potential disagreement? I suggest that it will stagnate. A healthy debate is the crucible of progress - don't burn your fingers but do warm your hands! – Sean Kearon Sep 23 '09 at 20:43

In your case, I don't feel the question isn't argumentative per se. However, the reason to close is a single string -- "subjective and argumentative." (I know; I just used it on a different question.)

This term has been discussed many times here on Meta. I'm personally of the mindset that the terminology should change, but I don't see it happening anytime soon.

The bottom line is that subjective questions are no longer as well-tolerated as they once were. A lot's changed in the last year, and this is one of them. There are still subjective questions which remain open, but I'd guess (without querying the sandbox to verify) that they're fewer in number than those which get closed, as yours did.

There's also a somewhat newer train of thought that merely marking your question as wiki doesn't excuse subjective questions.

One last thing: You only see the most popular close reason. It is plausible that some of the people who voted to close your question voted for other reasons -- including, believe it or not, belongs on SuperUser. I've seen a recent trend toward moving the software-specific (IE, not code) related aspects of IDEs to SU. I don't know for fact the close reasons of any of those users, but this is another possible consideration.

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Thanks, for the answer John. Interesting that you say subjective questions are less "tolerated". Subjectivity plays a valid part in development, as it does in any creative human endeavour. It would be a great shame if its value were lost on SO! – Sean Kearon Sep 23 '09 at 20:36
Until the close reason text is actually changed, I'm going to be voting in favor of subjective but not argumentative questions on SO. – David Thornley Sep 24 '09 at 14:09

It wasn't. You simply asked people for a list of features they wanted to see. You did not ask for any kind of discussion (which could have devolved into argument).

That doesn't mean your question should not have been closed, however.

Now the real problem is that this question is subjective and argumentative. I'm basically arguing with the people who answered that your other post was argumentative.

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It's been said many times "just because question x is an offender and is still open doesn't mean yours automatically gets to be, too".

Without necessarily agreeing or disagreeing with the closers, often an especially subjective question that's not especially argumentative will be closed, probably because subjective questions tend to get argumentative because they are somewhat religious. It just happens. If enough people disagree, it will get reopened.

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Two unrelated concepts, subjectivity and argumentativity, are grouped together in one reason. Most people vote to close for S&A because something is subjective, and the "argumentative" part is there because of the system. Many posts closed for that reason aren't really that argumentative.

I'd be interested to hear opinions at to why this question is judged "argumentative", other than in the positive sense of that word.

The argument that some people (not myself) would use is that the positive sense of that word makes it a discussion question, which is expressly mentioned in the FAQ.

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Subjectivity and argumentativity are very related. If two people disagree on a topic (subjective), their discussion will typically consist of arguments regarding the qualities and flaws. – Ben S Sep 23 '09 at 20:02
The term "argumentative" when used to close a question doesn't usually mean "discussion", it usually means "flame war." – Super Long Names are Hilarious Sep 23 '09 at 20:05
I disagree. I often vote to close questions that are extended discussions. It's clearly stated in the FAQ that SO isn't a discussion forum. An argument doesn't need to be a flame-war to be argumentative. – Ben S Sep 23 '09 at 20:12
In the case of questions like "What would you like to see in X?", I almost never see arguments. It's certainly subjective, but everybody seems happy to put down their particular viewpoint and vote up the stuff they like. I can't in good conscience call those "subjective and argumentative". – David Thornley Sep 24 '09 at 14:08

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