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This is something of a formal expansion of this subrequest from Aarobot from a long old discussion on list questions, into a full feature request. I think we've long since gotten over the fear factor of list questions once we realized what the real problematic sorts of lists come off as.

Discussion, however, is still not an accepted medium on the Q&A site, with good reason. Our updated FAQs also state that questions asking for a discussion are not allowed. But we don't actually have a close reason that particularly adheres to it.

"Too Localized" and "Exact Duplicate" refer to entirely separate problems, so they don't apply as a result of being a discussion. The other close reasons all technically can be applied, but while we are functionally accurate in using them, they can serve very simple grounds for Meta arguments on semantics.

  • "Not A Real Question" specifies a very cookie-cutter list of attributes. Difficult to understand, vague, ambiguous, incomplete, overly broad, rhetorical, cannot be answered... all of which an be worded around with a discussion that is still not a question.

  • "Off-Topic" only specifies being off-topic with regards to the subject matter of the site. It doesn't cover the fact that our site, as a Q&A site, has certain kinds of threads that are in themselves off-topic.

  • "Subjective & Argumentative" specifies that the open-ended nature will lead to confrontation and argument. People tirelessly (and perhaps ironically) argue that the nature of their question is a peaceful discussion that is not argumentative, it's one of the most common oppositions to the S&A close reason overall.

I propose that either we get a specific close reason for discussion "questions" (the original request of Discussion or Poll would be really nice, honestly), or we augment the Not A Real Question or Off-Topic close reasons so that they may semantically be applied to discussions. For example, add "is a discussion" to Not A Real Question, or specify that "We're a Q&A website, not a discussion forum for chit-chat" at the start of Off-Topic.

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I'd prefer augmenting NARQ, because we don't need more close reasons, just better ones –  Ivo Flipse May 9 '11 at 20:03
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I always use Off-Topic for these, since the off-topic reason includes the words Questions on Stack Overflow are expected to generally relate to programming or software development in some way, within the scope defined in the faq, and the FAQ clearly states that discussion questions are off-topic. –  Robert Harvey May 9 '11 at 20:05
    
@Robert That's actually my preference (though NaRQ is equally fine, hence why I don't mind which one), I'm just a fan of not having to explicitly point out that passage in the FAQ every time, when that's just about the same level of usage as "This is clearly not about gaming". It's a higher level than the basic stuff we enumerate like specific classes of questions, so I think it particularly fits in the close reason. –  Grace Note May 9 '11 at 20:08
    
This has been requested already, a while ago. Have the close reasons changed since then? –  Gilles May 9 '11 at 21:49
    
@Grace: I may be blind, but why don't you consider it as a subcase of "subjective and argumentative"? (I thought that discussions usually involve subjective argumentation ...) –  Hendrik Vogt May 10 '11 at 10:34
    
@Hendrik Third bullet point. The most recent closure I did for a discussion question was S&A, but again, this is more about trying to avoid pointless debates on semantics. –  Grace Note May 10 '11 at 12:27
    
@Gilles I have a somewhat different request, in that I'm not so much dead-set on just a new close reason as I am fond just expanding the wording of our existing close reasons to be more explicit. –  Grace Note May 10 '11 at 12:41
    
@Grace: Ah, OK, I was blind - thanks. And now that I looked up "argumentative" in the dictionary, I even understand what you write there! –  Hendrik Vogt May 10 '11 at 12:51

2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

We changed "subjective and argumentative" to this, network-wide:

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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I think close reasons really fall under three headings:

  • Exact duplicate: This is a good question here, and in fact it's so good it's been asked already.
  • Off-topic: this is perhaps a good question, but this site isn't the right place. If a relevant Stack Exchange site exists, it may be migrated.
  • Other: this is not a good question for any Stack Exchange site. It doesn't really matter why.

I think we'd be better served by having just these three close reasons, except that the “other” part needs to be explained. I wonder if there could be a two-level menu in all cases:

  • exact duplicate
    • of ID or link
  • off-topic
    • migration option 1
    • migration option 2 …
  • not suitable for Stack Exchange
    • subjective and argumentative
    • general reference
    • too localized
    • discussion starter, rhetorical, or overly broad
    • vague or ambiguous
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