I recently asked a question on SO that was fairly subjective, but very programming related, about the future of Ruby On Rails. It was closed with absolutely no discussion about why it was closed.

My question is twofold.

  1. If "Subjective & Argumentative" is a reason to close, why is it a tag? Also, why are other subjective questions some of the sites highest rated?

  2. Should a discussion/reasoning be provided along with the vote to close?

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    Don't worry about the venomous response from the metaSO community. What you don't know is that every few days a new person comes along from StackOverflow and asks this exact question. So although for you it is something new to discuss, here we have already discussed this issue to death. – devinb Aug 7 '09 at 18:42
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    Our venom grows in strength with every dead body we devour along the way. – TheTXI Aug 7 '09 at 18:44
  • grrrrrrrrr – Troggy Aug 7 '09 at 18:46
  • @devinb: I don't think anyone was particularly venomous here. – Hilarious Comedy Pesto Aug 7 '09 at 18:46
  • @Pesto: No more than the OP anyway. 4 people explained it very well citing the FAQ, and the OP put their fingers in their ears and started screaming. – GEOCHET Aug 7 '09 at 18:49
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    No one was rude. But it's never a good feeling when you spend some time composing what you feel a good question and then immediately BLAM you get four answers that are immediately and unequivocally "No! You're wrong!" and a bunch of downvotes. – devinb Aug 7 '09 at 18:56
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    Of course, if there wasn't already four answers that were perfect, I would have added my own :D – devinb Aug 7 '09 at 18:56
  • Stack Overflow does not care about your girly feelings. – Welbog Aug 7 '09 at 18:57
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    Does StackOverflow care about feeling girlies? – Hilarious Comedy Pesto Aug 7 '09 at 18:58
  • @devinb: Perhaps he should have read the FAQ before posting his opinion? Perhaps he should sit down and think that downvotes mean people don't agree with him? Maybe the problem is sticking his fingers in his ears and screaming logical fallacies to the community is not going to go well for him? – GEOCHET Aug 7 '09 at 18:58
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    @Matt Grande: Let me fix that now. – Welbog Aug 7 '09 at 19:00
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    Jon Skeet FAQS and Programming Cartoons are the most infamous examples of that. – TheTXI Aug 7 '09 at 19:02
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    Tagging a post 'stackoverflow' is redundant and silly but tagging it spanish-inquisition, vampire, and whining is funny – Miyagi Coder Aug 7 '09 at 20:46
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    ...but also unnecessary and immature – Miyagi Coder Aug 7 '09 at 20:47
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    Hey Rich, thanks for removing the Stackoverflow tag. There's over three hundred other questions tagged with it. Looks like you've got some work to do. – Matt Grande Aug 7 '09 at 20:52

StackOverflow and the sister sites are designed for Q&A. Ask a Question and get an actual answer that solves the proposed question. This is not a discussion and debate forum.

Just because something is tagged someway is not exactly a green light to post that stuff. I can make up any tag I want and apply it to some posts but that is not going to make the tag valid or any question I make with that tag valid.

Your question about something being the death of Rails is an obviously subject & argumentative post and deserves to be closed. Stop asking stuff like that.

  • Tagged: vampire – Welbog Aug 7 '09 at 18:31
  • Tagged: mmm-bacon – TheTXI Aug 7 '09 at 18:33
  • @TheTXI: I told you before, [mmm-bacon] is redundant! [bacon] is better. – Hilarious Comedy Pesto Aug 7 '09 at 18:35
  • Tagged: spanish-inquisition – TheTXI Aug 7 '09 at 18:37
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    I didn't expect that tag. – mmyers Aug 7 '09 at 18:41
  • mmyers: That tag has actually been used previously in several instances on StackOverflow. I think it was malfist who started it (I feel dirty just saying it) – TheTXI Aug 7 '09 at 18:43

See Welbog's answer for a good explanation, but I wanted to touch on this briefly: the existence of a tag has no bearing as to whether or not questions that fall under that tag are valid. The tags are all a product of users, just as close votes are, and neither has any bearing on the other.

  • See also: not-programming-related – GEOCHET Aug 7 '09 at 18:38
  • I have this reflex about the not-programming-related tag on SO: I immediately start wondering if it's suitable for SF or SU, because I need to decide a close reason. – David Thornley Aug 7 '09 at 20:43
  1. Because "subjective" is a tag, not "subjective-and-argumentative". Other popular subjective questions were created before the community knew what it was. (On this note, I should state that I have voted to close many of the popular subjective questions because I hate it when people are enjoying themselves having fun off topic.)

  2. No.

Questions are closed if they are subjective and can't really be answered by anyone because they're too speculative, like your question. Some subjective questions are more realistic and aren't closed (usually as long as they're community wiki).

The bottom line is Stack Overflow is not a place for discussion and so questions that exist only to discuss things are closed.


Stop posting subjective questions. It is made very clear in the FAQ these are not welcome. Furthermore, stop complaining about any minor conflict you have with the community here, that is just whining.

What kind of questions should I not ask here?

Avoid asking questions that are subjective, argumentative, or require extended discussion. This is not a discussion board, this is a place for questions that can be answered!

  • This is the first time I've posted to meta. I've read other long-lasting, well written discussion-type questions that haven't been closed. I assumed mine would be fine. Why hasn't this been voted to close? stackoverflow.com/questions/1711 Or this? stackoverflow.com/questions/1246201 – Matt Grande Aug 7 '09 at 18:35
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    @Matt: You are appealing to common practice which is a logical fallacy. Lots of other people have murdered someone, so surely it is ok if I do so as well, right? – GEOCHET Aug 7 '09 at 18:36
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    Neither of those were closed because they are answerable, votable and not discussions. – Welbog Aug 7 '09 at 18:38
  • That is the worst parallel I have ever read. – Matt Grande Aug 7 '09 at 18:39
  • @Weblog - I don't think hypothetical "If you could rewrite C# what would you do?" is non-discussion. Ditto "What books are cool?" – Matt Grande Aug 7 '09 at 18:40
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    "What books are cool?" "This one is.", then users vote on them. That's not a discussion, that's a vote frenzy. Same with the C# one. You can show up, answer the question and move on. Then the community decides if it's worthwhile using votes. – Welbog Aug 7 '09 at 18:42
  • @Matt: Is it really this hard for you to see the community is against your view point? Did you read the FAQ as I suggested? Do you understand you are still appealing against common practice? Do you understand that basing your argument on a logical fallacy is not helping anyone's perception of you or your point? – GEOCHET Aug 7 '09 at 18:42
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    The first provides definitive answers which may be subjective. But it's not speculation or discussion. I hate that type of question, but I won't vote to close it. The second one is entirely speculative discussion, so I've voted to close it. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. – Hilarious Comedy Pesto Aug 7 '09 at 18:45
  • @Matt: DO YOU SEE THAT I AM NOT AFRAID OF YOU? </reference work="Dances With Wolves"> – belgariontheking Aug 7 '09 at 18:46
  • I'm on the fence about the C# one. It's a language-design question, which at its core isn't as subjective as some would like to think it is. – Welbog Aug 7 '09 at 18:46
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    @Rich, yes I understand. I won't ask questions that are subjective anymore. Do you understand that what you're coming off about as well as a 14-year-old 4chan user? – Matt Grande Aug 7 '09 at 18:48
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    @Matt Grande: You're not getting this. You can ask subjective questions all you want and they'll be fine. They can't be just discussions, that's all. – Welbog Aug 7 '09 at 18:49
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    @Matt: At least he's a 14 year old 4chan user. I'd be much more concerned if he were a 40 year old 4chan user. – belgariontheking Aug 7 '09 at 18:50
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    @Matt: I think it is quite the opposite way around, especially when I look at the community votes. – GEOCHET Aug 7 '09 at 18:50
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    @Pesto: You can vote to close me, but you'll never be able to vote to close my freedom! – Welbog Aug 7 '09 at 18:54

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