When a question has no single, correct answer it is clear that it is subjective. If enough people agree it is often closed, so be it.

When this happens it appears that selecting the reason "Subjective and Argumentative" is then the only one relevant.

However I have seen many subjective questions that were in no way "argumentative".

The term argumentative is actually inflamatory and can reflect very badly on those that closed the question (not necessarily fairly of course).

New users often ask subjective questions until they become more familiar with Community guidelines. Seeing the word argumentative in the close reason for a plainly non-argumentative question, is not going to leave them with a positive experience of SO.

Please split the "Subjective and Argumentative" closing reason into two separate reasons, so that a well-meaning, but obviously subjective question is not "tarred" with the term "argumentative".

Alternatively another option that might mitigate the issue would be to replace the word "and" with "or". ie "Subjective or Argumentative".

[Update] Another option: add a new "Subjective" reason as well as keeping the original "Subjective and Argumentative".

(I have seen this question. It suggests changing the reason to "trolling", this is not what I am requesting.)

4 Answers 4


Why not:

Subjective And/Or Argumentative

Covers all possibilities... We could even do:

Subjective || Argumentative

Cletus pointed out the && || was incorrect because || implies either or... Doh!

  • 2
    Like the second one ;)
    – user135186
    Sep 1, 2009 at 3:39
  • 3
    Technically Subject || Argumentative covers Subjective, Argumentative or (Subjective and Argumentative).
    – cletus
    Sep 1, 2009 at 5:31
  • cletus: it is too late to test pseudo jokes :) But its worth an edit.
    – RSolberg
    Sep 1, 2009 at 5:39

I think the subjective should be taken out completely.

It probably contributes to some people automatically closing anything subjective. Fact is, most questions have a degree of opinion in them, even straight code questions. We're voting on questions, which is largely a subjective test.

If someone asks:

  • No promotion prospects at work: what to do?
  • Should I use Java or C# for this project?
  • How would you compare jQuery and Prototype?

these are all subjective and (imho) fine.

The argumentative comes in with questions like:

  • Why do managers suck?
  • Why does Java suck?
  • Which is better: jQuery or Prototype?

Specifically, an "argumentative" question, to me, is one that is premised on a rant of some kind or trying to make objective something that's subjective. The second one requires qualification: "Should I use X or Y for Z?" is fine because it's asking for an opinion given a set of requirements. "Which is better, X or Y?" is not because there is no "better" (99% of the time).

And in case you've noticed that the first set of questions isn't too dissimilar to the second set, you're right. That's my other beef: often a very simple edit will fix a question where people seem happier to close and even delete questions rather than do simple fixes.

  • Removing Subjective is a good suggestion. But I guess you could still have a very subjective question like "Best mouse for developers?" that is not argumentative but that many would want to close as too subjective. Personally I don't mind many of the subjective questions as they often provide useful information that is of interest to many people.
    – user135186
    Sep 1, 2009 at 7:54
  • I covered the "Best mouse for developers" type case.
    – cletus
    Sep 1, 2009 at 10:17
  • "Best mouse for developers?" is totally objective. Measure mouse sales among developers: the highest selling mouse is clearly the best. It would probably also be the most up-voted answer on Stack Overflow. It may not be the best mouse for any particular individual developer but that's a different question.
    – MarkJ
    Sep 15, 2009 at 17:00

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.

  • 3
    Won't it be better to Reject this request then? It's confusing as it might mean the close reason has been splitted as requested. Jun 15, 2011 at 7:24

I don't think subjectivity is automatically a reason for closing a question (although you will have the community wiki squad on to you).

Argumentative tends to imply subjective. If there was an agreed actual answer, causing an argument would be difficult.

I think people with a high enough rep to vote to close tend to have a reasonable idea of what Subjective and Argumentative really means.

  • "Argumentative tends to imply subjective", yes but the reverse is not true and that is the whole problem. "tend to have a reasonable idea of what Subjective and Argumentative really means" But this is irrelevant to the question. If a question is subjective but not argumentative, then the current reason given is wrong and inflammatory.
    – user135186
    Sep 1, 2009 at 7:48
  • But subjective is not really sufficient reason to close a question. Sep 1, 2009 at 9:19
  • I agree, but many SO users obviously don't. I have seen countless questions closed that were not argumentative, but just subjective.
    – user135186
    Sep 1, 2009 at 14:48

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