I posted an admittedly subjective (opinion gathering) question which was ultimately closed.

Here, I was wrong:

Okay. What is the history behind this feature? Searching Meta Stack Overflow I find conflicting and inconsistent statements, that indicate to me that the fine people behind Stack Overflow have experimented with both anonymous and non-anonymous close voting.

But still, if there are multiple peer close votes, anonymous ones, how do I learn anything if nobody bothers to suggest that in future, I should avoid asking questions like "X", if I don't want to get closed down. In short, close voters who do so anonymously seem like unhelpful, anonymous cowards. Afraid of retaliation? Okay, I understand that sometimes you need to vote to close and run away. There needs to be away to avoid retaliatory feedback loops that destroy the value of the questions on the site, or add human emotional noise. Maybe I could suggest some general close-vote tags.

but here I think I still have an answerable meta-question:

Is tagging your own question "subjective" initially, not enough to prevent close votes? Or do a lot of people think subjective questions are always argumentative, and should therefore never be on SO?

Answer: No. Subjective==argumentative is the prerogative of the 3K+ rep users. Accepted, and understood.

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    Why are comments needed when closing a self-admittedly subjective (opinion gathering) question ? If the question is closed, you will see the five people who decided it should be closed, and why they feel it should be closed. – Tim Post Jun 25 '10 at 13:17
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    Tagging a question as "subjective" is not a free pass out of getting a question closed, and should never be considered as such. Otherwise, there'd be no point to closing subjective questions, aye? – Grace Note Jun 25 '10 at 13:19
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    -1 - for consistently calling people cowards on a question that by your own admission is subjective anyway. When people vote to close a question they are given pre-defined options. Not leaving a comment does not make them cowards. If your question wasn't deemed to be appropriate by at least 5 other users (who have a substantial amount of rep) then maybe you need to re-phrase your question. – codingbadger Jun 25 '10 at 13:22
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    You've been a member for 1 year (?) – juan Jun 25 '10 at 13:58
  • 8 upvotes, 3 marked 'gold star', and 5 close votes. Interesting. – Warren in Toronto Jun 25 '10 at 14:38
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    @Warren - The 'gold star' just means people are following your question to be alerted to new replies. It does not mean that its a 'favorite' question. I actually wish they'd change 'favorite' to 'follow'. As a 10k+ user, I often follow questions of this nature so I can vote to close them if they become more of an argument than a discussion. – Tim Post Jun 25 '10 at 14:44
  • thanks Tim. I understand that now. I agree that the question was not the best kind for stackoverflow. Maybe a better question for Ask Slashdot. :-) – Warren in Toronto Jun 25 '10 at 14:57
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    @Tim If you haven't seen it yet, check out meta.stackexchange.com/questions/53124/… – Grace Note Jun 25 '10 at 15:51
  • Related: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/54895/… – Jon Seigel Jun 25 '10 at 23:51

Although there are many who will disagree with me, I have absolutely no problems leaving a subjective question open, provided it's something that can be a civil discourse.

I do, however, object to your original question and this one, because it's unnecessarily argumentative. You set a tone that appears calm but is clearly intending to provoke heated discussion. Then you come here and brand everyone who voted to close your question a coward. You may be trolling, you may be honestly interested in the discussion, but Stack Overflow isn't the place for that type of discussion. Starting a question with (paraphrasing here) "Java sucks, Python rules, will anyone 'dare' step up and defend Java?" BTW, "Dare" is a direct quote and the single biggest indicator that you are more interested in a flame war than a civil discussion.

Python is a good platform and so is Java; each have their own pros and cons. But they both suck when compared to C#. Will anyone dare step up and defend Python and Java against C#?

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    see what I did there? – Randolpho Jun 25 '10 at 14:22
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    very good. point taken. – Warren in Toronto Jun 25 '10 at 14:40
  • It seems to me that the mood on SO has moved from tolerance to subjectivity, to a clear decision that subjective questions are not appropriate for SO, or to put it differently, that we'd best put subjective stuff somewhere that is more appropriate to it's type. – Warren in Toronto Apr 21 '11 at 14:06

Haven't you ever seen a closed question? The names of the people who voted to close it are prominently displayed right there with the reason they closed it. No comment necessary. Nothing cowardly about it.

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    Ah. My bad. abject apologies for my ignorance. – Warren in Toronto Jun 25 '10 at 13:26
  • @Warren: No worries. Now that we've all piled on a bit, I'll admit that you did touch a nerve. I close a lot of questions and sometimes get revenge downvotes for it. We're just trying to keep the site clean and focused on-topic, and don't have a lot of time to comment on every vote cast. – Bill the Lizard Jun 25 '10 at 14:51

I typically do not comment when closing a question. I don't want to bias other people.

If your question is closed, you will see the five people who voted to close it, and the reason for closing it that the majority voted.

I fail to see how cowardice has anything at all to do with the normal use of Stack Overflow?

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In addition to the points made by Tim and Bill, the referenced question is exactly the kind of question Stack Overflow is not designed to handle. I cast the fifth close vote, just now.


As George Stocker stated, it's right in the FAQ. You're looking for an extended, "lively" discussion. Stack Overflow is simply the wrong place for that.

It's an interesting question, full of merit. But it doesn't belong here.

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I voted to close it for this reason:

Stack Overflow's FAQ explicitly states: "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!".

Ironically, I wouldn't have even seen the question if you hadn't brought it up on meta.

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    I have been here more than one year, and I think today, I actually understand that now. I appreciate the close vote. I shall be a better stack overflow user henceforth. :-) – Warren in Toronto Jun 25 '10 at 14:43

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