Recently a question I asked that was a CW with more than 6k views, and a large number of favorite-stars, was closed and locked by a trusted moderator who does not appear to participate much in this particular subject matter area (Delphi) questions.

It was closed as "subjective and argumentative". My question is: are all subjective questions considered not-appropriate-for-SO in the view of the moderators, and thus closed, and locked, or what is going on there? (Update: Yes, it seems, subjective==argumentative==close, given enough moderator time.)

Update: While I think that there is a lot of non-subjective value in the information contained in my question, I accept that SO isn't the place for it.

I had observed a tolerance for subjectivity on Stack Overflow, that I am now tempted to believe is rather more randomness than tolerance.

Update: I accept that SO knows what it is, and the accepted answer makes the most sense to me, with the added point that "one answer per question subjective polls" in particular are not a good fit for SO. I'm no longer asking for any reconsideration.

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    locking is to prevent deletion, IMHO. – YOU Apr 21 '11 at 13:23
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    Stack Overflow has no intention of being another dunny – random Apr 21 '11 at 13:30
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    The OP has over 300 upvotes fpr his answers on Delphi alone, he's a good citizen - but as he's been on SO for a couple of years so he remembers when subjective questions were common and tolerated. I don't think this is a dumb question to ask in those circumstances. – amelvin Apr 21 '11 at 14:00
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    I wish I could up-vote this question. Looking at many closed question I feel that SO moderators can get very arrogant some times, specially in meta-so, and specially towards newcomers. I am glad comments cannot be down-voted :) – yms Apr 21 '11 at 14:46
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    @yms.cu: brb banning your account. – user1228 Apr 21 '11 at 14:52
  • I understand the reasons for closing the SO question. You could agree or disagree with them. What I don't understand is why this question on meta was down-voted so much. This is a very good question and there are very good answers below. – Dani van der Meer Apr 21 '11 at 14:53
  • @yms.cu - why not use meta and influence the way that SO works? You should be able to get enough rep to upvote in a few minutes. – amelvin Apr 21 '11 at 14:54
  • @Dani van der Meer - on meta voting is usually based on liking or disliking the question or answer; whether the question or answer is valid or adds something is not always considered. Its more of a popularity system (and subjective as a result) than SO which is, by design, more objective. – amelvin Apr 21 '11 at 14:56
  • My perception was that the downvoting meant "go away little person". – Warren in Toronto Apr 21 '11 at 15:29
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    @Warren: no. Folks will come right out and say that here if that's really how they feel. – Shog9 Apr 21 '11 at 19:17
  • I liked when it was only locked... now it is gone... :´( – EMBarbosa Oct 4 '12 at 15:12

Subjective / argumentative questions are not appropriate on the site. Gradually, the mods have been cracking down on the old ones, as they incite new ones.


I'm the one that did it. I'll explain the reasons:

  • The question is extremely subjective, as well as a poll. It was asked in June, 2010 and has 44 answers. I don't see what good could come of more.

  • In addition to the 44, flags came in a couple of days ago regarding duplicate answers. We don't want to keep questions open once they become so long that it's nearly impossible to see if your answer has been added.

  • A lot of comment flags were coming in on it, which were cleaned up

  • Several people from the community also flagged it as subjective.

  • We (these days) discourage subjective questions, especially polls. Leaving that one open sends a message that it's the type of question that is appropriate on the site and popular, which isn't what we want to do.

Locking does just that, freezes it in time .. It's now a part of Stack Overflow history.

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    Thanks. I think a small comment on the closed question saying "moderators these days don't think SO is a good place for polls" would send the message clearly to people who don't participate in meta. – Warren in Toronto Apr 21 '11 at 15:00
  • @Warren Yes, and also helps explain to new users why the question isn't a good fit. I usually do leave a comment, I have no idea why I didn't this time. – Tim Post Apr 21 '11 at 21:17

What you don't see (unless you're a 10k user or moderator) is what has "turned bad". On that question for example, there are duplicate answers that the moderator deleted before locking the question...you just don't see them because the moderator cleaned up.

Notwithstanding that the question probably doesn't belong on SO, the question was attracting bad/duplicate answers...and the last valid answer was over 6 months ago.


You've answered your own question:

It was closed as "subjective and argumentative".

Your question does not belong on SO, despite the fact that it is popular.

  • I guess I think in this case, the moderator made a subjective call on subjectivity that I think was far too subjective. :-) – Warren in Toronto Apr 21 '11 at 13:24
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    @Warren Are you saying the question wasn't subjective? The title was "Delphi components you can't live without", and it had probably the #1 indicator of a subjective question: "Post one X per answer please" – Michael Mrozek Apr 21 '11 at 13:28
  • I saw the "Subjective and argumentative" as being boolean operator combination of "Subjective plus argumentative". But it seems that in fact, subjective is transitively equal to argumentative in this context. That clears up a little boolean-versus-english-usage thing that I wasn't sure of. I had sensed a tolerance for subjectivity, and it seems, that it was more or less merely a function of time. I find it hilarious that every question I ask on here, gets downvoted. To me, that means: Don't ask questions here, and please go away. Which is fine. – Warren in Toronto Apr 21 '11 at 13:50
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    @Warren in Toronto: Downvotes on MSO (and every other Meta site) mean something different then on the main sites. It means "I disagree with you", your question could be read as "My question should stay open", and five people have disagreed. – Time Traveling Bobby Apr 21 '11 at 13:56
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    Okay. Well, that's fine then. I don't think my question should be reopened, and I'm fine with the accepted answer. – Warren in Toronto Apr 21 '11 at 13:58
  • @Warren Personally I don't think it should've been downvoted, since people are frequently told if they have a problem with a mod decision they should bring it up on meta. But oh well – Michael Mrozek Apr 21 '11 at 14:23
  • @Bobby - so if six people upvote the question, should it be reopened? – amelvin Apr 21 '11 at 14:58
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    @Warren, the FAQ was updated a few months ago to clarify the definition of "good subjective" questions. See this blog post (which is where the FAQ links). – Pops Apr 21 '11 at 14:59
  • That's a great blog post. Everybody on SO should read it. – Warren in Toronto Apr 21 '11 at 15:09

@Warren I think the answer is that SO has changed over the past couple of years.

You have a lot of experience on SO, but here on meta the admins and interested users have discussed this subject at length and the consensus over the past year has certainly moved against all forms of subjective answers.

So I guess you have felt the backlash of a change in ethos of the site. In 2009 and much of 2010 (IMHO) all questions were welcome and subjective ones were often ignored if they pulled in the punters - considered a necessary evil, perhaps.

But now the site is inundated with questions, even with so much traffic moved onto the SE sites. So the site admins and moderators are much more robust with questions - and anything subjective tends to be closed.

Your post obviously has merit as its been locked - which may appear a poor substitute but I think this means it won't be deleted. If you asked the same question today I reckon it would be killed off in minutes.

Whether subjective questions should live on SO is a question that is argued on meta - if its argued well and enough people (or, at least, the right people) can be convinced the decision would be reversed.

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