I asked Why are instrumental chart toppers not as common as in the early days of the pop charts?

It was closed as being opinion-based, before being reopened. I had initially worded the title poorly, but was surprised at the quick close as I thought the question content showed that there was a clear statistical distinction which may have some clear reasons that someone could explain.

Are the lyrics of Yoko Kanno's "Moon" gibberish or intelligible? is another question that may have initially been poorly-titled, but a read of the question itself should have revealed a reasonable question.

https://musicfans.stackexchange.com/questions/342/how-did-pumped-up-kicks-become-such-a-big-success seems another example where there may be a non-opinion based answer possible, as (in my opinion) there is in reasons behind K - pop success.

Are we perhaps a little sharp on the button to close things as opinion-based?


2 Answers 2


Do note the [on hold] at the end of closed questions. This move away from showing [closed] instead is very intentional and meant to indicate that closure is a temporary state.

Questions can always be reopened. Something just over the line should be closed quickly for the following reasons:

  • The asker (and any answerer) isn't wasting their time on a question that will be closed later. Instead they can edit right away and get it into a good state.

  • Answerers aren't posting bad answers — largely applicable to "list" and "opinion" questions, but also when the question is unclear.

  • Avoiding broken windows. SE has found this theory applicable to content here. Other users who see such questions remaining open are likely to ask similar questions or to push further into off-topic territory. It's better for everyone to see the "window" be quickly "repaired".

  • Avoiding downvotes for a good question buried underneathing miswording or other issues. Voters are not notified when a question is edited, so it's better to get the best version of the question up front.

  • Encouraging askers to put a little more time up front into their questions if they want to avoid the on-hold state.

  • 1
    All good points for things that are over the line. What I was wondering was whether some of those examples I gave were actually over the line when it came to necessarily attracting opinion-based answers, even in their initial state before any improvements.
    – user16
    Commented Mar 5, 2015 at 0:46
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    If a question is "just over the line" of being close-worthy, instead of quickly closing it, wouldn't it make more sense just to edit it to put it on the right side of the line?
    – Ben Miller
    Commented Mar 5, 2015 at 1:18
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    @BenMiller It is always best for the person asking the question to edit the content (unless someone else clearly understands it, to fix format or grammar errors, etc.). The best way for the asker to know there is a problem is by entering a close vote or downvoting (hopefully with a comment). Some persons asking questions are not veteran SE folk, so this needs to be viewed as helpful and not a bad thing.
    – user3169
    Commented Mar 5, 2015 at 1:31
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    @topomorto You could certainly argue that, but properly evaluating a question is different from "waiting". Only 1 of the 3 has actually been closed as opinion based -- yours being closed as too broad and the other not closed -- and I personally agree with that closure, so I'm not really seeing this as a big issue. Commented Mar 5, 2015 at 1:42
  • @user3169 I don't think the asker gets any notification with a close vote, so that's not such a good way to alert them as just leaving a comment.
    – user16
    Commented Mar 5, 2015 at 15:56
  • @topomorto Oh you are right, unless they have enough reputation to close vote questions. Downvoting would be visible on their user page, though. Comments are of course advised, but I have seen many cases (not in Music Fans) where they are ignored and nothing improves.
    – user3169
    Commented Mar 5, 2015 at 17:44

I definitely think a bit longer leash would improve the community. If the first person who notices something wrong either just leaves a comment, or edits the question instead of voting to close, newcomers will feel more welcome.

There seems to be something satisfactory with voting to close, we've had issues with trigger happiness over at Music: Practice and Performance. The first vote to close invites more, and then we have new questions closed quite fast.

I'm aware it says "on hold", but to a first poster, it probably feels quite harsh to be slapped with this quite soon after posting.

  • 1
    I'm glad you noticed it too! There does seem to be an observable effect where a couple of people vote to close, and the community then smells blood. It seems to affect these kind of questions a lot, where a bad answer is easy to imagine, but good answers could be possible too.
    – user16
    Commented Mar 5, 2015 at 21:56
  • @topomorto: On the other hand, it's hard to argue with Matthew Read's points above. I don't disagree with those, but still feel SE could be a little more lenient in the communities that do not have a problem with too much traffic, and still not face a terrible decline in quality... Commented Mar 5, 2015 at 22:25
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    We're in private beta where we define our scope and most of the people should be familiar with the SE model including the voting to close/reopen, on hold, voting in general, and the meta where the scope is discussed. Saying we should be welcoming to new users is valid point, but we're not getting any new users until public beta.
    – Dom Mod
    Commented Mar 5, 2015 at 23:08
  • @Dom: You get the behaviour you promote. New users will follow the established patterns. Case in point is my own initial behavior on Music: Practice and Performance. I think the eagerness to close is a problem for many SE communities. The big success of SO has made fences necessary there; I do not agree that the same fences are needed everywhere else, and especially not for non-formal subjects like this site. Problems that do not exist are being solved by non-constructive means. Commented Mar 6, 2015 at 14:33
  • We might also repel people who were committed to private beta, but are put off by overzealousness when it comes to putting questions on hold. Commented Mar 6, 2015 at 14:35
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    The issue with this approach is that generally users won't change it them self, so we're left with bad questions and answers on said question if they're not closed. Commenting should be made along with a close vote which makes it more inviting. This issue is discussed on this meta.SE post Commented Mar 6, 2015 at 15:46
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    @ZachSaucier: Or we're left with no questions since the community is boring and excluding... Commented Mar 7, 2015 at 21:52

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