I often close questions here as S&A just for the "argumentative" part, as all questions here are subjective. To replace S&A, I think there should be a close reason for anything that has a high chance of starting a flame war.

  • 4
    As I've said elsewhere, I don't think this is necessary yet, since there has yet to be a flamewar on this site... Sep 22, 2010 at 16:56

3 Answers 3


A mod is really more appropriate in this kind of situation. People just need to realize that this is a semi-professional site and they need to act as such.

And as @Chinmay said, I've yet to see a flame war, even in the Vi vs Emacs question.

  • 2
    Marking something as "flamebait" can itself be contentious. Using a less loaded term like "argumentative" leads to fewer ruffled feathers and keeps the community strong. Sep 28, 2010 at 12:32
  • In my newb days it took me about 4 posts or less (answers, comments, questions) before I clued in 100% that this site has this specific atmosphere/culture when we're here. I may have slipped up a few times, but i'm generally reminded rather quickly my attitude sucks (when it does). I haven't had any massive issues, and really enjoy the SE sites.
    – Incognito
    Sep 28, 2010 at 20:27

There shouldn't be a separate reason, and as TheLQ mentioned, such questions should be flagged for moderator review. In extreme cases, especially since we don't have diamond moderators of our own yet, you should send an e-mail to [email protected].

But really, that people who have access to moderator tools can't recognize topics that turn into dozens of comments and answers about how people are irrational and stupid for believing in god, or begin with inflammatory propositions like whether programmers are homophobic, or have a high likelihood of adding liability to the site (like people casually recommending things to a person who is clearly suffering from depression) is starting to get absurd.

The larger issue is that as a community, we need to be less stupid when it comes to identifying issues that are inflammatory or completely inappropriate for any public site, especially one that is supposed to be for professionals. Maybe it should be spelled out in the FAQ: "If asking or answering this question in the real world would have a high likelihood of someone yelling or getting punched, it is not appropriate for this site."

This isn't 'nam, there are rules. If you want to ask shock questions and discuss any issue under the sun without any rules, use Yahoo! Answers instead of trying shoehorn "programmers" into a hot-button topic.


The big problem with "subjective and argumentative" is that questions should be subjective. It says so in the FAQ. If they were objective, we'd want them on Stack Overflow.

I don't think "flamebait" is a good close reason, since it'll generate flame wars in the comments field and in meta. "Argumentative" sounds a lot better to me.

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