I recently saw my question get closed under the mantra of "Primarily opinion-based". I agree that opinion-based questions should be closed, but couldn't see what about my question fell under that problem.

Is there a name for the anti-pattern of having low-level components controlling higher-level ones?

Compounding the issue, I don't even know what to differently. The question did not get any comments explaining what about it was opinion-based, and in fact had a few decent "answer-comments" to the question I asked. The question then got deleted. If I hadn't been paying close attention to it, and I were a new user, I'd probably just post the same question again thinking there was a site error.

I came to Meta and noticed there was actually another question in which someone felt they had received this tag wrongfully, showing that this is clearly not just me with the issue. Even if people are, perhaps rightfully, of the opinion that a question deserves to be closed, couldn't we avoid a lot of this type of confusion by actually explaining to someone what in their question was unclear, too subjective, or where they formed the foundation of their question on a presumptuous opinion?

EDIT: Specifically, this discussion is to address question closure in which the source of opinion disparity is not made apparent. Just like we vote to close questions that don't provide enough information, voting to close a question that has a specific problem should also include information as to that problem.

In fact the "possible duplicate" suggestion (On the troubles of naming) might have been an excellent comment to link to in the original question that I posted, and helped me to understand why such questions tend to be viewed as "Primarily opinion-based", when initially I was not seeing it at all (even without a link, a brief explanation would have sufficed). That those comments don't come first seems wasteful of everyone's time.

  • 2
    I voted to close as “unclear what you're asking” since the code snippets did not clearly show any pattern, and no other description of the presumed pattern could be found in the question. However, “what's this called?” questions are correctly closed as opinion-based or as off-topic, and there seems to be sufficient community consensus on this issue.
    – amon
    Jun 3, 2015 at 16:22
  • possible duplicate of On the troubles of naming and terminology
    – gnat
    Jun 3, 2015 at 16:29
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    If it's not clear why the question was closed, what's the issue with making a post here on Meta or going to chat in order to ask others for feedback and advice? If it was wrongfully closed, you may get some reopen votes that would put it into the reopen queue and get more visibility. If there are problems, you can get advice on how to fix them or make better questions in the future.
    – Thomas Owens Mod
    Jun 3, 2015 at 16:34
  • @ThomasOwens The automated advice given to someone whose question was closed is to check the comments of the question for criticisms to address before editing the question. I had no such information to go off of. Question closure isn't solving any problems if people don't know what the issue is.
    – Katana314
    Jun 3, 2015 at 17:43
  • Where does it say that? I don't see it in the close reason or in anything that the close reason links to.
    – Thomas Owens Mod
    Jun 3, 2015 at 17:45
  • @ThomasOwens programmers.stackexchange.com/help/reopen-questions "Be sure that you've read the close notice and any comments on the question so you can address any concerns raised there. Addressing the concerns often means editing the post, which any user may do." The close notice itself was automated, and didn't provide sufficient information as to what the problem was with the question.
    – Katana314
    Jun 3, 2015 at 17:50
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    It says "and any comments", which means 0+ comments may be left. If people think that it's obvious why it was closed and what needs to happen, then they may not leave a comment. I believe that there was a request on Meta Stack Exchange for requiring comments to be left when voting to close, and it was status-declined by the staff. That's a good thing, because some questions are so obviously not a good fit that anyone who spent 5 minutes reading about the site would understand. Further down on that same pages, it says that if you are unsure about the validity of the closure, to ask on Meta.
    – Thomas Owens Mod
    Jun 3, 2015 at 17:55
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    I made an edit to your post to try and make it look less "opinion based", and voted to reopen. You may also want to consider just asking for a comprehensive answer on why such an anti-pattern like that is bad, instead of just asking for the name of the pattern. I'm not as up-to-date on the current site rules though, so it might still get closed as being "opinion-based" or "too-broad".
    – Rachel
    Jun 3, 2015 at 19:18
  • @ThomasOwens That applies to the situations where it's obvious, and I agree that that applies to a number of situations. "What's the best HTTP server program?" (closed;opinion) doesn't really need much of an explanation. In multiple cases I've seen though, and in my opinion my own question, the "opinionated" part is not all that obvious, and I'd say that while it's not necessary to apply universal commenting rules, people should be using measured judgement, and giving an explanation when the close comment is definitely not self-explanatory.
    – Katana314
    Jun 3, 2015 at 21:20
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    It would be nice if they did, but it's not a requirement. Similar requests, relating to down and close votes, have been declined by Stack Exchange. We have tools - we have Meta, we have chat, and we can undo actions. Personally, I try to leave a comment if I feel it's necessary. I don't know what the person asking knows about our community or Stack Exchange, though. And sometimes, I'm just plain rushed for time, throwing a few votes around in a short break and don't have time to dig up meta posts or write reasoning, expecting that if the user cares enough to learn, they'll ask.
    – Thomas Owens Mod
    Jun 3, 2015 at 21:58
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    Expecting that users don't care enough to learn is dangerous thinking. It takes multiple lazy people to make someone frustrated with SE, but only one helpful person. When I'm rushed for time, I simply don't vote. The presumption should be that posters don't know their question is bad for Stack Exchange - or they wouldn't have posted it. No one posts their question expecting that it's going to be downvoted.
    – Katana314
    Jun 3, 2015 at 22:54

1 Answer 1


The close vote reason provides a description of why the question was closed. It also brings you to the help center page for what it means when a question is closed. That help page, among other things, has a link to a page that tells you what to do when a question is closed.

When a question is closed, you should read the reason for closure attached to the question and the linked content in the Help Center. You should also see if anyone has left a comment explaining their vote. If you disagree with the closure or don't understand it, the help center says that you should ask on Meta. Here on Programmers, we have a regular chat that may also provide help as well.

Although this focuses on down votes, it's relevant to close votes as well:

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