This question was referenced as a possible duplicate of this question. I think it is a well made, important question, and it's referenced in other places.

Why then was it closed, and importantly, stayed closed? Closing a question implies it's not useful or allowed on the SE, but it's clearly useful if it's referenced in other places. Also, I followed a trail from DDG and hit several questions in this same vein that are all closed, and all have good answers.

I'm not following the logic behind all of that, so if you could break it down barney style (explanation 1, 2, 3), I'd appreciate it.


2 Answers 2


Closing a question implies it's not useful or allowed on the SE, but it's clearly useful if it's referenced in other places.

This leaves the other option open, that the question is not allowed: Good questions have answers. As in, answers that can be objectively right or wrong.

The question “How to explain to a non-technical person why the task will take much longer than they think?” cannot have such an objective answer. There isn't one clear explanation that will convince everyone. How to explain that problem depends highly on the recipient. The responses contain stories of what worked for one person or ideas that they think might work. These stories and ideas might be useful to other people, but that doesn't make the question on-topic.

It was correct to close this question as too broad. Closing as opinion-based would have been fine as well. See also: Why was my question closed as "Too Broad?"

The question you have asked either:

  • has too many possible answers
  • would require answers that are too long.

Some questions are just polls for a design, or pattern, or name of a thing. If the accepted answer is based on "which answer I like best," rather than "which answer solves my problem," the question is probably a poll.

I'd like to note that the question was closed only after many years of being open. Why wasn't it closed immediately if this kind of question is off topic?

Over many years the focus of this site has shifted dramatically. The site started as a place for all that opinion-based stuff that's off topic for Stack Overflow. That resulted in an unworkable mess, and led to significant refinement of the site scope. Now the site is specifically about Software Engineering.

Sometimes people like to point out very old questions to argue that a particular kind of question is acceptable, useful, or well-received. That's not wrong, but such old questions do not mean that new questions in the same style would be welcome – the site has changed. Some users like me therefore try to retroactively close those questions whenever they resurface, so that the state of the question reflects the current site scope. If a similar question were asked today, it would likely be closed and deleted quickly.

  • 4
    The only thing I'd add/change is that closing a question does not say that a question is not useful. Questions are closed because they aren't a good fit for the format or within scope. There are plenty of useful questions that would be closed on a Stack Exchange site because they don't fit this format and this is one example.
    – Thomas Owens Mod
    Aug 21, 2018 at 22:12

I'v found that more often than not, whenever I find something really interesting on this site, the question is closed as too broad or not having a definitive answer. What's wrong with you guys? Can anyone recommend a site that actually supports interesting discussion?


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