Questions asking 'why' tend to get mixed reception. Sometimes they are upvoted and other times they are closed as opinion-based. See for yourself. Many seemingly equally valid questions (including my aforementioned C array assignment question and Java immutable array question) receive wildly different reception. This seems to extend not to language design questions but to most 'why' questions.

So, why are 'why' questions so mixed in terms of reception? If 'why' questions are inherently opinion-based, then why aren't all 'why' questions closed? Otherwise, how can I ask a 'why' question in a way that will not come off as opinion-based?

  • Per my observation, "why" questions can be magnets for "Hot Network Questions" attention, and have a chance of really taking off. However, they are generally not very good questions for this site. They often invite speculation rather than objective fact-based answers. Some people vote to close such questions on sight. It is generally preferable to come with a concrete real-world design-level problem to be solved, though that in turn has the risk of tiring readers with too much background exposition.
    – amon
    Commented Jun 18, 2023 at 6:35

1 Answer 1


So, why are 'why' questions so mixed in terms of reception?

Because just that a sentence begins with the word 'why' says nothing about its content.

Some of those questions are a very good fit for this site, others are not - it all depends on what the question's content is about, how well it matches the topic of this site, how focussed it is, how well it is written, if it avoids to ask for 3rd party resources, educational advice, and also if the author tells about their prior research.

Moreover, I question your premise. Question not asking 'why' get mixed receptions as well - not less or more than 'why' questions.

Let me add that reception also depends on the audience, and the audience on any SE sites changes - from hour-to-hour, day-to-day, month-to-month, year-to-year. So the number and kind of votes a question gets isn't always dependend on the question alone, it also depends on who reads the question, the comments and answers it gets at a certain point in time. There is always some coincidence included when one asks a question.

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