Why was this meta question which has 2 excellent and comprehensive answers closed?

Against the evidence or experience requirement

OP may be arguing against both evidence and experience, and many members may disagree, but is that any reason to close a meta question?

The close reason says:

This question does not appear to be about Interpersonal Skills Stack Exchange or the software that powers the Stack Exchange network, within the scope defined in the help center.

OP is clearly discussing the type of evidence on which an answer must be based at Interpersonal.SE -- most members would agree it should be either personal experience or a valid reference, while OP says it needs to be only 'common sense.' You can disagree with OP but this is basically a discussion about the guidelines for writing a credible answer.

How is that 'not about Interpersonal Skills Stack Exchange or the software that powers the Stack Exchange network?'

Does 5 downvotes on a meta question equate to 5 close votes?

I quote the most valid comment against closure in the whole discussion:

@HDE226868 Not all meta questions have to have a "question" in it. It can also have suggestions or announcements put forward, to which the community can raise their concerns or leave feedback in the answer boxes. It's tagged 'discussion'. Let's discuss, not close it. So far, I think this post is doing well. We got 2 good answers to it. This question should stay. – NVZ Jul 26 at 8:53


2 Answers 2


I voted to close that questions and my close vote aged away, so I still agree with the five users who voted to close it. Here's why:

Meta isn't a forum. By that, I mean that it needs to have some sort of structure. If a question in the main site is a skyscraper, with a firm foundation, then a question on meta is maybe one of those cranes used to build skyscrapers. They start from the ground up and try to build a set of skyscrapers, a topic or rule set for the site.

Sometimes those cranes fall over.

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Photo credit: New York Times

Reasons vary. In some cases, it's because the asker suggested something for the 234th time. In some cases, it's because they weren't able to persuade a large critical audience. Here, the issue was twofold:

Yeah, meta isn't as strict as the main site, and yeah, it's a place for (among other things) discussions. But it isn't a forum. There's a difference between a discussion and a constructive discussion that aims to get other people's input. This question fell into the latter category.

  • 1
    Thanks for the fine answer. This is the solution to this question: If anything, I guess we should have closed the question as a duplicate of one of these. The content would have been better as an answer there. In that case I might not have even raised this meta question. I dislike applying inaccurate close reasons and have raised related meta questions at English Language and Usage. Inaccurate close reasons create unnecessary suspicions of heavy-handed close-voting. However your explanation in this answer is very sound indeed! Commented Aug 16, 2017 at 12:46

While it's true I left that comment there, I wasn't promoting such non-questions in any way. Just felt that since the site was new, I'll let that one slide. That one. Not more.

Since the site was fresh back then, I wanted to see answers to whatever question or non-question was posted. But that should not continue. See HDE 226868 ♦ explain well in his answer how meta should be used.

Downvotes are not close votes. Downvotes indicate either literally "this post is not useful" or "I disagree with what is presented here".

And sometimes, downvotes are from random drive by voting.

  • 1
    I still think there is no real need to close any meta question or non-question if 20 users can just express major disagreement/disapproval by downvoting. Especially using a weak close-reason creates needless suspicions of heavy-handed close voting as in: did 5 members choose to disagree by casting close-votes? Maybe they didn't... Of course it's fine to close duplicate questions or those unknowingly asked at meta that should have been asked at the main site. The answer from HDE 226868♦ to this meta question was an exceptionally good explanation of the reasons for closing OP's question. Commented Aug 16, 2017 at 20:19
  • @EnglishStudent That isn't really how we want meta to be. Much like the main site, we need to understand the point of a question here. If that user really wanted to express dissent with a proposed (but not yet final) policy, that belongs as an answer on that policy question, otherwise no one would ever post answers at all. That question is an answer posted as a question.
    – Catija
    Commented Aug 17, 2017 at 1:26
  • Yes it is, @Catija. That is certainly a good reason to close that question. Don't you have custom close reasons? "This is not a question but an answer to another question" seems an eminently sensible custom reason to close OP's meta Q. Commented Aug 17, 2017 at 1:54

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