Link to the question.

I disagree with the closure of the question, but rather than arguing that point, I'm interested if there's something I'm missing that warrants this question to remain closed.

Initially, the OP didn't actually ask a question, he only described the situation. While I consider the question obvious (how to approach the tense situation), I can see why there's a need for adding the question explicitly.

OP added this not long after:

How do I confront him about this intelligently and really ascertain his willingness to keep doing this? Am I coming on too strong? Should I drop this matter entirely until he himself comes to me for help?

But the question got closed minutes later, likely due to someone adding the last needed close vote (while the others were incurred before the OP's edit).

I posted a comment disagreeing with the close vote:

I disagree with the closure, the OP has already appended his question by asking how to approach his brother. Not only that, but I suspect that one of these additions ("Am I coming on too strong?") is hitting the nail on the head, which makes it IPS relevant and on topic. I have an answer ready to post that specifically addresses that; but the question got closed seconds before I posted it. (if this gets reopened, if someone could ping me, I'll post my answer)

This seems a fair justification for reopening (but if it's not, please tell me why). Three comment upvotes doesn't mean that much, but at least some people agree with my reasoning.

However, one of the close voters responded:

There are three different questions now and "Am I coming on too strong?" is primarily opinion-based.

And I quite strongly disagree with that notion, for two reasons:

  1. You can't fault the OP for trying to ascertain the cause of the issue. He's open to considering if he is contributing to the tension, which is a good thing, not a bad thing. We're literally punishing the OP for showing his effort; which seems counterproductive to say the least.
  2. IPS almost exclusively deals with things that are at least partially subjective. Different viewpoints are almost always the cause of IPS problems, which is pretty much the definition of subjectivity. Furthermore, if I can refer to the OP's own statements to prove that he himself (subconsciously) refers to himself as overbearing (which I have done in my answer), then it's not a matter of opinion.

The same close voter then suggested I take this to Meta, and here we are now.

I haven't been on IPS.SE for very long, so I won't presume to know the rules here.

But can someone explain to me if the closure of this question (post-edit) is still warranted? Why? What is the question lacking?

I'd also appreciate it if someone could explain why several questions (not on different topics, but rather to mention possible explanations for the issue) are unacceptable; and where the line is drawn between opinion-based and subjective.

While writing this question, there have been some reopen votes. It's possible that the question will be reopened before anyone can answer this.

But I would still appreciate it if someone could tell me if my interpretation of the validity of the question is incorrect; to avoid similar issues with future questions.

  • I wonder why the downvote on this meta question, it is not enforcing a position or asking to change something but asking for details to refine judgement. I don't get expressing a disagreement by vote on this one.
    – Tensibai
    Commented Nov 21, 2017 at 10:52

3 Answers 3


Well, people are sort-of right by closing this...

But people are also lazy for closing this and not just editing it instead of casting that last close-vote ;)

(That goes for the people voting to reopen it as well, this problem could have been easily fixed before it was reopened)

There wasn't a question when the first close-votes were cast, so these votes were absolutely correct.

Right now, there are 3 questions there:

  • How do I confront him about this intelligently and really ascertain his willingness to keep doing this?
  • Am I coming on too strong?
  • Should I drop this matter entirely until he himself comes to me for help?

The first one is a good question for IPS.

The second one is opinion based. It will lead to people passing judgment on an OP, instead of respecting the premise of the question.

Last of all, we discourage questions asking 'Should I do x?'.

So, this question can be closed as

  • off-topic (Should I isn't on-topic here),
  • too broad (limit to a specific problem, not 3 questions) or
  • primary opinion based (We can only give opinions on 'Am I coming on too strong' because we really don't know all the details + the feelings of the brother)

depending on what any user feels more strongly about.

That said, it shouldn't be too difficult to either edit the last 2 questions out, or convert them to a statement expressing the OP's worry.

We're just being lazy here, and not much helping the OP by showing them how it's done....

I have edited out 2 of the 3 questions and pointed the OP to this meta. If they disagree because they want to ask one of the other questions:

  • we start close-voting again
  • we flag for moderator attention because we have an edit war going on.

Most of the time, when it's things like this, an OP does understand as long as we provide relevant meta answers/reasons for closing/editing. If they don't, have a moderator handle it.

  • Speaking for myself, I cast my close vote before the edit and didn't check back to retract in time. Lazy indeed.
    – Magisch
    Commented Nov 21, 2017 at 12:15
  • When I cast my vote, there was no question whatsoever. Also, the OP may decide for themselves on which question to focus. Commented Nov 21, 2017 at 12:16
  • @AnneDaunted both true :-) I'm talking about that 'last vote', I'll make that a little clearer :) I have pointed the OP to this meta. If they disagree with editing out the last 2 statements, because they want to know the answer to 1 of the other 2 questions instead of this, we can start close-voting again/flag for moderator --> edit war
    – Tinkeringbell Mod
    Commented Nov 21, 2017 at 12:18
  • I understand your points (and thanks for the references!), but this doesn't feel like three separate discussions, but rather the OP grasping at straws for a single topic, the tense atmosphere between him and his brother. Part of IPS should consist of reevaluating your own approach (I see many questions/answers that refer to the OP having made a wrong assumption or an IPS mistake), which the OP can only really do by considering if he contributes to the tension (which is how I read the second question, as a suggestion that he may be at fault). I do agree with the "should I" argument, [..]
    – Flater
    Commented Nov 21, 2017 at 12:19
  • [..] though I can sort of see what OP means by his question, he's trying to ascertain if it would help or exacerbate the problem. I do agree about the third question being off-topic, but does that warrant closing the question, rather than just editing out the third question or ignoring it altogether?
    – Flater
    Commented Nov 21, 2017 at 12:21
  • The OP should usually sort this out themselves, because it benefits them also - that's the purpose of putting a question on hold. The OP can improve it while other users help them and then it gets reopened and can receive better answers. Commented Nov 21, 2017 at 12:24
  • @Flater which is how I read the second question, as a suggestion that he may be at fault... True, but now pretend that you have more opinions than common sense. A question like 'Am I too hard' will lead to people exploiting it just to bash an OP. We edit down posts with too many details... But if you think the worry is relevant, let me take another jab at editing the question
    – Tinkeringbell Mod
    Commented Nov 21, 2017 at 12:25
  • @Tinkeringbell That's exactly why I consider it valid for OP to offer this suggestion that he may be at fault; because he intentionally and explicitly opens the door on this subject, thus allowing answerers to include it in their answer without being perceived as bashing OP for no reason. I would think that it was less acceptable to do so if the OP did not mention it. Allowing OP to mention it, gives the OP direct control over allowing criticism about his own actions or not.
    – Flater
    Commented Nov 21, 2017 at 12:27
  • @Flater, but then it should be statement expressing worry, not a question ;-) We can tell people to 'respect the premise' when it's a statement, not when it's bearing a questionmark..
    – Tinkeringbell Mod
    Commented Nov 21, 2017 at 12:28
  • @Flater, take a look now: interpersonal.stackexchange.com/questions/7044/…
    – Tinkeringbell Mod
    Commented Nov 21, 2017 at 12:30
  • @Tinkeringbell: That's a semantics argument. "I worry if I'm too hard on him" is essentially the same as "Am I being to hard on him? I worry about it.". See also declarative questions: "if you are not responding to what has been said, if you're just asking for information, you will ordinarily use the interrogative form." (and also, good edit on the question :))
    – Flater
    Commented Nov 21, 2017 at 12:32
  • @Flater true, but we have to be careful about our semantics here ;-) You realise it's semantics, but really, not everyone does. People pop in from HNQ, don't realise this is about Questions and Answers and not a forum to discuss 'what is too hard', and start going at it! So, if it's just a question of semantics, please feel free to edit and make them 'fitter' for this site. If we remove the question, we can say answers that are just arguing about too hard aren't answers. If we leave it, they are valid because they try to answer that question.
    – Tinkeringbell Mod
    Commented Nov 21, 2017 at 12:36
  • @AnneDaunted, I try to keep this in mind when editing. I think it's a good approach, but if you feel it needs more discussion here, I think we should meet in chat to think up another meta? In this case, the question 'might' have been closed again if those 2 'questions' were left. So, I decided that the question hasn't been around for too long and runs a risk of being closed again when not edited, so I jumped in.
    – Tinkeringbell Mod
    Commented Nov 21, 2017 at 12:59
  • I didn't mean to criticise you, I was rather trying to make the general point that putting a question on hold is not the end of the world. Commented Nov 21, 2017 at 13:09
  • @AnneDaunted, Don't worry, no offense was taken... I was just being cautious. I know I have picked up a practice from a meta that wasn't on IPS, so 'let's discuss this here' is probably a good idea anyway ;-) For the rest, I was just trying to explain my reasoning.. It is certainly better to put something on hold if it needs more than 1 quick fix! (I still remember writing this). I'm always trying to find a balance, so if you see me going out of line, please just shout :-)
    – Tinkeringbell Mod
    Commented Nov 21, 2017 at 13:13

I voted to close because of a fundamental misconception in the question as written.

As written, the question is based on a false premise: that a person's physique can be improved by diet alone. Exercise, preferably exercise correlated with diet and even timed with elements of the diet, is essential. Even the best interpersonal skills and the most nutritious food will not put muscle on a sedentary person.

Perhaps the OP inadvertently omitted mention of the exercise program his brother is following -- or not following. If so, the OP needs to edit the question -- and fairly substantially.

I scanned all the answers, some of them very long, to see if anyone picked up on this omission. As far as I can tell, no one did, but I just scanned the answers. The closest anyone came was @Flater who said:

it's not impossible for him to feel sick from eating too much.

This deficiency in the question is important because one set of interpersonal skills is required to deal with someone who objects to being stuffed like a Strasbourg goose and a different set is needed for someone who won't follow an exercise program.

  • To be fair, the absence of any mention of the exercise regimen does not invalidate the question. First of all, it could simply be omitted because it's not related to the current interpersonal issue (i.e. the brother has no issues with doing the required exercises). But even if it isn't, it's not up to us to decide what the brother's regimen should be. I mentioned the brother feeling sick, not because he needs exercise, but because it makes his unwillingness to follow the food plan more than reasonable, which in turns invalidates OP's "laziness" and "waste of my efforts" arguments.
    – Flater
    Commented Nov 23, 2017 at 8:23

I voted to close the question, before it was edited. The next time I saw the question pop up, it had since been edited, closed and reopened. If I would've seen the question at any stage in between I would have retracted my vote or voted to reopen. However, since it has already been reopened, this isn't necessary anymore.

  • Yeah I understand the issues here, not every close vote was wrong at the time it was cast :) The system can't know if a particular edit resolves your initial reason for close voting, thus perpetuating your vote after the problem has been solved (since the alternative would allow an OP to remove close votes by making a minor edit)
    – Flater
    Commented Nov 21, 2017 at 12:23
  • In hindsight, I could've commented, so the OP could ping me after editing, but 20/20 hindsight.
    – JAD
    Commented Nov 21, 2017 at 12:25
  • To the rescue!
    – Flater
    Commented Nov 21, 2017 at 12:34

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