Today, I posted this question: "How are you today?" vs "Are you better today?".

Someone left a comment saying that they thought the question wasn't specific enough so I edited it to make it less broad. The question still got closed.

Since are on-topic here (without counting mine, this tag currently have 7 questions and 6 of them are open), can someone tell me why my question was closed?

Edit: This meta question was added just after mine and is closely related to what we are discussing here.

  • If applicable, could you please add a link to the meta post saying that academic research is on topic here? (For posterity)
    – avazula
    Jan 15, 2019 at 17:11
  • @avazula I edited to add what makes me think academic-research is on-topic but, when I was writing the question, I didn't had a meta post to link to (I do now since another meta question was asked after mine)
    – Ael
    Jan 15, 2019 at 17:47

1 Answer 1


This is a good example of something that we should be careful of-- we're nearing (but not yet in) boat-programming territory.

I was not involved in closing this question, but would have voted to do so. It violates one of the most important criteria we have here, which is that questions should have a specific goal which can be addressed through IPS skills. Obviously this question touches on IPS skills, as it involves communication between people. But "what information exists on this very broad topic" doesn't fit very well.

If the question were more along the lines of "how can I best communicate with someone that has Alzheimer's" or "how can I avoid asking leading questions", with a brief description of the observation about yes/no framing, I think that there would be a much better case that the question is on-topic and has appropriate scope.

The academic-research tag would then (to me) indicate that the asker is looking for published studies which apply, and those studies could be about phrasing, communication with people that have Alzheimer's, and so on. It's more about what a good answer will include, rather than a tag that bypasses an otherwise fairly strict (and valuable) rule.

My thoughts on questions that ask only for an index of published research, even if on an IPS-related topic, are outlined a bit further in this meta question, as well as this one. It's not that they can't be good or valuable questions, just that they clash with the SE format in ways that are difficult to accommodate.

  • Can you elaborate about how "how can I avoid asking leading questions?" would be on topic? I asked my question because I thought that the question you are suggesting would be too broad and I don't understand why what you are suggesting won't be too broad.
    – Ael
    Jan 15, 2019 at 21:34
  • @Noon That particular example ties in with the "Do you remember [x]" and causing pressure to respond "yes". In that context (speaking with someone that has Alzheimer's), that framing can be considered a leading question because it pushes the answerer to respond in a specific way, rather than their actual thoughts. That's a specific situation which can be addressed through IPS skills, and answers to a question like that might really benefit from academic research being cited in the answer. "What research exists on this phenomenon" lacks that focus.
    – Upper_Case
    Jan 15, 2019 at 21:54
  • So we will still need a specific situation (not pressuring someone with Alzheimer's) to make this on-topic, is that right. The "how can I avoid asking leading questions" made me believe that you were suggesting asking a broader question than that.
    – Ael
    Jan 15, 2019 at 21:59
  • @Noon It is my opinion that questions which adhere to all of the site rules for questions are very likely to be on-topic, and the academic-research tag doesn't really change this in any way. Whether or not that specific example I offered would be on-topic as well should not be considered a decisive test-case.
    – Upper_Case
    Jan 15, 2019 at 22:02
  • I'm not trying to find a decisive test-case, I'm just trying to find how I could ask an on-topic question in order to have the information that I want (but that might be impossible)
    – Ael
    Jan 15, 2019 at 22:09
  • @Noon See the link I just added for more details, but I think that asking for a list of published papers should never be considered on-topic here. Any focus on a specific situation might improve the question and still request research as background for answers, but if such a list is all that you want then I don't think the stack can support your request very well.
    – Upper_Case
    Jan 15, 2019 at 22:13
  • I don't want such a list, I want to avoid asking leading questions, especialy when inquiring for someone well being. For your answer I think I can make my question on-topic and I will tru to do so tonight
    – Ael
    Jan 16, 2019 at 7:31
  • I rewrote the question entirely, do you think it's good now? interpersonal.stackexchange.com/q/20633/21067
    – Ael
    Jan 16, 2019 at 19:15
  • @Noon I think that the rewritten question is much better for the stack. I also think that you could have left the academic-research tag, though it is of course up to you if you want to use it or not.
    – Upper_Case
    Jan 16, 2019 at 20:11

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