Specifically, the following two questions:

Both of these questions were modhammered closed 20 minutes after being asked, hardly allowing the community time to see, vote, or express opinions on them. Now there's nothing wrong with swift modhammers for clearly close-worthy questions, and claims that closing "stifles discussion" hold little water on main, where close-worthy questions should be closed quickly before they're answered. But on meta, which is mostly about discussion, swift closures really can stifle discussion.

Both of the above-linked posts raise clear questions relevant to our community: "are the canned close reasons being abused on this site" and "should this question be reopened after edits". Discussions like this are pretty much exactly what meta is for.

  • Someone who wants to discuss the applicability of certain close reasons to this site should be allowed to do so. Even if the answer is "no, you're wrong, they work perfectly fine", meta exists precisely in order that such discussions can be had and conclusions reached.
  • Someone who's asked a bad question, had it closed, and edited it to what they think is reopenability should be able to use meta to ask about the question - it's the only place they're likely to get more feedback than can fit in a comment.

On the ideal SE, people who don't agree with moderation decisions such as question closures get educated on why those decisions were correct (if they were). Closing such meta posts can give a really bad impression. Remember not only the OP but also the countless silent viewers of these questions. If they get the idea that anyone who queries a decision is promptly shut down, they're much less likely to feel welcome to join the site than if instead they see good convincing explanations for the decisions (and such explanations can be given for even the rantiest of meta questions).

I've voted to reopen these two meta questions, and would urge others to do the same.

  • 2
    Not an answer, but: the first question is honestly just a rant and doesn't present an actionable question. That kind of question is precisely what meta is not for. For that reason, I closed it: it's not clear what kind of constructive action or discussion they sought, and whether they sought either of them at all. (The second question was a single sentence when it was posted, which was since edited, and I've reopened it.)
    – user80
    Sep 12, 2017 at 10:06
  • @Emrak Thanks for reopening the second one! I did think that would be an easier case, and mod-flagged it hoping for a quick resolution, but my flag was declined (presumably not by you), so I brought it here. As for the first one, someone who doesn't (appear to) seek constructive discussion can still be given one. Again, think of the silent viewers. Some of them may have the same worries as this user, and would have expressed them more constructively (as Hamlet did in the POB question); they'd learn more from a nice clear answer than just a closure and a bunch of comments.
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Sep 12, 2017 at 10:12
  • This is a situation I've regularly dealt with on SFF, btw. Not linking to examples to avoid naming and shaming, but many ranty users on meta have received nice explanatory answers rather than (or at least as well as) having their question closed, and some of them have even understood and apologised! Closing down a rant appears to some people like suppression, but those same people might understand and appreciate a well-reasoned argument for why the rant is wrong. And in this case, the rant is not just a rant but also a real question. I might try to edit it into shape when I have time.
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Sep 12, 2017 at 10:17
  • 2
    The discussion is far better held in either a) that question edited (preferably by OP) to have a clear goal in mind, or b) a totally new question, asked by someone who feels prepared to thresh the question down to its constructive bits, and add their own. The silent viewers benefit vastly more from a level-headed, thoughtful discussion than a response to vaguely-directed vitriol. Optimize for pearls, not sand. You're welcome to edit the question, and that's a viable solution, but I'd personally prefer to see a new one asked entirely. (That one will also carry the cloud of its score.)
    – user80
    Sep 12, 2017 at 10:25
  • 1
    I can think of very few reasons why a question should ever be closed on a meta site. Spam, Abuse or Exact Duplicate. It is quite hard to be off-topic.
    – Chenmunka
    Sep 12, 2017 at 14:33

1 Answer 1


I agree with you that the second one probably shouldn't have been closed.

With regards to the first question, I would've voted to close it as it's currently phrased, too. In its current state, it really isn't clear what the OP's asking - it's more of a rant than a legitimate question or proposal. One of the close reasons for Stack Overflow Meta is "This question does not appear to seek input and discussion from the community. If you have encountered a problem on one of our sites, please describe it in detail." This seems to apply here: what community input, discussion, or action is the OP seeking?

I'll say what I said in the comments on that post: a good Meta question should solicit community input on a specific issue or ask for something specific to happen in response to a clearly-defined problem. Even your post is asking for something specific to happen (reopen those two posts and don't be so quick to mod-hammer future Meta questions).

While I disagree with the Meta post by Hamlet that you link to, I don't think that it's really the same as the post you're asking about. To begin with, Hamlet's post doesn't rant about the subject at all. Also, Hamlet describes something he wants to happen (changing the wording of the Primarily Opinion-Based close reason). So, while I disagree with the proposal, it's not unclear.

With that said, if the post was, in fact, asking "are the canned close reasons too much subject to abuse for Lit.SE?" I'd be glad to vote to reopen, because that's something that's clearly discussable/answerable. If you think that that's what the OP is asking and that the post is salvageable, I'd encourage you to edit it to clarify that. If you did, I'd vote to reopen as well - I'd still like to see more evidence from the OP that he's describing a real problem, but that's more of a reason to downvote than a reason to close.

  • I've now edited the first question, to focus more on the actual topic being raised and less on the rant. It actually required only a surprisingly small edit - mostly in the first paragraph. What do you reckon now?
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Sep 14, 2017 at 10:19
  • (Also, I didn't mean to imply that Hamlet's question was "the same as the post [I'm] asking about". Both are raising very similar issues, but obviously the tone and constructiveness are miles apart.)
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Sep 14, 2017 at 10:22

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