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There are four non-duplication-related reasons to suggest closure of a question:

  • off topic
  • subjective and argumentative
  • not a real question
  • too localized

Should questions ever be closed for any of these reasons on a site about philosophy, wherein argument is seemingly inherent and everything is up for debate?


Regarding my assumption: See my answer about the provability of things in philosophy. It reflects my doubt in concepts like "real questions have answers" and "questions that are not answerable — discussions, debates, opinions — should be closed as subjective". Furthermore, we have yet to agree on whether this site is for doing or simply discussing philosophy. If it's for doing, then how isn't everything up for debate?*

*Also note: I fully support the use of up and down voting by the community to help visitors see where the real meaty discussions are taking place, I'm simply wondering if we should really ever CLOSE a discussion.

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    What is the bug? and what is the feature request? – Phira Jun 7 '11 at 23:30
  • @thei Apologies, I was thinking one step ahead, and wondering if it's even possible to limit the built-in reasons in the Stack Exchange platform. – Joseph Spiros Jun 8 '11 at 0:01
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You just said it's a site about Philosophy. That automatically defines what is off-topic, at least generally. And we have refined it further so we don't get questions like "Who is your favorite philosopher?" and whatnot.

Subjective and argumentative seems at first glance to be inappropriate, but I assure you it's not. It's not intended for questions that are open to opinion and can be argued about. It's for questions that are virtually only subjective and argumentative, where there are tons of opinions and few facts. "Who is your favorite philosopher?" also falls under this category. "What is objectivism?" does not, despite the fact that we might disagree on the exact definition. (That question may or may not have other issues such as being too broad, though).

Not a real question is for questions that aren't anything of the kind. We're a Q&A site. "Rants disguised as questions" are most often closed under this reason. "Does Hume suck as much as I think he does?" is a contrived example.

Too localized is used to close questions that are useless to the community as a whole, despite being on-topic. "What's the newest philosophical theory and what does it involve?" might technically have an answer (unless you believe time is discrete, which I happen to) but it would immediately be outdated and useless. That example seems impossibly stupid because it's hard to ask a localized question about philosophy, so I expect it to be used infrequently. That doesn't make it inappropriate to ever use, though.

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