I wrote a question asking what is the definition of life about 2-3 weeks ago. It got first put on a hold, I pledged it's a legitimate question but nobody heard me and it eventually got deleted. The argument was it wasn't asked well enough and was too broad. I made my plea this isn't the case and tried to point out it's legitimate philosophical question but nobody answered it!

Now a question very similar to mine appeared on the site. I should say it's better than mine. The author made better effort than me to show us the point in discussing the issue here and to narrow it down to a specific context of philosophy actually interacting with the natural sciences (some other topic I don't see very well "received" here) and put the value of discussing the question here. The question got on popularity and started to draw more answers to it just like any other question on this site and then...........boo once again "on hold". Tell me, how is the legitimate question of the definition of life in the context of philosophy NOT a philosophical question? Why even after the author himself corrected it to make it FIT for the scope of the site and when the question started getting more views and answers you are just stopping it?. Why are you KILLING the discussion in its INFANCY?

P.S. The reason why I'm so angry is because I spent a lot of time these last 3 days actually mining for references to write an excellent answer on the question and please know that I have spent years of research on the question combining different points of view from all over biology, philosophy, physics, chemistry and even beyond and the moment I got "prepped up and ready to write one long and meaningful answer" somebody just "pulls the plug". I still consider myself new to this site but I'm starting to wander is it what you people actually "normally do" with questions that tend to "draw too much attention here"?

  • Is this discussion or support? The title of your (this) question seems to ask for support, the body for discussion.
    – user2953
    Mar 19, 2017 at 14:11
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    I just want to know why this question gets stopped all the time even when the authors who put the question actually show effort to put it in scope of the Philosophy SE. It happened to me (well, I though may be the fault is all mine because I wasn't getting something right in my attempts to ask it), but now it happens to someone else who actually asks the question better than me and I wonder why the same thing is happening all over again? Why there can't be a question about the definition of life on this platform and why is everyone so "scared" to even let it be here in any form? Mar 19, 2017 at 14:22
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    Just super briefly -- I suspect the resistance is possibly in part because the way the question is being asked is too broad to be usefully answerable here. If you zoom in and provide philosophical context, the way the question is being asked tends to change... Asking about Life in some particular thinker or writer is much more clearly topical, and much closer to being meaningfully answerable in a few paragraphs
    – Joseph Weissman Mod
    Mar 19, 2017 at 14:25
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    Actually I know all too how multilayered the question can be and people believe me I know how entangles one can get in it. However, as you might see the author himself makes the best efforts to put it in context with the purpose and scope of the site and I admire him for that. I would myself prefer my question getting deleted if only for this one to stay. If narrowed down the definition of life is quite meaningful question because it's one of "those" instances when you can have an interaction between science and philosophy and get some very meaningful use of both the scientific method Mar 19, 2017 at 14:31
  • and analyses provided by philosophical paradigms. I have myself seen how meaningful it can be for discussion of both the scope and direction of science and philosophy alike and how it can bring light on phenomenological, positivist, pragmatist and other school of thought arguments as well as science, not only in the context of biology, but in that of the scientific method in general. And you can clearly see how the OP is actually trying to improve and if I can say so "upgrade" his question so it can turn even more useful for the discussion of philosophy here. Mar 19, 2017 at 14:35
  • This is why I want to protect his effort. He is clearly making a better case than me and the question has its value-especially in relation to philosophy of biology and philosophy of science in general. Why isn't his "second version" of the question approved? Mar 19, 2017 at 14:36
  • I now deleted some of my comments to make the comments section shorter. Will this help? Mar 19, 2017 at 14:51

1 Answer 1


I pledged it's a legitimate question but nobody heard me and it eventually got deleted.

Closed questions that don't get edited are automatically removed after some time. Your original question was not deleted manually.

Why even after the author himself corrected it to make it FIT for the scope of the site and when the question started getting more views and answers you are just stopping it?

Only ten hours had passed between the author's edit and your meta question here. Give the community some time. When a closed question is edited, it ends up in the reopen queue, which is checked regularly by many established users, who then vote to reopen the question if they think it's appropriate. After ten hours, this question had 2 reopen votes (after having been reviewed by 2 people, so a 100% score), which gives it a good chance of getting reopened.

Why are you KILLING the discussion in its INFANCY?

This site is not primarily for discussion.

Questions can get closed for several reasons, one of them is that it solicits opinion-based discussion and does not allow for an objective approach. How much effort has been put into a question is not a criteria; we judge questions as they are. However, of course, in general questions that are well-scoped, well-researched and well-written have more chance of 'surviving'.

Read more about our question-closure model in the help centre.


  • I have reopened the new question after having edited it to make it ask really one question, not several. It is still rather broad, and though it can work in its current form, I believe a narrower scope could yield better answers. All one can do now is give a broad overview of the topic.

  • I have removed some comments to clean up the comment space. Note that this is not the place for discussion, especially not after the comments have been moved to chat.

  • When discussing a question on Meta, it's good practice to add a comment about that.

  • I don't mind having my question deleted if someone feels it's a duplicate to this one because I think this OP had made better attempt to ask the question than me and he disserves more praise than me. What I just want to know if is there on this platform room for at least one question about the definition of life in relation to philosophy? Or you people would remove every single one of them. P.S.I think the question can get many views and answers and draw a lot of attention to this SE section if better formulated and enrich this section if you just give it a chance.This is why I opened this Mar 19, 2017 at 14:48
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    @YordanYordanov sorry, I don't really understand your question. Your question was simply "What is Life?", it was closed because this is too broad, then deleted because it wasn't edited. The new question was also too broad, so it was closed. Then it was edited, and because it is better scoped now, it got reopened. Nobody here is saying that we would have too many questions about the definition of life, nor is anybody actively removing questions. If it's up to me, there can be 100 questions on this topic, as long as they are different from each other and well-scoped.
    – user2953
    Mar 19, 2017 at 15:24

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