Several people, both in the formative phase of this site and more recently, have expressed varying degrees of confusion, consternation, and irony over the fact that one of our close reasons is labeled "subjective and argumentative" when, in fact, the whole of philosophy could be considered subjective and argumentative.

However, as a long-time participant on Stack Overflow and someone who strongly prefers to keep this site as focused and academic as possible, I recognize and sympathize with the necessity of closing such types of questions. Just because a question is subjective and argumentative doesn't necessarily make it a bad question here, but there are certainly questions that we do not want to be asked here here for reasons that don't fall nicely into the other 4 categories. And we need some way of dealing with those questions.

I propose that we adopt the wording used by the Programmers site: "not constructive".

  Close question dialog, with "not constructive" replacing "subjective and argumentative"

I think that this phrasing goes a long way towards intuitively capturing the domain of those questions that we don't want to be asked here, without being easily confused with those "edge" cases that might belong on a site that is somewhat less-objective than Stack Overflow.
I feel that our members will readily understand what types of questions are "not constructive", and therefore be more willing to use this close reason.

Perhaps ideally, we would eventually come up with our own guidelines for constructive questions (and some of the other questions appear to be pursuing that goal right now), but for now we can just roll with the classic set of guidelines written by Robert Cartaino.

  • Sounds good to me!
    – user20
    Commented Jun 8, 2011 at 14:24
  • you might migrate this to the SO meta
    – mfg
    Commented Jun 8, 2011 at 14:37
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    @mfg: No, it doesn't belong there. My proposal is specifically about this site, and it therefore belongs on this site's meta. It doesn't have anything to do with Stack Overflow. Not to mention I asked it here so that it would be open for discussion with the relevant community. The developers monitor the [feature-request] tags for all of the per-site metas. If enough people agree, it can be implemented from here. That's what the per-site mets are for. Commented Jun 8, 2011 at 14:42
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    I very much would resist the claim that most philosophical questions are subjective. (If a question is difficult or perhaps even impossible to resolve or achieve consensus upon, it does not follow that it is subjective.) However, I do think that the proposed change is a good idea.
    – vanden
    Commented Jun 11, 2011 at 22:29

1 Answer 1


It appears this has been done.

  • 1
    It's actually been done network-wide, it looks like. Although the status-completed tag hasn't been added here yet, either. Commented Jun 15, 2011 at 15:16
  • 1
    @Cody: has now...
    – Shog9
    Commented Jun 15, 2011 at 19:12

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