I have had numerous questions closed because somebody thought the question didn't fit the website or they just didn't like it. I find this process very undemocratic and dictatorial. Isn't this website supposed to be there an open discussion and not an annoying "shut up" we don't like that question here mentality.

  • 2
    You don't recognize any organization between dictatorial and anarchy? It has to be one or the other? Jul 28, 2023 at 6:16
  • David Gudeman - It has to be black or white. It can't be grey?
    – Steve
    Jul 28, 2023 at 8:12
  • 2
    No, on the contrary, because every user can vote to close but also to reopen closed posts. Jul 28, 2023 at 8:38
  • Interesting sentiment. Why do crows exist? Jul 28, 2023 at 8:44
  • I can only find one other question of yours aside from this. It only has 1 close vote. Have you been posting under another name? Don't stress about close votes. Many of us receive them. They can even help us to improve the quality of our questions. Jul 28, 2023 at 9:36
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    "somebody thought the question didn't fit the website or they just didn't like it" - (1) Those are two fundamentally different things. (2) SE is not a democracy. (3) 1 person disliking what's happening doesn't violate any principle of democracy. (4) It takes 5 people to close a question (unless a moderator did it, but moderators need to be elected). (5) All websites have rules about what is and isn't allowed. This website isn't here to let you to discuss whatever you want. (6) Questions can be reopened if they are deemed to be actually appropriate for the site. (7) Meta Qs belong on [meta].
    – NotThatGuy
    Jul 28, 2023 at 9:44
  • Once I cast the final Close vote on one of my Questions, edited, flagged to reopen, then cast the final Open vote, so it only takes 4 people, plus yourself. I went through that because my previous experience of just edit and flag never resulted in reopening. dog learns to go around the pole to free the lead so it can reach the food bowl
    – Scott Rowe
    Jul 28, 2023 at 12:30
  • 4
    Background, the poster has been grinding an axe over laws banning cell phone usage in cars, and has argued a "dualist" POV that nobody but an operator can know "usage", and that imposing any external 3rd person definition is only done by "dictators". This peculiar set of beliefs has been posted on Law, and English, with multiple downvotes closures, and migrations,, and finally showed up on philosophy with a migrated question on pen usage vs holding. The poster appears not to have learned anything from any answer or comment on any site to date (answers on Law to first Q were pretty good).
    – Dcleve
    Jul 28, 2023 at 14:11
  • Why must I learn from comments when none of the comments offered viable answers? Note - Most of the answers I received were less than helpful and they mostly criticised me for daring to question the Law or government point of view.
    – Steve
    Jul 31, 2023 at 7:49

4 Answers 4


This is probably better suited in Meta as it's not a question about philosophy but rather about the philosophy stack exchange.

The "philosophy" of stackexchange in general seems to be that it is NOT a discussion site but a Q&A site. So you're supposed to ask a question and get answers. Also the approach to moderator privileges seems to be that you receive more privileges the more reputation you gain by getting upvotes on your questions and answers or reviewing edits/questions/etc (a lot less though).

So if a question gets closed it's usually because 5 users decided it's not suitable for this forum. There are 5 categories to chose from, the most common being probably "duplicate", but there's also "community specific reasons", "needs details or clarity", "needs more focus" and "opinion based". Which can again have various subcategories. And if it was closed people can also reopen it when it has been improved by the user or when the vote is put in question.

So that process is probably still more democratic than many other sides where a single moderator has the power to decide that on a whim and where regular users have no such influence.

  • Quote "This is just a Q&A site". Now, if the response or answer is not satisfactory what do we do, just leave everything hanging in suspense with no resolution?
    – Steve
    Jul 31, 2023 at 7:53

The practice of closing questions on this website infers that a kind of dictatorship is accepted as a norm here.

There has to be some degree of moderation in the site, or else people will simply abandon it and go elsewhere.

You may recall the website "ephilosopher." It is long gone, though it might survive today as a Facebook page. Unmoderated and anarchic, ephilosopher rapidly descended into a pile of angry, childish, and personal spats, unrelated to philosophy. And then it vanished.

And that is the reason for "five strikes and you’re out."

  • Democracy can be messy at times but it is far more preferable than a system which has stringent manipulation by powerful agents who have hidden agendas.
    – Steve
    Jul 31, 2023 at 7:57
  • @Steve. Thanks. Your ‘hidden agenda’ comment landed on one of my pet peeves about this site: people can downvote anonymously, and without giving a reason. If a negative comment is that important to someone, then they can take responsibility for it, and explain themselves. Jul 31, 2023 at 16:04
  • I would argue that the closing of questions is a democratic process. It takes five people to close a question, and if enough people disagree with the closure, they can vote to reopen it. Eventually a consensus will emerge. And of course, if someone disagrees with the closure of their question, they can argue their case here on Meta.
    – F1Krazy
    Aug 4, 2023 at 11:17

Questions won't be closed just because somebody 'didn't like it'. The site has rules that determine what sorts of questions should or shouldn't be posted, and questions should only be closed if they infringe the rules. For example, if I asked a question on Philosophy SE which was about the best way to make beer, the question would be closed because it was off topic. If I asked a question such as 'who is your favourite philosopher', that would be closed because it infringed the rule that says you shouldn't ask questions that are purely about opinions (although quite where the boundary lies between opinions and philosophical thoughts is another matter). If your questions are being closed, then you must have ignored the guidance about what makes a suitable type of question for the site.

  • Well, I played many different sports during my life and found those sports which had more play stoppages due to over adherence to rules were not enjoyable and people eventually left those sports in droves to take up other sports which had less rules and regulations.
    – Steve
    Jul 31, 2023 at 8:01
  • Hi Steve, I think you're stretching the point there. On this site the rules really are minimal, and they aren't usually enforced in a nit-picking way. In fact, I've been surprised at what I've got away with from time to time, so I think the moderators do a fair job. Jul 31, 2023 at 8:22

There is a subtle entitlement in this question that one’s opinion is sufficient for publication, and that a denial amounts to dictatorial repression of a democratic right.

Nobody has a democratic responsibility to publish your views

  • @Steve, your questions are being closed, not deleted. You did, in fact, still say what you wanted to say, and you are not being tied up against the coals for saying it, but what's happening is that the site is not encouraging the publication and promotion of further discussion on the topic, and again, nobody has responsibility to provide you that service.
    – Paul Ross
    Jul 31, 2023 at 16:35
  • I’ll jump straight to ignore then.
    – Paul Ross
    Jul 31, 2023 at 21:21

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