Why do we have to close so many questions on skeptics for being non-constructive? Doesn't having a giant list full of empty questions kind of make this whole forum non-constructive?

From a user point of view, it is far more annoying to go to a question only to see that it was closed in the middle of an interesting debate than to go to a question and think "gee, this is slightly non-constructive."

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    If you want a site full of open, low-quality questions, try this one.
    – Flimzy
    Commented May 23, 2012 at 20:36
  • How about a site with closed and DELETED questions, so that they don't clutter up the questions list. That'd be like, the best of both worlds, right? Commented May 23, 2012 at 20:39
  • I'm just going to delete this one, it's not on topic for the main site and too much of a rant for the meta. And FYI, we do delete closed questions usually after some days or weeks, deleting them earlier is problematic as it makes it harder for the community to reopen them and disagree with the closure.
    – Mad Scientist Mod
    Commented May 23, 2012 at 20:43
  • I understand the logic behind it. It's just frustrating to go through 10-15 questions that I find interesting, only to find that 7-10 of them are closed. Commented May 23, 2012 at 20:45
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    @PhillipSchmidt: If you see an interesting question that is closed, you could work to make it more appropriate for this site so that it can be re-opened. That is, after all, why they are closed, but not deleted.
    – Flimzy
    Commented May 23, 2012 at 20:47
  • You should have taken this to meta. You should have taken the suggestion in your comment to the mother meta, except that it has already been shot down several times. The site is the way it is by deliberate choice during the area51 process. Commented May 23, 2012 at 20:48
  • A good idea in theory, but if you take a minute to look, you'll notice that most of the questions are closed because skeptics mods find something inherently wrong with the question itself, rather than the way the question is presented. The problem is, several of them are legitimate, interesting questions. Commented May 23, 2012 at 20:50
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    Skeptics isn't for all good questions, it is for a select class of good questions. If they do not meet those criteria they should be taken elsewhere, their inherent quality notwithstanding. All the best sites on Stack Exchange benefit enormously from a good focus. Commented May 23, 2012 at 20:55
  • I've migrated it to our meta for now, but as it is this question is also not exactly constructive. You might want to either focus on wanting us to delete closed questions sooner, or on specific examples where you think they were closed in error.
    – Mad Scientist Mod
    Commented May 23, 2012 at 20:55
  • I don't think I ever implied that any and all good questions should be asked on skeptics. What I'm saying is that: 1) Several of the questions on here that get deleted meet the requirements just fine, and were shut down by a trigger-happy admin, and 2) The requirements for a question on here are a bit steep anyway. Commented May 23, 2012 at 20:58
  • I mean, there is a roughly endless list of specific examples that I think were closed in error. Go to the skeptics home page, find the first 20 links you think sound interesting. Out of the 10 or so that were closed, I'd venture to say that 5 or 6 were closed that way. Commented May 23, 2012 at 21:01
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    Links or it didn't happen. I visit skeptics regularly, and mostly agree with the closing choices. Commented May 23, 2012 at 21:06
  • Sure, here you go: skeptics.stackexchange.com/questions/9541/… claim is that this picture is accurate. Pretty easy to prove or disprove. skeptics.stackexchange.com/questions/9480/… there is literally no reason this should have been closed. The claim is that quarters can be arranged like that. It can be proved using logic and physics. Commented May 23, 2012 at 21:18
  • skeptics.stackexchange.com/questions/9478/… addressing the claim that it is theoretically possible to benefit from turbines in this configuration skeptics.stackexchange.com/questions/9465/… -this is the probably a bit debatable, but the question is at its roots addressing the claim that sucking on a straw after surgery can be physically harmful to you. Commented May 23, 2012 at 21:18
  • skeptics.stackexchange.com/questions/9372/… perfectly answerable -- look at past interviews Commented May 23, 2012 at 21:19

1 Answer 1


The StackExchange network was created to be a cross-over of wikis, Reddit, blogs and forums. It is hardly a forum.

In particular, it was decided that we didn't want some features of forums:

  • We don't have threading
  • We strongly discourage multiple postings by the same author
  • Comments are second class with respect to posts and are quite disposable.

Furthermore, we have a tons of cool stuff that forums don't have, and which makes this place a very strange one if you expect to find a forum.

  • We encourage editing. Anyone can edit your or other people posts.
  • Your content is not yours. All posts are community owned via a creative commons license.
  • With reputation, users gain moderator powers. This makes elected (diamond) mods more like exception handlers than mods. For example, only diamond mods can access private information or do user admin.
  • closure and deletion, in particular, are community guided and can easily be undone. A diamond mod can't force anything in this respect, a part from locking posts, which is rarely if ever done.

Finally, skeptics has even more weird rules:

  • Questions must be about a notable claim (i. e. a bunch of adults must be convinced of it)
  • Answers must based on scientific or historical research and not be the mere opinion/speculation/anecdote/experiment of a user.

I suspect that most of those questions were closed because they violated one of the above guidelines. Note that closure is a special "maintenance mode" for questions that need fixing.

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