I have a feeling that too many questions seem to be getting closed, and I can't seem to make sense of why they were closed. The standard closed as not a real question does not really say what the problem with the question is. (It is as vague as the questions it is meant to be used for.)

Two recent examples are:

(Note: I had asked the second question.)

What I would like is for a discussion on

  • Why these questions deserve to be open/closed?
  • Is there any way that the closing/reopening process made more public? People stand a better chance of improving the question if they are told what the problem is.
  • Look at our best questions to understand what really works well here :-)
    – Sklivvz
    Commented May 3, 2011 at 17:46

3 Answers 3


The rainbow question only stems from a poorly understood definition of colour. If you define colour as a discrete set of names like blue, red etc, then there are 7 main colours, however if one understand that colours are actually tints, then there is no paradox. Maybe the OP could ask this on English.SE. I've no idea. In any case there is nothing a skeptic can investigate.

The yawning question is really poor quality. 6 words, not a hint of why there is any suspicion that the claim is not true. Claims must have some basic notability. Otherwise you would be able to take literally any statement, add "I don't believe it" and create a valid question. It doesn't work like that. You need to be bored or tired to yawn. It's not contemptuous, it's what yawning actually means by definition.

In summary both questions have the following in common:

  1. Poor research from the requester
  2. Very dubious notability of the claim, doubting of a very simple thing.
  3. Possibly extremely trivial answer
  4. Poor tagging

As such they are "not real questions".

  • 1
    Plus the 4 claims that make you make, even if taken as true (which I don't), doesn't mean that you can close the question saying you did so because they are vague. a) Such causes are not even remotely referred to in the FAQ as possible reasons for closing a question. b) Even if you feel them to be reasons for closing, either leave in the comments your reason, which you did not do for the first, or include the reason in the note below the question.
    – apoorv020
    Commented May 3, 2011 at 15:45
  • 1
    As to your claims about the 4 problems, in the rainbow question a) I clearly say there should be infinite colours, and we probably perceive only a finite number. Hardly do i claim that there exist only seven colours. b) The wikipedia page on rainbows has a section on the same question c) I did not see any trivial answer d) Tags were - 'weather', 'perception' , 'euro-centrism'. Extremely appropriate
    – apoorv020
    Commented May 3, 2011 at 15:54
  • My "claim" is that I pointed out four typical characteristics of the questions. You are free to disagree, but starting a flame based on completely opinable things seems silly to me. The FAQ clearly states "Questions that are extremely off topic, or of very low quality, may be removed.". Both were low quality in our opinion.
    – Sklivvz
    Commented May 3, 2011 at 16:08
  • You may also want to note: "there is no actual problem to be solved: ā€œIā€™m curious if other people feel like I do.ā€"
    – Sklivvz
    Commented May 3, 2011 at 16:12
  • @Sklivvz:That's fine. If you feel they are low quality do vote to close, but don't use the "vague question" reason to close it. It gets really frustrating when you are misinformed of the reason a question was closed.
    – apoorv020
    Commented May 3, 2011 at 17:59
  • There is no "low quality" option... Not a real question is the closest option.
    – Sklivvz
    Commented May 3, 2011 at 18:07
  • Ah then, that should be proposed. But I think there's a low quality option on the flagging button.
    – apoorv020
    Commented May 3, 2011 at 18:14

This site is being moderated to within an inch of its life. So long, fellas. I tried to like it here, but it just doesn't cut it for me.

@Sklivvz, please disassociate my profile from this site if you can. Sorry for asking here, but I don't know where else to contact you.

  • You can dissassociate your Skeptics profile from the rest of the SE sites yourself. Just change the OpenID and mail address in your profile and click on "clear all associations" on the accounts tab at the bottom.
    – Mad Scientist Mod
    Commented May 4, 2011 at 7:03
  • @Fabian: Yeah, but I don't want to clear all associations. Just this one.
    – Robusto
    Commented May 4, 2011 at 9:41
  • Every account where you have the same OpenID will be automatically reassociated.
    – Mad Scientist Mod
    Commented May 4, 2011 at 9:45
  • 2
    @fabian FWIW, I actually kind of agree that the deletion of this answer was a bit harsh. I'm going to find a citation and add it myself and undelete it. skeptics.stackexchange.com/questions/2717/… Commented May 5, 2011 at 8:19
  • 1
    @jeff, it wasn't meant to be harsh: the question was radically changed by the OP so the answer does not really apply any more IMHO - also "go ahead and delete" sounds like giving permission to me. What is really harsh is that a user replies with "i can't be bothered" to fix his question up to community selected standards.
    – Sklivvz
    Commented May 5, 2011 at 8:35
  • @skl I don't feel we met the user halfway in this case. Robusto is very active on several SE sites, and speaking just personally as "Jeff Atwood, Stack Exchange user" I would extend a bit more courtesy to him than, say, some random user I had never seen before. Commented May 5, 2011 at 8:46
  • @jef This was never about Robusto, but about the answer itself. I still think it's not an answer to the question any more, so I am not particularly happy with the solution. In any case, my apologies to him if I appeared to be harsh - it was certainly not intended.
    – Sklivvz
    Commented May 5, 2011 at 9:16
  • 4
    Robusto has isolated the point: over-moderation. The so-called community standards are in fact highly prescriptive and intolerant, and while it is possible to side-step them (e.g. don't link to Wikipedia, just steal its statements and links) this does not help, and is not the practice for example in the rather better Mathematics and English SE sites.
    – Henry
    Commented May 9, 2011 at 14:43
  • 2
    @Henry: Applying community selected policies (like requiring references) is not over-moderation. Maybe you should read a bit more about what scientific skepticism is - it would help you understand why references are not optional here.
    – Sklivvz
    Commented May 10, 2011 at 13:33
  • 1
    @Sklivvz: Robusto is clearly unhappy, and for good reason. Some introspection by the moderators might be appropriate at such a time.
    – Henry
    Commented May 10, 2011 at 14:07
  • 1
    @Henry, loaded statement (when did you stop beating your wife? ;-)... Why do you assume we don't routinely introspect?
    – Sklivvz
    Commented May 10, 2011 at 14:44

No, I think on the contrary. I think just because you disagree with some issue on Wikipedia, it doesn't make a question for Skeptics website. On Wikipedia, each page has a "discussion" link, where you can argue for your point.

"can yawning be caused by boredom" is also not a Skeptics question. The peril is that the website would be flooded by irrelevant questions. Most of the circulating questions have an element of doubt. Would you place them all on this website?

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