I've recently gained the ability to vote to close questions. There are some cases which I think are quite easy to vote to close (e.g. when it's a duplicate of another question). However I've come across a couple of quesitons recently which just seem unanswerable.

This was the most recent example: What is an overview of methods used by Christian churches to discipline their members? (sorry Caleb, your question was just the most recent one that I'd read).

Although there is only one answer to this question at the moment, every church group could answer this question and it would be 100% correct.

I also found this on meta Why was my question closed? How can I get it open again? which says that

Questions that are seeking understanding of specific doctrine, must specify the doctrinal tradition to which they are referring.

So I guess I have two questions:

  1. Should this question be closed, and on what option should I pick (maybe off topic)?
  2. If it should remain open, what would be a good answer to the question?

1 Answer 1


First of all, +1 for raising this question at all. It's a valid concern. In general terms a question that is no broad to be reasonably answered would need to be closed as not a real question.

In the case of my question you have used as an example, I think, in spite of being an overview question, it could be answered in just a few paragraphs. The one answer there got of on the wrong foot. Single examples from everybody's experience turning it into a giant poll is not what I was after. I wanted broad classifications, not singleton examples.

Where that question is weak is that it's dated '11 -- which is a dead give away that it predates the community coming to consensus on question guidelines. I could probably word it to be more clear based on my current experience. If the scope is unclear, closing pending classification is certainly the course of action I encourage.

  • Thanks Caleb. As I said, I didn't want to single you out, it was just the last one I read that fitted in that category. I had noticed it was an old question too.
    – Greg
    Commented Jan 31, 2013 at 10:37

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