About this question: any books on old testament apologetics?

I can see this question as being problematic simply because it shows a lack of research, but I'm struggling to see how this could be closed as "too broad". It asks a simple yes or no question, to which there's a simple "yes" answer. It's not a list question, and narrowing it down to "books written by denomination/group x" wouldn't change the answer.

As brilliant pointed out by asking these questions...

... Scoping isn't always the issue. While there wasn't much support for my Meta post on Can simply adding “ACCORDING TO X” salvage any question? brilliant's series of questions further illustrates the problem of trying to improve questions solely by scoping them.

Back to the question at hand - are there any books on Old Testament apologetics... the question as stated is objectively answerable.

  • It's not a duplicate
  • It's not off-topic
  • It's not unclear what's being asked
  • It's not an opinion question.

To me, it looks like this was just a relatively un-researched question, but we don't have a close option for "too basic" or "general reference", so the community picked the only close reason left. That close reason doesn't seem to fit IMO - "Too broad"

Perhaps it really is too broad, and I'm losing my perspective on the community guidelines. Or perhaps the guidelines are getting even more strict.

Please don't take this as me being argumentative. If this really is a question that suffers from a scoping issue, I really want it explained to me, because I just don't see it.

Could someone, anyone, please explain to me how it could possibly be improved by scoping it to a specific group?

  • I don't think it can be. The OP could come back and give more detail about what he wants, but ultimately I think that question is a lost cause
    – wax eagle
    Aug 6, 2013 at 13:19

3 Answers 3


Ok this meta post might be the beginning of us using some new functionality we were given in the last round of close vote changes. This is merely the suggestion to implement that functionality and will have to be followed by an additional meta post in which the community votes on the change.

I contend that this question (and brilliant's series) show a lack of both A. a minimum of research and B. A minimum understanding of the problem that they are trying to solve.

I personally think that solution to this problem is to declare these questions off topic and to add a custom close reason that indicates "This post is off topic because it fails to show a minimum research effort [meta post with suggestions for where to look wrt research]"

I agree with you that "too broad" is a bit of a half-hearted close reason. I probably would have chosen "unclear what you're asking" if only to indicate that this kind of question just isn't adequately thought out. However, I think that if we're going to continue to see and close this kind of question than we might need to go ahead and make them off topic so it's clearer why we are closing them.

Also, I think it might be good to remind folks that you've got a custom off topic close reason. Use it if you want to explain the closure a bit more thoroughly.


I would have gone with "unclear what you're asking" here, but still closed it until the guy was a little bit more explicit about what sort of thing he wanted to find. I'd also buy some sort of custom off-topic close reason for this as wax argues.

It asks a simple yes or no question, to which there's a simple "yes" answer.

This makes a presumption about yes/no questions that I think is invalid for this site, as well as one about those writing them that I think is usually false.

  • People that ask that sort of question are rarely asking just a yes/no question. Even if that is the literal wording and there is no "if [yes], then what", it is implied. In this case I think the guy is looking for some actually results, not just a "yes".
  • Even if if a yes or no was what the original author expected, in the interest of everybody else coming to this site as a reference, I don't think that any answer here should be left with something that basic. We require explanations. We want the whys and hows and history and examples, even if the original OP didn't ask for them.

Aren't shopping list questions always off-topic?

Any question that simply asks for a resource is inherently too broad to be answered objectively. There is no way to judge the "best" answer, because the only truly objective answer is "Yes."

Scoping it to a group is a red herring. The question is bad because it doesn't have an answer - not because it's not tied to a group.

  • One might also say. "No, there are no Christian books on Old Testament apologetics because the Old Testament is always read in light of the new." But then that depends on your definition of Christian which is why I feel little remorse with the cop out VTC reason of "Too Broad" (I'd be more careful if there actually were 4 other people or one moderator who agreed with me, but it gets the conversation going)
    – Peter Turner Mod
    Aug 6, 2013 at 15:52
  • 1
    I wish I had said Off-topic rather than too broad, btw :) Aug 6, 2013 at 16:49

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