I'm referring to this question:


A determined effort was made to steer this question on-topic - in what particular respect did those efforts fail?

I could understand a 'too broad' VTC (although an attempt was made to circumvent this possibility) - why, given that opinions were sought from particular traditional perspectives was this claimed to be 'primarily opinion based'?

1 Answer 1


In general, summary questions fail.

Trying to develop a summary question is really hard, this one is massively broad, and the attempt at a summary answer had several issues:

  • It represented a single POV
  • It was already quite long from the single POV
  • There isn't good validation for representation of viewpoints in a single summary answer.

Ultimately, what this would have ended up with if it had succeeded would have been a massive single answer to a question.

The flaws in your attempt at a summary answer illustrate the overall problems with summary questions. They don't attract sufficient attention to capture the potentially dozens of POVs, they end up very long and there isn't a way to validate that all perspectives are being represented properly or fairly.

This is why we try to restrict Q&A to a single POV (or a very small subset of them) per question.

  • It seems that you're agreeing with me that the main problem was 'too broad' as opposed to 'primarily opinion based' - perhaps we can hear from those who voted why they chose that option in particular. Commented Jun 12, 2014 at 17:46
  • @bruisedreed there honestly isn't much of a gap between those two. I would have closed as "too broad", but the fact is it should be closed. Making a big deal out of the close reason doesn't mean much.
    – wax eagle
    Commented Jun 12, 2014 at 17:49
  • I don't think I'm 'making a big deal' out of it. My point is I tried to avoid this eventuality and failed - I'd just like to have a little more clarity as to why. It's not just about this particular question, but about avoiding making the same mistake in the future. Commented Jun 12, 2014 at 17:51
  • 4
    @bruisedreed The best way is to try to help the user understand our question standards, try to help them along, cast quick close votes/close flags, and if scope delineations are made in comments, edit them in. Don't give a question an artificial scope, and don't make it into a summary question. But know that not all questions are worth saving, sometimes its best to just call it like it is and close it.
    – wax eagle
    Commented Jun 12, 2014 at 19:07
  • understood - thanks for the further clarification Commented Jun 13, 2014 at 2:26

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