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So I asked this: Was Absalom's hair really that strong?

An objectively scientific question: can human hair be that big/strong? Yet it was put on hold for being a "Truthy/Is X a sin" question, and this was after I had already accepted a well received answer. What gives? Was the title throwing off people that didn't read the content of the question, but only the title?

If it's not already clear, I do like to ask out-of-the-box, sometimes silly, shock-worthy questions (while still being on topic) with a reasonably linkbait attractive title.


Update: @Caleb's pointed out the question doesn't apply to this site because it's scientific in nature, not Christian. To that I say: why then was it flagged as being truthy?

Y'know NBA referees could call a foul every play if they followed the rule book to the letter, but people come to enjoy the game, not the officiating, so they err to the side of letting things go.

The true foundation of this question was about the trustworthiness of the Word of God and whether the passage was literal, verifiable, or neither. How does that not belong on Christianity.SE? I admit this question is gray, but it was a well received question with a well received answer--couldn't that make us want to tip the scale in favor of keeping it open? When we really could go either way, why not the way of favoring it? People come to this.SE for good questions and answers about Christianity and I think this had all.

  • Plain and simple: The question is a science question. Wrong close reason, imo, but still should be closed as off-topic. This is not a scientific site. Skeptics might accept that question, but they don't usually respond well to "is this possible" question, rather they want questions that can be verified with facts. – 3961 Aug 1 '14 at 23:30
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The title of the question is Truthy. It is asking"was it that awesome?". The body is not Truthy, it's just borderline off-topic. The body asks "is it possible".

I'd.have left it open based on the body.

Had you asked the same thing in the title that you asked in the body, it might have been closed for a different reason or not closed at all. The reason I closed it for that reason is because the title was undeniably asking "Is it true that his hair was that awesome?"

  • You are correct. The title is undoubtedly truthy, but the body is not. Is that bad? – LCIII Aug 1 '14 at 16:36
  • I'm. on a phone so it's hard to link, but you should search Meta for "linkbait titles" – David Stratton Aug 1 '14 at 16:38
  • Yes. I was the one that asked that linkbait question and you were the one that answered. You admittedly said it was a gray area and I agreed--it is a gray area. And in that instance you were against titles that could offend, which I understand as well. I think this is another gray case that could justifiably go either way--I just think it'd be best to err to the positive, and when these equal crossroads come up we should just leave this question. – LCIII Aug 1 '14 at 16:52
  • @LCIII - Actually, this is the post I had in mind. The one you reference is speaking specifically about a possibly offensive title. this one addresses bait titles in general. – David Stratton Aug 1 '14 at 17:27
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    The issue with the example above in this case is that the title is Truthy, not offensive. By posting questions with Truthy titles, you are making it much more difficult to teach newcomers that Truth questions are off-topic. The first reaction is "But then why is asking if Absalom's hair was truly awesome is OK?" Average users and first time visitors aren't going to dig into every question and see that the question doesn't match the title. That's just one reason. The question not matching the title is bad. Thinking "Oh, someone can come along and edit them to get them in line" is not OK. – David Stratton Aug 1 '14 at 17:31
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    At any rate, the title is still why this one was closed as Truthy. The title is the first thing anyone sees. It's not constructive to have the title be off-topic and the body on-topic when it's so easy to just do the title right in the first place. – David Stratton Aug 1 '14 at 17:34
  • Right on right on. I've given in and changed the title to match the body. – LCIII Aug 1 '14 at 19:43
  • I believe the subject is "opinion-based" and I nearly VtCed for that reason, but I read the rest of the question and saw that it wasn't... but I agree it's science-based. – Flimzy Aug 3 '14 at 18:17
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The question has nothing to do with Christianity.

As you say it is a scientific question. Science questions are not a good fit for this site—the usual problem with them being that specific groups often have doctrinal positions about that may or may not be directly related to the science involved. Mixing and matching questions about doctrine and questions about science is just a recipe for disaster. The usual outcome of these is the same issue with other "truth" questions that boil down to who is ultimately right.

If you want answers about what is or isn't possible from the perspective of science, ask a science site. This site is for questions about the beliefs and practices of various Christian groups (which this question was not).

  • I've updated my meta question to address some of these things you're talking about. – LCIII Aug 1 '14 at 12:18
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Sometimes the close reason has to be considered approximate.

Mods and people with close privileges aren't paid referees, they're volunteers who can't be expected to always spend a lot of time making sure every closure is for exactly the right reason and documented (e.g. with comments) as such.

Ultimately, it's better for off-topic questions to be closed rather than distract from the real purpose of the site. Then, as in this case, if the person who asked the question wants more information about the closure, they can ask here or in chat.

When it comes to off-topic votes, each site only has a few custom off-topic close reasons (3, I think), so there's no way they can cover every possible situation.

(SciFi.SE, for example, has a close reason "Questions seeking scientific solutions or explanations are off-topic" but that doesn't exist here.)

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