I asked a question about a popular politician in the US, performing public and collective prayers for a booming stock market, which was closed as not constructive.

Of course, the question is controversial, which makes it a question in the first place.

The template-explanation below the closing note reads:

This question is not a good fit to our Q&A format. We expect answers to generally involve facts, references, or specific expertise; this question will likely solicit opinion, debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion.

Reading it, I have to partially agree on it.


Did my question involve fact? Yes. I saw it on TV, which isn't a proven fact, so I searched the news, to prove it to you, but it seems, as if the prayer itself isn't such a fresh event, but about a month old, and was put into a news about the US pre elections process in the republics camp. But even the name of the candidate, Perry, was repeatedly removed from the message, as being controversial.

How does the name of the candidate make the question controversial? Because the less informed folk will not recognise that this is a republican candidate? So will they adjust their answer and feeling depending on that information, and is it my responsibility to avoid it, and how does it prevent the better informed folk to - well - see it as a controversial point?

I guess people, who don't stand facts, should avoid reading in general. You can't solve a conflict by removing factual information. Adults should stand some information and dissent.


Well - the golden calf is such a common phrase - I don't think it needs further reference. If this was the problem, a question for citation would have been welcome by me, but the question was closed without comment.

It looks like a poor behaviour to me, to vote to close without any remark, what you like to see improved. A second vote-to-close can easily upvote an existing comment on why to close, if it agrees, but without comment, it looks to me like an attempt to establish a taboo.

Question will likely solicit opinion, debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion.

Looking around, I would say that a good part of the questions is leading to argument and debate, example keywords:

  • atheism
  • energy
  • virgin Mary
  • trinity
  • homosexuals
  • free will
  • healing by prayer

I suggest to be more specific when closing a question, if it isn't obviously spam, rude and offensive, or a poor google-request.

  • For the record, and extensive conversation with the OP about this question occurred in chat starting about here.
    – Caleb
    Commented Sep 9, 2011 at 21:22

2 Answers 2


Was the name relevant to the question? Does the family history or party affiliation change the answer? Hardly. In which case, it is at best a distraction, a red herring, and at worst a stumbling block.

Remember, the goal here is to create a knowledge base. In two years, when some other politician is putting on a show praying for the housing market, the answer should still be able to benefit someone reading it.

I suggest to be more specific when closing a question, if it isn't obviously spam, rude and offensive, or a poor google-request.

Someone did:

to OP, this question shouldn't specifically name anyone. It makes it controversial and too localized, all in one go. meta.christianity.stackexchange.com/q/468/19 – DTest 3 hours ago


  • Well, of course the name adds context to the question, and makes it more specific. In a 3 minutes news report, maybe they omitted information, somebody else has. Of course the person, performing the prayer has a history, so somebody could know which mainstream of Christianity the person belongs, and whehter they all share a specific belief, founded on ... . That the name, but not the behaviour might be a stumbling block - well, that is, imho, speculation. Wouldn't most readers already know whom is talked about? Hiding the name only forms a border between insiders and outsiders. Those who know Commented Sep 9, 2011 at 0:51
  • ... and those who don't. In two years this question will have vanished in a bulk of 5 questions per day, which is 3650 questions in 2 years. People will search for Perry, for example, and don't find it. Commented Sep 9, 2011 at 0:53
  • Part II: What you cite is the comment of DTest who didn't vote to close, but who edited the question to remove the name. Commented Sep 9, 2011 at 0:54
  • 2
    Re: part #1: goal isn't to bury information. If you're posting something exceedingly transient with the idea that it'll be buried, it's probably gonna be "Too localized". Part B: don't think for a minute that opting to repeatedly rollback vs. discuss helped your case.
    – Shog9
    Commented Sep 9, 2011 at 1:15
  • You will please respect that what I think, and what I don't think, is not something which I abandon to an authority or majority. I'm a free man. Commented Sep 9, 2011 at 1:48
  • 1
    I do respect it, but I've also respectfully noted that what you think doesn't make for a good question. Your choice...
    – Shog9
    Commented Sep 9, 2011 at 2:16
  • When I rolled the first modification back, there was no comment, why it was done. Then the question was modified again, while my action must have made clear, that in my opinion, the question doesn't remain the same, as before. The person, who performed the edit isn't a moderator, but a user like me. Why should he have more right to edit my question than me? Commented Sep 9, 2011 at 3:12
  • 2
    He doesn't... Look, did you not consider that perhaps he also found the question interesting, and was attempting to resolve the issue that was resulting in it being closed?
    – Shog9
    Commented Sep 9, 2011 at 3:31
  • Since I didn't knew why it was closed, I could only have speculated, why it was closed. Maybe for 4 different reasons. As mentioned above, the reasons, mentioned for closing it (involve facts, references) make much more sense when mentioning the name, giving flesh to the question. However, this question here is more about why it was closed, not why the name was edited away, which has its own thread here: meta.christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/468/… Commented Sep 9, 2011 at 3:55

I suggest to be more specific when closing a question, if it isn't obviously spam, rude and offensive, or a poor google-request.

I agree, it seems we're having trouble coming to a consensus on why a question is VtC. It can't be helped, we're still learning.

My reasons for eventually supporting the not-constructive VtC is the rollbacks. As noted, the name does not add context for a Christianity-related answer, so is unnecessary.

I agree with Peter Turner's 1st/2nd points completely, but have reservations about 3rd. With so many denominations of Christianity, it seems difficult to ask any question that won't spark a different answer per belief (or worst-case scenario, each user has their own opinion). Most of these type questions can be (re)worded to speak to either a specific denomination, or 'what does the bible say about X'. But it's difficult for someone who's not familiar with all the denominations/factions to know how to word it that way.

  • As mentioned in my answer to him, I disagree about the meaning of the golden calf as self-gain. But it can't be discussed, because the question was closed - what a pity! Commented Sep 9, 2011 at 4:00

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