Why, or how, did the question Why do many christians object to same sex civil marriage? suddenly become "non-constructive"? It was there for weeks and I doubt it was simply overlooked (it already had moderator intervention prior to my answer edit). I think before I revised my answer the views were down around 100. The views jumped to over 500 in a matter of hours and suddenly the OP becomes non-constructive? Please explain.


2 Answers 2


First of all, there was nothing "sudden" about the closure, we are all involved in a long term learning process about what makes good questions or not. Concerns were brought up when that was first asked, but at the time we didn't have any experience or guidelines to go by, so we let it go. As time as gone on, we've learned a lot about what makes constructive vs. non-constructive questions.

Secondly, as the moderator who made the call to go ahead and close it, I left a detailed comment with the explanation of my thinking.

The question you reference on Judaism.SE is fundamentally different in that it asks about a specific tradition and for answers based on a specific set of source texts. Asking about "many Christians" is not a parallel question because there are many different texts and traditions involved and there are even more people that just act on hunches and personal doctrines. The only "right answer" here would be a statistics poll with different reasons, but that would make this a vote contest based on viewpoint! Hence: closing Not-Constructive pending an edit about who you want to hear from.

The fact that you question my "why" without even referencing the explanation I gave makes me wonder whether you didn't look to see it or didn't understand it or didn't like/agree with it or what the deal is. In any event, any discussion about why things were done should start from where things were left on the question not from a hypothetical square zero. Can you edit your meta question here or at least comment with your reaction to my reasoning in that comment?

Next, I included a link to to another meta post that has some guidelines for how to frame a question that would be constructive. If anybody wants to edit that question in order to frame it in a way that can have verifiable right/wrong answers that would be welcome.

As it stands the answers and reactions over time have shown that the question is encouraging both opinion based answers and opinion-poll voting. Your own answer is +7/-6. This is a clear sign that the question does not provide a reasonable framework for judging answers and people are left with no choice except to vote based on whether they agree/disagree with an opinion rather than accuracy.

@Flimzy suggested in the comments on his answer that the timing is based on the fact that you edited your answer, thus putting it on the home page and catching people's attention. This is a logical explanation and partially true. However another part of the back story is that your answer has been collecting offense flags like they are going out of style.

For the record, I would like to raise several objection to this comment of yours:

I guess I am suspicious. For what obviously was generating a lot of traffic--something you would think would be welcome--it kinda looked like an effort to quiet the voice.

First of all, there is no conspiracy. There isn't something happening behind your back, the discussion about what is constructive or not has been going on extensively in chat and other meta posts.

Secondly, attracting traffic is not the metric of whether something is a good question and welcome here. Sure we want traffic, but we want traffic that comes for good quality questions and answers not people that come to gawk at a battle of opinions. Controversy is very attractive but we don't want traffic that is just circling vultures.

Thirdly, the suggestion that somebody is trying to silence your voice was not appreciated and, I think, groundless. As the mod that made the closure, I also made the decision to dismiss the offensive flags on your post and not just delete it. I think you could have done a much better job at making a tactful and convincing argument but, since it did answer the question, I decided that the question was at fault for not providing a constructive scope rather than your answer. I realize people find the view represented to be offensive on principle no matter how you phrase it but you could use a better way to present your case.

  • Timing was everything. If you had done it prior to my edit I wouldn't have thought anything of it. I buy Flimzy's answer. Sorry about thinking you had bad intent, but I think you can understand how it could come across that way. By the way, I do suspect a lot of your clean up efforts actually hurt the site and I'd be interested to see the statistics. Are the increased efforts due to a general decline? If so, do the stats show any relief since you've stepped up clean up? Oct 14, 2011 at 10:06
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    @ThePreacher: You are welcome to air your voice in chat or any of the meta discussions. If you can come up with an argument for how our efforts are detrimental to the site, we're all listening. However you should note that the metric of success here is not views but the quality of the content. The statistic that matters is the quality of questions you see coming across the home page which is something you can see the same as we do. The effort to work on guidelines was triggered by steadily bad scores on that metric.
    – Caleb
    Oct 14, 2011 at 10:10
  • What good is high purity content if nobody reads it? Oct 14, 2011 at 10:15
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    @ThePreacher: High quality questions and answers are what experts do want to read. StackExchange is a place for experts. Incidentally the quality bar also holds high attraction value to non-experts as well.
    – Caleb
    Oct 14, 2011 at 10:25
  • I suspect there might be a balance and that too much purity will sink the ship. Oct 14, 2011 at 10:30
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    @ThePreacher: You are invited to write a meta post here that outlines your opinion on where that balance lies in general or posses the question for others to answer. In the mean time the only thing to do is discuss case by case whether an action is productive or not. Besides this meta thread there is also another one on that particular question that you can weigh in on: How focussed does a question need to be?
    – Caleb
    Oct 14, 2011 at 10:44

Based on @Caleb's comment, it seems the reason it suddenly became non-constructive is related to the re-focusing effort of the site.

The only "right answer" here would be a statistics poll with different reasons.

It's also possible to have the question re-opened, if, as Caleb says, the OP clarifies which viewpoint he's asking for.

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    So it's just a coincidence that it happened right after my addition when the views tripled? Oct 14, 2011 at 1:55
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    I don't know if it's coincidence... the multiple views lead to new/updated answers, which moved it to the front page, which probably got moderators attention sooner than if it hadn't been "refreshed."
    – Flimzy
    Oct 14, 2011 at 1:59
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    I'd guess not. There is an effort to go through the site and clean up non-conforming posts. I would guess that, because you edited your answer, the post jumped up to the top, grabbed somebody's eye, and they, being aware of the new guidelines, flagged it--after which it was closed. It would have happened sooner or later.
    – Ray
    Oct 14, 2011 at 1:59
  • I guess I am suspicious. For what obviously was generating a lot of traffic--something you would think would be welcome--it kinda looked like an effort to quiet the voice. Oct 14, 2011 at 2:01
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    Traffic-generation is not the criteria by which individual question quality is measured on SE sites.
    – Flimzy
    Oct 14, 2011 at 2:04
  • 1
    @The it happens all the time on Software Engineering and it's really annoying, someone answers an ancient question I asked and then the question gets closed or migrated 2 minutes later.
    – Peter Turner Mod
    Oct 14, 2011 at 2:06

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