I have seen multiple questions tagged with the tag . However, one thing that I've noticed is that almost immediately, these questions get voted down or they are flagged.

On the tag page, it is specifically written that the soft-question tag is "For questions that don't admit a definitive answer." Then why is it that questions tagged with this tag are voted down or flagged?


1 Answer 1


The Help Center says: "You should only ask practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face. Chatty, open-ended questions diminish the usefulness of our site and push other questions off the front page."

Putting a soft-question tag on a question doesn't change this.

You give the link to some recent soft-question tagged questions. And some of these are actually nice questions without a downvote. For example, this question, is in my opinion a good question. It does not admit a definitive answer and so the soft-question tag is appropriate.

With an example like this one, I don't think the question in on-topic because the answers will depend heavily on opinion.

Looking through the list I also see several questions that are off-topic, like this one.

I wonder if the reason that soft-questions are more often downvoted is that it is a tag that is often used of these open-ended chatty questions.

But maybe someone could do some statistics so we could see if it actually is the case that open (i.e not closed) soft-question tagged questions are more often downvoted.

Also, could you provide some (several) examples where you believe a soft-question tagged question was wrongly downvoted?

  • $\begingroup$ +1. However, consider for example, one of the example questions you provided yourself - math.stackexchange.com/questions/699002/…. This question is primarily opinion based. However, if I must show one of my own questions at math.stackexchange.com/questions/699737/… - it is on hold, since it is primarily opinion based. Basically, I am trying to convey the fact that most soft questions are opinion based, and so I think that shouldn't be flagged. $\endgroup$
    – user122283
    Commented Mar 5, 2014 at 2:53
  • $\begingroup$ @SanathDevalapurkar: I disagree that math.stackexchange.com/questions/699002/… is opinion based. I would agree that there is some ambiguity since "late" isn't clearly defined. But it has good answers that are hard to "disagree" with (for example the answer with Fermat's Last Theorem. With your question, I think this is borderline because the "controversiality" is closer to opinion based. $\endgroup$
    – Thomas
    Commented Mar 5, 2014 at 3:00
  • $\begingroup$ @SanathDevalapurkar: Also, if you would like your question reopened you can make your case and post a request here: meta.math.stackexchange.com/questions/6424/…. You might just get it reopened ... $\endgroup$
    – Thomas
    Commented Mar 5, 2014 at 3:01
  • $\begingroup$ I understand now the slight difference between "controversiality" and opinion based. $\endgroup$
    – user122283
    Commented Mar 5, 2014 at 3:06
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @SanathDevalapurkar and Thomas: the request for re-open votes post is designed for uncontroversial re-openings, such as when the question has been significantly edited by the OP to address specifically all the comments and the problems pointed out in the closure reason. For other disagreements about closures of questions, please post stand-alone requests so discussion can be better organised. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 5, 2014 at 9:37
  • $\begingroup$ In my opinion (note the word): opinion-based questions should be flagged, regardless of how hard or soft they are. $\endgroup$
    – GEdgar
    Commented Mar 5, 2014 at 13:56
  • $\begingroup$ @WillieWong: I thought the process was first to post a request in the thread. If this fails, then one can make the plea in a separate meta post. $\endgroup$
    – Thomas
    Commented Mar 5, 2014 at 16:57
  • $\begingroup$ (oops, wrong thread, sorry Thomas) It seems your post about controversial proofs is not so controversial. I would not vote to close it. I think it's an interesting and possibly useful question. What you need to do to make it impossible for them to close it is simply define controversy by some objective criteria and repost the question. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 12, 2014 at 13:59

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