Recently, I proceeded to vote to close a question. Because the primary reason to cast this vote was that it contained multiple questions, I considered using the free-form reason.

In doing so, I noticed the recent change in the pre-filled text, from:

This question appears to be off-topic because


I think this question may be off-topic because

I for one consider this change to be completely superfluous, if not harmful. For, being a comment, it is already manifest that it conveys my opinion because my name is attached to it, so "I think" is unnecessary.

Moreover, the suppression of the word "question" makes the comment very much prone to ambiguity, especially if there exist (many) other comments.

If both points are dealt with... we end up having changed "appears to be" to "may be".

Am I alone? Should this be reversed?

: In accordance with this post by Anna Lear, the word "question" has reappeared. This does not invalidate the other point, though. However, the meta.SE thread has now been marked status-completed; given the vote tallies, it may be warranted to start a new one asking for complete reversal.

  • 6
    $\begingroup$ I think this may be in agreement with my opinion. $\endgroup$
    – quid Mod
    Commented Jan 20, 2015 at 19:15
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    $\begingroup$ I think that this may be on-topic because it is my opinion. $\endgroup$
    – Asaf Karagila Mod
    Commented Jan 20, 2015 at 19:21
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Related discussion on meta.so $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 20, 2015 at 20:16
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    $\begingroup$ It seems at least we get back "question". This is a recent answer in the thread linked by D.F. $\endgroup$
    – quid Mod
    Commented Jan 20, 2015 at 21:36
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    $\begingroup$ "This is my opinion but I think personally IMHO that maybe perhaps this is sometimes not always the necessary way to handle things, personally." $\endgroup$
    – Pedro Mod
    Commented Jan 20, 2015 at 22:17
  • $\begingroup$ @Pedro: you are so self-absorbed. :-) $\endgroup$
    – quid Mod
    Commented Jan 20, 2015 at 22:56
  • $\begingroup$ @quid How are you getting that from my comment? Are you a wizard? $\endgroup$
    – Pedro Mod
    Commented Jan 20, 2015 at 23:03

2 Answers 2


The pre-filled text has been changed again. It now says

I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because

which describes what is actually happening when that comment appears.


(I think) I agree wholeheartedly, and nearly started this meta thread myself a few days ago.

(I think) Prefacing your opinion with "I think" serves only to weaken the assertion; if you're so sure of your opinion that you would vote to close the question, it's not an opinion that you should want to qualify.

(I also think) The "I think" preface also takes up valuable characters, which I have (at times) needed to express the full nature of a closevote.

I appreciate that the message was changed to capitalize the first word of the comment, but I wish it would read something more like:

This question is off-topic because

(I think) We don't need to qualify our votes with "I think" or "appears to be;" (I think) the people who care enough to closevote with the custom reason are, by and large, knowledgeable enough to know

After reading this post with parenthetical statements, one should realize that prefixing something that is obviously your own opinion is unnecessary at best and obnoxious at worst.

At least, I think so.

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    $\begingroup$ I think, while thinking thinking I'm thinking things is a thing to make one think one is thinking about thinking too much, that thinking I agree with you makes me think "think" is a weird word if used a lot in a sentence. $\endgroup$
    – Lord_Farin
    Commented Jan 20, 2015 at 20:32
  • $\begingroup$ @Lord_Farin Granted, I deliberately overused (to a hopefully comic extent) "I think" in the above answer, and part of the "weirdness" of the term is because of the frequency of overuse. However, to some people (myself, in particular) using the phrase "I think" in front of your own opinion jumps out as painfully unnecessary. Overusing it in the above answer hopefully lets others see a glimpse of the awkwardness that I see in its use. $\endgroup$
    – apnorton
    Commented Jan 20, 2015 at 20:41
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    $\begingroup$ I agree; I simply felt the insurmountable urge to get rid of all those instances of the word that were clogging up my head in a single comment :). $\endgroup$
    – Lord_Farin
    Commented Jan 20, 2015 at 20:46
  • $\begingroup$ Cogito ergo sum. $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 20, 2015 at 21:09
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    $\begingroup$ I think that it is good that we are thinking on a mathematics website. But at the same time, I think that thinking about thinking might be increasingly less productive, since as you progress in your thinking${}^{(n)}$ hierarchy, you start to think less about the problem, and thinking becomes a problem, I think. And if after $\omega$ steps you are still thinking, then it's probably not a good thing that you can still think after this divergent sequence of thoughts about thinking, or at least so I think. In any case, I digress from the main point, so I'll stop. I mean, what was I even thinking? $\endgroup$
    – Asaf Karagila Mod
    Commented Jan 20, 2015 at 22:04
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    $\begingroup$ @AsafKaragila You violated the golden rule "Think twice". $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 21, 2015 at 0:06
  • $\begingroup$ @Daniel: Everyone knows that if you do something twice, you can do it finitely many times, for any finite number of times. It's called induction... duh. Get with the program! :-) $\endgroup$
    – Asaf Karagila Mod
    Commented Jan 21, 2015 at 19:56

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