My question was closed as "primarily opinion-based," but I don't believe it was justified.

If the OP lacks minimal understanding to know that a question is opinion-based, the community shouldn't vote to close it as "primarily opinion-based." Instead, someone should answer it to explain why there isn't a factual answer.

For example, if someone asks:

I'm trying to factor 12, but I don't know if I should do 4 x 3 or 3 x 4. Which one is the right way?

What people do now:

  • Post comments saying that it's a matter of personal preference whether to write the factors in order from smallest-to-biggest or biggest-to-smallest.

  • Vote to close it as primarily opinion-based.

How I think we could do better:

  • Answer the question to explain that, due to the commutative property of multiplication, 3 x 4 and 4 x 3 are in fact equivalent.

Same for the question that I asked. I asked if there were rules/conventions for listing the steps of simplifying expressions. If there aren't any, then that should be the answer. In this case, "it's primarily opinion-based" is literally the answer to my question!


closed as unclear what you're asking by Namaste, Shailesh, Saad, José Carlos Santos, Watson Jun 23 '18 at 8:31

Please clarify your specific problem or add additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it’s hard to tell exactly what you're asking. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • $\begingroup$ Downvoters, please explain why you disagree. $\endgroup$ – clickbait Jun 21 '18 at 4:20
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    $\begingroup$ The general principle is to vote on the post, not the user. So the user having insufficient background to understand why their question is opinion based shouldn't be relevant to the closure reason. I also don't think your example here is comparable to the linked post from main. $\endgroup$ – T. Bongers Jun 21 '18 at 4:25
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    $\begingroup$ So it appears you got an answer to your question. So, what's the matter? $\endgroup$ – Gerry Myerson Jun 21 '18 at 5:51
  • $\begingroup$ @GerryMyerson The matter is that it got closed, which will lead to auto-deletion when it's 30 days old. $\endgroup$ – clickbait Jun 21 '18 at 6:09
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    $\begingroup$ I have downvoted because this post appears to be simply a complaint that your question was poorly received, and the contents of your profile lead me to believe the complaint is made in bad faith -- that you're simply campaigning for a more favorable outcome rather than posting to right a wrong or to improve the environment on MSE. $\endgroup$ – Hurkyl Jun 21 '18 at 10:32
  • $\begingroup$ @downvote-flagger 1) Write a lot of answers! It is the only way to collect a lot of rep. High rep serves as a shield against bullying. 2) MathSE is in general a very nice, tolerant site, compared to the others. (Between your sites, also the security SE is good, the others I know are quite... antagonistic) 3) Your question looks really opinion-based to me, however math is per definitionem not opinion-based. I think it had been better if you get a short answer like "mathematically, they are equivalent. If you want to factorize an integer quickly, better to start with the primes". $\endgroup$ – peterh Jun 21 '18 at 10:51
  • $\begingroup$ @downvote-flagger 4) About the questions: It is useful if you have some larger problem, on what you are working on, and you are in a cycle of learning-trying-asking-goto1. For example, currently I am thinking on some prediction/optimization logic, implemented for the data SE, which finds useful questions to answer :-) Check this. You can't get meaningful rep from questions, they worth lesser, people votes them lesser and more often down. $\endgroup$ – peterh Jun 21 '18 at 10:56
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    $\begingroup$ "Be the change you want to see." Don't wait or expect other folks to read your mind. That's bound to lead to misunderstandings, and misfire answers. Better to specify exactly what you need to know, or provide more context (like mentioning what class you are studying, and/or what section of a text you are studying (using the given topics, not the number of the section), so we can better understand what background you have wrt the question you ask. Don't put the responsibility of getting an appropriate answer on other users; the responsibility to ask, and provide context, sits with you. $\endgroup$ – Namaste Jun 23 '18 at 0:24

(Note: this post responds to the abstract topic posed in the OP, and has nothing to do with the specific question linked to. In particular, it should not be construed as agreeing or disagreeing with its closure)

A fundamental problem here is that if a question is not suitable for the site, then after including the information that the poster did not know that... you still have a question that is not suitable for the site.

As for means of remedying the situation other than removing the question, there is a major avenue you're overlooking: improve the question.


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