Note: This question is (in my opinion) not a duplicate of the question people have voted to close it for. I specifically cite that particular link, and am expressing confusion about how that answer in the link does not seem like it covers these close votes.

I am thoroughly confused as to what is allowed under the soft-question tag question. From the tag description, we have

"For questions whose answers can't be objectively evaluated as correct or incorrect, but which are still relevant to this site. Please be specific about what you are after."

but we also have in the Help Center "To prevent your question from being flagged and possibly removed, avoid asking subjective questions where … every answer is equally valid: 'What’s your favorite ___?'" (https://math.stackexchange.com/help/dont-ask)

So, naturally, it seems there is a fuzzy line in the middle, and this question seems to try to outline the difference between the two in which the punchline (from what I can tell) is:

"Between those two there are questions whose answers are not almost entirely based on opinions yet still cannot be objectively evaluated as correct or incorrect. These are soft questions that are not necessarily off-topic." (Are "soft questions" "opinion based"? How about vice versa?)

So, with that background, my question is the following:

What objective aspect determines whether a soft question fits math.SE? As working examples, why were the following three questions voted to be closed?

How to learn complex analysis? - The question specifically asks for recommendations based on experiences, and Help Center seems to OK that, and the question's answer is not just arbitrary. Also, the close note says: "Update the question so it can be answered with facts and citations. This will help others answer the question.", though people are answering it with names of textbooks, and is it not a fact that "Textbook X has helped me learn complex analysis"? Furthermore, the question: "How can one that has an basic knowledge of real analysis approach complex analysis? What do I start? Are there any books you would recommend?" seems very similar to the question "Which book provide a good and accessible introduction to number theory for a self-studying under-graduate student that already followed a course on abstract algebra but does not know any complex analysis?" @quid seems to recommend as an acceptable soft-question question. (given in Are "soft questions" "opinion based"? How about vice versa?)

Why do they write textbooks as lists of theorems and definitions, with unsolved exercises and proofs left to the reader? - A lot of the answers seems to explain the how giving the answers immediately could be discouraging, and they are long proses and again, I cannot find anything that these questions seem to violate.

The last one, the one that prompted me to write this question was the one that was this one:

How is analysis beautiful? -- confusion from an algebraist

and perhaps after a 'very minor' edit I made, I think the question fits within the boundaries outlined in the help center. Since this is the one that inspired me to write this post, I will check that this question fits the criteria in the help center:

To prevent your question from being flagged and possibly removed, avoid asking subjective questions where …

  • every answer is equally valid: “What’s your favorite ______?”: I would argue that you cannot answer this question with every answer: "I think the deepest, foundational, beautiful result in analysis is $1+2 = 3$"

  • your answer is provided along with the question, and you expect more answers: “I use ______ for ______, what do you use?” The OP does not know the answer to this question.

  • there is no actual problem to be solved: “I’m curious if other people feel like I do.” Perhaps this is the closest one, but the question asker is specifically asking for justifications, not a simple yes-no answer.

  • you are asking an open-ended, hypothetical question: “What if ______ happened?” No

  • your question is just a rant in disguise: “______ sucks, am I right?” No

It would be nice if you can suggest what edits could be done to any of these questions (if they are salvageable), so I can learn via examples.

Note that it seems soft-question tag has always been a bit controversial, since the only answer to Too many soft questions? has two comments that are discussing whether this website should be considered a "promo to mathematics" website, and both sides seem to have a noticeable (10+) amount of upvotes, so maybe a separate question on whether this website wants to be a "promo to mathematics" is also called for. (though I am not sure if that is too opinion based for Meta.SE)

(P.S. I have never asked a question in SE before (I just tried to emulate the style of questions I like answering in Math.SE by giving lots of examples and the relevant references), so feel free to modify the question in any way such as cutting paragraphs or bolding/highlighting the necessary, and feel free to answer with your own interpretation of the rules about any of the posts I linked, though my overall question is definitely a general question; these are ideally just some working examples.)

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    $\begingroup$ Can people giving -1s please comment on what is wrong with this question so I can edit it? $\endgroup$ – E-A Sep 5 '20 at 23:26
  • $\begingroup$ math.meta.stackexchange.com/a/29820/9003 An answer to your duplicate question. $\endgroup$ – amWhy Sep 5 '20 at 23:31
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    $\begingroup$ I quoted that page in my answer, and have used the example quid gives in the question body (since it seemed contrary to some of the close votes). How would you suggest I change this question to emphasize the fact that I read that one and am still confused? $\endgroup$ – E-A Sep 5 '20 at 23:32
  • $\begingroup$ Your title creates a false dichotomy: Those questions which are soft questions, and those questions which should be closed. Many soft questions should be closed, and many questions that should be closed, are not soft questions. $\endgroup$ – amWhy Sep 5 '20 at 23:33
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    $\begingroup$ @E-A Regarding your first comment: voting on meta works differently than voting on the main site. On meta, a downvote means, roughly, "I disagree with this question / answer". Downvotes do not necessarily indicate that the post is in need of clarification or improvement. $\endgroup$ – Xander Henderson Sep 5 '20 at 23:34
  • $\begingroup$ @amWhy Hm, I guess when I used soft-question in the question statement, I meant "soft questions that are allowed and thus are deserving of the soft-question tag". If you have a suggestion for a title, I can change it so. $\endgroup$ – E-A Sep 5 '20 at 23:36
  • $\begingroup$ @XanderHenderson Hm, I don't understand why the community would have decided for it to be so (though I guess my question is biased too so I guess by downvoting, people disagree with some of the claims made in the question, though it would still be nice of them to explain which aspects they disagree with (ideally in an answer/comment format like amWhy did so)), but thanks for giving me a heads up that I might not receive explanations for the downvotes on a question in meta.SE. $\endgroup$ – E-A Sep 6 '20 at 0:06
  • $\begingroup$ @E-A Most questions tagged "soft question" are tagged by the asker who selects, correctly, or incorrectly, that tag. That's who usually determines the tag. Some askers are mistaken thinking that any question seeking opinions or a survey are soft questions that should remain. Regular users with the privilege to downvote and or close can determine otherwise: that the question is not a good fit for math.se. $\endgroup$ – amWhy Sep 6 '20 at 0:18
  • $\begingroup$ @amWhy Thanks for the comment; I changed the title to perhaps clarify what I meant to ask. (I am aware that it is the users' decision to assign arbitrary tags) I am curious to hear from members of meta to see what they think about whether a question belongs into math.se, ideally going through these examples and saying what they would have personally voted with justifications (but answers that don't do so and are giving some attempt at objective evaluation are also appreciated) $\endgroup$ – E-A Sep 6 '20 at 0:24
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    $\begingroup$ Thanks for the clarification, @E-A! $\endgroup$ – amWhy Sep 6 '20 at 0:25
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    $\begingroup$ You've done a good bit of research on the Math.SE aspects of this, and I'm in favor of discussing your examples (so I voted to reopen). Have a look at the broader StackExchange philosophy as outlined by Robert Cartaino in the blog post Good Subjective, Bad Subjective. $\endgroup$ – hardmath Sep 7 '20 at 3:38
  • $\begingroup$ @hardmath thanks (for both the reopen vote and the link; that link was in quids original answer as well, though it is a good link and the points there are basically elaborations of points on the help page, so it is helpful for clarification.) $\endgroup$ – E-A Sep 7 '20 at 7:27

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