This question was closed as being "opinion based," and I am interested in knowing why. The main part of the question is as follows:
I am trying to find a word that can be used in formal situations that means an unprincipled, unpleasant person. I'm looking for a more formal or civil way to say this, rather than the uncivil “He’s a jerk/bastard.”.
In other words, the OP is looking to find a more formal, perhaps less objectionable, word to replace 'jerk.' The "opinion-based" part, of course, would be that each person has a different measure of what's civil or formal, but I don't see how that actually detracts from the question's validity or likelihood to be answered with "facts or citations." As long as a dictionary definition is linked and some sort of explanation is offered as to what makes the word formal (for instance, finding instances in a book where the characters use the word in a work setting), I feel that there's no issue with a lack of opportunity for referenced backup.
Hello. Bob. Please show research, as expected in questions on ELU. Using a thesaurus to find synonyms (some of which may be formal in register) is a good place to start; even "the 7 synonyms listed by 'Allthesaurus" have no formal examples", with a link, would be fine.
I agree with that. The OP needed to include more context and more information about what prior research they'd done, but the question wasn't closed for the "Please include the research you’ve done, or consider if..." reason. (And I do agree that it should have been closed.) Rather, it was closed for being the sort of question that would attract answers that were more of opinions.
Most users of this site are common-sensed individuals who seem to have a fairly good grasp on what words are suitable for formal speech and what words aren't, and all the answers to the question reflect that: uncivil, scoundrel, reprobate, blackguard, or rascal. While none of them offer an explanation as to why those words are more formal, none of them are based on opinion.
Put another way: Would we close the question "What's a more formal way of saying 'I had a dump in the potty'" for being opinion based, or for being answerable by general reference?
To be clear: I agree that the question deserved closure, but not for opinion-based-ness. I think it should have been closed because the OP didn't provide their prior research. I haven't cast a reopen vote either.
So, what I'd like to know:
- What about that question is opinion based?
- Am I misinterpreting the meaning of "opinion based" as a close reason?
- How could that question have been re-worded to not be opinion based?