The question in question: What is a less offensive synonym for "hypocrite"?

It was closed as "not constructive." (it also got downvoted). Why? There's a fairly similar question that not only stayed open, but got a good amount of upvotes:

What is a less offensive synonym for "retarded"?

From Shog9's "question" on single word requests:

  • Is my first impulse to reach for a dictionary / thesaurus / Google?

    I tried to find the right word in a thesaurus, to no avail. I also posted a link to it on my question.

  • Can I say with reasonable certainty what the correct answer would look like?

    I tried specifying exactly what I wanted in the question and the comments.

  • Is this question interesting, unique, thought-provoking?

    This is of course a lot more subjective, but I don't see why it isn't.

  • Maybe the closers missed the fact that you'd already tried the thesaurus and it wasn't helpful.
    – Lynn
    Dec 1, 2011 at 0:35

1 Answer 1


I personally voted to close with the following things in mind:

  • You mentioned looking at a thesaurus, but with no reasons why you didn't like the options they posed. Without knowing what your critieria are, we can't find you the "best" word.

  • You had no real context in which you wanted to use the word. You were simply trying to find a synonym. Telling me that you want to be able to call someone that synonym gives no objective criteria with which to give you options. We would simply be throwing out more synonyms, hoping that one would stick. Good context is, for example, having an exact situation where you'd like to use the word, or even a sentence.

I can't speak for the other people who voted to close.

  • I edited the question, hopefully it's more clear now.
    – Orion
    Dec 1, 2011 at 1:07

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