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First I would like to know why it is possible to close a question as "too localized" at all? Is it not enough that the question does not get an answer? Why is it necessary to close it?

Every closed question is an act of censorship! Personally I really prefer junk to censorship. To broaden the question: why is it necessary at all to close a question, if it is possible to down vote a question? What is wrong with down voting a question? What makes down voting insufficient?

And second I would like to know how one single person is able to decide what is "too localized" for 1.000.000 users?

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  • Which questions are you concerned about? Can you give some links?
    – Mitch
    Commented Oct 26, 2012 at 14:24
  • @Mitch What is unclear in my question?
    – ceving
    Commented Oct 26, 2012 at 14:27
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    Sure, you're asking about something general, but it'd be nice to have an example. Common courtesy. Otherwise we'd just be answering in empty speculative generalizations.
    – Mitch
    Commented Oct 26, 2012 at 14:28
  • 3
    Your "one person" is a mod. You're not new to SE, so why is this new? It's our job to clean up the site. Downvotes aren't the same as closing a question.
    – user10893
    Commented Oct 26, 2012 at 14:29
  • I call "closing" in general and "too localized closing" in particular into question. This is not a speculative but of course it is a general question.
    – ceving
    Commented Oct 26, 2012 at 14:36
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    You've never seen something closed before? Anywhere else on SE?
    – user10893
    Commented Oct 26, 2012 at 14:38
  • @simchona Is the need for "clean up" explained anywhere? And in which way is SE cleaner if it contains 100 closed instead of 100 down voted questions?
    – ceving
    Commented Oct 26, 2012 at 14:38
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    I wouldn't overstate the 1.000.000 users bit. As I write, ELU itself has "only" 23,793 registered and unregistered users. Anyway, on those rare occasions when a mod does close a question unjustifiably, the collective votes of others can get it re-opened if we feel strongly enough about the matter. Commented Oct 26, 2012 at 19:00
  • I concur with what @FumbleFingers said. When it only takes 5 votes to override a moderator's decision, that's hardly a repressive system where one person acts as an authoritarian over a million.
    – J.R.
    Commented Oct 27, 2012 at 10:49

2 Answers 2

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Your question (next time please link it in your meta post to save me from hunting it down) was closed because you are looking for a name for a computer program. That is off-topic as per the site rules. It is something that can only be answered in the context of your program, because programs often stretch or confine word meanings in ways that aren't valid or aren't natural in normal language. Any answer that satisfies the rules and usage of English is unlikely to satisfy your program and vice versa. The specific "english" use-case of your program is too localized. Hence the close reason. This is a long-established rule on this site.

Furthermore, moderators (such as RegDwight, the closer of your question) are trusted to know and enforce the rules and can close questions unilaterally. This is by-design and not unusual.

What can you do now? You can edit your question into a proper usage/meaning question, showing what research you have done so far, what dictionaries you have consulted, etc. If your question isn't answerable by looking in a dictionary, it can likely be answered here. However, whatever answer you get may be completely useless to your desired context. If you edit your answer, it may be re-opened.

Edit Based on your comments on your question you seem to be confused about or in disagreement with the question-closing policy. The current policy is to close questions that are not deemed on-topic for the site, or that are low-quality. The reason we close and not just downvote is that closed questions can get no more answers. Closed questions can also be deleted. This provides incentive for people to ask good questions, which will stick around and be answered.

Edit 2 Based on your censorship comments I wanted to add that "censorship" is a very loaded word that you are throwing around as if your human rights are being violated and you expect someone to end up in jail for that transgression. This site, like all Stack Exchange sites, has rules and one of the rules is that questions have to meet certain guidelines. No other questions are allowed. It is expected that we close and delete questions that do not meet the guidelines. That is how this site works by design. If you don't like that, you are free to use a different site, or to start your own site.

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  • Sorry but you missed the question at all. I am not talking about one particular closing act. Instead I am talking about closing in general. Remember: this is Meta.
    – ceving
    Commented Oct 26, 2012 at 14:45
  • @ceving Each TL question is TL in its own way. And my answer would be almost unchanged for all TL questions, except for the reasoning about what, specifically, makes a TL question TL. Commented Oct 26, 2012 at 14:47
  • Why is it necessary to forbid answers? It would be much better to delete a question after 30 down votes. Then you can be sure that there are at least 30 people who think that the question is junk instead of only one moderator.
    – ceving
    Commented Oct 26, 2012 at 14:52
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    @ceving: Forbidding answers to forbidden questions is a way of discouraging people from forbidding questions. This site is not meant to answer every possible question, just those that are good quality and on-topic. We try to reward good behaviour and punish bad. The "punishment" is graded: first the question gets closed. Then it gets deleted if not improved. Commented Oct 26, 2012 at 15:23
  • @ceving: Also: you'll note that our moderators are all high-reputation users. That means they've been on the site a long time and have earned the rights to do things like cast close-votes. In your question's case, I would certainly have voted to close. It only takes 5 users to close a question. It only takes one moderator. That's how all Stack Exchange sites work. If you feel a specific question was closed improperly, you can ask about it here, but I've already addressed your question. Commented Oct 26, 2012 at 15:25
  • @ceving: I think maybe you're forgetting another reason for closing "trivial, not-so-good" questions is to prevent other users from gaining rep by posting answers that may be perfectly correct, but don't represent any particular skill/knowledge on the part of the answerer. That would dilute/devalue the rep system by making it easier to gain upvotes for answers that are effectively either common knowledge or easily established. Commented Oct 26, 2012 at 19:08
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You seem to be a bit confused about what closing a question means. Downvotes and close votes are orthagonal: the latter is not a more forceful version of the former. A closed question is not necessarily bad. I would say that only the "not a real question" close reason makes a negative value judgement about the question; the other close reasons can all be a case of "That's a good question, but [insert close reason here]". (Not always, of course: there are many closed questions that are also downvoted. The point is, the one does not imply the other.)

Restricting the questions that can be asked was a conscious and deliberate choice by the site designers, because without it, you get Yahoo!Answers. Don't get me wrong, I don't dislike Y!A; I've been known to answer questions on it. It serves a purpose, just not the same purpose as the SE sites. In particular, it doesn't attract experts, which is at the heart of the SE philosophy: attract the experts, and the non-experts will follow.

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  • Of course it is bad. It is not worth to be discussed further. And even more: it is forbidden to discuss it further. After deleting it has the same worth like a book being burned.
    – ceving
    Commented Oct 26, 2012 at 15:29
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    @ceving: I don't know how else to put this, but you're wrong. If you ask a cooking question on the photography site, it can be a very good cooking question, but it would still get closed & deleted in a jiffy. (I don't think there's a migration path between photography and Seasoned Advice; if I'm wrong, adjust the examples as needed.) This isn't book-burning, this is cleaning house.
    – Marthaª
    Commented Oct 26, 2012 at 15:35
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    @ceving: Nothing prevents the question from being discussed further; closing only prevents it from being answered on ELU. As Martha said, there are several forums on the internet where you can ask your question. This is not censorship, this is keeping one particular site on-topic. I don't agree with every mod closure, but I think the system works, and I prefer the SE system to "junk" (your word for it, not mine, although it's probably the one aspect of your question I happen to agree with).
    – J.R.
    Commented Oct 27, 2012 at 10:44

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