I have read it a lot under many questions in EL&U and even ELL. It is one of most ambiguous terms which I have read here. Please discuss about it to make it clear for all users as well for mods to not misuse it under any questions. Is there anything about in FAQ to explain it definitely?

  • @Stoney Thank a lot for your nice edit. what a strange mistake I had made because of my carelessness! :') Feb 14, 2013 at 15:59

2 Answers 2


Throughout the SE system a constructive question is one which demands clear, unambiguous, evidentially supportable answers as opposed to varying and mostly personal opinions. Here is what the FAQ says:

not constructive
As it currently stands, this question is not a good fit for our Q&A format. We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or specific expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion.

For instance, “Which is better, American spelling or British spelling?” is Not Constructive—if people could agree the question would never even arise. But “Will this sentence in American spelling be misunderstood by British readers?” is Constructive—if any misunderstanding is in fact possible, posters will tell you exactly where the misunderstanding arises, and will probably also suggest workarounds to avoid misunderstanding.

  • It seems reasonable. So what about suggesting it about any question of non English speakers through editing process not in an aggressive or sarcastic form as a comment? Feb 14, 2013 at 15:25
  • If I understand what you are asking, I'd say that it is difficult for a writer of one language to predict how what he or she writes might be misunderstood by a reader who does not perfectly command that language; and it is equally difficult for the reader who does not command the language to judge what tone the writer intends to convey. My advice to both is that of Proverbs: "A soft answer turns away anger." Feb 14, 2013 at 15:35
  • Anger is a case but more important thing is being reasonable and honest. I think through suggesting an edit an editor/user/mod can kindly/nicely suggest people to correct themselves and learn not like an idiot buzzer tries vulgar language or worse offensive reactions without any acceptable reason. Personally I cannot understand how it can make arrogance for a person who have almost good understanding of a language because of knowing by birth or living or working in English unless he/she is a problematic person without "appropriate etiquette" which has been mentioned in the FAQ. Feb 14, 2013 at 15:47
  • So how a suspended person who has been target of such an offensive language/behavior can protest against it? do not you think there is a need to rework on some rules of FAQ and make them more clear and change some of them in order to make the space more democratic and far from of hands of "personal idea" owners and aggressive reactions which makes offense and seems ugly as a look from outside? Feb 14, 2013 at 15:51
  • 4
    @user37324 Those closevote terms are out of our hands; they obtain across the entire StackExchange network. You must address them at meta.SO. Keep in mind, too, that Closing is reversible; the point of Closing is not to kill the question but to provide the OP an opportunity to fix it. Feb 14, 2013 at 16:05
  • What is the point of suspending? Why having 3 closed topics can cause suspending a user? so do not you think it can make a good space for misuse or a grouping attack against a user? Feb 14, 2013 at 16:43
  • And how many votes can close a topic and by who? Feb 14, 2013 at 16:44
  • 2
    @user37324 Only a moderator can suspend. The point of suspension is to let folks cool off and consider Have I maybe taken the wrong approach here? Have I misunderstood the 'rules of the road'? It's what we call a 'time out'. Sure there's potential for abuse; there is in any system. But moderators are elected by the community and accountable to the community. The mods over at ELU are very highly respected precisely because they are seen to be fair and temperate. Feb 14, 2013 at 16:56
  • What about making cool down a mod? Who can decide creating 3 posts which there is not an agreement between many people to close it or not can considered as misunderstanding some rules which are very ambiguous and vague and every one can find his/her own mean through it which can be very different with the others ideas about it ? Feb 14, 2013 at 17:29
  • But "democracy" doesn't mean only an election to give all right of wrong decisions to 3 or 4 people who like the other people can be under many personal emotions against some of users. I disagree with you and found them against this claim. Please make another election to change rules and FAQ and surely moderators but all users with any reputation can join it to find the result! Feb 14, 2013 at 17:32
  • And If you find it reasonable to suspend people because of their closed questions according to ideas of 1 or 4 people why do you avoid of adding this rule to the FAQ by clear sentences like this: After having 3 closed questions you will be suspended! Feb 14, 2013 at 17:35
  • If this kind of reaction and decision making according to some ambiguous rules which guarantee power of 3 or 4 people to decide about 23000 questions, mean fair and is respectful I have nothing to add! :) Feb 14, 2013 at 17:37
  • @user37324: RE: "But "democracy" doesn't mean only an election to..." Where did you read that StackExchange was a "democracy"?
    – J.R. Mod
    Feb 15, 2013 at 18:22

1) If a question doesn't seem like a good fit for this site, people can vote to close. When they do, they are shown a screen that looks like this:

enter image description here

We can pick apart the meanings of "not constructive" and "too localized" all we want, but, in the end, they both simply mean: "out of all the reasons I could have voted to close this question, this is the reason that seems to fit best."

2) When a question is closed, that simply means no more answers will be accepted. You don't lose rep points for having a question closed. The answers don't go away. People can still read the question, and leave comments. The question can still be upvoted and downvoted. It's not a punishment, it's a mechanism to help visitors and regular members direct their valuable time and energies toward better questions. Remember, answers take time to compose, and most regulars on the Stack Exchange have a very finite amount of free time.

3) When a question is closed, it can be improved, and it can be reopened. In fact, some closed questions do get reopened. Sometimes a question gets judged too quickly, when those who voted to closed failed to see some deeper nuances. However, more often than not questions get reopened after they have been improved.

4) Most closed questions fail to provide enough context. If my question was closed, I would invest my energy into improving it, rather than arguing with people about it. (I certainly wouldn't make wholesale insults to the community at large; that's not likely to garner much support.)

5) I've seen very few closed questions that couldn't stand a little improvement: tell us where you found the phrase, show us what research you already did, explain a little more about why you are confused. Make it less vague and more pertinent. Ask for help, and listen to the advice you're given.

6) I don't necessarily agree with all close votes, and I've even actively campaigned to get some questions reopened. But I also understand this is a community, that we all have our own opinions – and I respect that. That's why it takes five votes to close a question, and that's why five more votes can override those votes, and reopen the question.

7) Yes, moderators can close questions unilaterally, but don't complain about that. Moderators are respected, trusted members of the community, and they have a right to exercise their best judgment. It's also worth noting that even a moderator's closure can be overridden by five members of the community, so, please, no railing about perceived injustices.

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