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Closing upvoted questions

+ 7 like - 0 dislike

I notice that Gil Kalai's question on rigor has recently been closed, despite having a score of 11, and similarly up voted answers. Clearly the question was closed because some people consider such soft questions off-topic, while apparently quite a lot of others don't, rather than, for example, being crackpottery or at a low level.

It seems in cases like these it would be better to start a thread on meta, rather than have close/reopen wars.

For that particular question, there is such a meta thread, and the consensus seems to be that it should be allowed. With this in mind, I think it's bad form to close the question even when the SE engine gives you that power.

With that in mind, I have voted to reopen.

This post has been migrated from (A51.SE)
asked Sep 29, 2011 in SE.TP.discussion by Joe Fitzsimons (3,555 points) [ no revision ]
A technical question: is it not possible to revoke a vote to close? For example, at the moment @Moshe is among the closers...

This post has been migrated from (A51.SE)
@AndrásBátkai: I think not. They disappear after a while if the question has not been closed, but if it is closed within their period of validity then you need to vote to reopen instead.

This post has been migrated from (A51.SE)
link to the question: http://theoreticalphysics.stackexchange.com/q/107

This post has been migrated from (A51.SE)
Thanks @TobiasKienzler. I posted the question from my phone, so wasn't in a position to add the link at the time.

This post has been migrated from (A51.SE)
related discussion specifically about Gil's question: http://meta.theoreticalphysics.stackexchange.com/q/88

This post has been migrated from (A51.SE)

3 Answers

+ 4 like - 0 dislike

It is a strange feature of SE that by the time a decision to close is made, the original motivation for that can be lost. Certainly there is no point closing the question now after some discussion has resulted, I’m happy to re-open it.

This post has been migrated from (A51.SE)
answered Sep 29, 2011 by Moshe (2,375 points) [ no revision ]
I'll not cast a close vote once more for this question, even though I haven't changed my mind on the relevance of such soft questions on this site. On the other hand, with the very small number of questions we have at the moment (and even a slow down in new questions, it seems...), I might well be wrong to be so selective regarding allowable topics.

This post has been migrated from (A51.SE)
I am with you, in a mature site I would probably try to avoid questions that ask for opinion, particularly for matters in which strong opinions are easy to come by. These will always be popular questions, kind of my point...I did like your answer though.

This post has been migrated from (A51.SE)
@Yvan Velenik: you cannot vote to close a question twice, the SE system doesn't allow that AFAIK.

This post has been migrated from (A51.SE)
+ 2 like - 0 dislike

My biggest problem with the question is that it isn't terribly related to physics as theoretical physicists practice it, but rather as mathematicians practice it. Hence, I voted to close, but that was also at a time when there were a reasonable number of people holding the same opinion. I then went idle for a few days, and missed the discussion. In a sense, my complaint is the same as in Scope and FAQ - for researchers in theoretical physics and related fields.

I don't think I would still vote to close it, but I also don't think it's a very good question at this stage. Based on the current population of this site, it seems vulnerable to being taken over by mathematical physicists and mathematicians, leaving out a rather large portion of theoretical physics. I'm interested in mathematical physics myself, but I don't want this site to be only for that, because it has the potential to be much broader in impact (and such questions could already probably be asked on MO).

Now that the question has been reopened, I don't really intend to try to close it again (at least for the time being), and I'm considering composing an answer. That being said, I think the distinction between mathematical and theoretical physics, in the context of this site, needs to be drawn. Piotr's proposal to remove preference for mathematical physics has +7/-0 vote right now, which seems to be fairly strong support considering the traffic on meta. The naive way I am making the distinction right now is that theoretical physics is practised by physicists, and mathematical physics by mathematicians. However, this is certainly not the only way to do it, and probably not the best way.

If I had to state my criteria clearly for questions, I'm fine with hard questions on mathematical physics, because they should be inherently of interest to theoretical physicists. For soft questions, I'm quite a bit more critical, and I think it really has to be something that the average theoretical physicist (perhaps in a particular discipline or sub-discipline) would be interested in. I'm on the fence for this particular question, but as I said before I don't intend to try to close it.

This post has been migrated from (A51.SE)
answered Sep 29, 2011 by Logan Maingi (210 points) [ no revision ]
I am among the users who have upvoted that proposal. I think Piotr's proposal was that mathematical physics is already part of theoretical physics so no need to distinguish it in the description of the site from other topics in theoretical physics, not that it is not part of the theoretical physics.

This post has been migrated from (A51.SE)
One more thing, an upvote on meta question doesn't nessecerily mean that one agrees with the proposal, it can mean an interested in importance of having a discussion on that topic. On cstheory meta when want to adopt a policy we explicitly state that the votes on the question will be interpreted as votes on the proposal. See [this](http://meta.cstheory.stackexchange.com/questions/778/meta-meta-discussion-and-voting-conventions) and [an example](http://meta.cstheory.stackexchange.com/questions/1127/deleting-answers-to-clearly-off-topic-questions-after-they-get-closed)

This post has been migrated from (A51.SE)
+ 1 like - 0 dislike

Some of StackOverflow's most up-voted questions (e.g. this one) are closed justly - votes just indicate the popularity of a question which does not necessarily correlate to its suitability.

I think the problem is that since in private beta everyone can both down- and close-vote, the difference between the two ("badly posed question / I don't like it" VS "question just doesn't fit here") may be neglected.

That general stuff being said, for this specific question I'm unsure. I up-voted it because it's something I'm interested in as well, but it also does seem to have some problems like many questions in one and no unique answer. But maybe turning the question community wiki and merging the answers (one per sub-question perhaps) could be a solution everyone agrees on.

This post has been migrated from (A51.SE)
answered Sep 29, 2011 by Tobias Kienzler (255 points) [ no revision ]
+1 but plz tag such questions as community wiki. On many SE sites this is not done and then you cant filter for on topic questions via -[cw tag] in SE site search. On SO ALOT closed discussion threads show off without cw tag, you cant filter...Tagging is what i like most on SE, so plz use it abundantly. Tag such "questions" as cw, soft, discussion or close them so i can filter

This post has been migrated from (A51.SE)
@WernerSchmitt: that would be a meta-tag (one that does not provide information what the question is actually _about_) and as such not allowed per [SE edict](http://blog.stackoverflow.com/2010/08/the-death-of-meta-tags/)... You can however use the [custom search](http://theoreticalphysics.stackexchange.com/search?q=) [`is:question wiki:0`](http://theoreticalphysics.stackexchange.com/search?q=is%3Aquestion+wiki%3A0) to show only non-CW questions and make that your bookmark

This post has been migrated from (A51.SE)

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