Agreed, this question is the must voted of the whole site.

Who or what was Tom Bombadil?

But it fit perfectly the "General Reference" pattern. Typing "Tom Bombadil" in Google lead to Wikipedia and the second link is LOTR Wikia

How this question could remain open and the Sifo-Dyas question closed?

Also see : Why was the Sifo-Dyas question closed as general reference?

The Tom Bombadil question is now [Closed]

  • And what general reference do you think would apply?
    – Kevin
    Commented Jan 16, 2012 at 15:38
  • 2
    Google, point to Wikipedia and some domain specific Wikia. I don't say we should close it, I'm just trying to understand.
    – DavRob60
    Commented Jan 16, 2012 at 15:54
  • @DavRob60 Can you add the General Ref link you think qualifies to your question, along with how you arrived at it?
    – user1027
    Commented Jan 16, 2012 at 17:29
  • Great question. I had exactly the same thought (check out link for some feedback then). Commented Jan 16, 2012 at 17:48

4 Answers 4


We didn't have “general reference” as a close reason back then, and then we forgot about the question.

I think this question does count as covered by a general reference, in that this is an oft-recurring subject, for which a lot of material exists that we aren't hoping to surpass, and for which an obvious entry point exists, the Tom Bombadil article in Wikipedia. So our version of the question doesn't make the Internet better, someone might as well go directly for Wikipedia, which is why we have “general reference” as a close reason.


The real question in that post wasn't about what Bombadil's role in the story was, it was about his origins. The LotR wiki on him has a small paragraph saying his origins are a mystery, and the Wikipedia entry has a somewhat larger but still incomplete description buried deep within the article. I think our question answers the root of the question more completely and directly than either of the wikis. Therefore I think we should at the least keep it around and I would vote to keep it open.

  • While the question has indeed had two good answers that don't 100% duplicate Wikipedia, Mark's discussion on what race Tom may or may not be is the only additional information. The question doesn't seem to be calling for more than what's in Wikipedia. It may be possible to rewrite the question to make it more interesting. If you think the question should stay, I advise you to do so.
    – user56
    Commented Jan 17, 2012 at 21:27

It wasn't closed mainly due to its age. That question was asked in this site's early days, when the specifics of what is and isn't General Reference wasn't as well-defined as it presently is.

edit: I stand corrected, apparently that question predates the General Reference close reason. Tony mentions it was added in April here.

  • 1
    So, should we close this question now?
    – DavRob60
    Commented Jan 16, 2012 at 17:18
  • I love when I make the final close vote on a question. I can just SEE the hammer of my might coming down. It's awesome. Commented Jan 18, 2012 at 10:24

Rather than close the question. We should Lock it and label it as staying for Historical Reasons. Anyone disagree?

I feel like a lot of effort went into it and it really did predate our current concept of General Reference. It would be a shame to delete it, and that's the path closing it leads to.

  • 2
    I think a question either fit this site's requirement or don't, and I don't think keeping it for Historical Reasons is a good thing, it will just confuse users. We already deleted lists and recommendations questions despite the effort that went into them. But that's just my opinion.
    – DavRob60
    Commented Jan 17, 2012 at 17:29
  • There is a locking type that places a banner at the top of the question saying that this question isn't a good example and it is only being kept for historical reasons. I really am hesitant to delete all this work that was done in good faith.
    – DampeS8N
    Commented Jan 17, 2012 at 17:51
  • I was not aware of that, that would be a good idea to use that banner then, if we ever decide to close it.
    – DavRob60
    Commented Jan 17, 2012 at 20:57
  • 1
    @DampeS8N Stack Overflow has accumulated many such historical reasons questions, and all they do is attract more similar questions, because people see the question and ignore the banner.
    – user56
    Commented Jan 17, 2012 at 21:08
  • @Gilles That and, well, attract more people to the site. I think our community is active and smart enough to close any me-too questions that would pop up that simulate this one.
    – DampeS8N
    Commented Jan 18, 2012 at 0:02
  • @DampeS8N Hahaha that's a good one. Plus it's mostly new users who're the problem.
    – user56
    Commented Jan 18, 2012 at 0:10
  • @Gilles, you're too cynical. :P
    – DampeS8N
    Commented Jan 18, 2012 at 0:31

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