So I saw that The Ashley Judd question got re-opened after a massive edit, I think that is a good thing and part of the proccess. However, I think this is a very sad statement from the community as even the new question I don't think is a really good example of what we should be doing here.

Update 1:
The question was edited after it was closed - which I missed so there may be some confusion on the close reason. This is the original question:

<title>What TNG episodes does Ashley Judd appear in? </title>
What was her characters name and what was her role in the episodes? I've got "The Game" -- I can't remember a second time, but I know there was one.

That is the text that was involved in the uproar, I still don't think it's a great questions, but better than originally asked.

In fact the edits changed the question in such a dramatic way, that I should have been a new question IMHO.

I've inserted the post history below so everyone can see what i'm talking about. Events are newest at the top, oldest at the bottom. alt text

Why do I think this is a bad question?

  1. It's beyond an easily google-able question. There is no added value to simply posting an answer with a) the episode name and b) a link to IMDB/Wikipedia/etc
  2. There is really nothing of value that can be added without straying off topic of the question, while Tony makes a valiant effort, his answer veers off course into a discussion on why certain characters where not in the movie Nemesis
  3. Another place listing what actors where in what TV show/Movie doesn't make the internet a better place
  4. I whole heartedly agree with Jeff on this one

Mark Trapp put it very well in the comments when he said:

This type of question is a death trap: leaving it open allows for people to ask this about every single TNG guest star, or heck every single guest star on every single SF show ever. Do we really want the site to be consumed with these types of questions?

So, i've resisted just shutting it back down for now. And I pose this question to the community, why is it a good question that makes the internet better?

  • 2
    Note that while I answered it, I didn't vote to re-open (and wouldn't have). I tried to focus my answer on the "why did she say she didn't" part of the question, which seems the more interesting and more difficult part (in fact, I could not manage to find any definitive answer to this, despite much Googling). Part of the reason I answered was that it appears that an answer has been deleted, since the other existing answer no longer makes sense.
    – Tony Meyer
    Jan 22, 2011 at 6:06
  • 1
    I think it would be useful if you edited the title of this meta question to include something that identifies the parent question. As it is, it is very vague.
    – Tony Meyer
    Jan 22, 2011 at 6:07

2 Answers 2


In my comment above, I was wrong. I would vote to re-open this question if it closed.

In answering the question, I spent about an hour researching it - I read the relevant parts of Wikipedia and Memory Alpha, I searched for their original sources, I tried to find (illegal!) clips of shows on YouTube, and so forth. I failed.

You can argue that I'm just not good enough at researching, but my position is that if I can't find the answer in that amount of time, then it's absolutely not simple to answer, and is worth having on the site. It seems likely to me that a good answer will have to wait for someone that clearly recalls the actual events, or has closer knowledge (e.g. if Wil Wheaton decides he likes the site and answers himself).

You've chosen a bad example for this meta question. The example you have chosen isn't "What episodes of TNG was Ashley Judd in"? (That is something that IMDB is more suited for, and something we don't need IMO). The example you chose is asking that, and why/whether she denied being in TNG.

If you don't think that's clear enough from the question, then you should down-vote it with a comment, and the poster can edit their question.

  • 3
    But is asking about an actor's career choice on topic for science fiction? Jan 22, 2011 at 20:48
  • 1
    @eight have you read the question? the question isn't anything to do with Judd's career. It's asking whether she denied appearing on one of the most prominent scifi TV franchises there have ever been.
    – Tony Meyer
    Jan 22, 2011 at 20:55
  • 1
    How does Judd the actress relate to science fiction though? You've rephrased it into the same thing. Jan 22, 2011 at 21:00
  • 2
    There is nothing science fictional about the question if she lied or not, this is just meta-ishly related to a science fiction movie. The question should be about the character, not whether someone played it or not
    – Ivo Flipse
    Jan 22, 2011 at 21:03
  • 2
    @Tony ... I just noticed why there could have been some confusion, please see my edits to the question.
    – Zypher
    Jan 22, 2011 at 22:10
  • @zypher Ah. I didn't look at the edit history. That indeed makes a considerable difference. I wouldn't vote to re-open the original question, although I would for the edited (but probably wouldn't upvote it). I think it further shows that this is a bad example for your (more general) meta question, though. Is there another question, without this baggage, that could be used to demonstrate?
    – Tony Meyer
    Jan 22, 2011 at 23:28
  • @eight I think asking why a fairly well-known actor would deny appearing in a science fiction show (as opposed to any other work) is clearly related to science fiction. (It appears that she did not, in fact, do this, but that's what the question asks).
    – Tony Meyer
    Jan 22, 2011 at 23:30
  • @tony I'll look around and find a better example tomorrow, about to go out for the night here.
    – Zypher
    Jan 23, 2011 at 0:31

It's more a sign of the community flipping the bird to moderators and the Stack Exchange staff coming along trying to rescue this site and prune it into something worthwhile, purposeful and one that won't be euthanised as the careening ship smashes all and sundry into the rocky planet below and smears all the corpses into the forcefield, inches from the actual terrain.

  • 1
    Dramatic much? Upvote for likely accuracy though.
    – Saiboogu
    Jan 22, 2011 at 14:16
  • 3
    “The community” is not a single voice. Sometimes I agree with Zypher's closing decisions, sometimes I don't. I'm sure others are in the same boat — but not with the same sets of questions.
    – user56
    Jan 22, 2011 at 19:38
  • 1
    @Gilles - I think part of it has to do with moderators closing the questions without community consent - I don't mind you coming along and closing something that already has 3+ close votes, but I am VERY wary (given the size of the site and thus the low likelyhood of reopening) to see a mod close the question unilaterally even for those questions I personally agree with moderator's decision on Mar 16, 2011 at 15:53
  • @DVK: I normally leave a comment when I mod-close (and even when I user-close, on other sites). You can appeal by replying to the comment, or ping me in chat. I try to avoid mod-closing unless several other people have already voted, except for list questions because these can quickly trigger a lot of wasted effort.
    – user56
    Mar 16, 2011 at 19:28
  • 1
    @Gilles - there seem to have been several questions that were closed as "list" by moderator that either didn't fit the spirit of "no list questions" rule (e.g. the question was designed to NOT generate an endless list of answers), or even worse, where the list/no list decision itself was subjective (and as evidenced by up-votes and no down-votes, the community thought the question was good). I will post a more expanded thought on the topic later as a separate Meta question, as I'm afraid that this list question hunt went a bit too far overboard at the moment. Mar 16, 2011 at 19:35

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