After asking my question about Stargate Universe, I saw a related question that had been closed for being "Subjective and Argumentative": https://scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/431/what-was-the-biggest-reason-that-stargate-universe-failed After reading through the questions and the answers, I disagree with the decision to close, but I certainly can see why.

It does have high potential to generate subjective answers, but as with other se sites: subjective answers don't make a question subjective--it just makes them bad answers and they can be downvoted as such.

The question isn't unanswerable--if fact, the answer obviously exists. Are questions being closed because of the low probability of the actual answer ever reaching scifi.stackexchange.com? Or is this a tactic to boost the %answered stat?

The https://scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/431/what-was-the-biggest-reason-that-stargate-universe-failed question fits the FAQ perfectly: https://scifi.stackexchange.com/faq Does the FAQ need to be updated to exclude (rather than include) these sorts of questions?

Most of the closed questions that I come across, I agree with the decision. But in this case, I think this one should be re-opened. It has a discrete answer (sure, an answer most of us aren't privy to), but that answer will never reach the question if it's closed.

2 Answers 2


The definitive answer to what makes an acceptable subjective question is Robert Cartaino's blog post. The key points are the six "Guidelines for Great Subjective Questions".

It's important to note that "What was the biggest reason that Stargate: Universe failed" was closed on January 18th, when the site was only days old. Exactly what was on and off topic was still being figured out at that point.

It's possible there are questions from the early days that were closed that would be acceptable now (anyone with enough rep should vote to re-open those, and encourage (in chat) others to consider doing so). Certainly there are questions from the early days that were acceptable at the time, but are probably not now (although many were closed about a month ago).

Regarding this specific question:

  • I think the wording of the question could be cleaned up a lot.
  • Most (all?) of the answers are of low quality. There is more risk of this with a subjective question, and having poor answers often leads to close votes.

If you want this re-opened, my suggestion is to submit an edit for it that makes it fit the guidelines better, and then promote (e.g. in chat and here) the fact that you've made changes.

Some of the problems that I'd personally want to see fixed:

  • The question mentions Battlestar Galatica, seemingly at random.
  • The question suggests an answer, which should never be done.
  • The question should specifically ask for facts (e.g. comments/interviews from producers) where possible.
  • I think there's a bit too much backstory in the question. Some background is good, but too much makes it seem like this is a discussion. Trim it so the point is there but not taking up most of the question text.
  • The question has a pre-judgement of the series. This isn't impartial and encourages discussion/impartial answers.
  • fair enough. I tend to place more weight on the question title when evaluating ?s but I know not everyone does. There is a lot of unnecessary crud in the body of that question. May 11, 2011 at 22:52
  • Since you brought up timespan, the question was asked by a newbie and was closed with no comments suggesting on how to improve the question. while gis.stackexchange.com was in beta...a lot of us would offer comments that would guide/coach newcomers before downvoting or closing their questions--especially if the question had potential to add value to the site. May 11, 2011 at 23:00
  • @Jay if you read back through the old posts on meta you can see that issue was brought up a lot in the early days. Nearly all closures get comments now - a lot has changed since January!
    – Tony Meyer
    May 12, 2011 at 2:08

Note that the close reason is “subjective and argumentative”. A question being subjective isn't a bad thing in itself, it's more of a warning that there's more of a risk that the question is bad. Argumentative questions create unpleasantness and don't fit the question-and-answers structure, which is why they're banned throughout the Stack Exchange network.

Like all Stack Exchange sites, we have general guideline for subjective questions referenced in our FAQ. Tony Meyer's answer explains why this question squarely falls under the bad subjective heading.

I don't understand why you think “What was the biggest reason that Stargate: Universe failed?” has a definitive answer. “Why were no more episodes of SG:U produced?” would be an objective question (but presumably the answer is quite boring — not enough audience). But the question is asking why it failed, and different people dislike (or like it! thus argumentative) it for different reasons.

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