Questions in the SE format need to have succinct answers. I believe some of it comes down to the wording of the question, but where will the line be drawn for questions that are considered too open ended?

I thought about it after asking this question: Categories and varieties of Open Data licensing?

I tried to word that question in a way that could be understood by anyone. I understand that community moderators will determine if a question is too open ended, but I think there should be a discussion about what qualifies a question to be closed for open-endedness while this is still in private beta.

What would be indicators that a question needs to be closed for being too open ended? Do certain topics have longer-winded answers by nature?

These may seem like trivial questions, but I think they are fundamental enough to warrant a discussion. If open ended questions and long winded responses are the only format that this site will generate, it would be good to know that now.

1 Answer 1


It may be that questions are open-ended in the sense that they cannot be forever and definitively answered. But raising an issue to answer it definitively isn't in and of itself qualitatively better than raising an issue to be sure you are considering all the relevant factors -- and weighing them appropriately.

That's what allows expertise into the forum. Otherwise, all the questions could be answered with responses that tell the questioner to google the subject.

  • Is asking a question like mine valuable (ie. observing parallels in the subjects and questioning them)? If someone can't find an answer by searching for it, should their next step be to ask a community that may know? How are people with little to no expertise supposed to construct meaningful questions on this subject? I think that may be my main concern. I'm interested in the subject, but I'm not entirely sure how to formulate meaningful questions. I don't think that people who are interested should be excluded, but I'm concerned that their(our) questions will be overlooked. Commented May 14, 2013 at 3:41
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    At whatever stage -- novice, journeyman, expert -- there are problems to deal with whose solutions are not obvious on their face. So ask what you want to know. If a community does focus on one end of the expertise spectrum, its members or its content will surely guide the out-of-place question/questioner to a more appropriate forum. And asking (and answering) questions are how we learn to ask better questions.
    – Roger_S
    Commented May 14, 2013 at 18:01
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    I think that is a good conclusion to my concerns. Thank you for your awesome feedback. Also, thank you for taking the time to explain. Commented May 14, 2013 at 22:27

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