This question has been put on hold as too broad; other similar questions have been closed as off-topic or too broad.

A similar question, although it is better written/formatted, etc., has not been closed or put on hold and has been upvoted many times.

Are we being inconsistent or am I missing something in the second question?

2 Answers 2


Good question :) Sometimes there can be very little difference between the questions, it all comes down to how the community interacted with it on the day.

I think we can all agree that your first example needed to be closed - it was way too broad. We want to be nice to the newbies and help them out, but we still have limits. As a mod my votes are binding so I try not to be the first one to cast close votes* - but in this case it was pretty obvious that the question needs to be tightened up a lot.

The second example is considerably different, the OP took a lot more time and effort to describe what they want. This question - while not canonical - has now become a benchmark one. This means that new questions on the same topic need to show how they are different otherwise at the very least they will be closed as a duplicate. Of course this doesn't mean that you can't answer the new question before it gets closed, and the closed question can always be reopened at a later date if it is edited sufficiently.

*Personally I think that while a mod can still do regular community duties they should be circumspect when doing so. If a mod is too prolific with voting and maintenance they can end up dictating the direction of a site and making it their own rather than the community's. Usually when I cast a vote I'm the 4th or 5th to do so, unless it is in response to a flag.

  • 2
    +1 for your footnote about how a mod should not close questions immediately unless the question is blatantly off-topic and/or flagged.
    – THelper
    Sep 8, 2016 at 7:31
  • 1
    @THelper - Yes. When I became a mod, I noticed I was much slower to impose a ban hammerj since my vote is immediately binding. Now I generally wait to see how the community bends on marginal questions before voting. Blatantly off topic or duplicates still get whacked though. :p
    – JohnP Mod
    Sep 17, 2016 at 15:47
  • Slugster - You might also consider making the original question protected. Just an idle thought.
    – JohnP Mod
    Sep 17, 2016 at 15:49

In addition to the other answer, also look at when the questions were asked. The upvoted question was asked in the first 30 days of public beta, when a site doesn't have moderators, and is also trying to build followers, traffic, stable of questions, etc. Initial beta periods can often be less discriminatory. The second question was asked very recently.

And, since it is a very common question, and the first question has several excellent, highly voted answers, it could either be a community wiki or the duplicate that every other "What art should I choose" question be pointed to.

  • I hadn't realised the difference in dates - thanks for pointing that out! Making it a community wiki answer, or the default duplicate, is an excellent idea! How do we do that?!
    – Mike P
    Sep 18, 2016 at 22:17

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