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Is it really the case that just two votes are sufficient to close a question these days?

I may not like the subject matter, but it would be a terrible thing if we can't discuss the evolution of gaming formats in a calm, qualitative way, without having degrees in data science to introduce the necessary analytics so that the question isn't "opinion-based".

There is a complete misconception about this term. To me, an opinion-based question is something like "Is coffee better than tea?" The Auto Chess question here is like "Are drones good for the future of society?" It's the kind of question which one can imagine encountering in a University Entrance Exam. Answers may display clear, logical thinking, evenhandedly discussing pros and cons, bearing in mind that we probably don't have statistical evidence.

Sometimes I think (and I apologize if I do fellow members here an injustice) that if a person doesn't like a subject, they will reach for the nearest convenient excuse to block that discussion, even if it is inappropriate.

This case is particularly egregious since it refers to a newcomer. What a nice welcome for this person! And as usual, the Hammer of Closing has been wielded without no argument as to how this particular question is "opinion-based". So ironically, without any supporting evidence, this closing decision is "just an opinion".

Glorfindel in particular I expected better of you! (You may take this as a compliment.)

EDIT: There is a big difference between a "discussion-based question" and a "discussion focused on diverse opinion" (which I read as intended as a euphemism for polarized argument). I see nothing wrong with discussion-based questions. If you look at some other thriving Stack Exchanges, here are some random discussion-type questions which I think are totally cool. This is exactly the kind of thing we need more of in chess.com:

WORLDBUILDING What species of animal could take over earth if humans went extinct?

WRITING How can I get 2 characters to bond while standing alternate watches?

OPEN SOURCE Does the three clause BSD license hinder academic citations?

WORKPLACE How do I tell our HR that I don't want to perform in our Christmas party?

Sometimes a question needs editing but this one is honestly focused and fine.

I didn't leave a comment because the banner above the question contains a link to the help center explaining why questions like that are closed.

That gives the stark rule in the abstract, but the whole issue here is the mapping between this rule and this question. Justification of the opinion that this mapping is correct (which it may well be) is reasonably required of anyone choosing to wield the Close Hammer. This is doubly true for a newcomer's post.

EDIT2: Thanks for your detailed response, Glorfindel. I really appreciate you taking the time.

You haven’t yet addressed my distinction between discussion-based questions and what I rephrased as polarised argument. I don’t think you have shown sufficient grounds to map the question to the policy that you cited. It doesn’t apply.

But you do introduce a surprising idea - that chess is different from other hobby Stack Exchanges, and you are trying to be closer to an engineering Stack Exchange of some kind.

This to me seems very strange. And I don’t actually see this spelled out in the CSE “terms and conditions” that I’ve read. Please let’s remember that chess is just “a bit of fun”. I am not suggesting go crazy but it is perfectly reasonable that a question may have multiple answers and yet not be “opinion-based”.

The problem, which has been observed over and over again on Stack Exchange, is that in practice most answers won't display this behaviour; they tend to generate low-quality answers (mostly) by new users who aren't too familiar with the Stack Exchange format. Then we have to moderate those answers, so on Stack Exchange we tend to tackle the root problem, which in this case is the question. Yes, it may be an interesting or even good question, it just isn't well-suited for the Stack Exchange.

And this idea rather undercuts your paragraph about problems at the SE level. These other hobby SEs manage to thrive without descending into “low-quality”.

I suspect that this strange view is one cause of the difficulties CSE has had expanding as a forum. We never escaped from Beta under our own merits, let’s remember, it’s just that the powers-that-be got tired of waiting.

The arrival of Auto Chess is an interesting topical phenomenon, and it deserves a question in CSE about its long term impact, positive and negative, on our hobby.

But I realise now that I have a broader concern with the peculiar reluctance to accept open-ended questions at all in CSE.

If you are concerned about hypothetical low-quality answers, then isn’t there a mechanism you have for mandating a minimum point level on responders to a certain question?

Bottom line: Chess is only a hobby not engineering and IMHO we should model ourselves more on other responsible and successful hobby SEs.

EDIT3: my final comment on this matter.

In my opinion we need to be extremely rigorous and self-critical in closing any question, particularly when newcomers are involved. It is all too easy to not like a subject and flail around for a vague reason like the "opinion-based" hammer. It's just not good enough. The absence of explanation to the poor newcomer of why this particular reason was applicable is particularly shocking.

The fact that Remillion came up with a better reason is no excuse for the earlier "opinion-based" reflex, although Glorfindel may feel that Remillion let him off the hook in some sense.

Glorfindel has not engaged with my point that to explain the relationship between Auto Chess and real Chess (which is more complex than Remillion's sound bite suggests) would be a useful topic for one (1) CSE question. Far better to answer that question properly in the real CSE than superficially in the meta area here. Why should the moderator prejudge the issue here? It's so odd to insist on that.

Glorfindel has also not engaged with my more general suggestion that we should model ourselves on the much busier hobby websites than ours, in order to encourage more interesting and diverse content, and bring new users in.

Of course there are subjects which would probably be irrelevant to us, e.g. politics. But that's no excuse for failing to give the benefit of the doubt to honest questions whose answer can shed light on chess.

I'm sorry to have repeated myself a little here, but I feel many of my recent points were not addressed in the moderatorial response. However, this is my last post on this matter.

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I have a slightly different opinion on the topic in question: it is not suited for Chess SE at all, and should be migrated to Gaming SE.

The whole Auto Chess genre reads and plays nothing like chess. It's a different system altogether, with the only similarity being "chess" in the name. Asking about its impact on the chess community is like asking what impact an industrial lead poisoning incident would have on the sale of pencil lead.

Gaming SE would naturally be a better environment for this topic.

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    Now that is a tenable argument - nothing to do with “opinion-based”. However I think there is room for exactly one Auto Chess question in CSE, and your response that chess and auto chess are nothing to do with one another would be one vigorous answer – Laska Dec 19 '19 at 5:09
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Discussion-type questions don't fly well on Stack Exchange, this has been pointed out over and over again; maybe not here but certainly on Meta Stack Exchange, e.g. here: Give each site a parallel site for polling, recommendations and subjective-ish stuff.

I didn't leave a comment because the banner above the question contains a link to the help center explaining why questions like that are closed:

Opinion-based - discussions focused on diverse opinions are great, but they just don't fit our format well.

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than on facts, references, or specific expertise.

It’s often possible to rewrite opinion-based questions to focus on a more fact-based line of questioning. If you see a way to do this, consider editing the question.

I don't see a way to rescue this particular question from being primarily opinion-based (if I did, I would have done so already), but if you do, feel free to edit it and I'll consider reopening it.

It's the kind of question which one can imagine encountering in a University Entrance Exam. Answers may display clear, logical thinking, evenhandedly discussing pros and cons, bearing in mind that we probably don't have statistical evidence.

Yes, it might be possible to formulate such a quality answer to this type of question. The problem, which has been observed over and over again on Stack Exchange, is that in practice most answers won't display this behaviour; they tend to generate low-quality answers (mostly) by new users who aren't too familiar with the Stack Exchange format. Then we have to moderate those answers, so on Stack Exchange we tend to tackle the root problem, which in this case is the question. Yes, it may be an interesting or even good question, it just isn't well-suited for the Stack Exchange.

You mention some questions with a similar nature on our sister sites. Worldbuilding and Writing see many of those open-ended questions, and they're used to moderate those kind of posts precisely because they see many of them. Still, they're kind of different: they ask the answerers to respond to a piece of fiction with other pieces of fiction. The Workplace has a back it up rule, and so do other sites that by their nature tend to subjective questions, like Interpersonal Skills and Parenting; Chess Stack Exchange is not one of those sites. I'm not sure if the question on Open Source is similar to the Auto Chess one; I think it's more akin to this question (but YMMV).

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    Hi Glorfindel thanks for your response, I have expanded my post substantially to address your points. Would appreciate if you can respond in turn, particularly to the trenchant new stuff after the EDIT mark. Thanks again – Laska Dec 18 '19 at 16:37
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    @Laska thanks, I've made some updates but I have to do some more work right now. – Glorfindel Dec 18 '19 at 19:58
  • Thanks @Glorfindel - my response is after EDIT2 in my question – Laska Dec 19 '19 at 0:15
  • We do allow questions which are more discussion-oriented than your typical Stack Overflow question, e.g. this one. Just not the ones which are so open-ended and speculative like the Auto Chess one, which (as Remellion writes here) turns out to be not so chess-oriented after all. What's next? Somebody asking what the impact of Brexit or Trump's impeachment is on the future chess? We have to draw a line somewhere, and IMHO this is over the line. – Glorfindel Dec 19 '19 at 18:25
  • See Edit 3, my final comment on this matter – Laska Dec 19 '19 at 19:17
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    I don't think it's a good idea to widen the scope of the site, IMHO it will make it less interesting to the general chess public, and I'm sure it will be a lot harder to moderate. If you want to ask a question "does Auto Chess have anything to do with chess?", that can be answered objectively and is (arguably) in scope. But that is not what the question is asking right now, not at all; such an edit would conflict with the author's intent. – Glorfindel Dec 19 '19 at 19:21

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