I don't know much about the culture of MO. So I would like to ask the following question.

Is it OK to ask the reason for a question in the main to be on hold or closed in the meta?

  • $\begingroup$ If you think it's not OK, could you explain why? $\endgroup$ Aug 22, 2013 at 0:34
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    $\begingroup$ I don't know why people are downvoting this question. It seems perfectly reasonable. Are people downvoting because they believe the answer is "no"? I hope not - that would be an inappropriate use of a downvote. $\endgroup$ Aug 22, 2013 at 12:25
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    $\begingroup$ @TomLeinster Given that the tone (and the context) suggests that the OP thinks this is alright, a downvote naturally expresses disagreement with that, which makes it a perfectly legitimate reason for downvoting. On the other hand, they might well be expressing disagreement with opening a thread to ask this, since it seems clear that the OP is looking for justification for opening the other thread (especially given past behavior on MSE). $\endgroup$ Aug 22, 2013 at 13:27
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    $\begingroup$ Thanks for the explanation, Tobias, but I still disagree with that use of a downvote. What I see is a straight, reasonable question. In fact, I think it's a good question, as it clarifies what meta is for. It seems that there's some history that might make readers assume certain motives behind the question, and maybe they'd even be right in their assumptions. But still, I think one should vote for a question/answer based purely on its quality, not on the person asking it. $\endgroup$ Aug 22, 2013 at 14:51
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    $\begingroup$ @TomLeinster: I highly recommend you take a look through the OPs behavior on MSE before reaching that conclusion. I'm not sure if downvoting is exactly the right response, but we should not be encouraging the OP behaving in this way (asking questions which appear reasonable but only because he's intentionally missing the point of what he did wrong in another thread). $\endgroup$ Aug 22, 2013 at 19:02
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    $\begingroup$ @NoahSnyder whether it is the right response or not might depend on ones goal. I wish only a tiny fraction of the efforts put into analysing OP's "hidden" intentions would be put into analysing the behavior of some (not you, as far as I can tell) towards OP. $\endgroup$
    – user9072
    Aug 22, 2013 at 19:15
  • $\begingroup$ @WillJagy By the way, I tend to think one can remove p-adic methods from the Iyanaga's book. $\endgroup$ Aug 22, 2013 at 21:46

1 Answer 1


It can be alright to ask this. However, how well such a question will be received also depends on how well the request is presented.

Among other things, one should not give the impression the question is actually a complaint and one should avoid using pointed formulations or comparisons (and also one should not do this too often).

In general, there is always a good chance such a request will not be received well. To insist too much in individual cases, typically does more harm than good. It can be better to accept decisions and to move on.

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    $\begingroup$ I think asking the reason itself can be regarded as a complaint. Not that I don't understand what your are trying to say, though. $\endgroup$ Aug 22, 2013 at 20:31

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