I've got this question: predisposition towards organising information in hierarchical outlines? closed, with the explanation that it "would be better suited for softwarerecs.stackexchange.com" which is plain absurd! I have only mentioned software to illustrate how some people think in given cognitive tasks, I have nowhere asked about any software recommendation of any kind. Obviously the mods have not cared to read the question, save for taking a superficial glance over it, which is very discouraging :( I had raised the issues in the comments below the closing notification and I have received no answer.

3 Answers 3


Oh I've read it. And it's not closed, just put on hold. I thought, and still think it's a programming question. If you can reword it and give it a more solid psych or neuro content we're happy to reopen it. As of now the premise is more computer science imo. Questions can be put on hold rather quickly at times, which aids in keeping the unanswered question pool in check. Questions on hold are not closed. It's just a way to encourage edits.

  • How could a question about the brain's inclination to organize information in one way or another have to do with programming and nothing to do with cognitive psychology?
    – drabsv
    Apr 30, 2018 at 17:00
  • I do not see any reason to edit a completely legal (for the psychology forum) question just to suit the trolling moderators who love to moderate but not care to read. This kind of mod behaviour has been Stackexchange's deepest flaw for long time. I am not the first to say it, alas I would most probably not be the last, too :(
    – drabsv
    Apr 30, 2018 at 17:42
  • 1
    No trolling here. I'm answering your question here, and I'm just trying to help. Calling someone a troll doesn't help at all. It seems you're taking this quite personally.
    – AliceD Mod
    Apr 30, 2018 at 17:51
  • @ AliceD I did not have you in mind when I mentioned trolling. What I had in mind was the superficial and rushed moderation which is not uncommon on Stackexchange and does not make it a better place.
    – drabsv
    Apr 30, 2018 at 20:27
  • @drabsv - and what I have in mind for this site is to keep it in shape. I'm, again, inviting you to edit the post. Putting stuff on hold is not the end of the world you know. Have a sneak peak in garbage valley. I'm one of the people, among others, with a long-term dedication to tackle it. Unfortunate for you, your question is on the boundary of adding to it. Again, please edit, it's not a definitive closure.
    – AliceD Mod
    Apr 30, 2018 at 21:47
  • @ AliceD as far as I can see the question is closed and not on hold. What exactly do you suggest that I edit on this question? My claim is that moderators have failed to read carefully the question before closing it and that it is completely legitimate, therefore I claim that moderators have to edit their decision, not me my question. If you show me what exactly is wrong with either the essence or wording of the questions, of course, I'd be glad to do so.
    – drabsv
    May 1, 2018 at 16:39
  • The question is now closed because it has been on hold for quite a while. There have been tons of suggestions made to improve the question.
    – AliceD Mod
    May 1, 2018 at 18:37
  • @ AliceD I am sorry but "If you can reword it and give it a more solid psych or neuro content " is not a suggestion, just a vague blanket statement. If I were a moderator I could close any sort of question with blank statements such as this one. The only specific suggestion I've seen was the one to put this question on softwarerecs.stackexchange.com which is absurd and proves that moderators have not even cared to read the question. Is it that hurtful for moderators to admit that they have been superficial over closing a question and that they should reopen it?
    – drabsv
    May 2, 2018 at 7:28

I'm glad you're asking for help to improve your question. I think you misunderstood the close vote reason.

Why I recommended Software Recommendations

I voted to close it off-topic because I honestly thought you were asking two questions in one post. I thought the first one was asking for a specific functionality in Microsoft Word and the second one was asking about hierarchical organization in general. I could have been more clear in my comment. I'm sorry if it felt dismissive. I expected the actual mods to come in and offer clarification, which I'm thankful they did. However, I shouldn't depend on this expectation.

Why your question is closed

Your question was closed as not being framed in psychology or neuroscience. You can read more about it in this meta post.

To make an answerable question on this site, you need to do a bit more than give an example of a human behaviour. Humans are weird and there are lots of explanations for the same behaviour depending on the analytical approach. For example, comparisons between preferences between tagging/hierarchical organization could be looked at in terms of personality or IQ. However, assuming all perspectives are equally valid makes for a lot of research to go through for someone to write a satisfactory answer. Consequently, it helps to be specific as possible and to ground your understanding in some prior knowledge. This is was Steven Jeuris was proposing by grounding the question in it's physical analog of the desk and the study of this in the context of HCI and affordances.

Alternatively, if you wanted to avoid getting lost in research, this question could have been broken down into smaller parts. First, asking for research about the use of tagging systems and searching through them in HCI. Then using the references from the first question as framing for a comparison with hierarchical organisation.

I hope this further, more specific, advice is helpful to you.


Your question was poorly written such that it was unclear to people what you were trying to go after.

You gave a lot of extraneous background and then settled on "Is there any research on specific inclinations people have towards organising information?" - which is an incredibly broad and ill-defined question (what is a specific inclination? What does it mean to organize information?).

Instead, your question seems like a rant about a piece of software not including a feature you would prefer, followed by "Does psychology explain this?" We have decided that these sorts of questions that lack research effort are not on topic here.

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