I often come across questions asking about the motivations of some social group, human behaviour or a social phenomena. For example:

Often they get closed because they are "opinion based" or "too broad". Sometimes (perhaps misguidedly) I participate in the closing of these questions, but I feel like I'm mis-using the closing tool, since my reason for closing is often just "I don't like this question".

I need help. Despite taking a first year psychology course in university, I'm still confused about the appropriate use of it here. How does one distinguish a valid social psychology question from one that is purely opinion-based or too broad?

1 Answer 1


My strategy is to try and imagine the empirical research that would need to exist in order to answer the question.

If I can't imagine empirical results that would give a reasonably definitive answer on the question, then I'll vote to close as primarily opinion based.

If I can imagine hypothetical experiments that would be informative, but there are so many of them that a reasonable response to the question would almost certainly be really incomplete, then I'll vote to close as too broad.

  • Very similar to my own thoughts. Commented Apr 16, 2015 at 8:16
  • It seems that what question is viable on most SE sites is defined in reference to the available literature. "Too little," and a question becomes opinion-based because there aren't enough "facts or references" to support an answer. "Too much," and the question becomes "too broad" unless there is a way of choosing (typically embedded in the question).
    – Tom Au
    Commented Aug 15, 2017 at 14:35

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