This question concerning the value about traditional lecture, which was posted by me a long time ago, was closed due to being too broad. However, recently the question was reopened and, judging from the downvotes, it is clear that the question is still not well-received. Would someone (maybe the person who reopened the question) care to explain the rationale behind reopening this old question?


I am the person who first nominated the question for re-opening. Questions typically should eventually progress toward either reopening or delation. I always did like the question (I am one of its up-votes), so I edited to try to make it more focused and neutral in tone, then reopened. Apparently enough others liked the question now to reopen it---though it seems to still be somewhat controversial, given the ongoing accumulation of up and down votes.

As the OP, of course, please feel free to further improve the question: I tried to preserve your intent as much as possible while decreasing the "rant" perception that helped cause it to be closed in the first place.

  • Thanks. I'll leave the question as it is, lest my edits make it even more ranty. – Drecate Jun 3 '15 at 14:44
  • Thanks for editing and nominating for reopening this question. I find the question very useful and appropriate in its current form and have upvoted it. (And thank you for your efforts on behalf of orphaned questions more generally!) – Stephan Kolassa Jun 4 '15 at 20:41
  • @StephanKolassa Thank you; I appreciate the encouragement. – jakebeal Jun 4 '15 at 20:56
  • @Drecate: I tried to edit the question so that it would be better received (and thus stop accumulating down-votes) without changing your intent. Feel free to revert if I failed. (My edits are currently in peer review) – LindaJeanne Jun 10 '15 at 3:11
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    @LindaJeanne Thanks. The revised version seems to work very well. – Drecate Jun 11 '15 at 5:24

Down votes are not "wiped out" when a question is reopened.

In general, though, any question that had an answer can be reopened if it is edited, made to fit site guidelines, and enough "reopen" votes are cast.

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    I'm not talking about past downvotes casted before closing the question. Several of the downvotes are made within the last two days. – Drecate Jun 2 '15 at 19:03

I didn't vote to reopen the question, but members of the community (with enough rep) are allowed to vote to re-open it at any time. The ethos here is that questions are owned by the community, and the community are free to vote on closing and re-opening questions based upon their own view about whether it meets the standards for this site. Folks who believe the question is a good question might have decided to vote to re-open it, on the basis that they believe the question is on-topic and suitable and helpful. Hopefully that answers your question about why people might have voted to re-open the question.

Of course, re-opening the question also bumps it back to the front page, which might cause it to be read by new people who didn't read it previously. That can cause it to receive additional votes (whether upvotes or downvotes).

I suspect your secondary question is: why am I getting these downvotes, and how can I avoid getting more of them? I can share some thoughts on that.

First off, remember that upvotes increase your rep more than downvotes decrease it. It looks like you have received more upvotes than downvotes, so just to keep things in perspective, any loss of reputation due to the downvotes is outweighed by the increase due to upvotes.

Second, the best way to avoid downvotes is to edit your question to improve it based upon the feedback. The #1 piece of feedback you got is: "The rant/question ratio here is quite high.". As I read the question today, I still feel that this feedback remains pretty relevant. So, if you'd like to avoid future downvotes, arguably the best thing you can do is edit the question to address this feedback. You might try deleting some of the opinions (they can sometimes be perceived as "rant", even if that was not your intent), and focusing on the specific question. At the risk of exaggerating and over-simplifying a bit, consider the difference between "I see a phenomenom that puzzles me, I assume there are probably good reasons behind it, I want to learn, can you help me understand?" vs "I see a phenomenom that is stupid, look how stupid it is, why are universities being so stupid?"; you want to be as close to the former as possible, and avoid any opportunity for people to misconstrue the question as an instance of the latter. This is a matter of tone, and tone is always delicate, but it can affect how people view your question.

The other thing you can do in your question is to show your research. We expect you to do a significant amount of research before asking and to tell us about what research you've done. As explained here:

Have you thoroughly searched for an answer before asking your question? Sharing your research helps everyone. Tell us what you found and why it didn’t meet your needs. This demonstrates that you’ve taken the time to try to help yourself, it saves us from reiterating obvious answers, and above all, it helps you get a more specific and relevant answer! https://academia.stackexchange.com/help/how-to-ask

So, those are some concrete steps you can take that might avoid future downvotes, if that was part of what you were asking.

  • (1) I acknowledge that my tone was abrasive, but I failed to see which part of my question is "subjective". Everything I wrote was either my conclusion or evidence used to support the conclusion. People clearly disagree with the evidence and the conclusion, and I'm fine with it. But I don't think anything I wrote was purely opinion-based. Please point out specific sentences that you think are overtly subjective. – Drecate Jun 9 '15 at 4:28
  • (2) I explicitly stated at the end of the question "Is it because reformations take a long time, or is there some unique benefits of attending lectures that I may have overlooked? If it is the latter case, is there any systematic, empirical evidence that supports the widespread use of lecturing?" Clearly I think there is a chance that I am wrong, and I'm willing to learn other's perspective. Please do not put words in my mouth and assume that I believed universities were "stupid" (which I don't). – Drecate Jun 9 '15 at 4:28
  • (3) At this point there are 28 people who upvoted the comment "The rant/question ratio here is quite high". Indeed, that is more votes than any answer received. I personally find this dismissive attitude quite unconstructive. The community clearly spent more time complaining about writing issues such as how ranty the question is instead of taking actions to either deleting the question or making it better. – Drecate Jun 9 '15 at 4:28
  • @Drecate, (1) Forget the word "subjective"; I shouldn't have used it, and I removed it from my answer. The key word is "opinion". You state many opinions in your question. However, a question that contains strong opinions can sometimes be (mis)perceived as a "rant", even if that was not your intent. One way to avoid this (mis)perception is to remove the opinions. This is about tone and perception. In general, questions on this site should be used to request information. You can do that without expressing an opinion. BTW: I don't feel that your tone was abrasive, personally. – D.W. Jun 9 '15 at 6:05
  • (2) I apologize if my answer made you feel like I'm putting words in your mouth. I don't assume that you believe universities are stupid. Please treat this as a rhetorical device to contrast two imaginary extremes, and help you understand which extreme you want to be closer to. – D.W. Jun 9 '15 at 6:05
  • (3) One lesson one could draw is "28 people are dismissive, unconstructive, unhelpful, and like to complain." A different lesson one could draw is "if 28 people felt that way, it's possible there could be something to that comment". If your goal is to avoid downvotes (and it's fine if it isn't), then the latter might be a more useful angle, if only from a purely pragmatic perspective. – D.W. Jun 9 '15 at 6:06
  • (3) I think you set up a false dilemna here. Deleting your question or editing it for you to make it better are not the only two ways that people could offer assistance. A third option is to provide a comment to help you edit your own question to improve it. This is not necessarily unhelpful, dismissive, unconstructive. Of course you don't have to edit your question if you don't want. I'm just providing tips that might help make your question better-received, if that's something you're looking for; you're certainly free to ignore them. – D.W. Jun 9 '15 at 6:06

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