Recently, this question attracted a lot of attentions, surprisingly not just from new users even from experienced users with moderation capabilities, despite the fact that it is obviously off-topic and opinion based.

The other issue is that it took more than "2 days" after several flagging and reporting to close this question and remove spurious and spam answers, until the moderators closed it finally, despite the fact that many more relevant questions have gotten closed already less than minutes as off-topic or primarily-opinion based.

My concern is that it seems even experienced users with moderation capabilities don't care too much about guidelines that say what is on-topic and what is off-topic here in Academia.SE and don't have an equal approach to judge the questions. My guess here is that because this question, despite the fact that it is obviously off-topic, attracted a huge amount of attention (> 8k views until now) and as a result, people preferred to put some answers in the hope of getting reputation, which I think it worked very well for some people here.

So I ask my question again: Why there is no an equal approach to judge which questions are off-topic or primarily-opinion based?

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    Why is it so obvious that it is off topic? – User Sep 26 '19 at 7:06
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    Please do not make accusations as to peoples' motives. – Flyto Sep 27 '19 at 1:03

I don't think it's so obvious that it's off topic. I think it's borderline. I reviewed flags on it as a diamond moderator, and decided that it would be better to let the community handle it, rather than close it unilaterally, because it wasn't so obviously off topic to me. Some users thought that it was off topic, and voted to close. Some users thought it was an acceptable question, and voted to "Leave open" in the review queue. Some users thought it was a good question, and voted it up, or answered it.

Please don't comment "But it's so obviously off topic because..." - I'm not saying it should be reopened, or that those who voted to close were wrong. I'm just saying that what is obviously off topic to you, may seem acceptable to others, and I guess that's what happened here. Questions that are borderline tend to linger for a while before they are closed (if they are closed at all).

I think your guess that it stayed open because users thought it was off topic, but answered it anyway to gain reputation, is probably wrong. There are only four users who have close vote privileges who answered this question. There are many, many, many more users with close vote privileges who didn't answer the question, and also didn't vote to close. Obviously those other users were not motivated by reputation. The much more likely explanation is that the question wasn't so obviously off topic to them.

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I disagree with quite a few assumptions in your question.

  • You suggest that fact that the question was slow to be closed is a bad thing. In most cases, that's simply part of the culture on this forum... we tend to allow discussion to go on. Whether that's "bad" or not is a matter of opinion, and many of our users seem fine with this more laid-back approach to moderation.

  • You also seem to suggest that moderators should have stepped in earlier. I think we, as a team, have made it fairly clear that we tend to operate with a very light touch. There are very few cases where we simply step in and shut something down, particularly more borderline cases like this one. Personally, I tend to wait for a number of high-rep users to vote for closure before casting the final (automatically binding) vote. This approach has worked well in the past, and I don't think its something the community is clamoring for us to change.

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