Why was my question closed as "off-topic", whereas this similar question is open?

Sure, the other question was posted 9 years ago, but I don't think it should have been closed if it were asked today: it has evidently been very useful to many people, and is there any other stackexchange forum that would be more suitable for that question than the Academia?

And if the other question should be allowed, shouldn't mine be too, since they belong to the same type of questions, even if mine concerns a more niche subject matter than a glossary.

Consequently, I would like to ask for my question to be opened, for my benefit, as well as for the benefit of others who might be interested in this topic.

2 Answers 2


Your question asks "where do I place a variable legend?" There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this, and your university (or advisor) may have guidelines for how theses should be organized. And, the decision will ultimately need to take into account the nature of your thesis and its organization. So in its current form, the best answer is "ask your advisor / university," hence the decision to close.

Now if you like, you can edit to clarify that your university does not specify anything and that you are looking for pros/cons and "best practices." That should salvage your question -- though, that might turn it into a duplicate of the post you linked, so you'd also need to explain why it's different.

The old post you linked I think is correctly left open. It asks "is it better to put the glossary at the beginning...or in the appendix," all other things being equal? This may seem like a subtle difference, but asking about the "best practice" or pros/cons of a particular approach is usually answerable.

That said, I do agree that the title question on the old post should probably be improved...perhaps I'll do so after this is resolved. As it is, the old post has generated a few correct but useless answers (e.g., "put it where it makes more sense to you"), which is something we try to avoid.


I'm not opining on whether or not your question should be closed, but I can answer the question "why" in a couple ways.

  1. The most proximate reason is that 5 users with sufficient reputation privileges have voted to close your question. 5 others can reopen it. Usually 5 is enough to indicate some level of community consensus; it's fairly rare that 5 people agree a question should be closed here if there isn't broader support for closure.

  2. The reasons selected for the close votes were a mix of the "Strongly depends on individual factors" and the "Not within the scope of this community" community-specific close reasons. I suspect the voters overall were seeing this as the sort of question that really depends on the specific circumstances and for which there isn't going to be a specific answer that doesn't say "it depends" or "ask your advisor".

  3. The other question you linked is indeed quite old relative to how standards for question closing evolve in the community. It's sufficiently old that it shouldn't really be used as a guide, but I do think it's informative that the accepted answer there was "It is utterly a matter of style. Just put it where it makes more sense to you." - sometimes closing is more arbitrary than would be ideal due to item (1), but this is indeed the sort of question/answer pair that the "Strongly depends on individual factors" and "the exact contents of some work" are listed as reasons to close a question.

  • 1
    Actually, the "it is utterly a matter of style" answer is not the top answer. It is the accepted answer, but the top answer, as far as votes are concerned, is the answer that lists an external source. Similarly, the one answer to my question, posted before my question was closed (obviously...), is based on the answerer's having checked a few textbooks, so this is not a matter of personal taste, but of empirical findings.
    – Evan Aad
    Aug 30, 2021 at 17:06
  • @EvanAad Fixed. Yes, I see your argument, but I also see the argument of the close voters. I don't see a reason to intervene as a moderator at this point, just wanted to help communicate the reasoning.
    – Bryan Krause Mod
    Aug 30, 2021 at 17:16
  • 1
    Certainly it is not always "utterly a matter of style". The rules imposed by academic institutions on the format of theses are many, various, often illogical, and frequently ridiculous in the 21st century, but that doesn't mean you can break them with impunity!
    – alephzero
    Sep 8, 2021 at 16:05
  • 1
    @alephzero but the question in this case states "My university doesn't make any specifications about the usage or position of glossaries", so if we trust the premise, there are no "rules" to break.
    – Tyberius
    Sep 9, 2021 at 18:25

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