Where is the boundary between a soft-question and an off-topic question?
The issue has come up in connection to question Does physics explain why the laws and behaviors observed in biology are as they are? Although I think that the question is quite interesting, and I have much to say on the subject, my first reaction was to recommend closing... perhaps precisely because there is too much to say about it, i.e., there is no a clear question with a clear answer, as is usually expected.

Yet, after a bit of discussion in the comments, and seeing that respected community members are posting the answers, I have retracted my recommendationf or closing and posted my own answer. And idneed, the question ahs tag soft-question, which suggests that it may not have a rigorous answer.

Still, the subject seems rather broad and non-specific...

The advice/recommendations/guidelines will be appreciated.

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ I can tell which of the answers haven't interacted with biology in any meaningful way ;) haha $\endgroup$ Mar 29, 2021 at 14:30
  • $\begingroup$ This is a site where some surface-area-of-a-chicken question was fought over, so I don't even bother with flagging here, just downvote such HNQs. $\endgroup$
    – Mithoron
    Mar 29, 2021 at 20:55
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @Mithoron Note that moderators can manually remove posts from the HNQ, and we generally take such an action in response to flags. (The chicken question was on the HNQ for seven minutes.) $\endgroup$
    – rob Mod
    Mar 30, 2021 at 0:16
  • $\begingroup$ @rob Yeah, but apparently bottle-rising-at-full-moon isn't enough for such flag so I don't see much reason to waste my time. $\endgroup$
    – Mithoron
    Mar 30, 2021 at 13:18
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    $\begingroup$ @Mithoron I had a browse through your flag history. Roughly 90% of the flags that you’ve raised have been helpful flags, which is a normal and healthy ratio. It does seem like several of your suggestions to remove things from the HNQ have been declined. But in at least one case, a question you flagged for removal from HNQ was closed by the community afterwards: apparently the community consensus was with you, rather than with the moderator who dismissed your flag. Think of flagging as a tool for communicating, rather than as a way to give instructions. $\endgroup$
    – rob Mod
    Mar 30, 2021 at 13:36
  • $\begingroup$ @rob Well, yeah, thanks for constructive comments, but that's getting kinda off-topic and fact is that (not unsurprisingly) questions that are quite vague or unclear get to HNQ and pretty big one at that. If I notice them from another site then there's some half-a-dozen answers and even if that would get closed (and not reopened!) that wouldn't make all that much difference. $\endgroup$
    – Mithoron
    Mar 30, 2021 at 13:51
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Relevant: Good Subjective, Bad Subjective, in the SO blog. $\endgroup$ Mar 31, 2021 at 17:36


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