Both questions are broad and open ended yet one gets a load of upvotes and the other gets shut down. I personally can't see a point in closing either of these questions, but the lack of consistency here, is confusing.
I think we should reconsider if the old standard, where some reasonable (not too broad and open ended) educational questions and well defined (by topic, level, targetted audience) and localized questions about study material / references were accepted, is not still reasonable and appropriate for our site. Why do this policies have to change after all, who is/are the drive(r) behind this?.
From observeations during the past few months I got the impression that the driver behind these changes towards new policies is in particular David Zaslavsky (who for some reason has always been against any study material / educational questions, which is his personal right but is this attitude a good one as a moderator), Manishearth who strongly represents the overal SE point of view, and a few other people (some are not even physicists), such as EnergyNumbers who are more interested in policies and installing new rules then learning physics themself.
So I strongly doubt that these "new standards", which are orthogonal to the original much more reasonable and helpful policies and rules physics SE followed up to some months ago and which worked well for almost two years, are what the large majority of the community wants. The much more restrictive and intolerant "new standards", which look almost hostil towards people interested in learning new physics topics, are absolutely not needed.
May claim thatwhat David Zaslavsky and just a few very vocal people are doing is does not have to be what the whole community (including the many people who are exclusively active on the main page because they are interested only in learning physics, instead of policies and therefore hardly ever look on meta or chat) is suported by the changing results when looking at this question and the fact that people ofte disagree on the main page with the current null tolerance policies. Other people seem now to be are no chiming in at EnergeNumbers post by voting and posting, that are more active on the main page and have therefore seen it only recently. One can see that there is no community consensus towards the by a few people advocated "new standards" at all. The whole thing has become some kind of a "ruling meta community" against the "main page physics community" issue, since many people active on the main page consider things powerful meta people want to dissalow still useful and essential to studying and researching physics.
The worst thing one can do now is (what unfortunately seems to have been started by the advocates of new policies) going back and closing all these good and helpful questions, that were very valuable once and are appreciated as very helpful by most people learning physics still today. Instead, people in power should refrain or stop hardcore enforcing these "new standards", which may not be supported by the large majority of the community (including people active only on the main page!), by hardcore null tolerance policies until the consensus is really settled.
I personally think that these "new standards", which make the site much less helpful and partly even hostil towards people interested in seriously learning physics, are not needed at all. Everything has been well with the original much more reasonable and helpful point of view and policies until recently and I dont see a reason why these things absolutely have to change. In my opinion there is none.
Two and a half years of evolution in site policy.
The open question was asked in November 2010, early in our beta period, when the site was undergoing its initial burst of activity and its scope was still very much in flux. So it got a bunch of upvotes and then got forgotten. Since we don't go back and review old questions for closure, it just sat there until you noticed it.
The question falls far short of being appropriate on the site according to our modern standards, and accordingly I've closed it.