It's been suggested via a flag that this question, which was deleted by Community after being closed for ten days, has value to other users asking similar questions.

I personally don't understand the closure of this question: in its current form, it's a thoughtful, conceptual question that happens to be phrased in a mathematical way. If you're a person who thinks the closure/deletion was a good decision, I'd like to understand your reasoning. If, on the other hand, you're a person who agrees with me, I'd like a million upvotes. And also a pony.

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    $\begingroup$ I have undeleted and upvoted the question. I suggest to focus the meta question so it asks whether the question should be reopened or not. $\endgroup$
    – Qmechanic Mod
    Commented Nov 1, 2016 at 13:09
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, agreed; the two outcomes we should be considering are "undelete and reopen" or "leave deleted and closed" $\endgroup$
    – David Z
    Commented Nov 1, 2016 at 13:22
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    $\begingroup$ General tip: If you don't like that good posts get deleted, upvote them! Conversely, if you don't like to waste your time reading bad posts, downvote them! Help make Phys.SE a quality site by voting! $\endgroup$
    – Qmechanic Mod
    Commented Nov 1, 2016 at 14:17
  • $\begingroup$ @Qmechanic What if I like the OP to put more effort in their question? $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 1, 2016 at 22:04
  • $\begingroup$ @Qmechanic I just noted that you had tagged the question "homework-and-exercises" -- would you still think it counts as such? $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 2, 2016 at 2:49

2 Answers 2


I think this is a typical case where an initial close vote encouraged others, in a snowball effect. We've seen a very similar occurrence recently here. This is worrying and should be reversed.

I think much of this stems from a misguided urge to help the community, the thinking being that if a question already has close votes, it must be bad; hence anybody that can add close votes should do so, to 'get rid of the trash' faster. But the number of close votes required is set at 5 for a good reason, and this kind of thinking lowers the number to 1 or 2, making results much less reliable.

I would propose that:

  • People shouldn't close questions as duplicates unless they fully understand both questions, and their answers.
  • People shouldn't close questions that contain equations as 'homework' unless they know how to answer the question themselves.
  • People shouldn't close QM questions as 'unclear' unless they can confidently answer clear QM questions. (The same going for GR, QFT, etc.)
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    $\begingroup$ Minor comment: The "recently" for your link is debatable, since while the reopen review is recent, the actual closure of that question occured in January 2014. As for your three points, I fully agree with the first and the third, I find the second debatable since while you should not vote to close as homework because something contains equations I don't think it's necessary to actually know the solution to a homework-like problem to identify a problem as being homework-like. $\endgroup$
    – ACuriousMind Mod
    Commented Nov 3, 2016 at 19:18
  • $\begingroup$ All three points apply for me, and I would still close the question in its original form, and I am still doubting whether it is a good fit for the site even in its present form. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 4, 2016 at 2:08
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    $\begingroup$ Also, do note to which version of the post a user voted to close. $\endgroup$
    – user36790
    Commented Nov 5, 2016 at 4:11

Let me try to explain why I voted to close, and why I chose not to answer.

The question, as it is phrased now, seems to ask about very specific aspects of the AKLT model. However, in order to be able provide a specific answer (which does not form a full explanation of the AKLT model), the OP would have to supply sufficient information on their prior knowledge, i.e., lay out the overall scenario considered and their understanding of it to an extent which allows to answer the question in a concise way. The way the question is phrased now, this is not the case: E.g. the screenshot from the paper is far from helpful for an answer and does not really explain which part of the construction the OP understands (also to me, such screenshots to some extent seem like a low-effort sign), one would have to basically explain the whole AKLT model, which would be a disproportional effort compared to the effort which went into the question.

Now I'm not generally against writing a detailed explanation of the AKLT model, but I feel it is slightly lost effort if it is posted as an answer to a question which is seemingly concerned with details -- another poster with questions about the AKLT model will likely not see that the answer contains the full explanation of the model, rather than just assume it is an answer to a very specific question. Now given the apparent current interest in the AKLT model, I might consider writing such an answer for a question asking about the AKLT model in general. (The downside seems to me that as such, such a question -- which would basically just state "Could someone please explain the AKLT model?" might (rightfully) be badly received here.)

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    $\begingroup$ That seems like the wrong reason to close the question to me, and, if anything, it would lead to an UWYA closure instead. I also don't see why referring to the paper is all that bad, either - if you have a question about the paper, there's only so much you can say without including the whole body of the paper in the question. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 1, 2016 at 19:10
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    $\begingroup$ @EmilioPisanty Well, the VTC was in (I believe) for an earlier version of the question, which was far less clear. Nevertheless, I don't see how providing a reference (either the one given by me or by the OP) provides a good answer -- pure reference are generally deprecated here -- and I do think that a question shows too little effort if it is very specialized and at the same time answering it takes disproportionally more effort than asking it. (Also, let me note that I was the one who raised a flag to undelete it, since a subsequent question was asking sth. very similar.) $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 1, 2016 at 21:42
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    $\begingroup$ @EmilioPisanty BTW, even after your edit I don't feel like answering it. I would answer a question asking: "Could someone please explain the AKLT model. I'm interested in the following n aspects: ... followed by n concise bullet points." (Just to give an example: Is the any use in giving the figure?) $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 1, 2016 at 21:45
  • $\begingroup$ @NorbertSchuch I don't think this is about whether you feel like answering the question, is it? $\endgroup$
    – N. Virgo
    Commented Nov 11, 2016 at 3:50
  • $\begingroup$ @Nathaniel I think it is: If I am qualified to the answer to a question and do not want to answer it since I would feel exploited (due to the inadequate relation between the effort in the question and that required for a good answer), I think this is a good reason to VtC for insufficient research effort (=homework). Differently put: If someone were to ask me that question next to a blackboard, I would have been more than happy to answer it, since there I have the possibility to figure out what the asker knows and what I need to explain, balancing out the effort. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 11, 2016 at 7:46
  • $\begingroup$ @Nathaniel To be honest, I also don't have the impression that anyone else would really care about the question weren't it for this meta post: I had to tell the OP to post an answer, and it didn't get many votes either although it clearly answers the question; also, a very similar (better phrased) question got much less votes, and no-one really seemed to care about my (comparable-effort) answer. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 11, 2016 at 7:48
  • $\begingroup$ I regard up/down votes as independent from close votes - they measure things on orthogonal axes - so I don't regard that as especially relevant either. But I suppose it doesn't matter much in the general scheme of things. $\endgroup$
    – N. Virgo
    Commented Nov 11, 2016 at 7:50
  • $\begingroup$ @Nathaniel Let me put my reason to close differently: If I don't feel like answering a question on a topic I feel enthusiastic about and which I could answer on the spot, there must be something wrong with the question. (One reason is that there is no point in writing a canonical answer to a specialized question: People would complain if it is flagged as a duplicate.) $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 11, 2016 at 7:51

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