I asked this question: If a new nation on an artificial island was founded, what kinds of names might it be given? It has been closed as primarily opinion-based. I don't understand why it was closed.

I think it might have been closed because it looks like I'm asking for a list of names. But I explicitly say otherwise in my question:

If somebody were to build a new nation, how would it be named, and what kinds of names might it get? I'm not interested in a list of names - rather, I want ideas about the process that would be used to select a name, and what types of names would potentially be selected.

I think it might also be because it's a relatively subjective question. But in my experience, most of the questions on this site are somewhat subjective. For example, What kind of art (if any) would be possible in a world without imagination? and How quickly will government realize that I am printing money? are both questions that, like mine, describe a hypothetical scenario and ask about a particular aspect of the implications of such a setting. My other question, What are people doing while they wait for the apocalypse?, is likewise similar in its subjective nature and hasn't been closed.

Can you please explain to me why my question was closed? If it looks like it shouldn't have been closed, can it please be reopened?

  • $\begingroup$ The answer you accepted was a list. Not a list of names, but any item from that (long) list could have been a valid answer in itself. $\endgroup$
    – PatJ
    Commented Jan 25, 2017 at 0:06
  • $\begingroup$ @PatJ This answer of mine on another SE site is a list, but both my answer and the question it's responding to are not opinion-based. $\endgroup$
    – Kevin
    Commented Jan 25, 2017 at 17:42
  • $\begingroup$ Most of the questions here are opinion based, They close it as "opinion based" when they don't like the questions asked or are too controversial for them. When you ask for a prediction of the future according to history or previous human experiences how is that not "opinion based". Keep in mind that most operators are American/Anglo-Saxon. As long as you ask stuff about unicorns and fairies you should be fine. $\endgroup$
    – user31264
    Commented Feb 21, 2017 at 8:01

2 Answers 2


I think I have a litmus test for what constitutes a "primarily opinion-based" question.

Ask yourself: "What would a wrong answer to this question be?"

For the process of a place name developing, are there any wrong answers? I know of places that were named on a bet, named for game shows, named by drawing out of a hat, named for religion, named for irony (Slapout, Ok), etc. Any solution anyone types up is valid.

In other words, the answer is "any way you want."

As such, the question has no "best" answer. Even one that gets lots of upvotes doesn't mean anything. The design space is so open ended that we can't even say when all the answers collectively are close to being a complete set of possibilities!

That inability to be wrong in any real way makes this a bad question.

  • $\begingroup$ I agree that a question that could take any answer would be opinion based, but I disagree that my question is an example of that. I provided details about the setting I was asking about, so answers would have to make sense within the context of that setting. To borrow one of your examples, it would not make sense to name my setting based on a bet because the people deciding the name use a bureaucratic, formal process to come up with the name. $\endgroup$
    – Kevin
    Commented Jan 25, 2017 at 7:20
  • $\begingroup$ The state of Nevada uses high-card-draw to decide tied elections. The Obama administration used a competition to decide which school districts would get extra education funding. And the sequester of the US federal budget happened in 2014 because of a lost bet. Gambling is frequently part of a formal, bureaucratic process. But that's kind of beside the point... I can argue that mine is valid and there really isn't a way you can conclusively say I'm wrong. You can say, "I as author don't like that answer for my story." And THAT is opinion-based. $\endgroup$
    – SRM
    Commented Jan 25, 2017 at 15:11

I think your question needs to be more explicit (especially in the title) that it's looking for the process of naming a location rather than looking for a name.

"I have this city, what do I call it" - Opinion based

"I have this city, how do I come up with a name for it" - Opinion based

"What is the best process I can use to come up with names for a city that [insert criteria here - for example fit in with the other locations in the kingdom, distinguish from others, fit a certain timezone or culture, etc]" - On topic if sufficiently constrained

So you need to make your question more explicitly about the process rather than the end result. Descriptions of your city should instead be rephrased as restrictions on that process.

  • $\begingroup$ To be honest, I'm miffed if my question was closed because of its title - that's such a small portion of my question's content. But I agree that the details about my setting could be more focused. $\endgroup$
    – Kevin
    Commented Jan 25, 2017 at 18:03
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @Kevin The title wouldn't be the only reason, but it won't help your case. $\endgroup$
    – Tim B
    Commented Jan 25, 2017 at 20:37
  • $\begingroup$ Fair enough! :) $\endgroup$
    – Kevin
    Commented Jan 25, 2017 at 20:58

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