I was just going through the "Suggested Edit" review queue and saw a tag wiki edit suggestion there for a tag that was recently created, which read as:

This tag is used by questions that requires mutable ideas to answer or forms of idea brainstorming. the tag is to help in the unjust cull of good question that full under the "too broad" category. The question should be of high detail and to the point. The question must not be a topic of conversation and or debate

This looks like a very bad tag as the tag wiki is supposed to explicitly encourage brainstorming and random ideas, which directly conflicts with "Primarily Opinion-Based" as a close reason. Some people might also say that this is "Too Broad", which is probably why the user wanted to explicitly use this tag as a counter for this close-reason.

For reference my take on "Primarily Opinion-Based":

This tag reminds me of the former close reason Idea Generation.

Tags shouldn't have any special powers, they should simply categorize the content of the question and the question should align with the core rules of the site. There are enough problems with keeping track of and that is only to make answerers aware that the OP is searching for very realistic answers - not to counter close reasons.

I think we should remove the tag and voted to reject the edit suggestion. What does the community think?

  • $\begingroup$ just want you to know i have no bad blood between us (you are just doing your job) but this is the biggest problem on this site I'm not doing just for me, too many post get cut down (I'm sure you have seen it yourself) if you guys want to edit my tag to fit it better that's fine but we need a safe place for these topics $\endgroup$ – Creed Arcon May 1 '18 at 9:56
  • $\begingroup$ @CreedArcon You seem to think that I am some sort of employee whose job it is to police the site. I am a normal user, just like you. I have a bit more reputation from participating on the site for longer, but that only gives me the normal privileges that anyone can get if they participate. StackExchange is community driven. The community decides together what to do, what is allowed, what should be closed and what should be reopened, ... Thanks for participating and we have all been at a point where we wanted more brainstorming. $\endgroup$ – Secespitus May 1 '18 at 10:00
  • $\begingroup$ @CreedArcon If you are interested in broader discussion you might want to check out our chat. The chat is more open-ended and good for discussions, but on the main site open-ended questions would be problematic. $\endgroup$ – Secespitus May 1 '18 at 10:00
  • $\begingroup$ you seem to want to counter my tag but do you have any ideas as how this problem can be resolved (I'm open to ideas) besides the chat (few people want to use the chat for their questions) and its like we have to hide from the rest of the world because the question is different? "open-ended questions would be problematic" as problematic as any other question in any other category, the bad ones get culled and the good ones stay (much like what this site have been doing at day one) i think this long conflict can stop by just giving us one tag $\endgroup$ – Creed Arcon May 1 '18 at 11:02
  • $\begingroup$ @CreedArcon I don't see this as a problem that needs to be solved. Other forums are great at open-ended discussions - StackExchange is not. I think we should leave things as they are. Clearer communication as to what is and what isn't acceptable would sometimes be great, but if you look at my answers that I linked here like "big, blurry region" and "my take on opinion-based" you will see that I think this is simply a topic that will come up again and again, but that's okay. I don't know what you mean with "hiding" or "culling", but a tag with hidden meaning to circumvent rules is not good. $\endgroup$ – Secespitus May 1 '18 at 11:10
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    $\begingroup$ @CreedArcon If you think we need to have another discussion about this problem feel free to ask a new questions here on meta as a discussion where you describe the problems you see. Then we can see what the community thinks about the problem. This discussion is meant to be about a new tag that circumvents rules, tackling a broader problem about the sites culture would warrant a separate discussion with more visibility. And comments can deleted at any point for any reason, so they are a bad place to hide such culture discussions. $\endgroup$ – Secespitus May 1 '18 at 11:10
  • $\begingroup$ and can someone contact a admin to have a look at this? (know idea how) and maybe make a tag that fits what I'm ding here or cut this idea down (if they look at all the facts first) $\endgroup$ – Creed Arcon May 2 '18 at 0:48
  • $\begingroup$ @CreedArcon Like I said, you won't get an employee from StackExchange to join a normal tag discussion. This is what self moderation is about. If you want the opinion from a mod you can look at the answer from Jame. The diamond next to his name tells you that he is an elected moderator. A list of all mods can be found here. If you need to contact one you can flag a post with a "in need of moderator attention" flag that lets you write a little comment to them. $\endgroup$ – Secespitus May 2 '18 at 5:46
  • $\begingroup$ @Vincent well I tried (at least I can say that) I won’t talk about this again (I don't agree but I get where you are coming from. I hope someone dose change the rules for the better but there’s a saying that goes like this "don't bother telling a person to stop swimming down the river, some people just go with the flow, just hope there’s no rocks on there way” I also want to thank all the people who put their time into this chat and sorry if I wasted your time. have a nice day $\endgroup$ – Creed Arcon May 2 '18 at 15:21
  • $\begingroup$ @CreedArcon You haven't wasted anyone's time, it's normal to talk about stuff like this regularly. That's what Meta is for. But I think you might wanted to write this under Vincent's answer $\endgroup$ – Secespitus May 2 '18 at 16:03
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    $\begingroup$ As it seems like the majority of answers thinks the tag should not belong, I've gone and removed it from all 5 questions it's on. Quick and easy tag cleanup, the script should get rid of it tomorrow. $\endgroup$ – Aify May 5 '18 at 0:21
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    $\begingroup$ Also, a quick note on tags: An easy way to determine whether or not a tag generally should exist is to ask the question, "can you be an expert in [tag]?" "Can you be an expert in idea-based" makes no sense, therefore, the tag fails the test. $\endgroup$ – Aify May 5 '18 at 0:22

The tag appears to be an invitation to close the question as opinion based or too broad, and was apparently created in protest at exactly that happening. As I said on the review, I see no purpose to it.

Many of our most popular questions have been closed for these two reasons, adding a tag doesn't make the question any more valid.

Tag has been used 5 times by only one user, 3 of the questions are closed.


So to baseline.

At its heart the Stack Network is about asking specific questions and getting specific answers.

Admission: World Building is a weird beast. We are perhaps one of the sites that least adheres to this purpose. That said we continue to exist on the network and should strive to meet the intent of said network even as we have to adjust to manage the strange scope of World Building.

The quoted tag description:

This tag is used by questions that requires mutable ideas to answer or forms of idea brainstorming. the tag is to help in the unjust cull of good question that full under the "too broad" category. The question should be of high detail and to the point. The question must not be a topic of conversation and or debate.

While I can personally appreciate the intent here, and I assure you I do, this idea is in direct conflict with the site and larger network's intended use. The tag also contains what appears to me to be a paradox. Generating ideas effectively and keeping things detailed and too the point are just not the same.

Creed I can relate to your frustration, I was there at one point. All users were. Stack is a strange beast to those used to discussion forums. When you compound that with the fact that you get better input from other users here than almost anywhere it can be frustrating that certain avenues of conversation are not acceptable to the system.

That said we get better answers and users because we have those restrictions on the the site.

A question being a bad fit for the Stack Exchange format does not make the question bad.

I have said this to a lot of people around here and its true. World Building is big...its like all of reality wrapped up in a bunch of non reality, put in a blender poured over a big pile of conjecture and topped in shavings of magic. Its the reason we struggle so much with scope and on/off topic-ness.

There are a lot of things that I would love to post here and simply don't mainly due to the fact I know they would be off topic or so insanely broad that hundreds of pages could be written in response.

There are other avenues for these questions.

On the network itself the only option for you is chat. We have many conversations there that either help distill a concept down to a specific question, or simply discuss concepts at length.

Otherwise there are many forums and boards for longer form discussion out there on the Internets.

Again, when peers, other users close something it is not a personal attack. (If you think otherwise please flag it and the other Moderators and I will review)

I remember being new, not taking things personal can be difficult, but the users here donate their time, it is best to assume their intent is positive, even if they don't have a lot of tact.

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    $\begingroup$ My usual response when someone has an idea that needs to be refined or is just too broad for Main, I point them to chat. Those are some of my favorite conversations when we narrow down an idea to something pointed that fits in Main. $\endgroup$ – Green May 1 '18 at 18:48
  • $\begingroup$ so why don't we work together and make it right? most people don't go to the chat (sorry but its true) if the tag is remade and used right it can save a lot of problems i never had the tongue for legal talk but I'm sure someone can build the tag the right way and make this site better. i get why everyone's got a problem with the tag but it can make thing better if made right. well i tried if i failed then I'm more sorry for this site $\endgroup$ – Creed Arcon May 2 '18 at 0:02
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    $\begingroup$ @CreedArcon The problem is that the tag is inherently flawed. It tries to make the site do something it is not intended to do, and no matter how you word that I don't think we can escape that basic fact. It's like...like using a hammer to install a light fixture. We should use the right tool for the job, and in this case, the correct tool is chat. $\endgroup$ – James May 2 '18 at 14:17
  • $\begingroup$ @James I'm actually someone who supports CreedArcon mainly because few people get to chat, and when you have that sensation flowing within you to post something in this site, then nothings stopping you (just the old close topic stuff will for sure) $\endgroup$ – Mr.J May 15 '18 at 7:50

The tag is bad and the edit made it worse.

The tag wiki invites brainstorming, but also adds the requirement to have high details and being to the point. This is a contradiction since brainstorming consists of throwing any idea that crosses your mind, they are simple and most are not good.

To me, it seems like the intention was to create a tag specifically to legitimate opinion-based questions. If that is the intent, it is not appropriate.

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    $\begingroup$ I agree with this. Adding a tag to allow things that shouldn't be allowed on the site doesn't make sense. As I have said before, a question being a bad fit for Worldbuilding doesn't make it a bad question, just not appropriate for the format here. $\endgroup$ – James May 1 '18 at 18:12
  • $\begingroup$ as i said in my answer here (that got closed i think) the tag itself is not what I'm defending. the tag i made is just to widen the net as it were, to let out some very good questions. "intention was to create a tag specifically to legitimate opinion-based questions" no i don't want "please do my work for me" or vague. you don't seem to get my intentions here, AndyD273 made a better point questions like that are the ones I'm trying to save. you can remake the tag fill it out with the proper legal text way (i never had the tongue for it) then it can be used properly. or be stuck in your ways $\endgroup$ – Creed Arcon May 1 '18 at 23:47
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    $\begingroup$ @CreedArcon you are trying to defend an idea that goes against the stack exchange network purpose. Questions that are only asking for ideas are not bad per see, but here is not the place the ask them. They are good questions if you seek a discussion. To be frank, if a question is opinion based, any answer is just as good as the others. Therefore asking the question in the first place is kinda pointless in my opinion. $\endgroup$ – Vincent May 1 '18 at 23:59
  • $\begingroup$ An example, if a question ask something like "What is a cool name for a colony on Mars?", people find this 100% subjective and will close the question without second thought. Any name is just good as the other. There are of course some names that would be awful or unpronounceable but some could still argue that they sound cool to them. $\endgroup$ – Vincent May 2 '18 at 0:02
  • $\begingroup$ Of course I am aware that I picked an extreme example of opinion based and that many questions are not that subjective. There is a lot of gray zone. $\endgroup$ – Vincent May 2 '18 at 0:09
  • $\begingroup$ @Vincent you still don't get my intentions here the tag (it don't have be my tag just one that i want) would not allow for a small non detailed work like that to be opened. its more along the lines "detailed questions with multiple right answers" is what im trying to save here (said like five times already) i know if done wrong could invite chaos but if the tag is done right could be a very good thing $\endgroup$ – Creed Arcon May 2 '18 at 0:10
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    $\begingroup$ @CreedArcon But questions with multiple good answers are ok, nobody said otherwise. The problem arise when all the answers are equally good because there are no criteria to evaluate/compare them. These answer will be judged on what: originality, humour, personal preferences? $\endgroup$ – Vincent May 2 '18 at 0:33
  • $\begingroup$ @Vincent then by your logic the magic tag should be put to the sword as well. to me that argument sounds a little bit like... personal preferences? if you judge one tag like that then judge them all like that (see what its like now:) $\endgroup$ – Creed Arcon May 2 '18 at 0:43
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    $\begingroup$ @CreedArcon I agree that the magic tag has problems and many questions about magic do get closed. I am well aware of this problem. The solution comes from the asker. He needs to define the basics of the magic system (explain how it work, what it can do) and as with any question, it need to have some sort of criteria to judge the answer. $\endgroup$ – Vincent May 2 '18 at 1:45
  • $\begingroup$ @Vincent there my friend is your answer to my tag if done right can be used in the same way, we just need a safe place for it to work, its the same effect as the magic tag and the same problems. im fine with the right to close bad ones (don't take it like i'm trying to bypass it the close rights just giving it a fair go) $\endgroup$ – Creed Arcon May 2 '18 at 5:05
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    $\begingroup$ @CreedArcon Just ask the questions normally without using the tag. As mentioned elsewhere, a tag is not a magic solution to bypass the rules. If the question is bad it will get closed, as you said yourself, with or without this tag applied. Also, the tag as proposed would be a meta tag. Just like science based for example. It's use has become so common that it has become also useless. Compare the idea tag with geography : if one user what to search a specific topic, he could search geography but what is the usefulness of idea based? Idea based could be applied to almost any question. $\endgroup$ – Vincent May 2 '18 at 14:32
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    $\begingroup$ Furthermore, we are still having issues to trace the boundary of what is answerable and what is not. To me this tag adds more confusion especially for new users that are already having problems to understand how the site works. It tells them (or some might understand it that way) that asking questions purely on opinions is acceptable is they use this specific tag, and that is not ok. $\endgroup$ – Vincent May 2 '18 at 14:36

My go to answer is that WB.SE is closer to Parenting.SE than it is to Math.SE.

StackExchange was started for a very specific purpose, but since that time has changed and expanded to cover a lot of topics. Some of those topics are things that do not in fact have one correct answer.

1+1 always equals 2, and any answer that says different is wrong.
How do I get my child to stop coming home after curfew does not have a single right answer, and anyone who says differently is wrong.

It's OK to have questions with multiple right answers.
It even says it on one of the SE blog pages, giving parenting as an example.

We're robbing users of good answers, and going against the "make SE a welcoming place" when we try to force WB to be more like SO.

Now, if a question can be focused to a single easy point then it should be, and that's fine. But sometimes you just need an idea, and those should not be thrown out just because they don't fit some outdated mold.

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    $\begingroup$ Having multiple correct answers is encouraged. It's even encouraged on purely scientific sites like SO where there are multiple approaches to programming questions. It's having open-ended discussions without any criteria that's problematic. I think allowing complete brainstorming on Main will open us up to half-sentence one-line questions that could be answered over the course of multiple books. And I don't see why having rules and making sure users adhere to these rules is going against being welcoming. Also I am more concerned with a new tag trying to circumvent todays rules here. $\endgroup$ – Secespitus May 1 '18 at 19:45
  • $\begingroup$ @Secespitus as i said before if the tag is built well (i admit its not) we can both make the cake and eat it. you are worried that if this tag gets in the site will be over run with "half-sentence one-line questions" but i was not protecting that its what AndyD273 "to have questions with multiple right answers" that's what i want to have a place on this site if the tag is remade and well all the problems will go away with it (just cutout the badly made questions as we all ways do) or stay behind the times (because that goes well in history) $\endgroup$ – Creed Arcon May 1 '18 at 23:55
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    $\begingroup$ @CreedArcon This site is already built to accomodate questions with multiple right answers. But there have to be criteria for which answers are better than others. Without criteria you get "What name should I pick for my magic system?" questions. And you should still start a new discussion if you feel the sites policies should change. This is supposed to be about a tag that explicitly ignores rules that are in place. This is the most unwelcoming thing I can imagine for new and old users alike:"You used the normal criteria for closure? You can't do this here, there is this special secret tag" $\endgroup$ – Secespitus May 2 '18 at 5:51
  • $\begingroup$ @Secespitus You can have multiple right answers, unless the question allows for too many right answers that are not the same right answer, and then it's "too broad" or "opinion based". I really think there should be a place for "I have a place I want my world to go, but I have no idea of how to get there. I need an idea to get me started." and then let anyone that feels like it throw an idea against the wall. It could be fun. It's not compulsory. It doesn't hurt anyone. It does not bring the site down. It could be the one thing that gets a user started with all the other stuff needed for WB. $\endgroup$ – AndyD273 May 2 '18 at 13:02
  • $\begingroup$ @AndyD273 If we have a secret tag that you have to learn about in order to get started like that it won't help anyone. It looks even more elitist than we are doing nowadays from a new users perspective. And when you start your journey through WorldBuilding with "Use this tag - that eliminates all the close reasons." then why should I not use the tag with later questions? It could be fun indeed. Chat sessions with a couple people bouncing ideas around is very cool. But then we need a normal forum thread where you can follow who said what when - not floating answers. $\endgroup$ – Secespitus May 2 '18 at 13:08
  • $\begingroup$ I think that it's important to regularly have such discussions, so by all means: feel free to start a new discussion about the problems you see and why you think the blog post means we should change something. But let's not hide such an important culture discussion somewhere in the not-searchable depths of multiple comment threads in a question that is about "Should we have tags with special powers to ignore currently existing rules?" $\endgroup$ – Secespitus May 2 '18 at 13:12
  • $\begingroup$ @Secespitus That's fine. I don't think the tag should be a secret. We possibly shouldn't even need the tag, treat WB.SE more like Parenting.SE, and instead of needlessly closing every question that doesn't fit some rigid ideal, let go some and instead focus on questions that really don't belong. There are quite a few questions that have zero to do with WB, and they are rightly closed. The executives at SE want it to be a more welcoming place. Let's stop stomping on people who are actually trying, even if poorly. $\endgroup$ – AndyD273 May 2 '18 at 13:22
  • $\begingroup$ @Raditz_35 I'm not sure, but I think we're the only site with a sandbox. I haven't found one on any of the other SEs that I've visited anyway. It's a workaround to the problem the community put into place, not SE. Should we need one? Do other exchanges? As to standards that need to be upheld, I think "is this about worldbuilding?" is about right. But SE as a whole is undergoing a policy change in regards to this topic, so it'll be interesting what it looks like when it trickles down to WB. $\endgroup$ – AndyD273 May 2 '18 at 13:57
  • $\begingroup$ @AndyD273 Puzzles.SE and ProgrammingPuzzles&CodeGolf.SE have Sandboxes for question testing as their questions require a lot of work in order to function on the respective sites. Other sites have Sandboxes for other purposes, such as Meta.SE and Math.SE (I think) to test layout/markdown stuff. $\endgroup$ – Secespitus May 2 '18 at 14:09
  • $\begingroup$ @Secespitus That's cool. I hadn't checked their metas, mostly becuase I've never asked a question on any of those. Sandboxes aren't bad. I kind of wonder if it might be useful to make them official though. Have a checkbox when asking a question that says "Don't know the right way to ask? Sandbox it first to get user feedback." Then questions would go into a holding queue, just like the close queue, and users could give feedback. Then it could be changed into a normal question automatically from there. $\endgroup$ – AndyD273 May 2 '18 at 14:14
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    $\begingroup$ @AndyD273 "I have a place I want my world to go, but I have no idea of how to get there. I need an idea to get me started." There's a way to make that question perfectly appropriate for the site: add a starting position! If you have the start and the goal, then we can figure out a way to get there and judge those answers on how well they solve the problem of going from A to B. $\endgroup$ – user May 3 '18 at 10:44
  • $\begingroup$ My question What is the smallest change that would allow an Earth-like planet to have atmospheric CO₂ levels of several percent? seems a workable example of that. What we don't want, and what the Stack Exchange Q&A format doesn't really handle at all, is a question where every reasonable answer is equally valid. Which seems likely to be the case if you only state the end goal. $\endgroup$ – user May 3 '18 at 10:44
  • $\begingroup$ @MichaelKjörling Something you may be overlooking is that you are a diamond mod on WB. If you ask a question, by definition it must be ok, so who is going to vote to close? I've seen many that were even less broad than yours closed. Now, I'm categorically NOT saying that I think yours is too broad. Personally I think it's fine. But I'm also not one of the people that gets off on closing every question that hints at crossing a line. I'm a lot more liberal when it comes to questions. Throw any question out there. If it's good people will answer. If its bad, it'll fall down the list and disappear $\endgroup$ – AndyD273 May 3 '18 at 13:48
  • $\begingroup$ Doesn't matter if a question is so narrow that it only has 1 possible answer, or so broad that there are 100 good answers that all fit. All that matters is that the person who had the question found an answer that works for them. And if you are worried that your answer won't get picked, then don't take the time to post it. Then no one gets hurt. $\endgroup$ – AndyD273 May 3 '18 at 13:48
  • $\begingroup$ @AndyD273 "Something you may be overlooking is that you are a diamond mod on WB." Actually, at the time when I posted that question, I didn't have a diamond on Worldbuilding (or, I believe, indeed any site on the network). And my point was just to illustrate my argument: say what you've got, and what you want, and the community can usually help you figure out how to get from here to there. If your question is only about where you want to go, then anything that might possibly get you there from anywhere is a valid answer, at which point the question is at risk. $\endgroup$ – user May 3 '18 at 14:09

Propose a counter

I would like to add that even if this tag gets kicked we still need some form of counter for some VERY unjust closures. A few Moderators take it upon themselves to close some very interesting topics just because it barely falls into the Opinion-Based or Too Broad category's.

I'm not saying to get rid of them but to limit the power or set something up in a way for these answers to live on this site. That’s why I made this tag - not as a form of chaos, but for the little man that just wants to have ideas thrown their way. Some form of brain-storming needs to be put in place.

For a site that talks about world-building very few of those questions survive infancy. Take my question How would society operate if everyone had two lives?: it’s getting a lot of interest. It’s not going down the discussion road and is well received, but it will be taken down because people take the closure reasons too literally and go around killing the topics with little reason for it.

But it’s not just me, but many other people that don't have the power to defend ourselves. With this narrow view point this site seems to enforce it seems to me that it’s becoming, how I should put it... Opinion-Based. I should quote a smart man

Just because it's justified doesn’t make it right

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    $\begingroup$ Admins rarely interact with the site at all. Most of the time closure is done simply by people with more reputation who have spent more time interacting with the site. For example at 3.000 reputation you get the privilege to cast Close and Reopen Votes, which allows more easily to steer the direction of the site by participating in the closure and reopen process. Moderators (with a diamond next to their name) could theoretically close/reopen a question singlehandedly, but they very, very rarely do. $\endgroup$ – Secespitus May 1 '18 at 9:55
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    $\begingroup$ And admins would be StackExchange employees, who very rarely visit the site. And I disagree with your proposal (which is why I will downvote this answer - voting on Meta is different from Main as Meta is more discussion-like to allow to change the sites scope and talk about it more freely). If we allow brainstorming we will drown in half-a-sentence one-line questions that are asking for brainstorming and half-a-sentence one-line answers that "just want to add something to what has been previously said". That's simply not how StackExchange is supposed to work. $\endgroup$ – Secespitus May 1 '18 at 9:55
  • $\begingroup$ @Secespitus when i said admins i meant Moderators (name did not come to me at the time) the Moderators pretty much have admin powers anyway. "If we allow brainstorming we will drown in half-a-sentence one-line questions that are asking for brainstorming and half-a-sentence one-line answers" if you read my tag bio, it says that i has to be detailed and to the point "i know what I'm asking for" if a qestion is built in such a way then it should be cut down (everyone knows this) I'm asking for protection to the well made ones $\endgroup$ – Creed Arcon May 1 '18 at 10:06
  • $\begingroup$ Moderators don't really have that many powers. Their votes are binding, they are the only ones who can see spam flags and flags on comments and they can send comment discussions to chat, but that's about it. They can't change site settings for example or change the accept mark on other peoples posts. The binding votes are really the only difference that you sometimes see that differentiates high-rep users from mods and the mods on this site very rarely use that power. We are pretty good at self-moderating. Your question explicitly stated that not everything had to be answered, just a field... $\endgroup$ – Secespitus May 1 '18 at 10:10
  • $\begingroup$ @Secespitus Don't forget about gold tag badge holders, who effectively have binding "duplicate" close votes within those tags. $\endgroup$ – user May 1 '18 at 15:49
  • $\begingroup$ @CreedArcon, if you have concerns about closure -- especially mod-only, or nearly so, closure -- of specific questions, then by all means bring that up. That's what the Meta tag "specific-question" is meant for. Proposing a tag that looks like it's meant to encourage something that we struggle very hard to avoid (brainstorming) is not the way to approach that. Also, it's worth noting that once you reach 3,000 rep, you can participate in reopening a mod-closed question simply by voting to reopen. $\endgroup$ – user May 1 '18 at 16:02
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