There has been some discussion whether this question (about storing plastic bags so you can retrieve them efficiently) is on-topic or not. The question was flagged as off-topic and I personally agree with that. I think the question would fit better on Personal Productivity. However, 3 other people have commented that they think the question is on-topic.

I'm in favor of following the majority here, but 3 versus 2 is hardly a representative sample. How do other people feel about this? Should we migrate the question to Personal Productivity or keep it?

  • Do personal productivity want it? Have you asked in the Teachers' Lounge?
    – 410 gone
    Commented Jul 23, 2013 at 15:11
  • @EnergyNumbers One of the PP mods said that it isn't the best PP question, but he thinks if migrated the question probably won't be closed there.
    – THelper
    Commented Jul 25, 2013 at 13:33

2 Answers 2


It's not a bad question, really, but more of a question that's related to more than about sustainable living. I definitely don't think it belongs on Personal Productivity, the author is clearly trying to find a sane way of storing something for frequent reuse.

It's narrow enough, rather well written and shows quite a bit of research by the question author. It's a real world problem that he (and presumably some others) may face, and it can be objectively answered. The only question here would be is the question too far out on the fringes of the topic and in this case you could probably flip a coin.

With a topic like Sustainable Living, you're bound to get a fair share of these - fringe questions that definitely relate to the topic, but aren't always in the center of it. I don't see any real harm in entertaining them with answers that bring them firmly into the topic unless they become the majority of the questions that you receive, at which point it's probably time to revisit the wording of the site description and audience a bit more, and perhaps get a little tighter in the help center when it comes to the types of questions that can be asked.

If closed, I don't think it should be migrated. It was written specifically with this context in mind.

Personally, I find it interesting and helpful, because we're currently swimming in bags full of bags and I can't stand rummaging through them to find the kind I want, or remember which bag full of bags is the one I've been using.


I'd first like to applaud THelper for going with the democratic majority, despite the small sample size. I would like to have seen this done elsewhere (e.g. with this question).

That said, in general I think that if 3 people wanted to close the question, and 2 wanted it open, or if 30 wanted to close it, and 20 wanted it open, it still should be kept open.

A simple majority should not be sufficient to close a question. I find it absurd that Stack Exchange lets one moderator, or 5 users close a question, regardless of how many people have viewed, and or voted up the question.

Close a question if it's clearly harming the site. If not, leave it open and let the userbase decide. If you don't find the question useful or interesting, don't answer it. The existence of an imperfect question on a site you participate in is not stopping you from participating in the other questions you do find useful.

However, when you close someone's question, you are stopping their participation. Period. There's not a symmetrical effect to closing vs. leaving open. Therefore, I think it would be entirely appropriate to demand a higher level of support for closing a question. One moderator, or five users, is far too low a bar.

I remember reading a question once on meta.stackoverflow.com once that basically identified that 5 out of the 10 most popular (votes, or views, I can't remember) questions of all time on Stack Overflow were currently closed. To me, this is irrefutable evidence that the site's priorities are backwards, in this regard.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and if a sizable number of site viewers find the question useful, then it's useful.

I would also reject any "slippery slope" arguments concerning the hypothetical possibility of the site turning into a free-for-all, overrun by people asking questions only about fringe sustainability topics. One, we're not there, or even close. The site's traffic is still very manageable, and virtually every time I look at the review queues, they've been completely drained. We don't have a problem with trash on the site (and there wasn't, even before we had moderators pro tem). Two, this is sustainability. It's a low volume topic, for better or worse.

I acknowledge that on busier sites, like Stack Overflow, the balance changes a bit. But, we're not them.

I also acknowledge that my view on this greatly conflicts with the majority of SE moderators, and power users, and accept getting downvoted into oblivion. However, sites like meta.stackoverflow.com have turned into an echo chamber of a very small percentage (~1%) of overall site users recycling (no pun intended) the same opinions on site policy. I hope this site doesn't turn into that.

  • Some good thoughts there, though I think 5 Close votes is a lot of votes on this site at the moment, given the number of users. I wouldn't want to increase that number yet, even it it were possible. Commented Jul 29, 2013 at 3:23

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