Most of you know that I am a vocal opponent of the effort criteria anyway, but I am getting a bit unnerved as of how inconsistent it is applied.

I am posting this as a specific example here only because I am too lazy to dig up others and this one simply is the freshest.

The question I am concerned about is General organic chemistry-most stable structure_conceptual doubt. I am quoting it here as an example in full, but I'm not linking to it to avoid meta effects.


I am just confused between options C and D. Both C and D seem to be stable due to resonance, but I think D should have more resonance as the Oxygen's lone pair in -OH bond will also participate in resonance making it more stable. But the answer is C. Please explain why.

Obviously the post still has some issues, none of which are unfixable (which I will try to do later).

From what I read, I understand exactly where OP is coming from. {S..}he has a problem deciding which structure is more stable and explains h{er..is} reasoning for it. How much more effort would have been necessary not to close it?
(In the first round of review there were 3 leave open votes. Also, this is of course independent of the issue, that the given answer in the solution is absolutely wrong-ish. It depends on the solvent, but that is a discussion to have with the main question.)

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    $\begingroup$ So what's the correct answer? Option D? $\endgroup$ Aug 15, 2018 at 13:27
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    $\begingroup$ @AnuragBaundwal Under certain conditions (a) under other (c), although this is not the place to discuss it. I was remembering only the value for water. $\endgroup$ Aug 15, 2018 at 14:36
  • $\begingroup$ Finally, a question closed without my vote... $\endgroup$ Aug 17, 2018 at 23:13

1 Answer 1


While I did not close this question, I downvoted it, and the reason is quite obvious: revisions 1 and 2 in the revision history are not very good. (I have since retracted the downvote.) The title is pretty much useless, and one has to click on the link to see the choices C and D.

Three of the close votes came before the question was edited to include the image. So, one can imagine that the same factors which caused me to hit the downvote button also made three people pull the homework trigger.

Obviously I cannot speak for any of the close voters, so I remain open to being corrected.

Unfortunately examples like these show that our usage of the homework close reason has become somewhat too liberal. Instead of a homework close reason, it is being used here as a generic catch-all low-quality close reason. And I think we need to have a discussion on it again soon, or at least certain aspects of it, unless somebody can convince me that the close reason is being correctly applied here.

  • $\begingroup$ I would like to voice my opinion on this matter. What is the aim of Chem.SE? For me, it is to create a compilation of good chemistry questions, along with the corresponding answers. If a question is valid, meaning that answering it would be worthwhile and enlightening to some users, then it should remain. Even if the question is of poor quality (i.e. poorly-worded, somewhat ambiguous), it can still be refined to become a high-quality question. The only reason why we should close questions is when answering them bring no net benefit to the community. $\endgroup$ Aug 19, 2018 at 6:08
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    $\begingroup$ That’s mostly correct, and that’s why we have the unclear, too broad, and primarily opinion-based close reasons which have never been controversial. Only the homework close reason is a problem and that’s because we enacted it for a reason other than “this question cannot be answered sensibly in a manner consistent with the SE philosophy”. (I use this wording as opposed to yours because answering a broad question, for example, still benefits the community, but is not in line with SE) It remains to be discussed why we have actually retained the HW policy and whether it is justified. $\endgroup$ Aug 19, 2018 at 7:21
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    $\begingroup$ I don’t want to say everything here - it’s not the correct place for it - but the HW close reason is clearly popular with users. We could say that having the HW policy isn’t in line with SE philosophy (your comment articulates this well), but I am almost sure that completely removing it (as some of us have argued for in the past) is an equally bad option. There has to be some sort of compromise, essentially scaling the policy back, while retaining whatever aspect of it that people like. $\endgroup$ Aug 19, 2018 at 7:30
  • $\begingroup$ A couple of months back Martin, Gaurang and I had a long discussion on the topic. Here's the transcript for interested users. $\endgroup$ Aug 20, 2018 at 11:16

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