I'm having trouble expressing myself clearly about this issue, so please ask me to elaborate (or perhaps someone has better words than I).

This question about how to effectively teach mathematics to a child is a good example of a question for which I am conflicted about casting a close vote. I think the best way to phrase my question is as follows:

Are close votes used to enforce a prescribed notion of what questions are to be featured on the site, or are they intended to naturally create the environment desired by the users?

Certainly, this question is not constructive in the strict sense that it will not admit a definitive answer. Still, I feel the question is a good faith effort by a new user and could easily be reworded as a "reference request" about teaching children. My dilemma is this: Do I cast a vote to close because I don't believe it is the kind of question normally welcomed by the community, or should I leave it be and wait for five users who have a stronger personal feeling that the question does not belong? Of course, five such users might not exist, and then the question remains open. Is this the desired outcome?

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2 Answers

up vote 14 down vote accepted

I think that it is a bad idea to closevote based on what you think that other people want (or have close-voted in the past).

If there aren't five people that actually don't want a particular question that is a splendid reason to leave it open. I don't even see a problem here.

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The following is mostly my own personal opinion.

In the faq it says that:

avoid asking subjective questions where …

every answer is equally valid: “What’s your favorite __?”

your answer is provided along with the question, and you expect more answers: “I use _ for _, what do you use?”

there is no actual problem to be solved: “I’m curious if other people feel like I do.”

(I don't know how to format a list in the quotes...)

In my opinion this question comes close to these types of questions. Especially because the OP in that question asks: "What is your preferred way?".

However, I could imagine someone actually saying some objective about the question. I don't know a lot about math-pedagogy, but one could imagine that there actually has been done some research into how to teach math to a $7$-year old: memorization versus playing math games with pictures.

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