I recently and quickly voted to close this question but after considering comments by @shigeta I voted to reopen. When I first read the question, I thought it was rather silly. Yet, I realized I would never shut down a question from one of my students so quickly. I would instead try to answer the question. So I think I acted rashly without considering the potential value of the question, not only to the person asking but also for future readers. The same idea applies the question about surviving on non-life. The questions may seem superficial or silly but perhaps there is deeper biological understanding that could be conveyed in the answers.

As I am new to this community and have recently achieved some moderation capabilities, I would like to learn what you all consider when you decide whether to close a question. Until I have a better feel for moderation in Biology.SE, I think I should hold back until I learn more. Thanks.

  • $\begingroup$ You can't go too far wrong using the Help Center as a guideline. It's basic, so it won't tell you if a question is 'too broad' or 'primarily opinion based', but it is a good standard, and you can vote to close anything that doesn't comply, until you get a better feel for what's on topic. $\endgroup$
    – J. Musser
    Sep 18, 2014 at 17:52
  • $\begingroup$ I'm not the biology expert, so I usually only vtc blatantly off-topic things. I don't think I qualify to write you a good answer, based on biology.se. I am an active vtc-er on GL, though, and know it can take a little to get the right feel for exactly what should be left open. This site is still new enough, and the help center is fairly vague enough, the community has a big say in what should be acceptable. I you find what you think is an 'edge case', or a new topic that ou aren't sure we should cover, bring it up in meta. $\endgroup$
    – J. Musser
    Sep 18, 2014 at 17:57
  • $\begingroup$ Other than that, you can watch what the other reputable users are doing, and learn from them. I'd suggest not just closing something 'because everyone else was', but watching until you feel you want to participate/know what you're doing. $\endgroup$
    – J. Musser
    Sep 18, 2014 at 18:05


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