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Keyboard for a beginner to learn to play some popular tunes

It doesn't mention specific equipment, nor does it ask for recommendations for specific equipment.

It did have the word 'recommendation' in the title (until I edited it) but one can recommend features or characteristics as well as specific models, so that doesn't seem to be worthy of closing. I edited it as I wondered if people were close-voting without reading the question.

I agree with those that say it doesn't have tonnes of detail, but then neither does (say) What to look for when buying a digital piano for a beginner? - but that's an aside. The main talking point I want to raise here is : why was a question that was not asking for a recommendation for specific equipment closed as doing so?

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    In general, try to avoid the argument "X is closed, but Y is open" as the site, the scope, and the community changes with time and the question you pointed to was asked in the first few months of the site and a lot has changed since then. But even then that question is much more defined then the one closed. – Dom Mar 4 '16 at 8:39
  • @Dom You're right, I shouldn't have mentioned the other question - it was an unnecessary distraction. – topo Reinstate Monica Mar 4 '16 at 8:59
  • @Dom but to be fair, the question I was asking was "why is this closed as asking for a recommendation for specific equipment "? To which people seemed to be answering "well, it shouldn't have been, but it is still broad", so it was a kind of answer to that follow-up question! – topo Reinstate Monica Mar 4 '16 at 9:01
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I think this one does fit into the category of "Answerable" here. It isn't asking for a brand or specific model, but asking what kind of keyboard they should buy.

That said, the question isn't that good, and we could end up with a range of questions similar to the Digital Piano one you linked to so I'm not going to vote for reopening, but I won't close if it does get reopened.

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    This is exactly what I was thinking too. – Matthew Read Feb 29 '16 at 18:34
  • If I recall correctly, it looked like a gear recommendation question to me, but I wasn't sure, so I commented asking for clarification. The asker never responded nor edited, so after giving it a bit of time I voted to close. It might not have been much time because I knew there's always the option to re-open if the question became clear and clearly not a gear recommendation question. – Todd Wilcox Mar 3 '16 at 16:30
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To me, any question containing the phrase "what to look for" is clearly not a gear recommendation question. That doesn't mean every question that is not a gear recommendation question needs to include that phrase, but for me that is why I wouldn't personally vote to close What to look for when buying a digital piano for a beginner?

Other differences between the questions include:

  • The open one is very specific. It mentions "digital piano", tells a little bit about the intended use, and even has specific talking points listed. The closed one is much more vague. It uses the words "keyboard" and "popular tunes" without any amplification of whether the asker is hoping to sound like Trent Reznor or Burt Bacharach (both authors of what could reasonably be considered "popular tunes").
  • The open one is only about "what should I look for in a digital piano?" The closed one has an extraneous question that confuses things and the additional information in the closed question doesn't help with understanding the product goals the asker has. Personally I can't connect the desire to "...play few popular tunes in a year and play charts from musical theory sheets in three." with information on good keyboard options because I don't have a connection in my brain between how quickly one learns and what instrument one uses.

To me a good meta question on the closed question might be, "How can we help people who don't even know what kind of question to ask?" Some people come here with virtually no understanding of music, but they are here asking questions because they want to understand music, and I should think encouraging that would be something this community would like. Sadly, many of these askers get their questions closed pretty quickly and not always with comments that attempt to help. Even when comments are posted, the gap between commenter and naive asker is sometimes so large that the asker doesn't even understand the thrust of the comment (as in this case and my comment on the question, it would seem).

  • To be fair, the piano question also doesn't say whether the player in question wants to sound like John Cage, Morton Feldman, or Chopin - but in the absence of that aspect being specified, it's possible to make a reasonable 'middle of the road' assumption - is it not possible to do that with the keyboard question too? But you do address my main point which is that new users come along, ask a question that may not be perfect but may be rescuable, the close votes come in (which is the 'SE way' - close quickly), – topo Reinstate Monica Mar 3 '16 at 17:51
  • the question ends up with a close reason that is incorrect (which is the main thing that I think is NOT excusable), and it all ends up as a sad mess. – topo Reinstate Monica Mar 3 '16 at 17:51
  • To me a digital piano is a very specific product line. More specific than "synthesizer", for example. Trent Reznor also uses piano sounds, but excluding treated piano sounds, people looking for piano sounds and piano functions are looking for the same thing. On the other hand we really don't know what the asker of the closed question is looking for, other than it has keys, presumably arranged in the traditional fashion, and with the traditional white & black colors (but maybe not?). That still leaves too many options to answer effectively. – Todd Wilcox Mar 3 '16 at 17:56
  • Though I personally felt there was enough detail in the question to make an answer, it was certainly a broad answer to a broad question, and if 'too broad' was the close reason, that would speak for itself. I perhaps shouldn't have mentioned the piano question as it distracted from the main issue I wanted to raise, which is - why was this question closed as asking for a recommendation for specific equipment? – topo Reinstate Monica Mar 3 '16 at 18:31
  • @topomorto Without clarification from the asker, the question fails in both being too broad and seeming like a recommendation for specific equipment. I suppose that seems contradictory. Sometimes I wish for more nuance in the available close reasons, but most of the time I pick the reason that seems best to me and I almost always comment regarding the situation, and the comment is where I feel like the specificity lies, not in the multiple-choice close reason. I would not vote to re-open that question today and I don't worry too much about whether a close reason is an exact match. – Todd Wilcox Mar 3 '16 at 18:35
  • It does seem that I care more about the wording of close reasons than some. I do think they can be important, for example when (as here) they are a part of the first impression some new users get of the site. – topo Reinstate Monica Mar 3 '16 at 18:44
  • You could start a meta thread asking for more close reasons to be added to the list, but that might cause closures to be more confusing and not less. It already seems like a fine line sometimes between "too broad" and "primarily opinion based". – Todd Wilcox Mar 3 '16 at 19:06
  • @ToddWilcox We're only allowed to have 3 off-topic close reasons max. We can petition the SE team to get more, but SO itself only has 6 so I doubt we'd get more than 1. – Dom Mar 4 '16 at 8:25
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    @topomorto since we can only have 3 close reasons so we'll never get the perfectly worded off-topic reasons for every off-topic question, but that shouldn't stop a question from being closed if it is not in our scope. A lot of times like this one a question that is closed falls between two different close reasons so when voting to close you should pick the one that best describes it. There was a problem with the question and it was about equipment and it came off as a recommendation question and it's closed as it should be until it can be fixed even though it may not be the best worded reason – Dom Mar 4 '16 at 8:34

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