The motivation for this question is the fact that at the moment, the 2014 FIFA World Cup is in progress and a number of decisions made by referees have been hotly discussed elsewhere on the Internet.

Obviously, the majority of decisions made by a match official in a given sport are based on an application of the rules of the sport to a given opinion held by the official at the time of the incident. However, after the match, with multiple camera angles, replays, etc, it's often a lot more clear cut what happened, and it may be possible to make a mostly objective assessment as to whether the decision was correct, and if not, what the correct course of action may be.

Even if we can remove the "primarily opinion-based" hurdle, are these questions then at risk of being "too localised"? I'd argue for high profile matches in a given sport, which are of interest to the majority of followers of that sport, these questions are certainly not too localised, as they're of interest to a wide range of people.

So, to sum up, are questions regarding specific match official decisions in a particular game on topic? If your answer is not a clear-cut, yes-no answer, which are allowed and which are not?

2 Answers 2


There is no longer a "too localized" close reason, those that were formerly closed as "too localized" are often closed under the off topic reason.

However, this type of question has been acceptable here before and I think it will continue to be so.

The only thing I think we should make sure of is that someone isn't questioning every referee decision. I think we should stick to some level of notability requirement. Something like it was rare, or controversial or whatever.

Here's one that I asked a while ago:

This was something I'd never heard of before in a basketball game, and so I think it was an appropriate question to ask. That's the kind of thing we should be looking for when we want to ask about single game/match referee decisions.


I apologize in advance for not knowing how this site works, but I feel the current accepted practice is ridiculous.

This is in response to the reaction to the following question Would you have called this a penalty? and the answer above mine was referenced as gospel.

If this question was framed a little more generally, there could be an answer provided that would highlight the necessary considerations.

I agree with this.

As it stands, given this was a local-level match, it probably isn't notable enough to generate good answers in its current form.

I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it relates a specific officiating decision in a match that was not rare, controversial or notable in some other way.

This is what I find ridiculous: This site indirectly denigrates this official's question because his situation occurred at a local-level and isn't notable or controversial enough. It's also not rare? If anything, lack of rarity should make it easier to provide an answer since it would be considered a common occurrence or one that would be covered in the rules or case-book.

Perhaps the question isn't interesting because it's not a "high profile [match]...which are of interest to a wide range of people" but the application of the rules should be "of interest" and universal save some nuances. I understand not having to address "lower-level matches" because of specific rules, lack of footage, and such, but not all of us will play or officiate at a semi/professional level, so most of us will have questions at this lower level.

If this question is off-topic, I'd prefer to make it off topic because it's opinion-based (In the absence of a ruleset and footage to visually support what the official saw, it's anyone's guess as the answer to the question implies.). I'd also prefer to make it off-topic because it's a specific official decision (if it's not opinion-based). But to make it off-topic because it's not rare, controversial, or notable in some way? That rubs me the wrong way.

  • Good answers are useful to many readers and drive traffic to the site. If a specific incident does not have some notability, it is unlikely to be useful to other readers unless framed generally. However, if it is rare or controversial, this may get around the notability requirements. The question was perfectly fine if framed generally, but an answer specific incident in a local-level match that only one user on the site (i.e. the answerer) has ever seen or will ever see is not likely to invite good answers. Commented Oct 1, 2018 at 5:29
  • @studro Who decides what is notable? Rare and controversial is clearer cut, but if notable = FIFA, that's somewhat closed-minded to the demographic that is likely to seek help (though, to be fair, their source of help should be other officials in their jurisdiction). Case books exist for the purpose on explaining less-common occurrences. I recognize how specific and "localized" the occurrence is, but the point of my answer is that there can be other reasons to not tend to this type a question (which I try to present as alternatives), and that the current one is subjective.
    – user16112
    Commented Oct 1, 2018 at 12:15
  • All reasons to close are subjective - that's why multiple close votes are needed to ensure that there is a consensus for doing so. Unless there is something particularly controversial or rare about an incident, if it doesn't involve a team in the highest national league of a country, or a first-international team, I will generally vote to close. I certainly don't require it to be a match directly organised by FIFA (i.e. a world cup, confederations cup, or world club cup match) as you have suggested. Commented Oct 2, 2018 at 5:21
  • @studro Do not put words in my mouth. I am trying to interpret what "notable" means. 1) You asked this question because of the FIFA World Cup. 2) You mention "high-profile" matches and how "they're of interest to a wide range of people." This narrows the query to semi-professional, at worst. 3) You mention the question "was a local-level match, it probably isn't notable enough." While you might not require the match directly be organized by FIFA, you are strongly implying that only matches at this level and equivalent will be served.
    – user16112
    Commented Oct 3, 2018 at 11:44
  • @studro What is the point of closing questions if reasons to close are subjective? I'm saying the "notable" part is subjective, and that hasn't yet been made clear to me. It seems like fans (rather than actual players or officials of the sport) are the demographic being served with this requirement in mind because it's of interest to them while not many have interest in a local-level match. The alternative reasons I present are objective: "Opinion-based" (even the question is currently phrased in such a way) or "Specific Official Decision." No gray or subjective areas in these reasons.
    – user16112
    Commented Oct 3, 2018 at 11:53
  • Sorry if I misrepresented you, but I believe you implied a criterion I was applying was notable = FIFA, which I clarified was not the case. If you think more objective close reasons are needed, you should raise a new question in meta under the feature-request tag. If you want to continue this discussion, I suggest chat is a better place to do so than here. Commented Oct 5, 2018 at 2:26

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