Regarding the following question: Would you have called this a penalty?

I had responded that the ultimate close reason was unclear to me:

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.

I can get over the not rare and controversial part as they are self-explanatory (though if the occurrence is not rare, an answer can be more easily provided, but I digress). If the original poster felt compelled enough to ask the question in the first place, then it is notable to him/her.

I had asked "Who decides what is notable?" and had attempted to interpret what is "notable," but I still have not come to a conclusion on those inquires. My interpretation, based on comments below, says matches at high levels of sport is what is notable.

"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... 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."

Notability and notability requirements are mentioned here but are not defined. I looked at the accepted answer and it appears notable = rare or controversial. Which leaves "notable in some other way" as something that is unclear to me, though I have inquired about it multiple times.

I find this unfair to those at lower-levels of sport as they are the demographic that is most likely to seek help on this site. Moreover, officiating is generally universal save nuances with a given league/level of sport. See this question for a great example of such. I understand that question is framed generally, but it refers to officiating application without having to refer to higher levels of rules.

Request: Define the criteria for what is "notable" or eliminate the requirement ("rare, controversial, or notable") altogether.

I find the question has three more appropriate and more objective close reasons:

  • Primarily opinion-based
  • Unclear what is being asked
  • Specific officiating decision

Primarily opinion-based because the question is phrased in such a way ("Would you have called this a penalty?") and the answer suggests that it is hard to provide a good answer ("Since we didn't see that situation it is hard to form a good answer for it."). Lack of ruleset and footage also makes the question more prone to opinion.

Unclear what is being asked "as it is about a specific situation without giving us enough info about it: 'Would you have called it?' - 'Called what? We didn't see it.'" @dly

Specific officiating decision because it is a type of question that will most likely only help the original poster.

  • Case in point: This question received an eloquent answer on how officiating is applied at lower levels. There is nothing rare, controversial, or notable about a three pointer. The same could be applied to the question I reference in which officiating application can be shared (without having to tie the occurrence to the Laws or higher levels).
    – user16112
    Commented Oct 12, 2018 at 18:13
  • 2
    I don't agree with officiating in lower leagues being off-topic for not being "notable", but that's just my two cents. The question about that penalty could be closed for being unclear as it is about a specific situation without giving us enough info about it: "Would you have called it?" - "Called what? We didn't see it." The answer is just pointing in the general direction in such a case.
    – dly
    Commented Oct 15, 2018 at 8:18
  • @dly I agree with your assessment. I guess I don't understand the usage of "notable" in this case, and nobody has cared to share what it means, which is why I am requesting to share what it means or eliminate it because it's unclear.
    – user16112
    Commented Oct 15, 2018 at 11:56

1 Answer 1


Notability implies that it matters to a lot of people, for one reason or another.

A question about decisions in international or major national leagues is almost immediately going to do so.

A question about rules or regulations that may be ambiguous or to which some degree of subjectivity can apply, and the conditions for which a decision can go each way, is implicitly an aspect of the game at these levels, or explicitly where they actually occur, and therefore notable.

A question about a specific situation which is only known to occur in a single low-level game is not sufficiently important to a wide audience. This is entirely aligned with similar questions we have deemed off-topic under the autograph identification tag.

In both cases they are unlikely to help people aside from the asker and without a significant amount of information (that we cannot or do not receive) will not be suitable for the kind of precise reliable and verifiable answer that is expected of Stack Exchange.

  • I don't necessarily agree, but I understand. I thought this is a site for people to get their questions answered, but people need to have the appropriate and relevant knowledge in order to answer such questions, which is most likely in a general or "notable" sense. I asked this question to bring attention to how subjective this sounds to a new user (I speak for myself here), leading me to consider whether or not the phrase (notable, et al) is necessary toward getting the point across (ie, question is too specific, opinionated, etc). I don't think it is, but I understand why it needs stated.
    – user16112
    Commented Oct 23, 2018 at 12:10
  • Hopefully this will help other new users to understand where we tend to draw lines that are somewhat brighter against the background grey. It's certainly subjective to some extent, as unfortunately writing objective rules would be so impossibly filled with exception and condition that nobody would ever make sense of it. Instead we tend to go case by case and, if necessary, figure out broader decisions on meta.
    – Nij Mod
    Commented Oct 23, 2018 at 18:13

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