I just noticed that this question has been reopened:
It is a very old question -- actually a pre-Beta question.
It was promtply closed as "Not constructive" (?) by the community, and by this I mean 5 different users voted to close it.
Yesterday, a different user asked to reopen it.
Now, I don't agree with the original close reason: a question about specific differences between varieties of Spanish is clearly on-topic (we even have a specific tag (diferencias-regionales) for that!) and I fail to see how such a question can be "not constructive", but maybe close reasons in 2011 were different than today's, I don't know.
However, the question as asked is certainly too broad. And so, I voted to keep it closed.
But what is too broad?
A question is too broad when its answer would need to be several pages long to correctly address all that the question encompasses. They are not off-topic, and they can be certainly interesting, but they are not good for the Q&A format.
Questions like "What are the different uses of pronouns?", "What are the rules for punctuation?" or "What are the differences between Spain's and Latin America's Spanish?" fall into this definition for Spanish.SE. They are akin to asking "What are the main differences between Java and C#?" in Stack Overflow, or "What are the main openings?" in Chess.SE.
And why are too broad questions not good for a Q&A site?
Well, for starters they just limit the range of posible questions. If a broad question about "rules of punctuation" is accepted and somebody manages to write a good, complete answer, then that's it: all future questions about punctuation rules are now duplicates of this complete answer. New users asking for specific rules will have their questions closed, and no new answers will be posted. This hinders the site and slowly turns it into a dead database with good answers and 0 active users.
Also, Stack Exchange's markdown formatting and site design do not exactly favor the reading of long answers. You cannot make an index, you cannot link to different sections, you cannot include proper tables, you only get half a screen width... Reading long answers is a pain, and doing so in a mobil device is even more so.
And finally, such questions can attract answers that just regurgitate content from other sources. Yes, I know: most answers here use content from external sources, as they should (speculation and unreasoned opinions are frowned upon); but they also offer personalized advice, tailored to OP's specific question. That is not the case of "too broad" questions: since they are not specific, there's nothing to tailor the answer to, so it's easier to just copy content from somewhere else. And frankly, if the answer to your question is found on page 723 paragraph 3 of the Nueva Gramática, I see no problem in quoting such paragraph; but if the answer to your question is the whole chapter 17... Do we really want answers like that?
So, back to the reopened question.
A user voted to reopen it, reasoning that it could be a good canonical question. Fair point, though I disagree: while it's good to have canonical questions regarding specific topics, too broad questions are bad for the site (see the aforementioned reasons) and so they should not be accepted, much less made canonical.
The question entered the Reopen queue, and it initially got two "Leave Closed" votes. But then it got a mod-cast "Reopen" vote and, since mod votes are binding, the question got reopened with a total (past and present) vote count of 7 "Close" votes and 3 "Leave open" votes.
Honestly, I don't feel that's right.
I understand that the two last votes probably weren't from the two most experienced users, and that the mod team has a bigger picture when it comes to closing and reopening questions. But 7 close votes should count somehow, shouldn't they?
Now I'm torn between two paths:
- Vote to close again, this time as "Too broad": because I think it is the right thing to do, and just in case the "Reopen" mod vote was cast because they, just like me, didn't agree that it was "Not constructive".
- Leave the question as is, accept the mod decision, and open a debate about what is "too broad".
You probably guessed I went with the second option, but I really think I should vote to close such questions, so I'm asking the community.
What's your definition of "too broad"? What's your take on "too broad" questions?