I entered the following question: How do you calculate an exact two-tailed p-value using binomial distribution? The system generated a warning that this "appears to be an opinion" and "is likely to be closed".

I would love to know the algorithm that would flag a query such as this as "opinion". And, I'd love to know what "should have been" entered to avoid the "opinion" warning.



1 Answer 1


Edit to pull in a clarifying comment:

to clarify, the warning came up immediately after I entered the title...none of the post/question had even been typed into the system

It's amazing that it correctly predicted that the body of your question would be problematic*; I couldn't have guessed it from the title. It may be the phrase "how do you" or perhaps the word "exact" could be what's causing it, but not being familiar with anything about the coding of it, I am unsure.

* More seriously, it's probably a misfiring rule if it just had the title to go on -- on the basis of the question title I could not have predicted it would contain opinion

(Initial answer that discusses issues with the question body)

I haven't encountered it but that sounds like a (perhaps new for CV) network-wide feature.

It sounds like it's a rule in the part of the system that is trying to help people write questions that won't just be closed because they contravene the rules.

Aid along these lines for people writing questions were rolled out on stackoverflow a while ago, if I remember rightly.

It looks like it is picking up on several things in the way you phrased your question that may seem somewhat tendentious.

That is, I think it's (correctly) identifying a problem with your question.

Most directly - you explicitly seek support for a particular opinion: "I would like more evidence that the use of 19th and 20th century approximations play little to no pedagogic advantage in modern intro stats or intro data science courses."

Further, your question as presently phrased certainly appears to express opinions in ways entirely unnecessary to the question (like the use of "addicted" when discussing significance level).

Phrases like "ulterior motive" and "you can probably see where I might be going with this" also strongly hint that there's an opinion being expressed that could be better put in a more neutral way and the system may well be picking up on things like those.

I'd suggest you consider taking notice of it and making your question more neutral in tone (asking for information is fine, asking for people to support a conclusion you already arrived at is usually not).

Your question may well be closed as it stands now.

  • $\begingroup$ to clarify, the warning came up immediately after I entered the title...none of the post/question had even been typed into the system $\endgroup$
    – Gregg H
    Jul 12, 2019 at 0:45
  • $\begingroup$ as your post comment was clearly not intended to be helpful, I've appropriately flagged your post as abusive...unfortunately, I can't flag your comment as abusive...so I've screen shotted and will happily share with the moderators $\endgroup$
    – Gregg H
    Jul 12, 2019 at 0:54
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ It's in my post now (with further explanation and the comment was already gone) so your choice flagging of the post rather than the comment will be entirely appropriate. I believe there's a relevant point to be made there and I don't think the intended-to-be-humorous part of the comment (surprise that the AI somehow managed to guess that the post was a problem, which is directed at the AI, not you, since I was seeing it as having 'misfired') is abusive, but I will leave it to the other mods to consider. I'll happily make any requested changes the mods ask for. $\endgroup$
    – Glen_b
    Jul 12, 2019 at 0:58
  • 12
    $\begingroup$ Gregg, I am surprised you view Glen's response as "abusive." It's hard to see how you are reading it, but it certainly doesn't warrant such a reaction. Might I suggest taking a more measured approach with people who are taking time and effort to help you and at least assuming they are well meaning? BTW, I was able to reproduce the site behavior just by typing "How do you calculate" into the title. Surely such an absurd situation would benefit from a little humor, especially since we cannot do anything about it. $\endgroup$
    – whuber Mod
    Jul 12, 2019 at 2:37
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ In the end I did close it but I hope that you edit, and that it reopens $\endgroup$
    – Glen_b
    Jul 12, 2019 at 3:36

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