Was it reasonable for this question to be closed?

Recommended news and culture streaming radio stations (auf Deutsch)? [closed]

I am specifically thinking of an analogue to NPR in the USA, whose stations generally broadcast a wide variety of show formats (news, interviews, talk radio, & entertainment) covering range of newsworthy and cultural topics.

I have done a little bit of research and am somewhat familiar with the landscape--ARD, Deutschlandradio, and Deutsche Welle. But as someone still at the "novice" stage I'm curious to get the opinion of those who are fluent and familiar enough to do a comparison.

(I will be moving to München in the near future and need to seriously brush up on my German. Since I listen to NPR for a good portion of each day, it made sense to find a substitute that I could study from while remaining up to date with cultural events and world affairs.)

The proposal for stack exchanged requested a “site for students having questions about German...” Let me emphasize the word ‘student’. Note also that I made sure to add a parenthetical postscript explaining the relevance and value of the this question to learners of German, or at least those in situations similar to my own, which I will assert is quite common. I will also assert that NPR has a reputation as a valuable resource for learners of English (and also more notably the BBC, for the same reasons), so it makes sense to ask “is there a german equivalent of NPR” [or BBC] from a language-learner's perspective. I was careful to word my question in such a way. To the point: I believe this question to be fully on-topic, and the sort of question that this site would derive value from. Now about the reasons it was closed:

“subjective”--is this standard really going to apply to this stack exchange? This is not Wikipedia. If subjectivity is a requirement for questions asked here, the value of the site diminishes greatly, and personally I will probably never return. I'm not being dramatic: the really interesting questions in language are subjective. There are online dictionaries and grammar guides that are much more complete and better indexed than a stack exchange can ever hope to be. The true value of this site is as a meeting place of native speakers and learners/lovers of German, which is the perfect opportunity to ask and get opinion on relevant, subjective questions of language and language-learning. But let me get specific. Here are some examples of subjective questions of great value to students of German:

  • What are some good novels with simple language that are enjoyable to read?
  • Is operatic german easy for native speakers to understand?
  • Which German words have a very interesting etymological history? (This one was asked, and closed despite some quality answers.)
  • How rude is “Quatsch!”? (This one was asked by Tim, who by the way voted to close my question and the one on etymology. It's currently ranked 6th on the overall top questions.)
  • Good movies for learners? (Also on the list of top questions.)

These are all valuable questions, and all of them subjective. And they are primarily the kind of question that a) learners of German are interested in, and b) this site can uniquely provide answers to. If ‘objectivity’ is accepted as a standard for moderation here, the chilling effect will be significant. I, for one, would have no interest in participating.

“argumentative”--how was this question in any way argumentative? In my ideal scenario I would have gotten 4-5 answers from people living in Germany who had previously lived stateside (or vice-versa), with their opinions of the radio, television, or podcast programs that are most analogous to the type of programming on NPR. And hopefully I would have gotten 4-5 completely different answers, so that I could have tried each and made an opinion for myself. I made sure not to ask for pros or cons of each, or phrase it in such a way that might spark a debate. I asked for “Recommended ... radio stations”, not “The best ... radio stations”. And I should point out, there was no debate in the answers that I have received so far.

PS: Right before I hit submit I realized “argumentative” might have been taken by the moderator to mean “debatable”, which is not at all the same thing and really a synonym for “subjective“. If that were the case I think the distinction should be made clear to moderators.

I voted to close that question because it was asking only for "broadcasts ... covering range of newsworthy and cultural topic", which is simply a list of spoken news media. If there was a criterion, e.g. "speaking clear Hochdeautsch about German internal politics" or "about contemporary music, preferably with Bayrisch slang", it would be a great question. I think now that I should have asked you to limit it instead of just voting to close. –  Tim N May 30 '11 at 7:58
@Tim, thank you for the clarification. –  maaku May 30 '11 at 18:41

3 Answers 3

I think that people here are much too quick to close lists as subjective. It is true that too many lists or the wrong lists are negative but some "subjective" lists can be among the best answer collections on SE sites.

Especially in beta one can try these things out and see what kind of list question works and which does not.

I would change this particular question to community wiki and collect the answers later in one post, though.

Some people seem to think that if they do not close all list questions immediately now, they are not allowed to close list questions later, but this is just not true.

One can let the list question "What are good German books for beginners?" open and close the list question "What are your favourite German books?", one can also wait for the first couple of answers to see whether the question attracts good or bad answers. One can even link to a list question that attracted bad answers in the future when one explains to new users why their questions are closed.

The question here is in my opinion sufficiently narrow to lead to good answers (there are not millions of German radio stations and clear selection criteria "news and culture coverage" are given).

I also wanted to note that this question again was not closed by votes but by a moderator. I see no reason whatsoever for moderators to close questions (except overt spam) in private beta which is there for the community to decide on questions.

+1, CWed and reopened. –  RegDwight May 31 '11 at 9:45

I think these list questions can be of real benefit to 'students' of the German language, if they are phrased carefully and those answering the question remember the question isn't "What is your favourite ...?"

I asked the question about movies, as I find them an excellent way to learn, and the picture often helps me to understand some dialog I'd otherwise be unsure about. I added some criteria of what I feel is a good movie for me as a learner.

Some of the answers to that question seems to take the criteria into consideration. Others seem to be just from people naming their favourite films, which are probably less helpful. I guess this is where the voting and comments come in though.

Right, one shouldn't be afraid to downvote answers that just say "Top Gun!!!!11 Tom Cruise is so cool in that one!!!11!!!11eleven". But that doesn't mean the question was bad. –  fzwo May 30 '11 at 12:41
Editing a badly worded ("... favourite ...") question is better than closing it. –  BudgieInWA May 31 '11 at 5:34

I think this was a very useful question. Radio stations differ in their use of language (frequency of moderation, use of slang, understandability, tone, spoken word programming instead of just music, etc.), and they can be a nice source of information about both culture and language for students.

Had the question been about music selection, I'd have voted to close it, but as long as it's about language, I don't see the problem.


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