Did Lisa Chester miss her father's funeral?

I hate to have to ask, as the question is not worth much to me, but it's so unpleasant to see a question closed for an ambiguous reason.

Commenters complained that it was "insufficiently notable", but I cannot find any stated criterion for notability.

Close voters called it "off-topic", as if I had violated the "What topics can I ask about here?" rules. However, the question is definitely is about a historical event, and as far as I can tell, doesn't fall in any of the prohibited categories.

So were all those people wrong, or is there in fact an unwritten notability rule, or is it written and I failed to find it?

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    Personally, I found the question very uninteresting, and thus perhaps "non notable". But I do feel your frustration over these stated reasons, and you are imo correct that such a 'rule' may be implicit, at least for some here, but not anywhere sated in writing that I know of. Hence: excellent meta question! +1 Commented Dec 18, 2019 at 15:35
  • @LangLangC Thank you. If "interestingness" were the rule, I would be voting to close on a lot of random questions! Of course, the community does not trust me to make that judgment. Commented Dec 18, 2019 at 15:53
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    @LаngLаngС Personally, I was actually fascinated and spent an unfortunate amount of time digging for more information on the internet. Aside from the tragedy of the senseless death, it's rather twisted that Farrell dated and got his own cousin hooked on heroin when she was so young. I would have greatly enjoyed getting a look at her art work, honestly.
    – Semaphore
    Commented Dec 18, 2019 at 16:36
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    @Semaphore While tastes may differ eternally, now you got me looking into this for real. And I can say confidently that there is something wrong with the story as told by WP and its sources. Still not seen what you allude to, but that makes it even more interesting. Since "difficulty" is a primary reason for opening a question, I just voted so… Commented Dec 18, 2019 at 16:59

2 Answers 2


To the best of my knowledge, there has never been a notability requirement as such on History.SE. There is, however, a requirement that a question should be answerable using historical methods, and a longstanding consensus against genealogical questions. Together this tend to rule out questions on life events of obscure individuals who do not otherwise leave a mark on the historical record.

In this particular case, as I noted on the question, the fact that the incident inspired a significant piece of musical work - on which some amount of primary and secondary sources exists - qualifies it as a legitimate musical history question. In my opinion.

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    Further, there is a whole other site for answering questions about people who are no more notable than average. The Genealogy folks know far more about how to look up biographical information on ordinary people than we here could ever pretend to. We're much better with people who have left more typical historical artifacts (IOW: People who have "made the papers"). That being said, the exemplar question IMHO was more us than them.
    – T.E.D. Mod
    Commented Dec 18, 2019 at 17:39
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    The "answerable using historical methods" criterion may not be enforceable, since none of us can ever prove that a question cannot be so answered. I guess if I asked what Og and Trog were talking about in that cave in 40000 BC.... Commented Dec 18, 2019 at 22:37
  • @AaronBrick It's somewhat of a judgement call, but I think if it can be demonstrated / argued that the topic in question is at least tangentially featured in recorded history (for example, see how you linked several sources documenting Xiola), then that would pass the historical methods test.
    – Semaphore
    Commented Dec 23, 2019 at 21:47

As one of the people who voted to close, I basically agree with Semaphore's answer: for something to qualify as history there either has to be some degree of historical significance (i.e. notability) or it can be mundane but illustrative of common conditions in some historical era.

For me the question didn't really meet the criteria: did the groupie of a 90s band who got mentioned in a songb make it to her father's funeral? While she may have some bearing on the song, that fact doesn't either way.

It's rather a border line case though. For me, if fell below the threshold of being history. Others may disagree. Fortunately the stack exchange system is designed to function on a degree of community consensus, rather than one persons opinion. Since the question (as of the time of writing) hasn't had five close votes, it is still open, and the consensus opinion is that it is on topic here.

I'd say that the system is working as intended, and that it is on the whole a good thing that I'm not the sole judge of what is or is not on topic.

  • Am confused: " the question (as of the time of writing) hasn't had five close votes, it is still open, and the consensus opinion is that it is on topic here." Is it open? Is there consensus? Please claify. Commented Dec 19, 2019 at 3:14
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    I don't mean "consensus = everyone is in agreement". I mean consensus as in the aggregate view of the community expressed through various voting mechanisms.
    – PhillS
    Commented Dec 19, 2019 at 11:47
  • The confusion was over "hasn't had" close votes when it was still closed as of your writing, not "still open". Perhaps I misunderstand either your writing or the timeline? (I don't disagree on your take on consensus, but that might need your input ;) ? Commented Dec 19, 2019 at 15:27
  • when I wrote the answer, the question had 4 close votes. It subsequently picked up a 5th and was closed. It got 5 re-open votes pretty quickly though and no more close votes since then, so clearly there are enough people who think it is on topic.
    – PhillS
    Commented Dec 19, 2019 at 15:30
  • Is there then a bug in the clock system or did you write it, then published it much later? Closed at 2019-12-18 14:02:06; A here at 2019-12-18 18:53:35. Or didn't your view update the status of the question? (Not criticising your A here with that btw. I just believe to have read this timely, while the post on main looked closed to me.) Commented Dec 19, 2019 at 15:39
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    @LangLangC Curious. 18:53:35 (GMT) matches pretty well with when I posted it. I refreshed the question before posting to make sure it hadn't been closed while I was writing. Did it from my phone through, so possibly it had some issue with caching / not updating due to network connectivity. (Either that or there is a clock bug where some timestamps are done by local time of the user, rather than server time, but that seems unlikely).
    – PhillS
    Commented Dec 19, 2019 at 15:50

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