I've noticed that per-site metas are often littered with complaints/questions about question closure- so here's my own contribution to that genre.

I'd like to seek clarification on the closure of this question about Nikolai Gogol and his family name. It was closed for being primarily opinion-based, but I'm uncertain about the reasoning behind it.

First of all, prior to posting the question to the main site, the OP created a meta-question to ask whether it would be on-topic. That, as far as I know, is incredibly rare. (If only all first-time askers did that!) Both of the answers to the meta-question indicate that, yes, asking about this would be on-topic.

Secondly, the question, when asked on the main site, was pretty well-received- it made the HNQ and got at least 6 upvotes (I don't have the see-vote-breakdown privilege yet). The question includes some prior research/effort on the OP's part and isn't one of those crappy one-line 'ask-and-dash' posts.

The boilerplate close notice for opinion-based is 'This question is likely to be answered with opinions rather than facts and citations'. But...the question was answered non-subjectively with two linked sources that explicitly examined what had been asked; it was answered with 'facts and citations' well before it was closed. Sure, the answer kind of refutes the premise, but it evidently satisfied the OP's doubts.

(I understand that it is currently in review and has two reopen votes)


  • What made it opinion-based?
  • Is it salvageable?
  • Are there any similar questions on this site that were closed for the 'q is subjective' reason that can be pointed to as precedent for this one?

(This post is a mix of challenging the closure and finding an explanation for it.)

  • 1
    I wasn't among the closers, but from just a glance at the title, I'm immediately thinking "Prestigious according to whom? What makes a word objectively prestigious?" It looks a lot to me like "Ducks are lame because I say so! It should have been something I think is cooler like a dragon or a rhino!"
    – T.E.D. Mod
    Jun 20, 2023 at 19:50
  • 1
    @T.E.D. - The fact that Gogol's grandfather added that part because it sounded more nobly ("of more noble Cossack ancestry") answers your What makes a word objectively prestigious: it sounded prestigious to the Kosaks or was imagined so by one who wanted to push forward his Ukrainian origin (possibly against a Polish or Russian one). The question seems legitimate, and got a very good answer too, which pleads in its favor.
    – cipricus
    Sep 11, 2023 at 16:10

1 Answer 1


After a few months of mire, the question has now been re-opened.

I still don't have a clear picture as to why it was closed, but the reopening indicates community support for its on-topic-ness.

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