I just asked this question about whether or not a rock I found is an arrowhead and it was closed as opinion based.

I don't quite get that both since no one has suggested that it isn't an arrowhead and there are other similar questions on the site.

What are these rusted metal objects found on a beach?

Scat Identification on Upper Yosemite Falls Trail

In fact, none of the other 60+ identification question on the site have been closed as opinion based.

  • This is a note to future viewers of this discussion. The arrowhead question has been re-opened, so people need to look at the edit history to find out what happened along the way. On the date of this discussion, Oct 8, 2017, some additional information was added to that question. The following day it was re-opened. It has 10 net upvotes (+11, -1), and two answers. That doesn't answer this meta question as to why that was closed in the first place. It's purely for historical purposes, in case future viewers get confused. Commented Oct 22, 2017 at 20:10

2 Answers 2


I agree that it was inappropriate to close that question. Opinion-based is rather unfair for something that someone with the right training (archeologist) should be able to answer, and point out a decent amount of evidence to support the answer.

Perhaps the problem was that for most people here, the answer would only be opinion (as mine was largely), since most people here aren't trained archeologists. Still, that doesn't make the question opinion-based.


My guess -- and it is just a guess -- that if you had mused a bit on the arguments for it being an arrowhead (flaked, obviously worked and the arguments against its being an arrowhead, (quite assymetric, leading to wobbly flight) and posted a couple of pics of Native American arrowheads and discussed the comparison, you would have avoided the opinion based charge, because you would have started a scholarly discussion. As it was, you gave the impression of not having thought about it much. If the OP hasn't thought about his Q, why should I, thinks the downvoter.

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    This is a rather unfair standard to hold the arrowhead question to, especially considering the other questions referenced above. I might agree if the picture showed a lump of rock that didn't look anything like a arrowhead. However, the picture shows something clearly quite close to commonly found arrowheads. While no harm in going further, requiring that in this case is over-reaching. Commented Oct 8, 2017 at 15:19
  • I see what you're saying. My problem, as one who voted to close, was that I couldn't see the picture well enough to even understand the question. Some actual pictures of arrowheads would have helped it a lot. I almost voted "unclear what you're asking" because that's what I really felt. By that point, all the other close votes said "opinion-based" so that's what I chose. Commented Oct 9, 2017 at 0:12
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    @Sue I agree more examples would be great, honestly we don't have arrow heads around here much that aren't metal, or flint, and I could find quite a few arrow head like stones just kicking up the dirt. Examples would be a good addition
    – Aravona
    Commented Oct 9, 2017 at 5:18
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    @Sue: But that's the point. Not knowing the answer and the question being opinion-based are two very different things. I answered because I've personally found a number of stone arrowheads in northern California (the shore of Lake Almanor, to be exact), and know what a likely range of them looks like. If I hadn't, I wouldn't have answered at all, but not because of the question, but because of my ignorance. Commented Oct 9, 2017 at 14:14

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