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Several years ago I tried to ask this question about how to make the best of the space in my PC for more case fans.

I thought I had put quite a lot of effort into researching for myself and then asking for factual information, not opinions (in fact I was researching the topic before I even thought about asking on a Stack Exchange site, and only asked because I had failed to find definitive information). But the question was very shortly closed as opinion-based. While I disagreed I didn't think it was worth anyone's time disputing that, so I left it and moved on.

However the question has accumulated a lot of views, despite it being closed the entire time, culminating in me getting notified that it had earned a Famous Question badge. I took this as evidence that the community is at least someone interested, and since I'm still interested and still don't see how it is classified as opinion-based, I edited it to try to be even more clear that I was seeking factual information and left a comment asking if it could be reopened.

Instead it was deleted.

No comments were ever left suggesting what was considered to be wrong with the question that I could improve, either at the time of the original close or when it was deleted.

I'm asking to review that decision and undelete & reopen the question, as I still think the original "opinion-based" closure is wrong. At it's heart this is an engineering question; there is an objective answer based on facts. If the only stack-exchange-sized answer is "the airflow depends on too many tiny factors for there to be simple guiding principles you can apply" then that's the answer I'm looking for (with a bit of explanation about why that is the case, of course). And I think the Famous Question badge shows that other people are also interested in similar answers, so it would be helpful to have them in the site's knowledge base.

But if the consensus of the community is that it is not a good question for this site, I will accept that. I would just like some better explanation why a question that looks to me to be firmly grounded in objective facts is considered too opinion-based, or why merely asking once for a review of that is grounds to delete it without responding.


The question has been undeleted, so I'm demoting the screenshot of the post to a link, so it doesn't take up so much real estate.

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    5 years and it received two upvotes. The only answer is a stop sign answer to a YouTube video. In 5 years it was only viewed 10k times.
    – Ramhound
    Feb 21 at 12:41
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    @Ramhound I've been far more active for far longer on Stack Overflow, a site with far more traffic than Super User, and I have very few posts with 10k views there. It seemed noteworthy to me. Especially closed posts don't normally get a lot of traffic. And sure, it's obviously not a great question or some of those 10k visits would have upvoted (though it was closed almost all of that time with no great answer, so it's not useful to anyone to elicit an upvote). But is it out of scope? Is the appropriate response to a post like that showing up in the reopen review queue to delete it?
    – Ben
    Feb 21 at 13:16
  • I can’t really explain why it was deleted. I only pointed out the single answer it received was low quality. 10K views after 4 years and 9 months is extremely low. Furthermore, after 10k views, it only received 3 votes. Your edit put it in the queue to be reviewed.
    – Ramhound
    Feb 21 at 13:19
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    @Giacomo1968 I was asking if there is a way of adding more fans to the system that will increase the airflow/cooling. Isn't that an objective engineering question? I don't see the opinion. "Maybe it's a good idea? Maybe it's a bad idea? Maybe it's ultimately a was of time money and effort?" These are all opinion-based questions that you are asking, and I was extremely clear that that's not what I was seeking answers for.
    – Ben
    Feb 21 at 20:57
  • @Giacomo1968 Re "How the heck is the second part of this not opinion based?" I'm not sure what the "second part" you're referring to is. The second sentence in the quote you're replying to is "Rather I'm asking whether there is a way of configuring more fans that would provide more cooling", again trying to focus on the question about how to increase the airflow/cooling, and away from anyone's opinion about whether I should do it.
    – Ben
    Feb 21 at 21:00
  • @Giacomo1968 The things I was calling principles are ideas like "fans directly adjacent blowing in opposite directions creates a cyclic airflow that pulls hot air back into the case, making them have less effective cooling". Again to me, that's a statement of fact (it may be a wrong statement, but again; that's why I'm asking). Researching PC cooling systems finds lots of opinion; that's exactly why I wanted to ask about it on a site that specifically doesn't allow opinions as the basis for answers. I want facts about cooling systems, not opinions about whether I need more cooling.
    – Ben
    Feb 21 at 21:13
  • @Giacomo1968 I still don't understand your definition of opinion vs fact then. "Fans directly adjacent blowing in opposite directions creates a cyclic airflow that pulls hot air back into the case, making them have less effective cooling" is making a factual claim about how cooling systems work; you could literally measure that in a range of scenarios to try to find out whether it's a true claim. How to "factor in the myriad of variables that can come into play" is exactly what I'm asking (I described that I believe I know some of the variables, just not how to factor them in together).
    – Ben
    Feb 21 at 21:40
  • @Giacomo1968 I'm trying to understand how to ask a question that you wouldn't close, but you're not explaining anything. You're just shouting "that's all opinions" and not directly responding to anything. When I look at superuser.com/help/dont-ask) I'm asking a "practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face", my motivation is “I would like others to explain ______ to me”, it's not any of the sample types of subjective question (like "What’s your favorite ______?"), even if it was I'm trying for all of the properties of "constructive" questions.
    – Ben
    Feb 21 at 22:24
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    I think the deletion was a little harsh, and have undeleted it. I don't have great internet access right now so can't really review it for the time being for a reopen but I'll take a look as soon as I can.
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    Feb 24 at 4:53
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    @JourneymanGeek Once you're back on a reliable connection, are you able to tell when the delete votes were cast? Were they all cast very recently, or were there two pending votes that were years old and then the final one got cast last week?
    – gparyani
    Feb 26 at 3:04
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    @Giacomo1968 It's not just Ben here, I don't follow your line of thought on improving airflow being opinion-based. Choices of fan configuration benefit or hinder airflow; that there are many configurations some slightly better than others isn't a matter of opinion (right?). You might think that configuration X is not a substantial improvement over configuration Y, but it's fine to state that (eg) "the difference is 0.4%", or "the difference isn't clear due to complex interacting factors"; neither are opinions but both let someone form an opinion on it
    – bertieb
    Feb 26 at 18:27
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    @Giacomo1968 thanks for clarifying, that makes more sense- we used to have "too broad" as a close reason which would have been useful here. I'm not sure this isn't answerable -- maybe via making some assumptions or getting some clarifications from OP -- but at least I understand where your perspective is now, cheers :)
    – bertieb
    Feb 26 at 18:41
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    To add to @Giacomo1968's points, what about the arrangement of components inside the case? What about the ways air will be forced around the inside of the case based on the specific details of the interior of the case and how does this relate to the components that generate more heat? How often is the case cleaned and how? There are a myriad of details that may be able to be listed, but the basic answer for case cooling outside of exceptionally specialized setups is "install enough fans that the stuff inside stays happy", and the specialized info OP wants is simply too much for SU to handle. Feb 26 at 19:15
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    @Giacomo1968 If what you've been trying to say all this time is that the information I'm seeking is too complicated for an SU answer rather than too subjective, then your stance makes a lot more sense to me (that's not what "opinion-based" means, but never mind). To my mind, though, that is in itself useful information that could have gone in an answer, rather then a reason to close the question.
    – Ben
    Feb 26 at 23:07
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    To be clear, my main concern has nothing to do with whether the question should be closed or deleted. It's just that in my view, there appear to be two factions on whether the post should stay, which may lead to unnecessary drama on the site.
    – gparyani
    Feb 27 at 2:45

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Re the Deletion, because @gparyani has sent PMs to those of us who voted to close asking for explanations:

For the reasons detailed in comments and others this question should be deleted, but additionally:

  • It will not be answered to OPs satisfaction, though the correct answer has already been given by several, and first by the very first comment made on that question.
  • Its continued existence on the site is just clutter and may dissuade future visitors who have more specific and clear (probably mostly simpler, but I don't pretend to know what every possible question about case airflow could be or whether it can be presented in a way so as to be on topic here).

I do not see value in the question remaining, and light of SU's overall goal of attempting to be a compendium of good questions and good answers, this question which cannot be answered well (taking a broad definition of "well" here, see above) should be deleted.

Editing to add:

When questions are closed, sometimes the reason noted at the top is just one of several possible reasons. It is pretty common for a question to fail on several points, and I think this one does.

Please note that I will refer specifically to points in the question OP has memorialized in their own screenshot.

  1. Wanting an "objective explanation" doesn't mean there is one, and a point that has been made in this discussion, ad nauseum, is that sometimes complexity has an irrevocable connection to there not being that sought for or expected objectivity. This specific situation approaches extreme levels of complexity if you dig deeply enough to find that "objective explanation". This is, perhaps, the weakest argument, in my opinion, because there IS, at some depth, a firm answer, and sometimes it surprises me the way clarity and simplicity is arrived at and communicated by one or another member on this site.

  2. The post asks multiple questions. This is clear on its face. The Title contains two questions, the body contains a few more as asides and tangents. "Will I benefit from...", "how should I configure them?", "would adding airflow from the top fans...", and what I think is probably the core problem here "...I don't know how the various concerns should be weighed against one another...". This is also a relatively weak reason, but a reason nonetheless.

  3. The question is admittedly theoretical and not practical. OP dismisses the question of whether they NEED more cooling as opinion based, but it isn't actually. Whether a computer does or does not need more cooling can be known simply and by fact. OP asks the community to ignore that aspect, (see "regardless of whether I "need" more cooling"), and then asks us to focus on "principles".

  4. The title's first question is a weak question and solicits opinion: "Will I benefit from..." Maybe? Probably yes, but why? This sort of question comes up pretty regularly here on SU. "How..." and "What..." questions are more likely to have the concreteness that SU expects, while "Does..." and "Will..." and "Can I..." are often correctly and completely answered by "yes", "no", or "maybe" answers, and most people who ask those questions then find some frustration as they learn the question that was in their mind is NOT what they communicated in typing it out. Sometimes, these sorts of questions get that probing "why" in the comments, and DrMoishe Pippik served that question ably in the first comment, which gets to the heart of the problem here.

  5. The correct course is to challenge OPs assumptions so that they can get to the real issue, or accept the clearest truth. While OP wanted us to ignore whether or not their computer needed more cooling, the question of how to cool a computer is directly linked to whether their computer is sufficiently cooled or not. The very first comment, given just an hour and a minute after the question is posted, gives this challenge: "If your PC is not overheating, why do you need another fan?". In their reply OP doubled down on the theoretical nature of this question, reiterating they want answers that "...will help me understand how to make similar choices in (the) future". OP had 5 years to improve their question, focus on practical issues, etc. At this point this question is very likely moot as it is VERY likely that OP's computer hardware has changed and so the root details of the question have as well.

While this site only shows one specific close reason, there are ample reasons for this question to have been closed, and for it still to remain closed.

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  • This part is I think the core: "the correct answer has already been given by several, and first by the very first comment made on that question". I don't think that "answer" addresses my intended question at all, so if that's the consensus then I've totally failed to communicate my intent but I have no idea how, hence why I'm asking for more explanation here.
    – Ben
    Feb 27 at 1:46
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    The comment in question is "1. If your PC is not overheating, why do you need another fan? 2. Consider that more airflow also pulls more dust through the PC". Sentence 1 is giving the commentor's opinion that I don't need more fans and shouldn't have bothered asking how to configure more. That's not an answer to whether 4-5 fans would provide more cooling than 3, and I expressly stated that I wasn't looking for opinions on whether I should buy them. "More fans = more dust" is a tangentially relevant statement, but again isn't an answer to the question I tried to ask.
    – Ben
    Feb 27 at 1:51
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    Thank you for the much more thorough explanation in your edit. I still don't really agree with your conclusions, but I think keeping this perspective in mind will help me ask better questions in future anyway.
    – Ben
    Feb 28 at 15:39
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    @Giacomo1968 As someone whose studied heat transfer and fluid dynamics, the question seems pretty clear and answerable with equations and estimations that are generalizable to many computer configurations.
    – Rick
    Mar 1 at 22:30

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