I don't understand why https://health.stackexchange.com/q/967/43 got closed while Are artificial sweeteners safe? didn't. Can somebody explain why?

I copy the questions here for convenience:

Are artificial sweeteners safe?

There seems to be a lot of noise about health risks of consuming artificial sweeteners, especially aspartame and saccharin. Many sources argue that these chemicals carry huge risks of developing cancer and neurological problems.

Should I be concerned? Is moderate consumption (say, a few diet sodas a week) of artificial sweeteners considered safe by the currently available research?


Sugar alcohols such as sucralose xylitol, artificial sweeteners such as sucralose, saccharine, aspartame, and acesulfame potassium, and herbs such as stevia, and processed items such as sugar?

It got closed for that reason:

Hi and welcome to the site. Questions should be limited to one per question. You've mentioned four types of sweeteners. To address the risks of all of them would make a good answer far too long. Please consider asking only one question at a time; an edit is also possible; if done as suggested, your question may be reopened.

Shouldn't the same argument close the first question as well?


Thank you for pointing this out. A few observations that may help clarify:

  1. Presentation does matter. The first question is well written and provides context. The newer one seems to be hastily thrown together. Although we have to choose a single close reason, factors such as unclear direction/motivation underlying the question can play into close decisions.

  2. Two is different from seven. The first question specified focus on aspartame and saccharin. The newer question included seven items at the time it was closed, one of which was sugar itself!

  3. Timing does matter. The first question was posed within the first few days of private beta. The current moderation team was not in place, and most of the meta discussions you see here had not yet taken place. If I saw it as a new question today, I think I would consider it on the border of being too broad. I might comment requesting it be narrowed. However, as it happened, it received a good answer from someone who was willing to take it on despite its somewhat broad nature. As such, narrowing it now would not be productive.

  4. The newer question could, alternatively, have been closed as a duplicate. Although it was clearly too broad (and I think that was a reasonable choice), it was a partial duplicate of the older question, as you have pointed out. There were zero flags to this effect at the time it was closed. If you see a duplicate, please flag it (if <500 rep) or vote to close (if >500 rep).

As more users gain the ability to cast votes, the burden of making close decisions should shift in the direction of the community. Meanwhile, the moderation team feels an obligation to keep the site "clean" by using our best judgement to implement the wishes of the community (as "codified" on Meta) and to maintain the high standards of Stack Exchange. We appreciate you bearing with us and providing constructive feedback during this process.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .