This question was closed as subjective and argumentative. It is, as Aaronut said, at least a list of X and should be CW, but I think the list would be small, and can see that it is useful. I don't want to vote to reopen without a discussion about it though.

To me it seems like a great question. The OP wants to know how to go about testing the differences in tastes between various salts, how the different salts have different flavour effects on the thing they are salting. Now I don't believe that you can do this by either

  • Eating a little of the raw salt
  • Cooking a recipe with different salts and tasting the difference

To just see the effect of the salt I think you need to have a simple, preferably single food. My suggestion was a slice of tomato, but the other suggestions of bread and butter or a little salmon would probably be good too.

This would showcase the difference between no salt and different types of salt which is what the OP is asking.

Seems reasonable to me.

Why am I wrong?

3 Answers 3


As you may have noticed, I left a comment to the effect that I wasn't really crazy about the question, but didn't actually vote to close. Instead, I flagged it to be wikified (or at least I thought I did).

It's borderline. I think it's somewhat frivolous, but at least it's specific. I did also edit the title; if I remember correctly, at least 2 close votes came in before that time, and the original title did not jibe with the question. I think that some people may have felt that the author was trying to disguise a recipe request as something else and been a little more harsh than usual. I don't think that was actually his intent, it was just poor/inconsistent wording.

There's also the fact that it wasn't wiki. Hobodave has stated his policy of immediately voting to close any poll question that's not wiki, and I agree with that policy. In many of those cases - including this one - I'm willing to vote to reopen if and only if the question is made community wiki by a moderator (such that all the answers are also wiki).

P.S. As I've stated before, please don't vote to close polls as "subjective and argumentative." They aren't. That close reason should be reserved for actual flamebait or discussion-oriented questions. The logical close reason for a poll is "not a real question". See my answer here.

  • Thanks @Aaronut, a consistent measured response as ever. I'm happy to make to CW (and the answers). Lets wait and see what transpires. Now about the names thing....
    – Sam Holder
    Commented Aug 11, 2010 at 13:46
  • @Sam: I've only ever been "Aaronut" on the cooking site. I think that during the private beta and maybe for a few days after, some bug in the Stack Exchange system was causing my name from the parent not to be propagated here, and it was still showing up as Aaronaught. Does that name still show up anywhere here?
    – Aaronut
    Commented Aug 11, 2010 at 13:59
  • you are right, you seem to be consistent here now. My bad.
    – Sam Holder
    Commented Aug 11, 2010 at 14:03
  • 1) Why is the question frivolous? 2) Why should we vote to close before asking the OP to just make it community wiki. Often the OP just doesn't know that is what it's there for or when to use it.
    – Ocaasi
    Commented Aug 11, 2010 at 14:15
  • I think it still had the original title when I voted. I too would be OK with this as a CW under it's present title. @Sam: Diamond mods should convert clear "list of X" or poll questions to CW when seen. I've been flagging because I haven't seen this getting done regularly.
    – hobodave
    Commented Aug 11, 2010 at 14:18
  • 1
    @Ocaasi: 1) In my entirely subjective opinion, it felt like the kind of question one would ask because one merely wants to join the fun, as opposed to actually having a genuine question. That's okay, as long as the answers would benefit somebody else, which in this case they kinda sorta maybe do. 2) We should vote to close and leave a comment, and then vote to reopen if the author cooperates; that reinforces the correct behaviour. It's also important to close early to prevent an influx of rep-gaming answers (we can't know how long it'll take the author to respond, if they do at all).
    – Aaronut
    Commented Aug 11, 2010 at 14:58
  • Yes, you flagged it to be changed to CW, but when it was sitting at 4 votes to close, I was just waiting for the community to give that one last vote.
    – Joe
    Commented Aug 11, 2010 at 20:58
  • @Joe: Ah, that makes sense
    – hobodave
    Commented Aug 11, 2010 at 21:18

My intention was not to create a poll or a subjective argument (although much about cooking and the enjoyment of its results is by nature subjective). I intended to find out "what's the big deal" about sea salt. While salt is an essential ingredient, the trace amounts of other minerals in sea salt may very well have an effect on the flavor of a food and may be discernible on their own. However, I don't know the best (or any) way to effectively evaluate that.

I have a lot of experience on Stack Exchange sites and know very well when something should be CW. In my opinion, at worst this was a borderline question. It very well could have been worded better, but I think it's very close to being a technique question on the order of "Which cooking method best highlights the sweetness of scallops?"

If I had asked "what's the difference between table salt and sea salt?" someone would have answered "trace minerals" and there'd have been no hubbub.

The type of answer that I was looking for was not a list of tomatoes, bread and fish, but a well-reasoned explanation along the lines of "X makes the trace minerals do Y and you just don't get that with table salt". More of an experiment/demo that could be performed than a list of foods that you can add salt to.

  • The detail that you just provided here in your answer would be perfect in your question. It's clear from the answers given and the votes cast that the community saw this as a "list of X" type question.
    – hobodave
    Commented Aug 11, 2010 at 18:02
  • yeah if this information had been included in the body of the question, or you had intimated such in some comments, then this would have cleared things up. Having said that this is not what comes across from your question at all. I'm not sure what better experiment you can do though than try a slice of ripe tomato with different salts to see 'what the big deal' is. Although I'd be interested to see if there were any cooking techniques which specifically altered the flavour due to the trace minerals in sea salt. Thanks for the reply.
    – Sam Holder
    Commented Aug 11, 2010 at 18:22

This is very simple. I'll try to avoid a long winded answer here.

Vote to close if it's both Subjective AND argumentative, or is off topic (recipes, too discussiony).

If it is simply subjective (but NOT argumentative), or a poll, it should be CW.

  • Agreed. As Aaronut stated, it should have been closed as NARQ. I don't believe my vote was for S&A, but majority rules.
    – hobodave
    Commented Aug 11, 2010 at 21:19
  • I should add that some subjective questions I will simply vote NARQ and never vote to reopen, even if wiki. There's obviously no hard and fast rule but in general, if it's the kind of thing you would tag [discussion] - i.e. there's not only no best answer but there are no right or wrong answers, period, then it doesn't belong on a Q&A site and should simply be closed/deleted. There are subjective, "expert" questions, which are fine, and polls are sort of in a gray area - depends on how specific they are.
    – Aaronut
    Commented Aug 11, 2010 at 22:40

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