Jewish Eyes - Anthropology was recently closed as off-topic because it is not about Judaism per se. (Full disclosure: I was one of the close-voters.) The question as asked is certainly about things relating to Jewish people, but there is nothing in the question about Judaism itself. However, I still wonder why I voted to close it as off-topic.

Consider the following:

A combination of these points should indicate that a question about something that is discussed in Rabbinic Literature would be on topic, even if the question is not inherently about Judaism, and even if the question doesn't ask for the Jewish opinion, and even if the question doesn't demonstrate that it is discussed in Rabbinic Literature.

So was I correct to vote to close this question? If yes, why?

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  • I'm not sure I explained my point so well here... – Alex Jan 5 at 3:27

I think your second bullet point is not quite correct, nor does the page you link to therefrom say what you here say in that bullet point. A question is not on-topic merely by dint of its being "discussed in Rabbinic Literature", as you put it, but only if the question cites and is framed as an attempt to understand such literature. The eye question fails that test.

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Let me contrast three different but similar questions as way of explaining my rationale behind close voting.

  1. How does hair grow? Does it grow from its tips, or does it grow from its roots?

  2. How does hair grow? A practical difference would be if a Nazir's hair was cut, but not completely; does he have to start his entire count over again?

  3. Chazal say that hair grows from its roots (Nazir 39a). But we know fact XYZ which implies this conclusion is incorrect!

The first question I think it's obvious is off-topic and better suited for a biology site of some kind (whether it's sufficiently detailed for biology.SE is, of course, beyond the scope of this particular Meta). The second question I think it's obvious is on-topic, and a well-researched answer will point to that Gemara in Nazir. The third question is on-topic as per Is fact-checking Judaism on-topic?, which says that asking on Gemaras is fine, but even in such a case the starting point has to be a Gemara or some other such text.

So, too, here. I voted to close because the OP didn't ask it in the context of Judaism; it's comparable to question 1 above, which asks about a biological phenomenon. Had the question been connected to the Gemara in Shabbos, it would have been similar to question 2 or 3, in which case, depending on how it was posed, I might have voted differently.

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