The latest question that fits this category in my opinion is Value of credit score if you never plan to borrow again?

The OP hasn't won the lottery, nor reached his couple million level, but asks about the value of credit and why not walk away. Both halves of the question have been asked and answered. And yet, 2 upvotes and a favorite tag.

Does this question fit into our On-Topic? Or is it a candidate for closure?

  • Could you provide a few other recent questions that fit the category? I can think of a few but it is your fight, not mine. Commented Jan 24, 2015 at 3:23
  • The one on life insurance for billionaires. Not saying this is an epidemic, but as a daily visitor, probably a few each week. Commented Jan 24, 2015 at 14:53

4 Answers 4


We can't all be Hemingway

And that doesn't mean they are trolling. Looking at the intent of the person who hates being rated by a credit score, I'd categorize them as rugged individualist, not a pot-stirrer. Whereas the whole life insurance salesman was clearly trying to undermine the site and generate business. (There is a smaller chance that was a honest person testing his training materials, but I doubt it.)

What I am saying is the intent of the question is about eschewing credit and living life. The poster tried to frame it in a way that his actual question would be answered while not dealing with the unlikely nature of the circumstances. (Perhaps they failed.)

Which is why the answer was so good; it didn't deal with the flawed premise, only the question asked and still managed to deliver a good fundamental point about having a credit score.

Basically, the OP didn't find that magical way of asking the question elegantly. The question is good (if you can peer through the fog of its sentence structure). If anything, that question could be closed as a duplicate, but I am fine with what happened.

Poorly worded questions can still be answered

This same line applies to that insurance pitchman. JohnFX gave a great fundamental answer to a question with a bad premise. The pitchman was trying to sell insurance, and failed miserably in the face of facts. (In fact, if you don't happen to agree with the pitchman that whole life is a good product, you couldn't have asked for a better outcome. Best thing in the world for somebody looking into whole life to find in bing searching.)

Make the Internet better

The best solution of all is to cajole the poster into rewriting the question in a better way. In the case of our latest lottery winner, I would have:

  1. Asked if his question was a duplicate of X and Y or Z?
  2. If the OP still insists they aren't dupes, get added clarity about the premise (if it bothered me so).
  3. If the OP doesn't respond in a timely manner, go ahead and re-write the question with a unique angle or better clarity.

I don't find this particular one too troubling. The scenario posed is clearly intended to be hypothetical and OP is essentially asking in a roundabout way "Is my credit rating important for reasons beyond obtaining loans?"

I say it is valid and on-topic, plus it has a really good answer.

The Life insurance salesman...that was a different story.

  • "The Life insurance salesman...that was a different story." and yet you, a Moderator, chose to promptly write a detailed (and much up-voted) answer instead of holding off, or just closing the question as JoeTaxpayer did a few hours later by which time the question had accumulated two votes to close. Commented Jan 24, 2015 at 15:55
  • Thanks, John. Maybe it was the second piece of the question, the winning lotto and walking away from debt that irked me. Commented Jan 24, 2015 at 16:29
  • @DilipSarwate You must have missed the other posts from that guy. The underlying question on the one I answered had at least a bit of merit despite the overt agenda of the person asking it.
    – JohnFx Mod
    Commented Jan 24, 2015 at 17:06
  • No, I hadn't missed the other posts which is why I was a bit surprised that you had chosen to answer the billionaires question instead of holding off. I am aware that as a Moderator, your close vote is binding and effective immediately even if there are no close votes from lesser mortals, and so I am not concerned that you did not close the question when you first encountered it soon after it had been posted when it did not have any close votes as yet. Commented Jan 24, 2015 at 17:16
  • 2
    +1. There is not really anything wrong with the content of the question, it's just asked in a hyperbolic way.
    – BrenBarn
    Commented Jan 25, 2015 at 19:25

What do you see is the hidden agenda behind this question? The OP hasn't answered his own question, either in the text of the question or in the answers.

You said that the question has already been asked and answered. If it is a duplicate, close it as a duplicate.

For the sake of argument, let's assume that the OP has some sort of agenda. Imagine that the question was asked by Dave Ramsey using an alias, and he has the view that credit scores are worthless. He didn't state that in the question, and he didn't say it in an answer. So assume good faith and answer the question the way you think is best. If someone posts an answer you don't like, downvote it. Voting will take care of the answers.

When a question like this is closed quickly, it makes it look like the members of the community are afraid of the answers to the question.

Let's look at the billionaires buying life insurance question. The OP clearly has an agenda. He has posted three very poorly received answers that have been downvoted into oblivion. He has accused the site of suppressing his viewpoint, which is hogwash. And yet, when he posted a question in which he invited answers against his own viewpoint, instead of answering the question, three users closed it. (One moderator was able to get a very good answer in before the question was closed.) It almost legitimizes his accusation, that the mainstream users of the site have no response to his viewpoint.

Instead of closing a question like this, answer it. Even if the OP has a crackpot viewpoint (which I don't think is the case here), there are lots of other people who are looking for the arguments against the crackpots. We can provide that. This is an opportunity to answer the issue legitimately and make the internet a better place.

  • Full disclosure: I am not a crackpot, and yet, I think it is unfortunate that something as arbitrary as the FICO score is being used for so many things.
    – Ben Miller
    Commented Jan 30, 2015 at 4:39
  • 1
    +1 - I appreciate your answer here, Ben. In hindsight, I was having an off day, and when that happens, I need to walk away from technology. The life insurance guy - I commented multiple times to his answers, as he posted about 5 in rapid succession, asking him to explain aspects of his answer. No replies were posted. I agree, the question would have been ok if left open, if only for an example of that view. Commented Jan 30, 2015 at 12:08

Yes, Value of credit score if you never plan to borrow again? should be closed just as Why do billionaires buy life insurance was closed; both are not about an issue of personal finance that the respective OPs are facing but merely speculation in one case (and indeed asking whether refusing to pay off existing debts is OK), and a disguised effort at selling whole life insurance on the other.

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