Recently I asked a trivia question about the oldest actors cast relative to their biopic subjects. This question was closed for being off-topic trivia.

This surprised me, as I've browsed this community for years and seen many, many similar trivia questions. Some examples are:

None of these questions are closed. None are labeled off-topic. The last five examples are from the past year.

The help center is not helpful. It says that off-topic trivia is "Unimportant trivia that does not add to the understanding or appreciation of the title.", but I am struggling to understand why "the biggest age gap between romantic leads where the actress is older" passes this bar but "the biggest age gap between actor and subject where the actor is older" does not.

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    Honestly, I feel that all those "what was the first" questions should be closed as trivia.
    – BCdotWEB
    Commented Oct 13, 2022 at 11:52
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    Honestly though @BCdotWEB I feel that they are often more interesting to movie lore than questions that merely ask to explain some aspect of a plot
    – iandotkelly Mod
    Commented Oct 13, 2022 at 15:51
  • Note that just because a question is open doesn't mean it should be open. It just might be people haven't paid enough attention to VTC or people like the question for some reason and don't VTC despite it being off topic, etc. Community moderation has a lot of positive aspects, and consistency and even-handedness isn't one of them. Commented Oct 21, 2022 at 1:40

2 Answers 2


I'm going go to be controversial and state that I believe the trivia rule should be removed because it is extremely subjective and very hard to moderate.

It also lends itself to the 'unfriendly' mood that we have somewhat been accused of over the years.

However, I do expect this answer will be heavily downvoted and other opinions to the contrary expressed because generally, the community here support it.

I personally do my best to adhere to my understanding of the guidelines, but it is hard to express succinctly why your question was closed and why the other 'the biggest age gap' question survived. "First Appearance" questions however have more of a history of being accepted here, and many of your examples fall into that category.

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    Controversial, he says, and gets a score of +4/-0 so far :-) Not to disrespect your long mod experience here, but are you sure that "generally, the community here support it"? Every time this comes up, votes go against this close reason: in 2015, I'd rather trivia of all sorts be allowed scored +13; in 2019, Could we replace "trivia" with some more specific "close reasons"? scored +10. Meta keeps asking to get rid of this close reason, but the consensus keeps mysteriously not being implemented. Commented Oct 16, 2022 at 13:56
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    I kind of like the trivia rule because we don’t have to enforce the letter of the rule, instead we can use it when a question is really not edifying at all. Of course, that brings the inevitable meta questions like this one, but these questions are inevitable on every stack no matter what close reasons a stack has. Everyone thinks their question is on topic whether or not it is and half of those people think that question closing is an objective thing that should be 100% consistent. Commented Oct 17, 2022 at 3:32
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    "I kind of like the trivia rule because we don’t have to enforce the letter of the rule, instead we can use it when a question is really not edifying" - that's the problem though, isn't it? "Not edifying" is subjective, and often "close as trivia" is used like a super-downvote to squash questions that are fine, interesting to some, but just happened to not interest a few users that particular day. Commented Oct 17, 2022 at 9:54
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    It's been a month now, and a huge number of votes by this meta's standards. Are you going to implement this change? (IIRC, deactivating a custom close reason technically requires two diamond users, but I suppose no mod could stand in the way of such a strong community consensus.) Commented Nov 14, 2022 at 5:28
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    @Randal'Thor Mods aren't "standing in the way" of anything. Sometimes things just take while. No need to get anxious about "ignored consenses", or whatever else this talk about needing two mods to disable a close reason is supposed to suggest.
    – Napoleon Wilson Mod
    Commented Nov 14, 2022 at 8:09

I agree with iandotkelly's answer on removing the trivia rule and that the question you mentioned should not have been closed.

The trivia rule and close reason is too vague and subjective to be consistently applied, as already lamented years ago in these prior meta posts:

I'd rather trivia of all sorts be allowed and instead we judge the question on quality. Granted, quality is subjective, but that's why we have votes.

[...] it's a poorly-defined category that we should be able to replace with more specific reasons. Can't we do better?

Part of the problem is that "trivia" is a subjective term. We use it as a blanket to disqualify questions we don't like, without specifying the true reason that the question should be closed.

One person's "trivia" is another person's "important to the understanding or appreciation of a movie/TV-show."

The trivia close reason reminds me of this meta post from Arqade: A Close Vote is not a Super-Downvote. Please don't use it as one. Like in that meta post, I feel like some users are using the vague and subjective trivia rule to super-downvote questions that they deem low quality or just don't like by voting to close them, when that should actually be the function of the regular downvote, not the close vote. (I was also guilty of doing this.)

To prevent the close vote from being used as a super-downvote, we should get rid of the vague, subjective, and inconsistently applied trivia close reason. Users who think these types of questions are low quality are still free to downvote them.

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