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I just wrote the comment:

This question asks about decisions made within the US government and so can have a factual answer. Insta-closing prevents such answers from being written. I am not confident that the close-voters have read the question carefully before clicking and moving on. Note that none of them left a comment, question, or recommendation of how to improve the question.

below the question Has the Gateway-before-boots sequence been chosen for growth of the space industry and the US economy?

The reason for the hold that SE generates is:

but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise.

That's simply not so in this case.

Without a single comment from any of them, I can't see any modifications to make that would address the hold. So I'd like to ask for help with theories on their reasons, and suggestions how to proceed to edit the question to make it even clearer that factual answers are possible when it comes to public space policy. There are articles, documents, websites about the Gateway written by government officials. There are facts.

Why is the US building a Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway (LOP-G)? is well received, and yet seems to ask for answers that formulate their own reasons. I can't see how my question is primarily opinion based while simultaneously this one isn't.

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The other question you mention: “Why is the US building a Lunar Orbital Platform Gateway” solicits arguments in favor of a mission and is, in my opinion, a good question. Your question, as originally worded, asks how people in the business make policy decisions. It may seem identical or that it is just semantics, but the two questions are very different. “What are the pros and cons of x mission?” is, in my opinion, a very good quality question. The other question about the “gateway-before-boots” leading to industry growth is much more speculative. Whether suboptimal missions are chosen simply for the sake of industry growth can really only truly be discerned by being in the room where it happens (the room where it happens, the room where it happens...). Anything short of that is just pure speculation.

If you want to make your question of better quality, ask what the merits (pros and cons) are. Don’t ask how people make decisions on matters such as these.

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  • $\begingroup$ I've asked about how a US government agency has arrived at a plan. Factual sources are available, and so answers need not be speculative. The quick vote to close simply prevents non-speculative answers from being posted. However you may indeed be helping me understand the reasons some people voted to close, whether I agree they are valid or not, so this is very helpful. Thanks! $\endgroup$ – uhoh Nov 17 '18 at 5:07
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    $\begingroup$ @uhoh: More importantly, how is any US space mission not conducive to industry growth? How do you distinguish a mission that is from one that isn’t? What are you really asking? $\endgroup$ – Paul Nov 17 '18 at 5:12
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    $\begingroup$ How agencies arrive at plans ultimately boils down to how the people in charge make decisions. That’s not space science. That’s more like organizational psychology, which would be off-topic if it were the case. $\endgroup$ – Paul Nov 17 '18 at 5:14
  • $\begingroup$ I see. So if I edited the question to ask about "stated reasons" (I'd have to think the details through before I did it) that might be a step in the right direction? $\endgroup$ – uhoh Nov 17 '18 at 5:15
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    $\begingroup$ Perhaps it would be best to simply ask what were the “stated reasons” for going ahead with construction of the gateway, rather than speculate whether or not industry was one of them. $\endgroup$ – Paul Nov 17 '18 at 5:17
  • $\begingroup$ I did mention some of those already, but that's not the ideal source. I'll give this some more thought. Since I've already asked about public criticism of the Gateway, I'm also trying to look for some reliably-sourced discussion of why those criticisms may not be well-founded or at least how they may be countered. $\endgroup$ – uhoh Nov 17 '18 at 5:22
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@Paul's answer and comments in various places by others have been very helpful to understand what may have led to the closure. Since then the question has been reopened without edit (except for a one line reminder at the top to use facts).

Nonetheless I've made some substantial edits to the wording based on all of the helpful advice I've received to better draw the readers attention to the aspects of the issue that I would like to ask about. Thanks for everyone's help!

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