Actually it's more like having something nearer or more afar. "das" is used to refer to things more away, "dies" / "dies hier" to refer to nearer things. However in familiar language this difference is rather blurred and as a consequence you will use more "das" in these cases.
@Cookdj : With the help of Google search, I give you:
Oh no, its not a balcony. Its just a place from where people are thrown down for asking stupid questions.