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Whilst there is definitely some technical merit to these types of questions, the "Is selenium better than QTP?" questions, they quickly become argumentative and personal opinion based.

Should they be allowed or not ?

My view is if it is about a specific technical feature "Does QTP do bitmap comparison better than Selenium" or similar then yes, but generic ones no.

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If it's a specific question that can glean a specific answer then yes, it might be an appropriate question.

Even "Does QTP do bitmap comparison better than Selenium" is on shaky ground because it's asking for a subjective answer. The question, IMO, really needs to be formulated more along the lines of

Which is the appropriate tool for bitmap comparison, QTP or Selenium?

I need to perform bitmap comparison and the two tools available to me are QTP and Selenium. Which is the most appropriate tool and what are the technical reasons for that?

That said; I'm still not particularly happy with the way I've phrased that (although I've managed to remove the word better which is the bane of subjective questions), and even carefully phrased questions still stand the chance of turning into a "heated debate".

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  • I did not choose a particularly good example – Bruce McLeod May 4 '11 at 13:07
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The key to asking and answering subjective questions: Be insightful, not inciteful.

I see three things to balance here. Even if we eliminate the word "better" and replace it with anything else we all know the OP still means "better." For those purposes, this post will use "better" to mean whatever is most recommended.

  1. How specific is the objective? What do they want to use it for? The more focused the question, the more likely it is allowed. If it's regarding the entire application, there's obviously going to be things that one does that the other doesn't, and vice versa, and is going to massively imbalance the equations. If the question can get narrowed down, we're more comparing apples to apples instead of apples to j-random-feature.
  2. How controversial is the question? If someone said "which is better for exercising: walking or running?" People would be able to list the pros and cons of each, but chances are they aren't going to attack each other over it. If you ask "which is better for programming: C# or Java" expect to get out the fire extinguishers. If people on both sides have very heavy opinions about the options the OP is considering, I'd say stop the spark before it becomes a fire.
  3. How open is the OP to suggestions he didn't think of? Back to my running/jogging question, if someone said to me "have you considered biking? It has ___ that running has, without the ___ of jogging, plus you ___ to boot!" Not that I want to turn these posts into discussions, but the nature of this site (and indeed, many of the new Stack Exchange sites) will make it self required to accept subjective questions. It is much harder to quantify our answers than say, StackOverflow where you can spit out the byte-code instructions of a method to determine its efficiency. That's why we need to strictly guide ourselves on established guidelines for subjective questions (which are linked in the faq) to make sure we can stay flame-free.

Footnote Yes, I realize inciteful is not in most dictionaries. It is, however, in OED, and it makes for a catchy phrase :-)

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