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This site is all about getting answers. It's not a discussion forum. There's no chit-chat.


Not all questions work well in our format. Avoid questions that are primarily opinion-based, or that are likely to generate discussion rather than answers.


Don't ask about...

  • Questions that are primarily opinion-based

  • Questions with too many possible answers or that would require an extremely long answer

We have plenty of Q&A's here that don't align with that advice. I've written some of those myself. For example, this is pure opinion, and while it may be an interesting question, it really doesn't line with the rules above. The same is true for this: interesting question, something a lot of our cohort may ask, but all opinion. In retrospect, I don't think those belong here, and they ought to be deleted.

Now consider this question from today. Reasonable question, real problem, but opinion-based and not easily amenable to a short answer. Do we want to encourage these kind of questions, or do we want to shut them down?

This question also describes a real problem, but is hard to answer in few words. (I like the answers, but I wouldn't call them brief.)

So here's the question. Are we following our own rules? If not, should we change the rules or change how we moderate our questions and answers (and maybe delete some questions that don't belong here)?

1 Answer 1


This touches on a lot of points, but your main question is "Are we following our own rules?" and the real answer to that is "Those aren't our rules." Disclaimer: if it wasn't so long, this would be a comment.

Those are the stock rules that were put in place when we started because they represent the basic SE model. But the advanced SE model is that each site is free to tune those rules to what they feel is necessary to grow as a community. Obviously there's oversight from Community Managers to make sure it's not too drastic, but consider the following:

  • Puzzling and Code Golf both are thriving well despite many of their questions having no "correct" answer.
  • There's a Software Recommendations SE, which goes against what basically every other SE site EVER has had.
  • Parent Stack Exchange is very often STRICTLY opinion based, or at the very least experienced based with a VERY small sample size.

Every tester will tell you that testing is part science, part art. We as a community get to decide how much we embrace. And now is the perfect time to ask these questions. You may not realize this, but we average 7 questions a day now. At 10 questions per day, we graduate. So we're running out of time to get this kind of thing settled as a community.

I would like to address a couple other points you brought up.

  • Long answers are encouraged. Extremely long answers are not.
  • Most of the questions you linked, I actually don't like the answers to. I do find the answers helpful, and useful, but they don't tend to follow a theme. And if they do, they don't explain how all the pieces fit together. In other words, they're giving tactics not strategies. The best answers give strategies and a taste of tactics.
  • We definitely should close questions that don't belong here. I don't feel we should delete many because we do not delete good content.
  • We generally operate on the 'stock' SE model, but this close to graduation (if we grow at the current rate, this time next year...) we need to hash out the details of who we want to be as a site.

In closing, we need answers to these questions, but the real answers are in how we act. We need to decide on what we want to do and then act together on that. When something happens you don't agree with, or something doesn't happen that you want, open a topic on meta and hash it out. We need to get the ball rolling on this and other topics.

  • Thanks, that clarifies matters. Didn't know those were stock rules. Of course there are gray areas, but when I review content, it would help for our rules to match with what we do. I'll try to be more attentive about raising mismatches here.
    – user246
    Mar 5, 2016 at 13:03
  • Unfortunately, we continue deleting very good content, en-masse. Not just a question, but entire sites. Jan 3, 2018 at 3:10

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