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There's a thing I noticed on Stack Overflow lately, that bugs me. Too many (if not all) of the questions that I'm here to see are closed.

Now, I'm not an "engaged" SO contributor (as you can probably see from my reputation & the frequency of asked/answered questions), but I'd say that I am a fairly experienced software developer, so many of the things that I'm looking for are "open ended questions", which seem to be explicitly frowned upon now. One example is this:
Best REST API documentation

I was just looking to find out the SO community opinion on "what makes a REST API documentation stand out". Of course there is no "best" documentation, since it's subjective - but nevertheless this is a very useful question (IMO) since it gathers opinions, and can you learn a lot from the arguments themselves.

It seems to me that now SO tries to only have questions that accept clear, definitive answers. Is this true? If so, that's a pity - it means that SO will increasingly only solve problems for junior developers, and for "homework-style" questions. In real life, there are a lot of hard problems that actually DO solicit "debate, arguments, [...] or extended discussion."

Is there another place in the SO network for this kind of questions?

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What's wrong with questions that accept clear, definitive answers? –  BoltClock's a Unicorn Jan 10 '13 at 10:25
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SO simply isn't designed for discussions. A better place for those might be reddit or forums. I like SO because it only brings clear definitive answers and a low level of noise. –  dystroy Jan 10 '13 at 10:26
    
Might be worth reading: programmers.stackexchange.com/faq - "What about subjective questions?" –  Jon Clements Jan 10 '13 at 10:27
    
There are lots of questions that might be interesting but not suited to a Question and Answer site. SO (and the other StackExchange sites) have a very clear focus - Questions and Answers. Asking 'what is the best x' isn't a question with an answer, it's a discussion topic where all answers are equally valid. While perhaps the topic itself is interesting to SO readers it's not what SO is about. –  JonW Jan 10 '13 at 10:27
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I was just looking to find out the SO community opinion on "what makes a REST API documentation stand out" Polls are fun, and some useful answers make come out of them, but in the long run they are unmaintainable and largely useless. Check the top voted answer in the question you reference, a +9 accepted answer with a broken link, that's not really what SO is about. –  Yannis Jan 10 '13 at 10:35
    
"another place in the SO network" is chat –  gnat Jan 10 '13 at 11:57
    
Yannis, that's not a valid objection IMO. Look at another question where I provieded an answer (I just noticed it now): stackoverflow.com/questions/1455320/…. Question was specific, answer was on the point, but now the links are broken and the answer is largely useless. –  Virgil Jan 10 '13 at 12:43
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2 Answers

up vote 16 down vote accepted

It seems to me that now SO tries to only have questions that accept clear, definitive answers. Is this true?

Yes.

Is there another place in the SO network for this kind of questions?

Not really.

However, the question you actually ask:

what makes a REST API documentation stand out?

While subjective to a certain degree, is a better question because it's asking for how you evaluate something. As such it's better than asking which is best as this would just get you a list of people's current favourites which is both highly subjective and too localised to the time you ask the question. Learning how to evaluate something is a skill that will stand the test of time.

As to where this question could go - Programmers seems like the best bet. Just tell them I sent you :)

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Thanks for the answers. I just want to ask - can't you ( * ) instead of closing the questions, move them to "programmers" and leave a link in the closed section? That would be neat. ( * ) by "you" I mean "whoever closes the question" - i.e., is this doable at all, and if yes, why isn't it official policy? –  Virgil Jan 10 '13 at 13:23
    
@Virgil - questions can be migrated if they are less than 60 days old. However, the question you quote would get closed on Programmers as it's not constructive as currently phrased. The question would have to be rewritten to be like the question you should ask, so it's simpler to repost it. –  ChrisF Jan 10 '13 at 13:34
    
@Virgil programmers isn't the place where we dump all of the questions SO wants to close. It was like that at one point, and the site hated being the dumping ground for the crap SO didn't want. It has since worked hard (successfully) to define it's own role such that it supports quality subjective questions. What is a good subjective question you ask? The linked question, as is, is bad subjective, but as ChrisF has said, there is a grain there that could be made to good subjective, if you work at it. –  Servy Jan 10 '13 at 16:57
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StackOverflow is not a site for debate thats why Open Ended questions are not allowed to ask.

You should only ask practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face. Chatty, open-ended questions diminish the usefulness of our site and push other questions off the front page.

See FAQ What kind of questions should I not ask here?

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