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When Googling for a solution, I've often had the experience of finding exactly the information I needed on Stack Overflow or one of its siblings, but noticed that the question providing me that information (which may have literally hundreds of upvotes) has been closed as "Not Constructive" because it lacked a single definitive answer.

I'm not asking about the rationale behind the prohibition on open-ended questions; I get it, and I get the impression it's already been discussed to death elsewhere. My question is, is there (or could there be) a place within the Stack Exchange sites where open-ended questions are permitted? Those questions sometimes provide valuable information -- and based on the huge vote scores they sometimes get, I'm not the only one who finds them useful. I get that they're the wrong kind of valuable for Stack Overflow, but is there a place where they offer the right kind of value?

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Quora comes to mind: I know many people here hate it, but I've seen topics there with very useful information. – Pëkka Mar 12 '13 at 19:09
Could you be a little more specific about your definition? (Examples would be helpful.) Your "open-ended" might be my "long-winded but concrete" or it might be "GTKY prattle". You might be looking for Programmers, but it's hard to say if some type of question fits somewhere without knowing clearly what the type is. – Josh Caswell Mar 12 '13 at 19:10
@JoshCaswell: The question that prompted this one is here:… I'm pretty confident it would have gotten shut-down on Programmers, too. I know I've seen other questions like this (helpful, big score, "Not Constructive"), but don't have any other examples immediately at hand. – user137386 Mar 12 '13 at 19:12
@Pekka웃: My experiences with Quora haven't been good, though admittedly perhaps that's a result of not trying hard enough or getting deep enough into the community. I certainly don't get the impression their user base is as technically savvy as Stack Exchange's. (Also, I don't see Quora frequently popping up on Google searches for my problems.) That's why I want to know if such a thing does or could conceivably exist somewhere within Stack Exchange. – user137386 Mar 12 '13 at 19:14
@user yeah, that's true, it's not the #1 place to go for programming related questions. – Pëkka Mar 12 '13 at 19:18
Oh, yes, I see you're already an active member of Programmers! Well, that specific question falls under the rubric we call "Shopping questions", as you may already know. It was decided at a high level and long ago that they're not suitable. If you're looking for a "list of resource" class of question to be accepted somewhere on SE, you'll need to address that blog post as a start. That said, I have it in my head that Photography allows this kind; I might be wrong, but you could have a look there to see how they've handled it. – Josh Caswell Mar 12 '13 at 19:21
@JoshCaswell: If that kind of question has been forbidden on the core sites, so bit it; I'm not challenging that decision. My point is, those questions are not inherently without value, and can be extremely useful. Is Stack Exchange's focus on questions with definitive answers so intense that there can never be room for any other kind of question (even on a meta-style subsite), no matter how much value it provides? – user137386 Mar 12 '13 at 19:34
Erm, "so be it." "So bit it" sounds vaguely insulting. – user137386 Mar 12 '13 at 19:40
I see where you're going now. The way you've phrased that last comment ("Is SE's intense that...") seems to me a lot clearer as to your intent. I read your question (still) as "Is there, at this moment, a specific location?" rather than "Could there be a nook somewhere?" – Josh Caswell Mar 12 '13 at 19:41
"Is there a place for open-ended questions anywhere in the Stack Exchange family?" No. No, there is not. – Jack Maney Mar 12 '13 at 19:43
My intent was an if/else branch. :-) I don't THINK a SE site like that exists, but I could very well be wrong. If there isn't, is it conceivable that somebody could get that ball rolling on Area 51? – user137386 Mar 12 '13 at 19:43
@user137386 That is fairly unlikely to ever be picked up. Open-ended is just not what SE does. As they say "We welcome questions that are clear and specific, representing real problems that you face; Stack Exchange is not the place for conversation, opinions, or socializing." – Bart Mar 12 '13 at 19:47
It's not a question with a (most likely) single clear answer. It will more than likely result in a list. (And guess what, it has). Such a question is not appropriate anywhere in the network and is unlikely to ever be supported even on a dedicated site. You can always try, but I fear you'll be shot down pretty rapidly. – Bart Mar 12 '13 at 19:59
We do have some sites that are more tolerant of open-ended questions, but each of those communities places their own rules around what parameters are required in order for the question to be answerable. Truly open-ended "questions" are actually just discussion topics, which don't work well with our software - and that's by design. And you can't create an "open-ended questions".SE on Area51; open ended questions are a style, not a topic for an SE site. – Laura Mar 12 '13 at 20:23
I've often thought of starting a web site to host all the questions that aren't considered a good fit for SO. But I just don't have the time. Maybe someone can start a startup and do it :-) – Slapout Mar 12 '13 at 20:52

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