Right now there are 816 questions marked as subjective (make this one 817), making it the 7th most popular subject on Stack Overflow.
I don't think most people understand what subjective means. It doesn't mean the same thing as 'open'.
An open question is one that has no single right answer, so for instance:
- Closed question: "Will this work?"
- Open question: "How does this work?" or "Why doesn't this work?" or even "Which is the best method and why?"
Almost every open question seems to immediately get flagged as "subjective", when it isn't.
The dictionary definition is:
Subjective - existing in the mind; belonging to the thinking subject rather than to the object of thought
While many open questions are subjective ("Is C# better than Java?", for instance) not all open questions are.
Just because a question has subjective answers doesn't make it an inherently subjective question.
In fact it's almost impossible to not be in some way subjective - that's just the human condition. I could probably, by the strictest definition, flag every question entered by a human (i.e. all of them) as subjective.
I have found some of the "Which is the best method and why?" questions to be the most useful here, and I think there's real value to them being here on SO - but almost all of them are flagged as subjective.
In the FAQ it states:
Avoid asking questions that are subjective, argumentative, or require extended discussion
I totally agree with this - but I think most people's interpretation is going a bit far. Is the ubiquity of the "subjective" tag an indication of how poor most questions are or an indication of how many users are desperate for that unattainable librarian badge?
When I see an argumentative question I just close it, is "subjective" being used by users without enough rep to close yet? If so are we looking at most questions being immediately closed once these users have caught up?
When should "subjective" be used? Most cases where it's really needed should, IMHO be closed instead. Most cases where it's actually used I can't see the value.
When I disagree (i.e. I don't think the question is too subjective) if I remove the tag someone else will add it back - leading to pointless edit wars. Surely this sort of difference of opinion is what votes (rather than moderation) are for?
This question will be closed after a week or so - I don't want to generate too much meta-clutter.