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Surely these type of questions encourage debate and bring more traffic to SO.

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If it's subjective it doesn't have a single, correct answer. How can it warrant something it doesn't have? –  Super Long Names are Hilarious Sep 7 '09 at 0:28
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Because another person's opinion, no matter how hard you try, is not something you can solve. –  random Sep 7 '09 at 0:29
    
Yes but discussion is healthy - I often learn things I didn't know by reading 'subjective' questions. And you know what? Who cares if there is no single answer - maybe one of the several answers will be what someone is looking for. –  Supertux Sep 7 '09 at 0:31
    
@random - I like to read others opinions on matters - that's why I ask 'subjective' questions now and again. When I'm looking for the opinions of people more experienced in certain fields than myself. –  Supertux Sep 7 '09 at 0:32
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I object very strongly to the word "censorship" in this context. Censorship involves telling the owner of something (be it a printing press, a web site, or a mouth) how they can't use their own property. The owners of this website telling you how you can't use StackOverflow (or letting the community tell you) is not, and can not be, censorship. –  dmckee Sep 7 '09 at 0:34
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To amplify my previous comment, if you want to engage in a discussion, go to a discussion site. Or set one up. Your site, your choice. Someone else's site, their choice. –  dmckee Sep 7 '09 at 0:35
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this question itself seems subjective and argumentative –  akf Sep 7 '09 at 2:04
    
Personally I think only spammed questions should be able to be closed - if you don;t like a question then just downvote it and move on - you'll never have to look at the question again. –  Supertux Sep 7 '09 at 11:20
    
Generating traffic is not the goal. Generating quality questions--and quality answers to those questions--is the goal. –  Jack Maney Dec 8 '12 at 5:50

2 Answers 2

up vote 8 down vote accepted

Because the S[OFU] sites are designed to handle specific, answerable questions. Generally, subjective and/or argumentative (they're not the same thing) questions are not answerable. In fact, by definition, anything which is truly subjective cannot have One True Answer.

Where does this guideline come from? The FAQ for all of the sites:

Avoid asking questions that are subjective, argumentative, or require extended discussion. This is not a discussion board, this is a place for questions that can be answered!

Traffic on these sites comes generally from Google juice -- other people out on the web searching for answers to the questions which have been asked here. Subjective/argumentative questions may potentially boost traffic, but according to what I've heard from those in the know on these sites, they won't boost it by a noticeable margin -- and they do reduce the overall quality of the sites.

(And yes, I recognize the irony of me answering this way, given that I do have participatory answers in subjective questions on at least two of the sister sites!)

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The purpose of stackoverflow is to provide accurate, canonical answers to programming related questions (for SU and SF substitute the appropriate topic). While you are correct that argumentative questions might generate a hire rate of traffic, it is not the type of traffic the site is attempting to attract. The site is trying to attract user's who are looking find practical, helpful solutions to their programming problems (and user's to provide those solutions), not users who are "looking for a fight" or to debate what the best programming language ever is (clearly fortran).

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