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We're seeing a lot of the Let's make a "List of X" problem on new Stack Exchange 2.0 sites. Like so.

Our engine is absolutely brilliant at surfacing these questions, and they can have some utility ... but they're not really what we want -- they tend to be polls and copy-pasted content, not original contributions.

In the worst case they're like the "Favorite Programming Cartoon" question. In the best case they're like the "New Programming Jargon" question.

The rule I've used in the past in these grey areas is ...

can an average user learn something from this question?

... which is even murkier here. If it's just a list of products with no explanation, then no. If it contains detailed information about the features and how they can be used, and why you might want to choose one over the other, then yes.

"How?" and "Why?" has more lasting value than a bunch of product-feature bullet points or enumerated list, no matter how extensive.

So, I propose a new global close reason across all sites:

closed as "List of X" by {user1}, {user2}, {user3} 1 hour ago

This question asks for the community to make a list of items, without giving enough detailed context to provide an explanation of "why" or "how".

Your thoughts? Copyedits? Ideas?

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-1 "question does not have enough detailed content" == "not a real question". The fact that it is a list is irrelevant. –  MarkJ Jul 15 '10 at 10:48
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Huh, and I just wrote a post about the problems of these questions on Gaming. –  Grace Note Jul 15 '10 at 12:53
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I would change the description to emphasize that "a list of X is not a question that can be answered", shifting the focus yet again that the engine is for Q&A and not for discussion or articles –  jmfsg Jul 15 '10 at 13:25
    
@Grace, yeah, I just saw that this morning before work. Congratulations, you have caused an effect! –  Pops Jul 15 '10 at 13:48
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@Mark, on the other hand, having an actual close reason for this will cut down a lot on "sure it's a real question, it's just kinda lighthearted and fun but people are totally interested in it"-style whining. I admit there's a slippery slope to TooManyCloseReasonsVille, though. –  Pops Jul 15 '10 at 13:56
    
@Grace, you work in an office that allows visits to http:/ /gaming.* ? –  Pops Jul 15 '10 at 14:15
    
I do too @pop.. Perhaps you need to visit careers :) –  jmfsg Jul 15 '10 at 14:51
    
@Juan: Actually I probably could too, but I don't want to try it, as it would certainly be not-work-related. No need to try careers.SO, I have a pretty good setup where I am. –  Pops Jul 15 '10 at 15:00
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Wait, you think "Here a word I use with my buddies" is a good question? –  dmckee Jul 15 '10 at 16:07
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Since I'm pretty much just agreeing with other answerers, I'll just leave a comment -- it should probably be sufficient to simply expand on the explanations for existing close reasons (particularly "not a real question" and "off-topic"), but if necessary, yes, add a new close reason... just as long as it is made clear that these questions are not generally appropriate for SO. Please also consider adding specific mention in the FAQ. –  Ether Jul 15 '10 at 17:56
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Why was stackoverflow.com/questions/75538/hidden-features-of-c locked? It seemed to me there can be answers that are original contributions, with "detailed information about the feature and how they it be used, and why you might want to choose it". Just because some answers are merely copy/paste from elsewhere doesn't make the whole question eligible for close, does it? It rather makes those answers eligible for being downvoted or deleted. Now the other "Hidden features" sites are open, but just the one about C++ is closed and locked. Unsatisfactory state of affairs, imho. –  Johannes Schaub - litb Aug 3 '10 at 21:34
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14 Answers

How about instead of List of X, you just add a Discussion or Poll close reason?

That's really what a list is on a Stack Exchange site where answers get voted for - a poll. Most of the annoying bikeshed questions on existing sites are, in fact, polls of some sort. So how about instead of relying on the Subjective & Argumentative close reason (which ironically always manages to spark an argument whenever it gets used), we actually say what we mean for once: That the site is for Q&A and not polls.

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Note: I realize that introducing such a reason might cause people to go trigger-happy on old Stack Overflow questions. I would expect that certain popular polls that draw a lot of continuous traffic or views would be locked before introducing this reason so as to prevent any unwanted closures/deletions. Then again, it's trivial to get 5 people to vote to reopen those. –  Aarobot Jul 15 '10 at 15:02
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If its closed, the majority of the really popular ones are veritably impossible to delete due to the deletion barrier. So locking really is unnecessary for saving it from deletion... although there is the fact that it does stop additional activity from accruing. I do believe that this would be a better close reason than just "List of X". The closings under S&A that get argued against are increasing. –  Grace Note Jul 15 '10 at 15:41
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A "list of language gotchas" is not a discussion nor a poll, provides very useful information, the voting does not provide reputation and tends to provide a peer-evaluated order of importance (of the gotcha, for example) –  Stefano Borini Aug 25 '10 at 11:18
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@Stefano: Every piece of information on the internet is useful to someone. The fact that the voting does not provide reputation seems wholly irrelevant to this discussion, and the "peer-evaluated order of importance" is not only arbitrary but also known to be strongly biased toward early answers and also "fun" answers. Without special ordering algorithms (such as what Reddit implemented), the results are basically a garbage dump. Like many garbage dumps, you can dig around and occasionally find something useful, but it's still mostly garbage. –  Aarobot Aug 25 '10 at 13:20
    
Anyway @Stefano, if a question is deemed useful/important enough by the community or enough other people don't consider the question to be a poll, then they'll reopen it. That's really the whole point of my answer - you don't close something for being a "list" if it's actually structured like one (single wiki answer, frequently edited, none of this "one 6-word item per answer" crap), but a "poll" is another story. –  Aarobot Aug 25 '10 at 13:24
    
@Aarobot : I've seen plenty of questions closed and forgotten even if they would be useful. One that really makes me unhappy is a list of flash games on Gaming gaming.stackexchange.com/questions/5/… . I am a casual gamer. I don't care of games, but occasionally I want to play something stupid to waste some time. I had no idea where to find good ones. This question has all the value it can get for me about the Gaming SE. With this question closed, Gaming is now totally useless for me. This is just a small example. –  Stefano Borini Aug 25 '10 at 13:48
    
@Aarobot : For Polls, I completely agree with you. A pure poll, such as "what is your favorite Game ?" should be closed and locked. But "Provide a list of games of this genre" should stay open and CW. They are a collateral, I agree, but the very concept of "CW" is a collateral. –  Stefano Borini Aug 25 '10 at 13:49
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I agree, I really don't like "List of X". Imagine the new user seeing "this question was closed as List Of X by ..." and thinking "that doesn't make sense." It's just not a well-formed English sentence. but "closed as list, discussion, or poll" works fine. –  Kip Aug 26 '10 at 15:01
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What's wrong with a nice annotated list of, say, popular version control systems? Or 3D rendering libraries? Or weirdest language features (an SO question which, by the way, gave me a heap of insight about JavaScript for example) As long as it's CW? Those lists tend to accumulate loads of very good information in the answer, and its comments.

I'd say to each new site: Just be strict about closing Off-Topic questions (such e.g. preventing the "programmer cartoon"), and see to it that valid list questions get marked CW from the start. That will take away any incentive for rep-whoring. Other than that, I don't really see how the questions you quote are a problem.

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Only in the rarest of cases these questions are marked CW from the start, so you still can make quite a lot of reputation from them. I guess that's one reason why these questions are so popular. (And that reputation is also not lost if the question is finally switched to CW.) –  sth Jul 15 '10 at 16:36
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@sth yeah, but that could be fought specifically. No reason to get rid of fine list questions altogether. –  Pëkka Jul 15 '10 at 17:09
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Surely you've noticed that there's a very large contingent of people who will argue against the closing of any poll/discussion until they're blue in the proverbial face, because none of the existing reasons perfectly and precisely describe the real reason. And surely you also know that most polls suck. Isn't it about time we put the shoe on the other foot and say that a question needs to be really important and well-written in order to bypass that particular check? I for one would probably vote to reopen a question about VCSes, but none of the "favourite X" type questions. –  Aarobot Jul 15 '10 at 20:01
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@Aarobot and say that a question needs to be really important and well-written in order to bypass that particular check I'm absolutely with you here. I'm not talking about bullshit "what's your favourite colour" questions. Those? Close 'em all. I mean reference questions that give you an overview on "what's on the market" for a certain tool, everyday task, algorithm, you name it. Do they need to be strictly community Wiki? Yes. Do they need to be relevant and of high quality? Absolutely. But do they need to be deleted just because they are a list? No. List of x sucks as a close reason. –  Pëkka Jul 15 '10 at 21:23
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The Wikipedia "Comparison of" articles are pretty good. –  Warner Jul 15 '10 at 21:47
    
@Pekka: That's why I recommended a different close reason in my answer: Discussion or poll. Technically, a very useful annotated list that's more than just a popularity contest doesn't fall into that category and there would be legitimate grounds to reopen such a question if closed. This also lets you take into account the quality of answers, a notion which the team seems quite fond of; if the answers contain useful reference material, let it stand. If they're all one-liners, then it's basically just another poll. –  Aarobot Jul 15 '10 at 23:56
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@Warner: Yes, they are – but Wikipedia still wants objectivity without discussions of pros and cons. Something different from both SE and MediaWiki would probably be ideal for these discussions. –  Gnome Jul 16 '10 at 6:24
    
@Aarobot Yeah, your suggestion is something I'd support. –  Pëkka Jul 16 '10 at 7:42
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I think it would be a gentler way to let down the newbies. I think "Not a real question" could be confusing to those who are new to SE sites. I can hear them thinking, "What do you mean it's not a real question? I asked you what your favorite {X} is. How is that not a question?"

The text might need some work. Explain that an SE site is ideally intended to be a place to ask objective questions with definite answers, not a list of lists.

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Either close it as off-topic, too localized or not a real question.

  • off-topic if it strays too far from the topic at hand
  • too localized if give me a list for programmers who can only use their left hand
  • not a real question if it fails to give enough information and just leads to one sentence spam answers
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+1 I think these are good, punchy, descriptions of problems with a question. They explain why it should be closed. List of X is a poor label by comparison, it doesn't explain why lists are bad. Furthermore I think it would be foolish to ban all lists. Look at the most highly voted C# questions: the top 2 are list questions. "Hidden features of C#" and "Common programming mistakes for .NET developers to avoid?". Very useful questions. –  MarkJ Jul 15 '10 at 10:41
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@MarkJ: It's a good point - Jeff's intention isn't to "ban all lists", just lists that are of no real use to anyone. The problem is, once you add the close reason, a lot of users will misunderstand it and will start using it on all lists. –  Andy E Jul 15 '10 at 10:50
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@MarkJ: "not a real question" doesn't explain "why" either, but the close reason for "lists" can be specific, and could even link to a more detailed explanation. The two questions you cite have low upvote rates: see comments around "most of the other massively-upvoted bikeshed questions actually have very poor upvote rates, they just have stupidly high views". –  Gnome Jul 15 '10 at 10:51
    
@Andy, what is an example of a good list question? –  Pops Jul 15 '10 at 13:55
    
@Popular: I guess there aren't any that fit in with the idea of the site, but I have genuinely found some of the the Hidden features of... answers helpful. Granted there's a lot of rubbish in there, but people can learn something from the answers that are actually hidden features. –  Andy E Jul 15 '10 at 14:10
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@Andy, I'm with you there, but a few gems aren't a reason to keep the whole category alive. –  Pops Jul 15 '10 at 14:20
    
@Pop: yeah, you're right :-) –  Andy E Jul 15 '10 at 14:59
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@Andy E, @Pop I say a large number of bad questions aren't a reason to ditch a whole category either. The choice is not binary: "allow all lists" / "ban all lists". There are shades of grey. How about closing list questions which are off-topic, too localized or not real questions? Like Ivor suggests in the answer we're commenting on. –  MarkJ Jul 15 '10 at 15:52
    
@Gnome I think you're linking to Aarobot's argument that his very worthy question about threadsafe caches, with 327 views & 13 net upvotes, is "better" than "hidden features of C#" with 109,000 views and 1412 net upvotes, because the ratio of upvotes:views is higher. It seems a very weak argument. Personally, I visited "hidden features" but didn't bother upvoting because it didn't need it! Also newbies who find it via Google probably won't upvote either. Maybe obscure but very technical questions attract more advanced users who are more likely to upvote because they know more about SO. –  MarkJ Jul 15 '10 at 16:02
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@Mark: I am almost always a huge proponent of applying "this is not a binary choice, there are shades of grey" to debates. But list questions, as a rule, have no objective correct answer. So, as much as I hate to say it, this is a binary choice, and lists are inappropriate for SE sites. If a list question with an objective correct answer should one day appear, it should be kept open as the exception to the rule, not the other way around. –  Pops Jul 15 '10 at 16:09
    
@Mark: Exactly: you can't judge the value of a question by views, votes, favorites (which are really "notify me of new activity") or any other similar metric. Those two questions you picked out are no where near as valuable as they appear (see my comments on my answer here). –  Gnome Jul 16 '10 at 2:08
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I think these are childhood diseases of a new community, and "not a real question" should cover these cases for the beginning.
SO, for one, doesn't need this close reason, but on new sites it can send the right message about lists.

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They keep popping up on SO, with confusion/anger when they are closed, rather than being limited to new communities searching for content (the "seeding" issue). –  Gnome Jul 15 '10 at 9:55
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All sorts of off-topic question pop up on SO, and nobody likes it when their posts are closed. –  Kobi Jul 15 '10 at 10:00
    
It seems to happen more often, with more vehemence, and from more than just the OP with list-type questions. It really feels like users are more likely to misunderstand that close reason, and it does list 5 different criteria rather than sending a clear message. –  Gnome Jul 15 '10 at 10:54
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I wish these were just "childhood diseases" -- great term by the way -- but people on SE sites are beginning to cite the old SO lists as reasons why their new sites should allow lists. –  Pops Jul 15 '10 at 13:57
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Not sure about "List of X", it sounds too templatey. What about "Unnecessary List" or something?

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I think if you add this it implies that all list questions are disallowed. If we're going to allow good list questions, then we need a close reason that's a little more specific (or just stick to "not a real question".

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I'll ask you what I asked Andy E's head: what is an example of a good list question? –  Pops Jul 15 '10 at 15:45
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"How do I shift the last element of a list into first?" @pop –  random Jul 15 '10 at 16:07
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@random, you upvote it, and get firstAnswer.votes - lastAnswer.votes other people to do the same. –  Pops Jul 15 '10 at 16:27
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@Pop Jeff implied that the jargon question was "good", unless I misunderstood him. –  user27414 Jul 15 '10 at 16:49
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@Jon, I admit that I struggled with interpreting that statement; he could've meant either "good and bad" or "terrible and slightly-less-terrible." I eventually decided on the latter after visiting the question in question. –  Pops Jul 15 '10 at 17:08
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@Pop - here's an example of what I think is a really good list question: stackoverflow.com/questions/9033/hidden-features-of-c –  user27414 Jul 15 '10 at 17:19
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@Jon, there's great information there, no doubt about it. But it's not a programming question with an objective answer. (Yes, I am excited about the "Not Programming Related" Area 51 proposal. But at the same time, I worry about its viability.) –  Pops Jul 15 '10 at 17:29
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@Pop - It's true that the question I referenced doesn't have an objective answer. However, I think it's fair that we allow a limited number of questions of this nature when the serve the greater good (as we have done since the beginning). If we're too strict, we limit the utility of Stackoverflow and impeded its ability to truly stand out among other programming sites. –  user27414 Jul 15 '10 at 17:44
    
@Jon, I see where you're coming from, but... agree to disagree on this one, I guess. –  Pops Jul 15 '10 at 17:49
    
@Jon: It's been my impression that SO isn't intended to be superior to other programming sites for everything. I thought it was a Q&A site. Can't SO be that and still stand out among others? (Can't it even do a better job of that by narrowing its focus?) –  Gnome Jul 16 '10 at 6:29
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@Gnome - as you narrow your focus you improve the quality of what you're doing, but reduce the size of your audience. If you widen your scope, and lower your quality, you eventually lose audience as well. There's a sweet spot in the middle where the site is still very good and maximizes the number of users. I would suggest that the question I referenced is in the sweet spot. –  user27414 Jul 16 '10 at 11:25
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@Pop: This is an excellent example of a good poll. And I've personally found this one at SU very useful (only problem is that moderators have effectively killed it by locking it). –  Jonik Sep 17 '10 at 14:22
    
I think people (yes, starting with Jeff) should just get over their fixation about all polls being somehow fundamentally "bad" or "inappropriate" in SE. It seems Joel already has, which I find encouraging. Btw, I've already debunked your feeble counter-arguments. :-) (If you think I haven't, add a comment to that post.) –  Jonik Sep 17 '10 at 14:31
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@Jonik, yeah, I actually starred the SF question when I was new here, before I realized it was bad to do so. I dislike the SU question, too. I like the conclusion this comment thread came to; all of us here want to hit what Jon B called "the sweet spot," but we disagree about where it is. I believe that "it's a useful question" is necessary but not sufficient. [continued in next comment...] –  Pops Sep 17 '10 at 14:42
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[...continued from previous comment] You didn't address how subjective questions can be appropriate on a site whose mission is "getting solutions to objective programming questions." It's akin to going to a city bus terminal and demanding that they provide you with a private taxi because it would be useful to you, and would still be transportation-related; sure it would be, but that's not what they do. Also, I don't think you're going to get a lot of respect for calling counter-arguments "feeble," and I'm not creating an account on that site just so I can reply to you. –  Pops Sep 17 '10 at 14:44
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I've been interpreting "not a real question" as covering this, as these questions ask a vague, rhetorical question solely to start a discussion. However, a specific close reason sends a clearer message about how these are "unreal" questions.

"Not a real question" is so broad that it's poorly understood or interpreted differently by those voting to close. The added direction of a more specific close reason should also help those asking questions by providing guidance on how to improve and specifics on why their question is lacking.

Would "discussion list" be a better name? I think that better captures that there isn't a specific, concrete question on "why" or "how". The description you have seems sufficient, I don't see any obvious improvements there.

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it seems endemic to our engine. As I said, this format works spectacularly well, even when we don't want it to. See: Favorite Programmer Joke, Favorite Programmer Cartoon, Favorite Programmer Food, Favorite Programmer Pokemon, etc. –  Jeff Atwood Jul 15 '10 at 9:51
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@Jeff: I think the format doesn't work well for these questions, but popularity and the seeding issue encourage users to try and fit it in anyway. –  Gnome Jul 15 '10 at 9:57
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well I disagree, I think our engine is amazingly good at that type of question .. by accident. –  Jeff Atwood Jul 15 '10 at 10:00
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@Jeff: I think the appearance is deceptive, especially after reaching 20-30 answers. When you can vote twice for the same issue (+1 here, -1 there), cast 5-10 votes after only seeing the most popular 20 answers on a 100+ answer question, or are limited to the bare minimum of context (as all list-type questions seem to be); then it becomes more of a popularity contest rather than distilling expertise. –  Gnome Jul 15 '10 at 10:34
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I'm not trying to convince you, but I felt you deserved more explanation than "I don't think it does". If I thought the format did work well for these questions, I'd be opposing this close reason, for what that's worth. –  Gnome Jul 15 '10 at 10:37
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Your thoughts? Copyedits? Ideas?

How about this:

  1. Current close reasons are sufficient. (Off-topic or otherwise poor poll/list questions can readily be dealth with as it is!)

  2. Consider accepting the fact that good, on-topic polls are often very useful and popular. (And very good for e.g. promoting some of the new SE sites, as Joel seems to have understood well.)

Yes, they are not the "main thing" of SE, and the software is not optimised for them (it is merely very good), but, you know, it doesn't matter. Such polls do not take anything away from SE's bread-and-butter Q&A, nor do they hinder anyone's ability to ask and answer normal questions. Also, people generally are capable of understanding what kind of questions SE is mainly for, even if they see some polls around too.

Yeah, this might take a moment of getting used to. Looking at something from a whole 'nother perspective is not always easy.

In this post (at Apple SE meta) I've tried to dissect common arguments against polls. Please comment if I missed something!

but they're not really what we want

Honestly, many of the arguments seemingly boil down to something which doesn't hold much water (related avatar).


Edit: Grace Note makes the excellent point (see comments) that needs with regards to poll (list) questions vary from site to site. I fully agree, and think that rules should vary accordingly.

So, I'm not saying that polls should be allowed on all SE sites at all times. But it does make sense to allow good polls on those sites where they clearly add value and many users love them.

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"Bagde farming" may be a remaining issue with polls (though I think hardly anyone does that on purpose), but that would be easily solvable by not awarding bagdes for CW posts at all ('cept those that were auto-converted to CW due to number of answers, you know). –  Jonik Sep 17 '10 at 16:27
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I'll see your counter-arguments and raise you by the issues we are looking at in Gaming. Careful, though, it is a very long post. And also, the needs with regards to lists and subjectivity do vary based on the site in question - the scale problem at Gaming is very much more difficult compared to some, and I don't even mention it. –  Grace Note Sep 17 '10 at 16:32
    
I'm not trying to shut you down, by the way. Rather, I'm hoping to get some pro-list people to actually try and solve those problems or show why they aren't actually problems. And since you've already been acting pro-list, I figure... –  Grace Note Sep 17 '10 at 16:51
    
@Grace Note: Thanks for the constructive reply! I'll read through your Gaming meta post (some day soon when feeling "meta SE" enough :) and try to address some of the issues raised (by e.g. expanding my post at Apple meta). –  Jonik Sep 19 '10 at 14:31
    
Oh, and I definitely agree that it depends on the site! For instance, I'm quite active on English L&U, and I don't really see the need for many polls there. –  Jonik Sep 19 '10 at 14:35
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I think there are certain topics a 'list of X' is good. For instance: Free Online Programming Books. I also have a dog in that fight.

I think the questions would be much more useful if "List of X" questions involved a question and one answer, and everyone could add their answer to that one answer. No one would get a badge, or votes, but it could at least be a wiki-esque resources for things that matter.

In essence, it'd be a question with just one answer showing, which is a list of compiled answers.

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That can happen if you close it right after the first answer is posted, allowing no more to be added, but plenty of users to edit the single one. Until they reopen it so they can add their "me too" answer with the mix. –  random Jul 18 '10 at 22:38
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@random what that's really asking for is PostTypeId = 3 or pure wiki. No Q&A just.. editable blob o' text. –  Jeff Atwood Jul 19 '10 at 6:48
    
@Jeff Atwood; Correct. After all, Q & A and List of are slightly different. Think of it as making the 'circle' for the wiki nature of Stack Overflow a lot bigger. –  George Stocker Jul 19 '10 at 12:06
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@Jeff Atwood; if you wanted to make it more complicated (but retain the nature of Stack Overflow) you could make a post that automatically merged everyone's answers together into one post for shortness. I realize that's a bear of a task (and would need some syntax changes to make it easier), but it would give you the best of both worlds. –  George Stocker Jul 19 '10 at 12:22
    
I disagree about the usefulness of the "one answer" model. That way we would completely miss one key aspect that makes many SE polls great: the voting system which "automatically" brings good stuff to the top. For many CW questions this model would be fine, but not for "polls" (as I understand them). –  Jonik Sep 19 '10 at 15:31
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Not a real question fits these types of waste matter fine. If people read.

The rule on lining up the shotgun and blasting away at the neck isn't, "are these helpful?" or "do they contain nuggets of information?", but whether or not there is even a barrier to knowledge on posting an answer.

No, there isn't. Anybody who walks by is able to throw in some of their own vomit to the collective cesspool.

But, as the right-minded have weighed in, users who upchuck and participate in these troughs will continue to do so unless explicitly closed off against.

So, in the interest of preventing splattered brain matter, give it up already and include this close reason so we can take the nail gun to these joints and render them an unwanted contortion of the Q&A model.

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I agree in theory, but the problem is that nobody will listen if the "question" contains a question mark somewhere. "What's your favourite hidden feature of X?" - that's a "real question" as far as the lemmings are concerned. I suspect that most people don't even bother to read the sub-headings of the close reasons, so a closure reason that explains it all in 3 words or less is a Good Thing. –  Aarobot Jul 15 '10 at 20:04
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Make it migration -> polling

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Hmmmm..... There's clearly a demand.

What about a "list graveyard?" Make a new site, listoverflow.com. Add "Belongs on listoverflow.com" as a close reason, with the usual migration.

The argument against is that someone would have to maintain / moderate this. But there doesn't seem to be any shortage of interest.

Just thinking out loud, at this point.

Edit: Or what about "Belongs on Not Programming Related?"

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Or a fourth place, "list." (in addition to "meta." and "chat."). Or "biglist." by Math Overflow parlance. For instance, biglist.superuser.com, biglist.serverfault.com and biglist.stackoverflow.com, and biglist.overcooking.com (presuming the proposal "Food and Cooking" choses the domain "overcooking.com"). –  Peter Mortensen Jul 16 '10 at 11:46
    
OK, something similar has already been proposed (although I think there is a difference between a poll and a high-quality list with reference material): meta.stackexchange.com/questions/57383/the-fourth-place-polling –  Peter Mortensen Jul 16 '10 at 11:57
    
@Peter : This one actually has a chance of existing. –  Craig Stuntz Jul 16 '10 at 14:10
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Against closing.

Ok, someone did useless lists like programmer cartoons in the past, but that's not the point. "List of" questions are useful (and I learned things from some of them) and appropriate to SE when you just don't consider them questions. They are a "starter proposal" made from one person, and a community contribute for collecting information. There's nothing similar out there on the internet to fulfill the same use case with the added value of potential comments and peer-evaluated feedback. It can provide a great deal of information and direction towards alternative ideas, methods or products, or active learning from (example) "list of unknown features" or "list of gotchas".

If it's just a list of products with no explanation, then no

Even a list of products with no explanation is useful. Scouting the list and learning that there is a product you didn't know about is useful information. You may give it a try, and obtain a better outcome than where you started from.

So, in my opinion, the concept of "List of" questions should stay, eventually even with specific software support for it. If you remove such questions, then the whole concept of Community Wiki question falls flat on the floor, and it could be safely removed as well.

The concept of useless "List of" which are not relevant should simply be closed, but because they are useless, not because they are "list of".

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note that community wiki question was effectively removed –  Jeff Atwood Dec 30 '10 at 9:20
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