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Why the bias against subjective questions?

I know on Stack Overflow that we aren't supposed to ask subjective questions, why not and should we be allowed to?

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migrated from stackoverflow.com Mar 25 '11 at 16:09

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marked as duplicate by YOU, Grace Note, Arjan, BalusC, Yi Jiang Mar 25 '11 at 16:26

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stackoverflow.com/faq -> read first and second entry –  MacGucky Mar 25 '11 at 16:10
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Haha, irony win –  Lightness Races in Orbit Mar 25 '11 at 16:29

4 Answers 4

I think the FAQ sums this up pretty well:

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.

The idea is for Stack Exchange sites to be a collaborative compendium of factual knowledge for various fields. Opinion questions and subjective statements don't contribute to that because they do not inherently contain hard facts in them, and simply add undesirable clutter. They cannot be reasonably answered as there is no right answer, so they don't fit in a site using a "Question and Answer" model.

Another helpful link: Good Subjective, Bad Subjective (SE Blog)

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It's fairly obvious from the word "subjective": they cannot be answered because everyone has their own opinion and it can end in a flame war.

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Flame wars could be fun! –  Stack Guru Mar 25 '11 at 16:12
    
Until Godwin's Law is invoked :-) –  user132076 Mar 25 '11 at 16:13
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You know who else likes flame wars... –  Stack Guru Mar 25 '11 at 16:16

Because there are no correct answers to subjective questions.

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So just because there isn't a correct answer means we shouldn't ask the question? –  Stack Guru Mar 25 '11 at 16:11
    
@StackGuru: Yes. Stackoverflow is a question and answer website. Imo subjective questions are more discussion oriented and hence belong to a discussion board or forum. –  Felix Mar 25 '11 at 16:13
    
Correct. The site is designed to give definitive answers where possible, so you're going against its intentions. –  user132076 Mar 25 '11 at 16:14
    
If there are no correct answers to subjective questions, then why is everyone here answering me? –  Stack Guru Mar 25 '11 at 16:18
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@Stack Guru: Because this question has a definite, factual answer. The creators of the SE sites have been clear on why subjective questions should be avoided, thus this question is really not subjective. If you had asked "Should we be allowed to ask subjective questions on SO?" then your question would have been subjective (even if most people would presumably fall on one side). –  eldarerathis Mar 25 '11 at 16:20
    
Hmm, good idea. I'll edit the question. –  Stack Guru Mar 25 '11 at 16:23

I would say that it is because you cannot have a clear correct answer if the question is subjective.

From the FAQ:

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.

My opinion:

I think that SO is a great source of information. Subjectives questions, in general, do not increase the quantity of useful information, but on the contrary, dilute it in noise.

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Who says questions need clear answers? –  Stack Guru Mar 25 '11 at 16:12
    
@Stack Guru: That's the whole point of StackOverflow: to get clear answers to answerable questions. The FAQ has been gradually distilled from SO's mission and input from the community. So, essentially, the SO users say this. If you are looking for a "Which X is your favorite Y" flamewar, this is not the right place for it. –  Piskvor Mar 25 '11 at 17:52

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