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I often see lots of questions that are along the lines of 'What is the best software / tool for X?', or 'What is your favorite trick for x?'.

They seem to be the sort of questions that generate the most reputation, at least on serverfault. I kind of don't like these questions, but that is just me so I am wondering what the official take is. Is there another question that someone should ask themselves when posting this sort of question that determines if it is appropriate?

I personally don't mind, 'I am looking for a good tool to do the specific task of X'. Just the general / vague ones.

Are these good questions? should they be community wiki?

I am sure this has been asked before, but I couldn't find it searching this site.

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What is your favorite question about favorites? – Hilarious Comedy Pesto Jul 24 '09 at 13:50
Pedro: Ya, I thought about making that the title of my post, but I resisted :-) – Kyle Brandt Jul 24 '09 at 13:55

I tricky one; I think there is a big difference between asking the right tool for a specific job, and just wanting a "coolest" thread. We might have some old and long old posts, but IMO many of the new "funniest" / "coolest" really deserve deletion; they add nothing... and should certainly be wiki if they live...

I'm not hugely involved in superuser, but my perception is that a lot of people have suggested that the signal:noise on superuser is suffering badly because of these. I wonder if we might not need to get stricter about this to keep SU from degenerating.

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The only reason I have not come down super hard and just started deleting and closing things like mad is because of the original idea of SuperUser being "everything computer related". We've already started drawing some lines in the sand there (such as video game items being barred). I don't know how much more strict Jeff wants to get with it, though. I should also say that this is not unexpected at all. From the minute SuperUser was announced and it's ideals were laid out, there was a large group that saw it as having the biggest noise ratio out there. It will take major changes to alter that – TheTXI Jul 24 '09 at 12:39
Ya, I would like to know if Jeff has intentionally left this vague to let the community to decide, or if there is an actual stance on this. – Kyle Brandt Jul 24 '09 at 12:43
Kyle: Jeff tends to favor community decision making more than putting the hammer down (whether that is good or bad I don't know, since the community will tend to follow it's creator to a certain point). I do think that the public backlash against these types of questions is so great that once people start hitting 3k rep, you are going to see the community hammer come down. Biggest problem is the fact that there is so much noise on there right now that gets turned CW that it appears to be taking a bit longer than expected for some users to climb to 3k status. – TheTXI Jul 24 '09 at 12:59

Any time I see something that is looking for the best, "must have", "most", etc, it is almost a dead give away to me that it is going to be an open-ended discussion and therefore going to get moved over to Community Wiki (this is SuperUser). So far it has been pretty effective at limiting the reputation affects these questions will have.

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Rep, yes; but I worry a bit about the signal:noise – Marc Gravell Jul 24 '09 at 12:35

My instinct is to want more designations for questions, because I professionally find the "tools" posts to be FAR more useful (and appropriate for rep, tho maybe at half the level of actual questions) than the "joke" and "funniest" posts (which should have rep stripped from them, IMO, they have nothing to do with technical skill).

On the other hand, since they all fall into "not the stated purpose for the site" bucket, I could see where there's a lack of interest in creating the administrative overhead to subdivide questions into additional categories.

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