I found that I don't enjoy Stack Overflow anymore because of many good questions being closed as subjective.

Stack Overflow's slogan says "Welcome to Q&A for professional and enthusiast programmers", looks like professional is no longer a case.

Professionals don't ask simple questions that have single answer, like "How do I make my button red in [insert your framework/API here]." In fact those types of question all have just one correct answer: "RTFM."
Professionals ask complex, subjective questions, that don't have single correct answer, these questions are usually asked to get fellow programmers opinions on subject, to find an alternative point of view on subject.

If the question appears subjective to you this means that you don't have sufficient knowledge on the subject.

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    Care to share some examples so that we can agree with you? Oct 2, 2011 at 7:52
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    This is quite normal thing to happen to a system that tries to define its boundaries with discreet rules on things that are not un-fuzzily categorizable.
    – egaga
    Oct 2, 2011 at 7:52
  • @Shadow: Sure, - this question. When I was writting it, I was not holding in mind any particular question or situations, it was just my observation of situation for some time period. And now this is subjective question, because I don't provide enought information on subject. I don't need you to agree or disagree with me, it's just my feedback. Oct 2, 2011 at 8:14
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    Well, without seeing any examples I can't agree with you, sorry. SO get thousands of questions every day, those I do read are 99% not good and all those which get closed deserved the close. I will share my opinion in answer shortly. Oct 2, 2011 at 8:17
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    People looove to close questions on SO. It has always been this way, and it's not get any better without changes to the closing system Oct 2, 2011 at 8:18
  • Found a question with some relevant discussion: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/55965/… Oct 2, 2011 at 8:55
  • Answers are boring. News at eleven. Oct 2, 2011 at 13:31
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    RTFM is never the correct answer, and can get the suspension.
    – user1228
    Oct 3, 2011 at 11:15

2 Answers 2


The problem is that this format wasn't designed for subjective type questions, forums work way better for that. This format works well for very specific questions that yield specific answers.

Stack Overflow has taken off so well because it was specifically designed and targetted for specific technical questions.

  • I disagree on that SO format isn't designed for subjective questions, voting is a good way to discuss subjective questions. Even if there is no single answer, some asnwers are more reasonable than others. And users have an ability to show this using up\down votes. Oct 2, 2011 at 8:40
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    @Alex, subjectivity usually brings a lot of discussion with it, and the comments here are very limited on what you can do with discussions. The Chat works way better for stuff like that. Oct 2, 2011 at 8:41
  • I agree comments are indeed limited. Oct 2, 2011 at 8:58

I guess that by "Subjective" you mean either one of:

  1. too localized:

    This question is unlikely to ever help any future visitors; it is only relevant to a small geographic area, a specific moment in time, or an extraordinarily narrow situation that is not generally applicable to the worldwide audience of the internet.

  2. not constructive:

    This question is not a good fit to our Q&A format. We expect answers to generally involve facts, references, or specific expertise; this question will likely solicit opinion, debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion.

Both are valid close reasons. For example someone is having problem with his specific code, and it turns out it's due to some local settings unique only to this person - even if the question is perfect, it won't help any other people. This is not personal support forum.

As for the second reason, things like "What is better, PHP or ASP?" or deep discussions of programming simply does not fit here. Some constructive subjective questions can take place in https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/, but questions like “what is better, PHP or ASP” do not belong anywhere on Stack Exchange.

All in all, feel free to post examples of what you define as "Good question" that was unjustly closed and if it's really good, it will be simply reopened.

  • "...that was unjustly closed and if it's really good, it will be simply reopened." This doesn't happen very often. Closed questions attract very little attention, so it's a rare sight to see questions getting reopened unless they are really popular. Oct 2, 2011 at 8:27
  • @Shadow: Actually a good answer, I totaly agree on 1. but disagree on 2. meybe you should consider moving such questions to programmers.so.com instead of closing them. Oct 2, 2011 at 8:29
  • @Null that's what we got Meta for.. without posting here you're totally right but when posted here, it will get the attention of many high rep members who can judge for themselves. Alex - good point, migrating might be better in case of such "discussions". Oct 2, 2011 at 8:34
  • @ShadowWizard I think that if you have to complain here to get a wrong corrected, the system is broken. Oct 2, 2011 at 8:36
  • @Null, I think that if there are enough complaints on a topic, that it definitely bears looking into. It does mean that there is a problem somewhere, though it's not always easy to say exactly where. Oct 2, 2011 at 8:40
  • @LanceRoberts The problem is people being overzealous when it comes to closing questions. And since it's a lot easier for a question to get closed than for it to be reopened, the closers win almost every time. Oct 2, 2011 at 8:42
  • @Null, I think the big problem is that whether a question is subjective can be subjective, which puts the onus on the OP to ask the question in a precise way so as not to get the early close votes. This is no easy skill to learn, especially for the non-english speakers. Oct 2, 2011 at 8:46
  • @Null, I've put a bounty on your closed question question. I've always thought the voting for reopen up front ability was the right way to go. Oct 2, 2011 at 8:55

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