Many subjects, such as using certain tools and programming languages, promote objective answers: "How do I do this?" returns answers such as "Do A, B and C".

However, certain subject areas, such as architecture and design promote more subjective answers. Questions in these areas are often worded more like "How would you approach this?" or "What is the common way to solve this problem?", and these return subjective answers like "I would do it like this..." and "I disagree with X, I would do it this way...".

People are often very quick to critisise these subjective answers, but that is the nature of software design and architecture.

So if subjective answers are not allowed on SO, should we even have tags like 'architecture', 'software-design', 'soa' et cetera that promote subjective answers?

  • So flag those questions and/or tag for closing. – amanaP lanaC A nalP A naM A Dec 7 '11 at 17:16
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    @amanaPlanaCAnalPAnaMA I think you're missing the point. Closing the questions is only dealing with the symptoms and not the problem if Paul's premise is correct. – Matthew Read Dec 7 '11 at 17:40


Why? Because subjectivity alone is not an indicator that a question is not good or that it would not get good answers. The very title of Good Subjective, Bad Subjective indicates that some subjective questions/answers may be good.

As a side note, I don't think that these tags you named are even particularly subjective. Questions about architecture and software design may yield excellent, well researched and properly argumented answers. Of course, the questions would also have to be good. These questions may have more correct answers, and I think it is fine as long as it isn't open ended. If a question is obviously bad, subjective or not, there are different appropriate actions like comment, downvote, flag, close or ignore.

Honestly, I don't think that it would be good if people were posting only questions with only one possible answer.

P.S. I'm pretty sure that at this moment there are more bad questions due to being too specific (such as How can I make this code to work? What parameters should I use?) than questions being bad due to subjectivity.

P.P.S. The very judgement if a question is subjective is itself subjective.

  • 3 posts in 2.5 minutes with the same link :P – Matthew Read Dec 7 '11 at 17:44
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    @MatthewRead; Answers from us humans are becoming disturbingly predictable. We may as well setup a bot to answer most commonly asked questions :D – Goran Jovic Dec 7 '11 at 17:47

Many on-topic questions have aspects related to software architecture, or are specifically about software architecture. That a question is related to software architecture or some similar soft subject does not automatically make it subjective. See http://blog.stackoverflow.com/2010/09/good-subjective-bad-subjective/


Subjective questions aren't all bad. There are many valid questions to ask about subjective architecture considerations (for example) that can be answered well without devolving into bickering or unsupported opinions. Take a look at Good Subjective, Bad Subjective.

I don't think these particular tags encourage bad subjective questions any more than good, and they seem useful for categorization.


No. Some people aren't too sure what to tag. Some of these subjective tags may indicate to someone who is experienced with SO to check out the question and properly tag the question.

I've had this problem several times, not being to sure what I needed to categorize my question as. Most of the time, someone would fix my tags. Taking away subjective tags would probably confuse newer SO users and make their experience more difficult...

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