I've noticed that "What's the best..." questions are both popular and against the rules on Stack Exchange sites.

I've also noticed that getting the pulse of the brilliant tech community that uses these sites is extremely valuable. If I want to find a good blog platform, JavaScript MVC framework, or shared text editor, the SO users typically know the newest, technically soundest, most popular and functional ones.

Is there room on Stack Overflow to enable this kind of subjective question? Maybe it could be a new Stack Exchange site, like "bestInClass.stackexchange.com" or different category of question, meant to be opinion based.

I see one similar question, but I'm open to any implementation of the "Best In Class" pattern. Maybe if you ask that category of question the reputation is calculated differently, or in a separate container. Maybe SO rep counts towards some weight on your opinion of what is the best in class.

I think there's a solvable and lucrative problem here:

  1. You have a user base with valuable knowledge (What's the best XYZ?)
  2. They are willing to share that knowledge
  3. It doesn't fit within the SO model

If #3 could be solved, "What's the Best X" could be a great addition.

Similar: Would a subjective.SO be considered?

marked as duplicate by gnat, Martijn Pieters, Hugo Dozois, Danubian Sailor, Bart Dec 12 '13 at 22:39

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

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    The answers to such questions tend to outdate quickly. – juergen d Feb 24 '13 at 17:42
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    Absolutely not. I wish I could downvote this question more than once. – user164207 Feb 24 '13 at 17:43
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    Q&A-is-hard-lets-go-shopping – juergen d Feb 24 '13 at 17:53
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    @JackManey I'm really smiling :) – SimplGy Feb 24 '13 at 19:02

Lets start from the beginning of the situation. You identify a problem you want to solve but can't decide what language/framework to code it in.

Your first step should be to do some research:

  • Identify experts in the field
  • Read some blogs by these people
  • Read some books by these people
  • etc.

However, you still can't make up your mind despite this wealth of information from the experts in the field.

So what do you do?

You say "I know I'll ask on Stack Overflow or Programmers". So you type:

What's the best language for writing an application that will frobble the whatsits?

You sit back and wait.

What you get is a dozen answers all advocating their author's favourite language and each of these voted up (or down) by others who agree. None of these people are experts.

The result of all this activity is a list of languages sorted by popularity.

How does this get you any closer to your goal of selecting the "best" language to write your application in? Nowhere.

This is why "What's the best X?" questions are non-constructive at best and (in the case of Programmers) explicitly off-topic.


No. These questions promote answers that will be voted on based on popularity, and not usefulness (What is the best blog for web design?, I will say CSS-Tricks, and you will say Smashing Magazine. Votes will be placed based on who knows which blog, and not based on actually how helpful they are compared to each other).

There's a very good reason why we don't allow recommendation questions.

If you want a recommendation, you can (after gaining 20 reputation) take it to the appropriate chat room.

  • 4
    Unless you're a C++ book. Apparently, opinion of each and every book is the same among everyone that the C++ book list is allowed to remain here. – casperOne Feb 24 '13 at 17:50
  • @casperOne: Very few such questions has enough merit so that their pros overtake their cons. A question like needs to be extremely extremely helpful, in order to attract enough people to maintain it constantly. – Madara Uchiha Feb 24 '13 at 18:57
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    A question? Looks more like a blog post to me. This is a Q&A site, not WordPress. – casperOne Feb 24 '13 at 19:03
  • @casperOne: I'm not saying it's a good one. It's probably kept because of it's helpfulness. And that's all. – Madara Uchiha Feb 24 '13 at 19:04
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    I'm fully aware that it's kept. The (not so subtle point) is that it belongs somewhere else, regardless of the value (which I will agree is high to a subset of programmers). – casperOne Feb 24 '13 at 19:05
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    @casperOne Though part of the reason that it's still around seems to be the aggressive (in a positive way) maintenance and vetting by a strong C++ community which keeps the quality of information higher than for most such questions. Even when it's admittedly not a good fit for the site. – Bart Feb 24 '13 at 19:09

I' totally agree with you and have asked similar questions bringing more explanations. Lots of subjective information are invaluable and help people to make their head. We are adult and are able to judge what is good are not. By having other people opinion help us see thing in a different way that we haven't at the beginning.

A chat room would not be useful for that. We need a system where we can award and yes sometimes penalize people for some of their proposition. It is how we can as a society evolve by judging our colleague. It is also an auto evaluating system. StackOverflow offer that system that is pretty nicely tuned and also has the audience for it.

That's really sad that stackOveflow opinion is clearly out of this kind of question. They are loosing a good chance to position themself quickly as the leader of this kind of question where there is a lots of demands for it. The first site to offer that is usually the chosen one although it is not the best.

  • 3
    SE doesn't want these questions. Not only is it not going out of it's way to encourage them, it's explicitly prohibiting them. That people don't come here to ask them is desirable, since the site isn't built to support it. SE can't be everything to everyone; it has chosen it's scope, and this isn't in it. That's okay. It's good that there are other sites out there that are built to support these kinds of questions. – Servy Aug 8 '13 at 14:53

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