I'm going to risk asking this question again. Existing questions went in a different direction (language grammer, no support, or were arguing for their own question).
:Plea: If you agree with this question please up-vote it. I put in significant effort to make better arguments than those in the past, yet I received an onslaught of down votes early on. However, I have been getting several upvotes every month. I'm hoping if it gets into positive territory, then people will at least be willing to have the discussion (which is what I thought meta.so was for). I believe there are good questions on SO which are incorrectly being reduced to somebody not being able to choose between two different brands of dishwashers. :/Plea:
It would seem that if there is even the possibility of the question being subjective, it is closed. These days there must be a dozen ways to code something, yet those questions are allowed to stand. Yet the instant somebody asks a "what is a library that will do 'X' it is closed. The irony is that these questions, even in their closed and decaying state, are often the most valuable to me. Sometimes I'll test three or four third party components before I commit to one. This is a time consuming process that I would gladly augment with the vote-validated answers that others might have.
- How do I create an Excel (.XLS and .XLSX) file in C# without installing Microsoft Office?
I'll concede that the last one is too general but I left it on there because even if it was free control that does 'X' it still would have been closed.
If these questions cannot be asked on stackoverflow proper, which subsite should be considered (keeping in mind that the other sides hardly get any where close to the SERP rankings that SO gets).
Does the asker need to explicitly ask the "subjective" guidance questions to avoid getting closed?:
- Please explain “why” and “how”
- Please elaborate
- Please only share items that you have personal experience with.
- Please post any data you have relating to your experience
Isn't that a mess? Shouldn't we be able to rely on the answerers to follow the guidelines instead and if they violate them make effective use of the down vote button beyond simply being wrong? Why does all the burdon fall on the asker when it's the answerers that should know the rules and how they can best serve the asker without turning them away?
Are these questions even subjective? It is a fact if a component meets a need. "Best" is subjective, but isn't that inherent anyway? Is anybody going to list the item they've already discarded for themselves? Are we really going to let a single adjective decide a questions fate? Isn't this easily cleaned up with comments?
I understand we're trying to avoid the wild west of a forum, but we're not debating politics here. Many of these questions could be answered with "here's what I did and here's why". We could restrict answers to things that are pulled directly from the examples on MSDN, but why exactly do we want to do that?
What is the guiding principle here? If we want to help programmers save time and create better software, then things that stop them from getting to page 17 on a SERP should be included.
For those that chose to dismiss my examples as "shopping" questions please explain the difference between asking "How do I create an excel file from .net" (which there are dozens of un-closed examples of and "What is the best component for creating an excel file". Doesn't one question simply acknowledge that the best candidate for an answer is likely going to be a component? I assert that the examples found in Q&A is Hard, Let’s Go Shopping! do not apply here. These are well established products. I'm sure there are very few questions asking how to read a pdf file. Imagine it's 1900 and somebody's asking about taking a picture. People are going to talk about daguerreotype and dry plates. It's not a simple as saying "camera." These are the questions that people are asking and they certainly follow a Q&A format.
If there is no place for subjectivity in SO, what is the point of the voting mechanism?
I'd also like the question reopened. The referenced question is the same in spirit but does not contain any of the arguments or assertions that I have made and would like to discuss.