Note: I realized that the first draft of my question was too specific to a particular situation, so I've broadened it.

Several users have observed that, in practice, the "readership" of particular tags have subtlely different standards for defining and dealing with "problem" questions. Whereas tags with large readerships, such as and , follow the site's rules and policies pretty much "to the letter", other tags with smaller readerships tend to be more lenient, forgiving or liberal in their interpretation of the close reasons, etc.

Because all questions from all tags appear on the home page when first asked, seriously off-topic questions are always closed. But some questions require more understanding of the language or tools to know the difference between on-topic and off-topic. These are the kinds of questions I'm referring to.

I'm trying to document the "voting culture" of SO and I'm curious if this is a "real" thing - the emergence of subcultures within tag groups - or if it's just the unsubstantiated opinion of a few people. Most discussions around this topic tend to be theory, and in theory the same rules should be applied equally across all tags. But is this true in practice? Do users who frequent niche tags, or newer technologies with few active members, feel obliged to stick to a "conservative" (strict) interpretation of the SO rules, or do they tend to be more "liberal" (loose) in their approach?

If you are active in a newer or niche tag, like or , have you given a bit more leeway (not carte blanche) to questions that contain "grey" subject matter (subjective, off-topic, polling, etc) than you do for more established tags, like and ?

Put another way: do you personally vote differently based on the technology in question?

I am much more interested in how people actually vote rather than people's opinion of how we should vote, though both responses are welcome.

I've intentionally excluded a link to the original discussion as the comment was tangential to the larger discussion. I don't want to skew the votes on those posts, so I am bringing the discussion to a new question.

  • 3
    That gets a bit tricky to answers because it's not really clear what you mean by "some subjectivity".
    – Bart
    Sep 4, 2013 at 15:42
  • @Bart - Edited. Primarily interested in whether or not people change their voting behavior/criteria based on the technology. As has been noted before, the definition of subjective is itself subjective, but that's not what I'm after.
    – JDB
    Sep 4, 2013 at 15:47
  • 1
    Then I'd go with @Servy's answer. Bad questions are bad questions. But depending on your definition of subjectivity, that answer might change.
    – Bart
    Sep 4, 2013 at 15:48
  • I think one of the places where this comes up is in questions about "best practices" or the like. (It's not exactly the same, but best practices can be established with references in older, but not younger ones.) A search just now turns up some prior discussion, e.g., Best-practices vs. Subjective, Are questions about best practices bad?, How to ask best practice questions?, … Sep 4, 2013 at 18:16

2 Answers 2


The age of the related technology has nothing to do with whether or not a given question is "primarily opinion-based" or not (or whether or not it meets any other close reason, for that matter).

Lots of people want to ask subjective questions at times like that, generally because there are less resources elsewhere on the internet that have answers to those questions, that's true. That in no way changes the fact that these questions aren't allowed on the site for a reason. Those reasons aren't eliminated just because the language is new(er).

If you do allow more of these questions, it is only an indication to others that these kinds of questions are allowed; this only encourages people to ask more and more of them, in ever expanding topics. This simply makes trying to clean the site up that much harder.

If you want to ask subjective questions that go beyond what is allowed on the site, go to chat, or another site that supports extended discussions, it's that simple.

  • For the record, I agree. But I'm not that active in tags for newer technologies and I'm curious if those who are change their voting behavior accordingly.
    – JDB
    Sep 4, 2013 at 15:46
  • @Cyborgx37 There are lots of people that don't vote to close these questions in general, or even vote to reopen them (in any language tag), just because they want a good answer, even though it's against site policy. That doesn't change the fact that they should be closed.
    – Servy
    Sep 4, 2013 at 15:48
  • Again, I personally agree (at this point), but some active users of niche tags feel that they have special status and interpret those policies a bit more broadly. See meta.stackexchange.com/a/188414/191410. I am just trying to get a sense of what the consensus is.
    – JDB
    Sep 4, 2013 at 15:52
  • @Servy Might this also go in the other direction? In a new technology, a question might be closed as "too broad" or "too many good answers", whereas once a field has grown and the community at large (not the SO community, necessarily, but the users of that tech.) have developed some conventions, there might not be "too many answers" anymore. Sep 4, 2013 at 17:55

The truth is, if you are more lenient with questions in a new technology, then that leniency will be immortalised in years to come. That is the nature of the web.

In 5/10 years when the new technology is the new standard (imagine!), those questions will still be found in SO and will still potentially lower the overall quality of questions.

  • 1
    @Cyborgx37 And those early questions have taken a very, very long time to die. Many are still around, and lots and lots and lots of questions have been asked, emulating those early question, years after the guidelines changed, because those old questions weren't cleaned up. If anything, the historical evidence supports this logic, not yours.
    – Servy
    Sep 4, 2013 at 15:57
  • @Servy - Hmm... ok, I changed my mind (+1). Still curious if others have a different perspective, but at this point I wouldn't be surprised if some would be afraid to lose rep over the admission.
    – JDB
    Sep 4, 2013 at 16:21

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .