I've been seeing a large number of questions lately getting shut down for being "opinion-based" - for instance, when asking for advice on whether a given framework or library or language is mature enough for production work. Now as it turns out, those sorts of questions are (often, not always) quite helpful - certainly to me, and I have to imagine, to a large number of other folks as well, and so it's been frustrating to see them shut down.
I totally get that it's received wisdom that StackOverflow should be about knowledge, not opinions. But I'm not entirely sure that emphasizing that dichotomy is the most useful approach.
I understand that it makes total sense to cut off religious and/or flame wars about languages, OTBS, and so forth, as they're not helpful. But there are lots of times when I'm just jumping into a new area, and I would find it really helpful to get the perspectives of folks who have been there, done that, and earned the scars - as I'd prefer to avoid earning some of those scars myself.
Beyond that, I'm not entirely sure that it's possible to make a clear distinction between "opinion-based" and "fact-based". Some of the most helpful answers (and questions) I've run across on SO are concerned with code structure, architecture, patterns, "code smell", and other issues that don't fit cleanly into the "fact-based" vs "opinion-based" dichotomy. They're knowledge in the sense that history or literary criticism is knowledge, not in the sense that physics or mathematics is, but they're still helpful.
EDIT: This post here outlines the current guidelines:
And it specifically lists this as reason for closing a question:
primarily opinion-based — Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise.
That makes some sense, and I fully agree with the sentiments behind it. But I'm seeing it used as a reason to close questions that my gut (there's that opinion thing again) tells me are entirely appropriate, helpful, and well within the tradition of StackOverflow.
I'm not asking for a wholesale revision of the rules, which actually sound about right to me. But in practice, they seem to be applied over-zealously, and I'd like a bit more grace extended in their application, with the goal being allowing StackOverflow to remain a helpful and useful site for real-world programmers.
In addition, as a sheer practical matter, many of the questions which people have obviously found incredibly helpful wouldn't be allowed by the criteria as many people have been applying them. Take for instance: