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The help center shows a list of the properties of good subjective questions:

Some subjective questions are allowed, but “subjective” does not mean “anything goes”. All subjective questions are expected to be constructive. What does that mean? Constructive subjective questions:

  • inspire answers that explain “why” and “how”
  • tend to have long, not short, answers
  • have a constructive, fair, and impartial tone
  • invite sharing experiences over opinions
  • insist that opinion be backed up with facts and references
  • are more than just mindless social fun

But it doesn't really help me what to do to actually have a question achieve these points. Maybe should I always explicitly write the following sentence into the question "Please write your opinions only as a comment, answer only if you have an actual experience to share or reference to cite." whenever I feel it doesn't have a black on white correct answer?

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  • Do you have a question in mind?
    – juergen d
    Nov 7 '14 at 12:01
  • 4
    SO doesn't like any subjective questions. Nov 7 '14 at 12:03
  • 2
    Adding to Jan Dvorak's comment, I'd say this kind of question should be targeted at a specific community. I could see how some communities would be more accepting of subjective questions than, for instance, SO. I agree with all the points in the excerpt but at the end of the day I'm afraid even a question that manages to hit all these points will fare poorly on SO, whereas it may be quite fine somewhere else (assuming it is on-topic). There's also a difference between questions targeted at the main site vs questions targeted at a Meta.
    – Louis
    Nov 7 '14 at 12:42
  • @JanDvorak That's why I asked on meta.SE not on meta.SO. Since I ask this the question in the networkwide scope.
    – Calmarius
    Nov 7 '14 at 12:52
  • 2
    See if the blog post Good Subject, Bad Subjective provides any insight for the question you had in mind. Nov 7 '14 at 15:03
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I am glad you want to write your question so that it won't be seen as subjective. You are right that the wording of the question is key. In fact, one subjective question usually turns into many objective questions. Consider:

What is the best X?

Totally subjective, just going to attract opinions, right? Try:

What factors should I consider when choosing an X?

Better, but still pretty broad. And perhaps you already know what factors you care about. So in that case, can't you ask:

Which weighs more, X.A or X.B?

How likely is an X.A to be cancelled before it happens?

How much faster does X.A build compared to X.B?

These are objective questions. They have right-or-wrong answers. From those answers you may build a picture that answers the original "what should I do?" question you had in your head. But you don't ask that original question on any SE site, instead you ask the smaller objective questions that add up to your decision.

There is another kind of subjective question, and these are welcome only on some sites. On Parenting people ask when to introduce certain foods; on Gardening people ask if it's worth trying to rescue a lawn or should they just re-seed it; on Board and Card Games people ask how to make a game more fun for new players. To word these questions so they attract the good kind of answers, make your question longer. That is, just asking "when should I introduce dairy to my infant?" will not attract good answers. Lay out your situation clearly to reduce speculation. (For example in that case, whether any parents have allergies, or whether someone is pushing hard for the food to be introduced now.) Clarify whether you want opinions, or references to studies and books, or people's experience with their own children. Include any information you've already gathered. The longer and more complete the question, the less likely it is to attract drive-by one-sentence pure-opinion answers. Show you care in the question, and generally answerers will show they care too.

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  • Some of this should be in the help section! "From those answers you may build a picture that answers the original "what should I do?" question you had in your head. But you don't ask that original question on any SE site, instead you ask the smaller objective questions that add up to your decision." A fantastic way to explain it!
    – James
    Nov 7 '14 at 13:22

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