I am asking this my self for some time and I cannot figure it out:

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.

For network sites dealing with nearly-exact science it is rather easy to have answers based on facts, reference or expertise (randomly chosen):

  • Stack Overflow: provide some code that can be run and tested somewhere and/or that can be answered in the same fashion
  • Physics: ask about a phenomenon that can be answered in an objective way (based on theory etc.)
  • Politics: ask about something that has at least of small chance to have some information available to the public, some references in a book dealing with politics, economics (most answers here actually provide lots of references)

On the other side, if one entered sites like Workplace or Interpersonal Skills, they will notice that a vast majority of answers do not provide any reference and they can be easily be considered opinions (educated one though).

Of course, this is normal due since these sites do not deal with exact science. However, having a "primarily opinion based" close reason does not seem appropriate and can be abused to easily close a question.

I am thinking about scraping this close reason and have specialized custom ones. Politics have two that are more appropriate for this specific community and I think most sites a couple of them:

  • Questions asking for the internal motivations of people, how specific individuals would behave in hypothetical situations or predictions for future events are off-topic, because answers would be based on speculation and their correctness could not be verified with sources available to the public.

  • The primary purpose of this question appears to be to promote or discredit a specific political cause, group or politician. It does not appear to be a good-faith effort to learn more about governments, policies and political processes as defined in the help center.

Question: What is the point of "primarily opinion based" for networks that do not deal with exact science?

  • Primarily, to prevent flame wars (mine is bigger than yours).
    – Ron Maupin
    May 5, 2019 at 5:03

1 Answer 1


Even if the stacks don't deal with exact sciences, answers can (and should) still be backed up. You can back them up with experience (and reasoning). All answers should be backed up, although sometimes it may be implicit (e. g. work experience (TWP), being around people (IPS), being a parent (Parenting.SE)). If they are not or the advice is questionable, downvotes will hopefully indicate that.

All stacks also still need a clear question to which there is a clear answer. This means that some questions just don't qualify, whether it's a science-based stack or a "softer" one. And the primarily opinion-based close reason is one piece of the puzzle. It's used to close some inappropriate questions, like

  • Poll: In principle two answers, yes and no and the one with the most votes wins. Examples are many "Should I ... ?" questions.
  • Judgment: Everyone will have a different opinion. For example, a workplace situation is presented and the OP wants to know what others think about it.

The goal is to teach people how to do something. It's not to make decisions for them. One of the problems with the latter is that, even if they write long posts, we don't know them or the people they deal with and so cannot really judge the situation. We aren't and cannot have been in the exact same situation (maybe in a similar one, but hard to judge and with different people). However, how to do something is more generic and applicable, e. g. how to communicate with a superior, a coworker etc., i. e. how to behave in a professional environment (and an answer from someone with decades of work experience is probably backed up).

You must log in to answer this question.

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