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How does the automatic subjective filter work?

A while ago, I was writing a post on Stack Overflow and I received an error message indicating that my post was likely to be deleted because it was subjective. I played around with the wording, and it seems like the message was generated by some algorithm that included searching for use of the word "best." I didn't think my question was subjective, but I reworded the question until the error message went away.

The best explanation I could find on SO's definition of subjectivity was at http://blog.stackoverflow.com/2010/09/good-subjective-bad-subjective/, which emphasizes that the questions asked should be answerable. This makes sense, but I don't understand how this correlates to subjectivity or to the error message. I've reasoned that this must be because I have a subjectively different understanding of what constitutes subjectivity.

I'm cool with that, but it would really help me to use the site if I could understand the error messages and what type of content should not be posted. I'm sure that the site must use some objective standard for evaluating subjectivity, so, what is it?

marked as duplicate by Pops, jjnguy, Grace Note, balpha Feb 2 '11 at 19:59

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

  • 4
    This is a duplicate of How does the automatic subjective filter work? See Jeff's answer for the very regex that's used! – Pops Feb 2 '11 at 19:50
  • Really, any question with the word "best" is always subjective, because best means different things to different people in different circumstances. Be specific: Are you looking for the easiest? Most efficient? Most reliable? Most secure? Etc. – Aarobot Feb 2 '11 at 20:39

The blog post you linked to is a good resource, but there are also some guidelines in the FAQ about what kinds of questions you can ask on Stack Overflow. Those guidelines can be subtly different for each site in the network, so I try to check before asking a question anywhere new.

See Jeff's very direct answer to How does the automatic subjective filter work? to see what triggers the subjectivity warning. (By @Popular Demand)

  • Thanks. I have read the FAQ before and I just did again. None of that explains the subjective error message though. – smartcaveman Feb 2 '11 at 19:53
  • @smartcaveman: I added the link from @Pop's comment. That's about as definitive an answer to that part of your question as possible. – Bill the Lizard Feb 2 '11 at 19:57

That "error message" is there mainly to avoid polls.

What is the best... what is the funniest...

They are not the objective of the site, very far from it.

This is only a warning, so you will be able to post the question anyway, the reference if it is good or bad will be if the question gets closed / down-voted.

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