Currently, asking for critiques on any StackExchange is not allowed. Can we allow it? Perhaps critiques can be moved into their own section, separate from the questions. Here are some critique examples I personally would like to post if critiques were allowed:


  • Take a look at the registration process on my website. Is it easy to complete?


  • Here's a picture of myself. Which muscle groups do you think I should work on?


  • My webserver is located at website.com. Are you able to hack it?


  • I just designed this logo. How are the colors? Is it balanced?


  • I'm thinking about building a computer with CPU X, GPU Y, Harddrive Z. Is this a balanced system?
  • 1
    They created codereview.stackexchange.com for programming critiques. Jun 13, 2011 at 6:47
  • This question is at -6 right now and yet we have a Code Review designed specifically for critiques of programming style. Seems incongruous to me. :)
    – sarnold
    Jun 13, 2011 at 6:47
  • @Lance @sarnold But Code Review still has "Subjective and Argumentative" as a possible close reason
    – jonsca
    Jun 13, 2011 at 7:10
  • (I wasn't privy to any of the issues that surrounded the creation of CR.SE, so I don't really know how subjective their objectivity was :) You both make a good point, though)
    – jonsca
    Jun 13, 2011 at 7:21
  • Well, while I didn't downvote it, it would seem like the request here is to allow code review stuff on other Stack Exchange sites, and therefore people might disagree with that concept and downvote it. Jun 13, 2011 at 15:18

4 Answers 4

"Is it easy to..."
"...do you think..."
"How are the colors..."

These are all ideas that will have 100 or more acceptable interpretations if you had asked 100 people.

I'm sure there are fora out there in which these types of subjective questions are on topic, but with a Question/Answer type format it's hard to justify their utility.

  • 1
    If I get 100 critiques, I would be very happy. There are forums out there that allow critiques, but they don't have the intelligent people and voting system of StackExchange to make critiques meaningful.
    – JoJo
    Jun 13, 2011 at 6:12
  • 2
    @Jojo That wasn't my point. SE was designed from the ground up with a Question/Answer format. Changing that, even by making an exception, detracts from the sites strength. I'm sure you can find plenty of fora where subjective questions are on topic and that have voting systems to boot, and are patronized by a high caliber of people.
    – jonsca
    Jun 13, 2011 at 6:19

A request for a critique is merely one kind of subjective question. If we made a special case for critiques then a hundred other kinds of subjective question would also want to get in on the action. It would be very hard to say no to the advocates of "compare and contrast" if "critiques" were already permitted.

The only sensible approach is to stand firm to the policy that subjective questions are not appropriate. This does mean that critiques are not permitted and so we will disappoint users who would like to ask or answer such questions. You cannot please all of the people all of the time.

Having this clear enforceable policy keeps the signal-to-noise ratio high and we cannot afford to mess with something so fundamental to the success of the StackExchange family of sites.

  • If subjective questions were segregated from the objective questions, as I proposed, the "signal-to-noise ratio" would not be decreased in the questions section and the "success of the StackExchange family of sites" would not be put in jeopardy.
    – JoJo
    Jun 13, 2011 at 6:15
  • But to be part of the site in the StackExchange model means it cannot be segregated. The site is one integrated site: tags, reputation, users, policies, home page, searches, etc. Those are what defines the site. You would need a separate site to segregate it. Jun 13, 2011 at 6:22
  • @JoJo: What's wrong with segregating them to non-SE sites better equipped/designed to deal with them? You could even open an SE-style site for it, heaven knows there are plenty of open-source SE clones. Jun 13, 2011 at 6:23
  • @Jojo How would you segregate them?
    – jonsca
    Jun 13, 2011 at 6:23

The main problem I have with something like this is they are very localized. How would answering any of those questions benefit anyone else? The likelihood that a future visitor to a stack exchange site would find any of those questions or the answers you might get to be useful is very slim.

As I understand, the "mission" of the stack exchange network is to put people with good questions and others who can answer them well in the same place, and in the process build a collection of canonical questions and answers from which everyone can benefit. Do you really think your examples fit well in that context?

  • Critiques can be used just like case studies. Learn from the mistakes of others.
    – JoJo
    Jun 13, 2011 at 6:19

The examples in the question are not appropriate for obtaining a critique from Stack Exchange, but others are.

If I have an appropriate question for a Stack Exchange, I will usually have an answer in mind before I ask. When I ask, I may be more interested in a critique of my answer than in any other answers.

The approved technique for getting this critique is to ask the question and then to answer my own question.

Hopefully I will get a critique of my answer either in comments on my answer or included in other answers to my question.

  • As a moderator on Writing.SE, where writing critiques are disallowed, I'm not sure I'd accept such a loophole. Answering a question by just dumping a piece of writing isn't really allowed.
    – F1Krazy
    May 6 at 21:29
  • @F1Krazy I wasn't detailed enough, and perhaps one explanation can't cover all SEs. Here is a real Writing.SE question. "How do I write in a sophisticated manner (though not convoluted)?" Suppose the questioner has a plan, "Paraphrase sophisticated stories", and wants a critique of their plan. Would it be appropriate for the questioner to ask the question and then provide an answer, "Paraphrase sophisticated stories"? May 7 at 0:08

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