There seems to be an assumption among some users that this site should be oriented along much the same lines as the more serious SE sites - with a clampdown on broad or remotely opinion-based questions and answers, and so on. Not necessarily wrong at all! But I just saw this question in the sidebar:


It's clearly very opinion-based and a bit silly. Yet it's highly-rated, and the guys there are having great fun with it.

So : Is this going to be a site where we have a bit of fun, allow the odd interesting question even if it's opinion based and perhaps ultimately unanswerable, and let the voting do the talking? Or are we going to keep it tight, factual and objective?

EDIT: here's an example of a fun one here:

Who would have been the "US" Beatles if the "UK" Beatles hadn't come along, in an alternative universe?

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    I don't see though, how that example question, which isn't completely opinion-based and "ultimately unanswerable", would serve as a free ticket to open up for any kind of subjective stuff. It's about encouraging well-reasoned and well-explained largely objective answers and I don't see how that example violates this so much or what kind of question you actually have in mind that this should encourage here. And also "fun" doesn't automatically mean opinion-based and vice versa, those are entirely orthogonal concepts.
    – Major Tom
    Mar 6, 2015 at 10:02
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    There's a difference between "fun and interesting" and "broad and opinion-based". If you don't want SE-style Q&A ... don't come to an SE site. Mar 6, 2015 at 21:45
  • @MatthewRead I'm talking about different things when I'm using those words above - "fun/interesting" in relation to how much I and other site users site users might enjoy a question, and "broad and opinion-based" in relation to rules we may or may not make. Two different dimensions.
    – user16
    Mar 6, 2015 at 22:08
  • @MatthewRead For sure the SE rules say "Don't ask about Questions that are primarily opinion-based". But isn't it up to the community to add precision to what that means? That's what I thought we were doing here...
    – user16
    Mar 6, 2015 at 22:15
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    FWIW, your example of the question is really poor. As SFF.SE expert (or at least I play one on the site :), that question wasn't really all that "opinion based", and it promoted genuine scholarship of the topic, so it was perfectly serious and not silly, in context. For an example of an opinion-and-silly popular question (but it's "Good Subjective" so it is on-topic), I'd recommend my own "Why don't muggle-born wizards use Muggle technology to fight Death Eaters?" instead.
    – DVK
    Apr 22, 2015 at 4:32
  • @DVK I think I chose that one as it nevertheless seems more opinion-based than some of the questions on this site that were getting close votes (at that time - not so much now) for being opinion-based. (After all, the topic of whether someone/thing deserves a particular bit of praise has to be somewhat opinion-based, right?) Thanks for the extra example though. The main point I was making was that SE sites don't have to be all about objectively-correct answers to objectively-answerable questions,
    – user16
    Apr 22, 2015 at 6:38

3 Answers 3


This type of question is almost impossible to answer in the abstract. Nobody gets carte blanche to do whatever they want, while nobody says we should be entirely ascetic and priggish about it either. The problem is most people just aren't that funny, so when you issue a challenge that silly is something to aspire to and embrace, folks have a tendency to pile on and push it too far.

So I'd put this site comfortably somewhere between Movies and Scifi SE. We're not here to build an austere work of utmost seriousness; at the same time you don't want the site to become a parody of itself either. If there is a particularly intriguing question that teaches as well as it entertains, there's no need to kill it with strict self-denial. But I would try to stick to the core purpose of learning on this site. There are plenty of social forums to kick back to start in on a bit of senseless social fun on occasion. The challenge of a Q&A site is to keep your eye its core purpose, and to resist the temptation to turn it into something else.

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    Also, Music Fans Chat. Good place for a bit of fun, that.
    – Shog9
    Mar 6, 2015 at 1:09
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    Can't agree with your opening sentence as I think you've done a pretty nice job answering the question!
    – user16
    Mar 8, 2015 at 8:37

On SE Meta, there is a "clause" called "It's Friday In Iceland" that allows people to post goofy questions (only on Meta) and not really get hammered for it.

To the best of my knowledge, that's as goofy as you're allowed to get, and only on Meta. The rest of the site does its best to be the de-facto "Go-To" site for answers to tough questions. As such, posting stuff like, "What is the actual size of Geoff Tate's tockley?" (if you're a QR fan, you might get that...) would be off-topic according to how the rest of the SE network operates.


I've been mulling over "Music Fans" over the last day and was about to ask a similar question myself.

My original exposure to SE is, like several others on here, from a techy background where the SE areas I visit have factual answers. They are either right or wrong, opinion or subjectivity doesn't count on the whole. Hence I have been toeing the SE party line and adopting a hardcore approach to questions/answers that do not meet these strict criteria.

However over the last day with some reflective thinking, I am softening my stance to think that a topic such as music cannot have such hard-line applied. It is an art. People interpret it differently and sometimes there may be no "correct" answer, just the best opinion of many. Sure, there will be questions that have definitive answers, supported by hard facts. But Music Fans could become a cold and boring place if we restricted ourselves to the same rules and regs as the techy side of SE.

  • Can I reference the down-voter(s) to this thread. Explanations would be useful. Thanks. Mar 6, 2015 at 14:31
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    I didn't vote, but I would assume it's because you suggest that we should disregard the principles that the SE model holds to Mar 6, 2015 at 14:34
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    There is a spectrum even for the techy side. The TeX SE seems to be a functioning community (I haven't participated, but it looks healthy), and they seem to be quite lenient when it comes to some of the SE principles. That e.g. Skeptics are hardcore is understandable, on the softer side it would be good to solve problems as they arrive... Mar 6, 2015 at 14:40
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    @ZachSaucier, I would assume the same, however I'd like to hear the reasoning rather than "that's just the way it is here". I'm playing devil's advocate somewhat here, but I think it could generate some valid discussion where SE are trying to expand into areas that might not necessarily fit into the original concepts of Stack Overflow. Mar 6, 2015 at 15:19

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