It seems to me that many of the most thought-provoking and informative questions that are being asked on this forum are pretty subjective.

For better or worse, when the main StackExchange site was created (for a developer audience), the perceived disadvantages of allowing subjective questions (increased risks for flame wars; increased likelihood of soliciting answers that are devoid of critical thinking that amount to little more than "well MY favorite color is BLUE...", making it difficult for the voting process to reliably identify the "best" answer, etc.) were deemed to outweigh the benefits of allowing subjective questions.

What say you? Should sqa.stack exchange.com have a different policy relating to subjective questions than the mothership StackExchange site?

Is it time for this forum to officially welcome subjective questions? If so, why? If not, why not?

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3 Answers

up vote 9 down vote accepted

Objective questions have been okay even on StackOverflow and the rest of the sites for some time now. There are six guidelines for asking good subjective questions, from the guy in charge of SE's community management.

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

Further reading here.

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+1 ------ Nice! –  Justin May 17 '11 at 21:28
    
Marked as the officially accepted answer due to its clarity, conciseness and overall awesomeness. –  Justin May 19 '11 at 16:15
    
Yeah, this is definitely the official answer :) +1 for the guidelines! –  Ethel Evans May 20 '11 at 18:44
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Is quality subjective? If yes then subjective questions should be welcome....

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+1 I agree, although it may be hard to weed out the 'extremely useless subjective' from the 'thought provoking subjective'. I think answers can still give the questioner enough information or new ideas to be acceptable. –  Todd Bumbarger May 17 '11 at 20:02
    
what a quote - "extremely useless subjective" vs "thought provoking subjective" –  Tarun May 18 '11 at 3:10
    
@Todd regardless of a questions subjectivity/objectivity, if it is useless, I will vote to close it. If it is thought provoking I will either give it an upvote, or give a comment explaining how I think it would be improved. It's not hard to weed out useless questions. –  corsiKa May 18 '11 at 5:08
    
Quality itself may not be subjective (although I don't know how to measure it) there are different paths to get to a quality level, which path is the "best" is very subjective. For me discussions about that are welcome as long as they are constructive (the points described above) –  refro May 19 '11 at 5:08
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Absolutely. This site seems to draw heavily from the Programmers.SE community, which is specifically geared towards subjective questions that don't fit on SO. Test questions in general have a heavier subjective quality to them than development questions, in my experience on SE. As soon as Programmers got going, almost all test questions got bumped to Programmers from SO, which is also a strong indicator of the generally subjective nature of test problems.

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It's worth noting that our board will have a very healthy mix of subjective questions and objective questions (which is very appropriate to the nature of QA in general!) –  corsiKa May 20 '11 at 17:53
    
Yeah, I wanted to add a bit on the history of this SE site to supplement your answer :) I think a large part of why this site exists is the high proportion of subjective questions in testing frustrating everyone on SO :p At least, that's how I learned this site was proposed! –  Ethel Evans May 20 '11 at 18:45
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