Like the title says.

Trying to get a handle on what this site likes, but having a tough time making sense of it; e.g. the current top 6 don't seem not opinion-based, but I'm not sure what you all intend for this site:

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  • 4
    Have you read good subjective, bad subjective yet?
    – sphennings
    Dec 27, 2018 at 16:56
  • "...don't seem not opinion based." Do you mean they do seem opinion based?
    – scohe001
    Dec 27, 2018 at 17:07
  • 2
    @scohe001 That's what double negatives usually mean, yes ;) They don't seem not opinion based ;)
    – Tinkeringbell Mod
    Dec 27, 2018 at 17:38
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    @sphennings Yes; and I've also seen enough sites come and go to know that the line itself is a subjective community decision that varies. :)
    – Jason C
    Dec 27, 2018 at 19:30
  • @scohe001 I've reverted your edit because it changes my tone to sound subtly more argumentative/challenging than I actually intend to be; but thank you. :)
    – Jason C
    Dec 27, 2018 at 19:31
  • Could you be a bit more specific with your question? What in particular are you having difficulty understanding?
    – sphennings
    Dec 27, 2018 at 19:37
  • 4

1 Answer 1


Trying to get a handle on what this site likes, but having a tough time making sense of it; e.g. the current top 6 don't seem not opinion-based, but I'm not sure what you all intend for this site:

All questions on Interpersonal Skills are going to be opinion based. A part of those questions are going to be primarily opinion based. And those are going to be closed. We've never had a very clear mission statement, but I'm going to make one up now, one that will hopefully summarize this site:

On Interpersonal Skills, we focus on having questions about Interpersonal Skills. Interpersonal Skills are the behaviours you use to interact well with others. So we're not a general life-hacks site, we're not here to tell you what to do next if you don't have an outcome planned that we should work towards, and we're not here to tell you that yes, your neighbour is rude and the smile the cashier gave you meant she really, really wants to go on a date with you. We can't look into other people's heads, or perform some kind of magic mind-control... We can only help you with your behaviour in a specific situation.

If you want to get a quick-start guide, take a look at our two faq proposals:

Take the time to click through sometimes, and you'll see the discussions we've had in the past on what would be best for a question on Interpersonal Skills, on how we can make the site as objective as possible.

Someone already linked you the good subjective, bad subjective blog post. It describes the narrow line between good subjective questions and primarily opinion based ones. From that blog:

Thus, questions that are not answerable — discussions, debates, opinions — should be closed as subjective. It seems simple enough: Fact good; opinion and discussion bad.

Based on this alone, there are a few things to keep in mind when asking a question on Interpersonal Skills. That's why our help center says we can't help people with 'who's right, who's wrong', 'is X sexist, racist, or otherwise offensive', or 'what should I do'. Those questions aren't going to make good subjective questions, they're reliant upon opinions. Of those, only 'what should I do' has it's own close reason here, the other two are often closed as primarily opinion based.

Then what makes a good subjective question? It's inherently a question that invites people to share their experiences, that invites back up in the form of something that happened to you personally or something you can back up with a reference. Answers to questions on Interpersonal Skills are always going to be opinion based. They're always going to say 'In my opinion, X works best'. But they're supposed to be more than that, they're supposed to be constructive, informative, helpful, sharing experiences over opinions. Again from the blog post:

If we can avoid conversations that are — and this is the really tricky part — too subjective, we can maintain the ideals of great Q&A in the face of completely subjective topics. We can avoid falling into the predictable destructive patterns of random discussion, debate, and opinion that turn a site from a learning experience into a glorified cheap-thrills gossip rag.

That's why we try to focus questions on being about actual Interpersonal Skills, instead of 'here's my situation, how do I resolve it'.

The blog post ends with a list of 6 points that you can hold subjective questions against, and that will give you some guidance on what is and isn't too subjective. I'm not going to copy-paste that here, instead, I'm going to end with another last quote:

Even the definition of what is too subjective on Stack Exchange is somewhat … subjective. But we can provide a set of guidelines that help you determine what a good subjective question is. It’s akin to determining what is fair use, and what is not — a multi-factor test where you attempt to fit a few guidelines to the specifics of your situation.

It's probably not possible to expect a single question to meet all 6 of those points. It would be great if they could, but new users aren't likely to get it right at a first try. That's why we comment, edit, put on hold... But I do hope this helps you a bit in seeing what is and isn't primarily opinion based on this site.

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