I am new to this site and it is still not clear to me what opinion based actually means.

I couldn't understand why this question was considered opinion-based and if there is a way to transform it into a suitable question for this site.

I think if the TOUR of the sites contained an example of a good question and of a bad question, newcomers would really understand more easily and quickly what behaviour is expected on this site. I am presently learning through many downvotes. Is there a place on this site where I can find a bad question transformed into an acceptable one?

Edit: the TOUR explanations are excellent and help a lot, and I do not believe in the least that the language is too difficult for a learner. I am just saying that it takes time for newcomers to assimilate all this. Most of them "land" on this site looking for an answer to a specific language query they have, and they will ask their question without going through the TOUR first. I don't see how DVing and CVing can help them enjoy the site.

Instead, providing a link to a short video or lesson showing how rules apply in practice may help them feel more welcome and learn more quickly how to integrate in the site.

  • I've just voted to close this question as Opinion-based so as to demonstrate how Close-votes work. Anyone can use their votes however they want. (Just ignore those who vote to close your question as OB. I'll retract mine later.)
    – Void
    Commented Dec 26, 2020 at 2:17
  • @Void: I tried to ignore them but especially on another site many of my questions are closed for good, and I am only guessing why. I would just like to understand better what was wrong with those questions.
    – fev
    Commented Dec 26, 2020 at 9:53
  • So downvoting or voting to close a question can be OB, but a question cannot.
    – fev
    Commented Dec 26, 2020 at 12:39
  • I meant.... people just CV and DV however they want. That's not how votes are supposed to be used but it's just ..... you know... people just do it. (I myself barely DV and CV. I agree that your question wasn't Opinion-based.)
    – Void
    Commented Dec 27, 2020 at 16:29
  • Yes @Void, I perfectly understood what you meant, thank you for pointing this out. I have written my comments to make others understand that it is not always obvious for newcomers what standards are expected from them, nor how to attain to them.
    – fev
    Commented Dec 27, 2020 at 16:58
  • Don't worry about votes. It always irritates me when I see a DV or CV on newcomer's post... so I counteract. :))
    – Void
    Commented Dec 27, 2020 at 17:21
  • 1
    @Void - one could argue that newcomers would benefit from a lesson in what is considered a good or bad question. If I DV or CV I tend to leave a comment also. Commented Jan 10, 2021 at 16:34
  • @MichaelHarvey: I agree. Because if they continue to post such atrocious questions, we'll get a lot of bloat afterwards, so a lesson is better. However, most DVers don't leave a comment, which is rather annoying.
    – Void
    Commented Jan 10, 2021 at 16:37
  • @MichaelHarvey: I can tell you that it took me a while until I learned. And I learned through Dvs and CVs which I misinterpreted because I had not a real idea of what SE is about. I exaggerate if I say I learned it "the hard way", but such misunderstandings could really be avoided. SE is an amazing site that could help newcomers in a better way, I think SE deserves that.
    – fev
    Commented Jan 10, 2021 at 16:38
  • Unfortunately it is possible for users to get too concerned about reputation changes. As long as mine goes up more than it goes down I'm happy. In fact, it is best not to think about it too much. Commented Jan 10, 2021 at 16:42
  • @MichaelHarvey: You do realise this is not about reputation! It is about the energy with which a newcomer is hit before he knows too much, that's all.
    – fev
    Commented Jan 10, 2021 at 16:43
  • @Void: You see, a newcomer will have no idea about the point you made in your last comment here.
    – fev
    Commented Jan 10, 2021 at 16:51
  • @fev: But a newcomer should read the site rules before posting a question, no?
    – Void
    Commented Jan 10, 2021 at 16:52
  • @Void: True, but until you actually experience the site for yourself for a while, rules might not be enough. I believe a lesson would help. I would have left the EL&U after the first 2-3 days, if an older user had not kindly explained a few things.
    – fev
    Commented Jan 10, 2021 at 16:54
  • Related: ell.meta.stackexchange.com/q/1309/9161
    – ColleenV
    Commented Jan 11, 2021 at 14:01

1 Answer 1


The help center page on What types of questions should I avoid asking? links to two detailed discussions about subjective questions:

Good Subjective, Bad subjective


Real Questions have Answers

The tour isn’t the appropriate place to teach everything there is to know about participating on Stack Exchange. If you think the language is too difficult for a learner in the help center or those blogs, someone could always add more guidance to the Asking Questions section of the Contributors’ Guide and tailor it to ELL.

If you disagree with the closure of a question, the help center also explains what you should do about it.

  • Thank you for all these helpful links. Most of them I have checked over time. I think the TOUR explanations help a lot, and no, I do not believe in the least that " the language is too difficult for a learner". I am just saying that it takes time for newcomers to assimilate all this. Yet, before they manage to do that, they are met with something they may misunderstand as "unwelcoming negativity" or "condescendence".
    – fev
    Commented Jan 11, 2021 at 14:15
  • @fev The only cure for that is active community members who welcome new users and model the sorts of behaviors that we would like to see new users adopt. No amount of documentation can substitute for a person explaining how things work. I’ll warn you that of the people you try to help, most will ignore your advice and it might seem like you aren’t making much progress. There are more people that notice than just that one new user though, and some of those people will start helping.
    – ColleenV
    Commented Jan 11, 2021 at 14:30
  • I must admit that it is another user's kindness that convinced me to stay on that site, I even expressed it in a comment there. Thank you for taking the time to explain.
    – fev
    Commented Jan 11, 2021 at 14:38
  • Which makes me wonder if users are rewarded for helping newcomers by taking the time to explain why one cannot just randomly ask or answer. That may encourage the behaviour you describe in the links you provided as "related" and discourage DVing and CVing newcomers.
    – fev
    Commented Jan 11, 2021 at 14:56
  • @fev If you see someone who is obviously lost when you’re walking by, and you stop and help them, are you rewarded for it? I would say yes, because it makes me feel good to help someone. Most people like to help other people, we just sometimes get too caught up in our own problems, or we thwart our own happiness by feeling entitled to more gratitude than we got. People are social creatures and if we hang around with a bunch of kind people, most of us will be kinder than if we hung around with a bunch of uncaring or hostile people.
    – ColleenV
    Commented Jan 11, 2021 at 15:07
  • Yes, I do agree quite wholeheartedly. I just wondered if there was a way to inhibit negativity. I certainly wished I could reward the user that helped me a few weeks ago. But as you say, they got their reward by being kind.
    – fev
    Commented Jan 11, 2021 at 15:10
  • People can also detect insincerity very easily, which is why automated systems or “canned” don’t really make us feel as welcomed or helped as a live person talking to us about our specific situation. Rewarding those sorts of comments would lead to some people “farming” the reward without actually connecting with the new user, which is really the point.
    – ColleenV
    Commented Jan 11, 2021 at 15:11
  • You convinced me there. Hadn't thought rewards could harm more than help! False kindness is worse than honest negativity, I believe that.
    – fev
    Commented Jan 11, 2021 at 15:13
  • 1
    ELL is a community, not a website, and every one here is a volunteer. Almost every active user here is doing what they sincerely believe is the best thing for the site. Most people don’t down-vote or close questions to be mean, even though it can feel that way. I appreciate anyone who takes their time to vote or flag or comment constructively regardless of whether I agree with their interpretation of the SE guidelines in a particular situation. Sincere participation is the fuel that keeps this site running.
    – ColleenV
    Commented Jan 11, 2021 at 15:20

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