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Example Question for Example.SE:

Is Foo better than Bar?

Example Answer:

Yes, go with it (I like Foo a lot!). Be sure to try Baz too, by the way.

Now, it's obvious that this wouldn't take much to get closed as "not a real proposal", and said to be "unfit" because it is not "productive", "useful", etc., and even said to not be a question and an answer (altough, by the dictionary, they are).

Now, I'd like to get this straight. This unspoken rule is solely because subjective questions and answers do not generate much traffic from search engines and thus do not mean a profitable place to have ads on?

I'd like that to be clear, in such a case, and have a close reason along the lines of "closed as not profitable", and "this proposal would not be profitable to the site's owners for not showing enough SEO potential".

6

Your premise and conclusion are unsupportable, evident by the fact that the most subjective questions — what we would call "discussion starters" — are also the most popular in views and votes.

So why close them?

Because that is not what we do here. A Stack Exchange Q&A isn't about your dictionary definition of an interrogative. Asking "how are you today?" has a question mark after it; that doesn't make it worth answering outside the chatty discussion of having yet another place to type stuff on the Internet.

The purpose of our sites is to build a canonical source of knowledge in a subject, passing on hard-earned knowledge to others — specific expertise — not chat and discussion.

The most concise primers I can find that discuss the divide between "the learning curve" and "social, subjective discussion" is covered in these few blog posts:

Good Subjective, Bad Subjective

The Trouble with Popularity

Gorilla vs. Shark

  • So, wouldn't it be good in a financial sense to have a few subjective sites? Because, what I'm really after is a place where I can ask questions along the lines of "what would you suggest", and have it not closed, but I do not want to go to Yahoo answers to do that. I love the SE infrastructure. Do you think there is hope for it to someday adopt subjective sites? – Camilo Martin Feb 3 '12 at 15:14
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    @Camilo: Why don't you want to go to Yahoo! Answers? It provides exactly what you are asking for. If you can answer that, it will answer why we don't want to create sites like it. Read the 'Popularity' blog post again, starting around "But it’s too addictive and too easy ... refocus the community’s exuberance on more substantive content." You started by accusing us of closing questions/proposals for financial reasons and SEO purposes, yet now you are lamenting that we do not create sites for exactly those reasons. – Robert Cartaino Feb 3 '12 at 15:41
  • What I'm lamenting is that such a nice platform as SE is only serving objective clear-cut questions. Its rating and self-moderation potential would make an excellent site for subjective questions. I really don't care wether it's not being done because it's not financially viable or wether it should be done because it is, I just want it to happen somewhere so I can contribute to it and participate. See, my motivation is not rage comics, I want a place where people could talk about subjective questions. I mention fun because it's the first reason for censorship here. ACTA would interest me more. – Camilo Martin Feb 3 '12 at 16:05

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