Michael Mrozek asked: Ask Different has a reputation for liking "soft" questions that would generally be closed on other sites. Do you agree? Is this a good thing? Is it something you'd want to change as a mod?
Moshe answered: If it aint broke, don't fix it. It's not broke. I personally never like the cut and dry wholesale closing on SO, of questions that didn't necessarily fit. I see the reason for it, but don't agree. I think being "soft" adds personality to AD.
Moshe continued: Also, if it's part of the "Googlable Stackexchange database", no reason to close unless there's a strong reason to do so.
Wheat Williams answered: I generally don't like "soft" questions, but I would consult with other moderators before I did anything drastic. What I prefer to do as a user is to post a comment asking the person to further clarify and narrow down the question.
Jason Salaz answered: Anyone who knows me knows that I love CWs, within reason. I love the "Tiny Things" questions for iOS 5 and Lion, I curate the iOS 5 CW heavily, and pitch in on others. There are some that didn't/don't deserve to survive ("What would make Safari perfect" and "Terminal Tips/Tricks in Mac OS X", notably). Case-by-case basis. Quality and community (both users and mods) decision as needed.
Jason Salaz continued: I assume this is a CW question at least, re-reading it it might not be. And I actually have a distinct answer. Apple is a company, an ecosystem, it's "level of skill" ranges from "learning to right click", to "programming an app" (and really, much harder). We're "softer" on some questions because it's relevant to the community. That probably shouldn't change. Ask Different is unlike almost all of the rest of Stack Exchange, scope/content-wise.
bmike noted: I think Jason has formulated my thoughts a bit better here. It's not an excuse to allow soft questions - but I think that some more advanced users look down on beginner questions as soft or obvious. I feel the balance is good but could always be better and having better questions is something moderators can make room for by helping cull the topics that lead to confusion / dissension and idle chatter.
bmike continued: I'm all for closing questions that are too soft since they rob space from the ones that need room and attention to grow. I'm also of the mind that the CW / poll type questions have to really, really shine to be worth keeping around. That's something the moderators will need to be in agreement to keep the site both fair and focused.
jmlumpkin answered: I agree that Ask Different does have a bit softer questions, but I don't think its a bad thing. I feel that if the question can have a valid answer, and stay mostly on topic, it is fine. I wouldn't want to change this that much. And I agree with others that on SO, I really don't like the cut and dry or you are wrong feeling there. It seems even worse on programers.se
bmike answered: Simple - the site belongs to the users. Apple users are as a class less likely to be computer scientists or linux admins, or super users or heaven forbid programmers.
Jason Salaz remarked: I actually completely disagree with that, but let's take a note and save it for a podcast :).
bmike answered: Your call - I feel we need to curate great questions that solve problems people face within the scope
Jason Salaz clarified: I disagree with the 'class / less likely' part, that is. I don't disagree with the "site belongs to the users" part. Sorry :).
Jason Salaz added: I do want to discuss it elsewhere, on a better dedicated medium.
bmike agreed: Let's - I'd love to podcast again with you and Nathan and Kyle
bmike continued: The barrier to entry for an iPod touch is can you walk - so we do have users with entry level questions. I think for the volume the site gets, these softer questions generally get low votes and also have yielded some outstanding users.
Daniel answered: I'm not out to dramatically change the site. But yes, I'd like to see slightly fewer "What about magpies makes you smile?" questions, recognizing that some of our Community Wiki questions have produces some true gems of answer sets. Don't eliminate our "softness" -- we're friendlier than some sites, and that's not bad. But I am cautious that we don't go too much further town that road.
Daniel continued: And what @bmike just said, too.
stuffe answered: The key to the soft questions like the Community Wikis is allowing them to run their course. It's no good allowing a bad one to start, then stopping it after 2 days. Some are great (Tiny things), others straight up wrong (Making safari perfect). I would (and have) propose that this sort of thing could be taken on by the mods, canvassing opinion on topics via meta/chat etc...
stuffe continued: And only allowing them to start after they have been pre-vetted, thus allowing the enforcement of strict rules of formatting and language etc. Allowing anyone to make one, which is then turned into a CW results on patchy questions.