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Since I'm sure this'll come up sooner rather than later, should we allow certain subjective questions on Apple.SE? This one was just closed as subjective.

Subjective questions are frowned upon in SE sites and I have no argument that this particular question is quite subjective. But perhaps we prevent many more users from asking the same subjective question in the future by allowing a this one? Not necessarily my opinion, but there might be arguments that certain subjective questions are allowed, while most aren't.

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Subjective questions for better or worse help out the community as it gets started - often as a way for users to boost rep to start getting several users to the point where editing and what normally takes a higher reputation to use. However I find their usefulness extremely short lived - they often become too vague or too localized and of little use even a week later. (Out of date and another answer among 9 million others isn't necessarily going to help).

A good example of a thread that could have been subjective but has become quite useful: Mac OS X Terminal Tips and Tricks from Super User.

  • This question (I feel) is in the same vein. Perhaps it could have been titled better. – Josh K Aug 17 '10 at 21:03
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In my optioning what we want are good questions. Look at the host of poll, comparison, and joke questions present on SO. A community does not grow by asking cut and dry questions.

Yes, admittedly (and tagged) the question is subjective in the sense that there are quite a few possible answers. Leaving the community to decide which ones are best was the goal.

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I think the problem with the particular question that prompted this (this one I presume), is not so much that it is subjective, though it is, but that it is vague. The nature of any site built around Questions and Answers is that not every question will have only one answer. And indeed, some will have many reasonable solutions, and the choice between them is inherently subjective. The real problem comes, not just when a question is subjective, but when it is subjective, and also so open ended as to provide little value to someone who comes back and looks later.

In other words, "What Apps can't you live without" is a Big Question. So big that lots of people are just going to end up listing everything on their dock, and 'accepting' an answer is going to be meaningless. By contrast, "What is the best Twitter client for the iPhone?" or "What is the best media player for OS X?", while subjective, are sufficiently narrow, that the person asking the question can select a best answer, and while others might reasonably disagree with that choice, the question can be said to have a single answer for the person that asked it.

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