I should have known that the SE dogma would be perpetuated even in a new (beta) site that seems tailor-made for 'list' or 'polling' questions. I mean, look at this horrible question – Photo editing software for Windows?. Of course it should be closed! The nerve of such an overly broad question. It's just begging to be closed by the good users of this site. I mean there's probably hundreds, maybe even thousands, of applications for editing photos on Windows. How could this question every be anything other than a 'list' or 'polling' question?

I mean, maybe if they asked for recommendations for photo-editing software with a very specific list of requirements (that hopefully fit in the question title too) then there would actually be a reasonable number of applications that satisfy the requirements that the question could avoid being tarred as 'subjective'. But what if those requirements are eventually satisfied by a large number of applications? Should the question be closed?

3 Answers 3


Questions that have requirements loose enough to become listy or polling, should be closed on the front end not the back.*

You've got the right idea here. The question you list probably should be closed.

*that's not to say that if they slip through, they shouldn't be closed on the back end. The really should be closed, no matter when they encounter close voters...

  • I think I've been (greatly) frustrated in the past by otherwise reasonable rules that can't be applied consistently over medium-to-long periods of time. I've also liked listy and polling questions anyways. At least they're better than all the send-me-teh-codez-like questions on SO for example. Feb 5, 2014 at 19:17
  • -1 because what makes you sure that a random question's requirements ARE "loose enough to become listy or polling", before knowing what the scope of the answers is? It's possibly correct for questions that clearly have lack of requirements; or are about software that EVERYONE knows about (photo editors might qualify). But if it's something more obscure, an average close voter isn't likely to have a first clue if given requirements ARE loose or not.
    – DVK
    Feb 6, 2014 at 1:05
  • 1
    @DVK There's a big difference between "Any product that does X" and "I need a product that does X,Y,Z, has features A,B,C and is in the cost band Q-R". What I'm suggesting is that there is a difference between a question that invites 100 answers and one that might invite more than one, but not more than 10, and that's usually quite apparent to a potential close voter.
    – wax eagle
    Feb 6, 2014 at 1:09
  • @waxeagle - then you should clearly state that in your answer. As it stands, it is - no pun intended - too loose :)
    – DVK
    Feb 6, 2014 at 1:47

Actually, having now read the meta 'question' You're doing it all wrong!, I feel there's a reasonably clear answer:


It's perfectly fine to close, or maybe lock, old questions. If some set of requirements, or even a single feature, is only initially satisfied by a single recommendation, but then is later satisfied by a larger number, then the question ceases to be a 'good' question in terms of soliciting recommendations.


That is related to my question Should we have some broad wiki questions for some things?, where Bernhard wrote that

Sooner or later there will be a question that can be promoted this way. I think it is too early to design them

I think that it is good to have a select few of those questions open, so that we can have a list of programs, sorted by popularity. Some questions that become such lists might be good candidates for my idea. But that's just my view.

  • This is truly one of the Endless Debates of all SE sites. See my answer to this meta question for my thoughts. Feb 5, 2014 at 19:31

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