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I'd like to better understand the meaning of two things that seems opposite to me.

To recommend means to give an advice to someone.

The etymology of advice is: advice (n.) late 13c., auys "opinion," from Old French avis "opinion, view, judgment, idea"

This section for its itself definition sounds like opinionable. Sometimes is possible to speak about facts, but recommendation are always subjective. I can ask about medicament effective in the threat of obesity. But they could be harmful. Can anyone here measure how effective is a drug and how dangerous it is? For being not subjective we would arrive at statistical level. Have you ever seen Medical Papers on Google Scholar? They are something similar to not opinionable reccomendetions.

Someone can argue that we can try to express the title in the less opinionable way. And I agree.

But where we should put the tradeoff between the need for flexibility and usefulness and the committment / effort to the form in which we write the title?

let me provide an example: https://softwarerecs.stackexchange.com/questions/864/which-are-the-best-language-translator-dictionary-android-app-or-website.

"Which are the best language translator / dictionary android-app or website?" Ideological review => too much subjective

Answers:

  • When you say app, for what OS => useful in a pragmatical way
  • you will have to be much more specific on what features you expect. => useful in a pragmatical way
  • I use http://www.wordreference.com/ for myself. Many languages are available Translation Description Examples Basic Grammar => VERY useful in a pragmatical way
  • Titles should be clear, concise, and avoid being subjective - you should avoiding asking for the "best" of something, as "best" changes depending on the person asking => I appreciate but it's more ideological an less useful than the second comment (..more specific..)
  • closing vote and downvoting? => doesn't seem very useful to me.. I would prefer a "temporary close" the question until it satisfies some criteria with a mandatory comment.

I would also really appreciate you to document yourself reading this document about psychology: link. I know it's boring, but the I advice the same. Since I really believe in studying.

  • No offence... but did the word "affordable" get mistranslated in your question? – Journeyman Geek Feb 10 '14 at 11:55
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    The discussion about why 'best', 'good' etc. in question has already been done in this meta posts: meta.softwarerecs.stackexchange.com/search?q=best. Did you read them? Most important: meta.softwarerecs.stackexchange.com/questions/157/… – Angelo Fuchs Feb 10 '14 at 11:55
  • @AngeloNeuschitzer: I've written on one of them. Please have a look. – Revious Feb 10 '14 at 12:04
  • @Sam sorry, I just clicked your profile and had a look at your Qs and As. I can't see anyone where you contribute to the subjectivity of "best" and "good". – Angelo Fuchs Feb 10 '14 at 12:33
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    Also, a recommendation can be an advice, but it doesn't have to be. If our site becomes some subjective driven talky page then it is doomed. This is SE, a Q&A site where objective criteria on deciding if a given Answer is good is the core concept. – Angelo Fuchs Feb 10 '14 at 12:38
  • @AngeloNeuschitzer: yes, you are right, but if you read the article of psychology that I've posted (translate.google.it/…) you will discover that the word dicotomic is all about thinking stuff are white or black. Things are always grey.. first of all please document yourself. Then we can try to reach the best tradeoff. – Revious Feb 10 '14 at 13:25
  • @Sam I have documented my position on this quite throughly in the various posts of mine. I barley have time to read all the important meta questions here. I will not read a psychology paper I'm not interested in that has been translated by a bot. Bring the arguments up here, please. Also the "word" recommendation is just that a word. If we as community choose to change our name to "Software Advices" or "Things Store" then we do so. Not the words define reality, reality defines the words. – Angelo Fuchs Feb 10 '14 at 13:31
  • @AngeloNeuschitzer: I'm trying to take my experience here. But no one should speak of something which doesn't know. Just have a fast look at that document. Or look for dichotomy on wikipedia. You can't ignore the basis of one topic and pretend to be listened. – Revious Feb 10 '14 at 13:52
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    @Sam I seriously believe that you are trying to add something valuable here (else I wouldn't bother talking to you). But as far as I can see this community disagrees strongly with you (all your posts here on meta are <= 0). I am familiar with the concept and problems of dichotomy in creation of rules for communities. We should go to chat and solve it there as it seems I will need to talk a lot. chat.stackexchange.com/rooms/12953/talk-about-best-practises – Angelo Fuchs Feb 10 '14 at 14:01
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While necessarily we may have more than one answer, a good question dosen't generally poll for them, or ask for something subjective like 'best'. You have a problem - with various requirements and constraints, for which there may be an 'ideal' solution for you. Someone may see it differently. There isn't often a 'best' solution, rather a best compromise, and this may depend on your own needs

"Do you know any other translator or dictionary which offers idioms / word classification in noun / verb and examples?" In essence polls for answers (which is bad)

"Wordreference specifies if the word is a noun / verb / adjective and also provides example with common words. But doesn't support italian to german."

and

"Try to translate "mobili" (means furnitures) from Italian to German. The first advice is wrong and it's not easy to understand if the proposed translation is correct."

are good since they state issues with current solutions.

However, there's a certain lack of a 'thesis' - something that really spells out your issue

"I am looking for an accurate dictionary app that will run on android and has .... I intend to use it in $situations so ...." would be a good option.

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While a recommendation can be subjective and some aspects are difficult to objectify ("Its easy to use.") we should try to be as objective as possible.

Also, nobody here will suggest you the worst tool (cause we don't want anti-suggestions) and every suggestion will think it is the most fitting anyway (or else no one will write a recommendation). Keeping that in mind causes one to realize that asking for the "best tool" is like asking for "wettest water". Of course you want the "best", whatever that is to you. There is no need to state that.

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To me, asking what the "best" of something is soliciting a discussion, which goes against what we're trying to achieve. "Best" is one of those things that changes wildly depending on perspective and it's perfectly possible to ask for a recommendation without heading down this path.

Examples of a title that asks your question without using the word "best":

  • What are alternative language translators to Google Translate?
  • What language translation websites are available with <features>?

While it's true that this site exists to provide recommendations, these recommendations should be formatted in a way that objectively details why the recommendation fulfils the requirements of the person who asked the question. Asking for the "best" of something means you're soliciting an opinion, rather than an objective list of recommendations that meet a clearly defined set of requirements. It's the latter that we should be striving to deliver, not the former.

  • I think your worry about the usage of the word "best" is excessive. 1) what's the meaning of: "What are alternative language translators to Google Translate?". Can you interpret it as: "What are the worst alternative language translators to Google Translate?" or can you interpret it as: "What are all the alternative language translators to Google Translate?". Changing the form of the question really affects it's meaning in any way? – Revious Feb 10 '14 at 11:45
  • these recommendations should be formatted in a way that objectively details why the recommendation fulfils the requirements of the person who asked the question. => I may agree, but without too much concern and committment for the formatting. What's the objective of this session? Formatting the questions or allowing people to exchange good quality answers? Please express a mark from 0 to 10 for the importance of this two concerns. – Revious Feb 10 '14 at 11:47
  • Formatting and quality are directly related - the best answer in the world is still low quality if it's written in all caps. These points are equally important. Additionally, asking for the "best" of something means you're soliciting an opinion, rather than an objective list of recommendations that meet a clearly defined set of requirements. It's the latter that we should be striving to deliver, not the former. – Flyk Feb 10 '14 at 11:49
  • "it's perfectly possible to ask for a recommendation without heading down this path." => for sure is possible. But why should consider it more important than allowing a good question to live? How much weight should we give to the form of the question and how much to the question itself. Why not to suggest to modify the text of the question instead of closing it? Can you explicit the pro and contros? – Revious Feb 10 '14 at 11:50
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    Once we get past the actual contents of the question - if all a question needs is editing to apply formatting, I don't see that this would result in a question being closed or deleted. As you can see in this post I've made, I'm actively working to try and make sure our close reasons are friendly and helpful - if a question gets closed it is a sign that something is not quite right and the close reason should provide a link that helps get the question back on track. – Flyk Feb 10 '14 at 11:52
  • "asking for the "best" of something means you're soliciting an opinion, rather than an objective list of recommendations that meet a clearly defined set of requirements." => I understand what you mean. But only medicine papers on google scholar are really rigorous on respecting the purpose you suggest. If the usage of the word "best" worries you so much then simply prohibite this word, but don't pretend the question stop to be subjective. If you don't read numbers based on trials everything is subjective. This isn't subjective: scholar.google.it/… – Revious Feb 10 '14 at 11:55
  • Take a look at this meta discussion regarding the use of "Best" in question titles for the already established community consensus on subjective titles. – Flyk Feb 10 '14 at 11:57
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    I disagree on ´good´ being appropriate for a question, for all the same reasons ´best´ should be avoided. – Angelo Fuchs Feb 10 '14 at 12:03
  • @AngeloNeuschitzer: Asking for good, best or simply for software has exactly the same meaning. If I'm wrong explain me the difference of their meaning. You are confusing between saying "I look for the best graphic software" and "I look for the best software for doing this specific thing". It's not the word good or best which makes the difference. – Revious Feb 10 '14 at 13:29
  • @Sam the word is superfluous and distracting. The question looses nothing if it is omitted. This meta post here: meta.softwarerecs.stackexchange.com/questions/157/… says everything that has to be said about the topic. – Angelo Fuchs Feb 10 '14 at 13:33

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