There are other sites structured like we are, using the same programming framework, who have suggestions as to what makes good questions.
I know that this is a bit circular and meta, but
I took the below from http://fitness.stackexchange.com/faq
I do recommend clicking through the two links I included within the parens at the base of the quoteblock for the full source of the idea.
What kind of questions should I not ask here?
You should only ask practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face. Chatty, open-ended questions diminish the usefulness of our site and push other questions off the front page. To prevent your question from being flagged and possibly removed, avoid asking subjective questions where …
- every answer is equally valid: “What’s your favorite __?”
- your answer is provided along with the question, and you expect more answers: “I use _ for _, what do you use?”
- there is no actual problem to be solved: “I’m curious if other people feel like I do.”
- we are being asked an open-ended, hypothetical question: “What if __ happened?”
- it is a rant disguised as a question: “__ sucks, am I right?”
If your motivation for asking the question is “I would like to participate in a discussion about _”, then you should not be asking here. If your motivation is “I would like others to explain _ to me”, then you are probably OK. (The above section was adapted from MetaFilter’s FAQ. For more detail, see six guidelines for great subjective questions.)
As I read those guidelines in the gray box above, I can't help but feel that some of those bullet points are pretty narrowing with respect to what is and isn't acceptable. It's not uncommon to have some of the more open ended questions breed highly valuable answers and insight into many facets of the 'question' itself. Besides, often times the topic at hand is best presented with a more generalized or open ended question, like the examples above.
So if someone asks “I’m curious if other people feel like I do...." that may be the best lead in for that particular situation to invoke answers and personal experiences out of all the PaleoHackers. Or "What's your favorite...?" will almost definitely result in people explaining why it's their favorite and the benefits behind it, providing value along with their personal opinion/preference. In other words, that may actually be the best way to "hack" that question or issue. People relate to that. It works. Then we trust 'the system' to float the best answers to the top, and the cream rises.
The general site guidelines is necessary for certain reasons, but it's also important to be just flexible enough to remember that people need to have a bit of breathing room in there, and I think PaleoHacks does a good job of balancing this concept overall by considering the potential value behind each question submitted and sometimes letting it be, so long as it fits within the concept of real purpose behind the site, which is to provide a space for the Paleo community to hack each other's questions based on either knowledge or experience, or both.
Another thought: as alluded to in other posts, many of the question possibilities have been used up already, with duplicates being closed.
PaleoHacks might do well to either:
A) allow "discussion based posts" or
B) create a separate section of the site for more discussion oriented posting
...like if someone just wants to say... "Hey I tried raw milk for the first time yesterday and I liked it!" Not a question at all. Just a lead in for a discussion. The particulars of how that would need to be 'managed' can be worked out, but I think a lot of the members on here like to just discuss things and have a presense in the Paleo community. Having PH morph into whatever it needs to in order to remain in the forefront of the Paleosphere is no different than other companies/corporations restructuring when the time demands as much to keep relevant. Imagine if Kodac still wanted to be a standard film roll company? Imagine if Apple remained just a PC company? Imagine if Facebook stuck to the 'college only' model it began as?
Also, FWIW, I upvoted this question, although my answer to the question is "no", meaning that I do not think we should implement these guidelines. Just thought I'd throw that out there for ya'll as a great example of what I mean by voting up questions based on the value it brings to PaleoHacks.
Stack Exchange is really geared towards software programmers with problems to fix rather than being a community site. The real question I think is creeping up is "What is the purpose of PaleoHacks?" and from there we should define what questions should be asked. I think a lot of the major paleo questions have already been asked, so I would wonder if we are outgrowing the 'question/answer' model of this site and instead need a better way to organize all the information collected while also embracing the idea that people are on here to 'engage in discussions about' which would be outlawed by one of the above guidelines. Just my two cents.
The up or down voting system implies that the same community can highlight important questions, or dismiss the irrelevant ones. I do not think we need many more rules. With the obvious exception of questions that use an insulting language let the readers decide what is interesting or not!
What I like about this forum is the sharing aspect but without the whiny-ness of message boards.
And I do like the open-ended questions. Whether they are fun or just make you think, I feel like they serve a purpose.
I'd support enforcement of these types of guidelines, but alongside them, we may want to post links to places that people can go to for discussion, rather than answers to questions.
[Meta] What's a "real" question? 0 Answers