I've seen a few questions in the close review queues, as well as just by browsing around the site. There's been a rise in close votes: as Primarily Opinion-Based. Here are some examples:

I, for one don't feel that these are opinion-based. Many points outlined in the questions are easily answerable with research, and studies. I also want to make a point that the close reason outlines something:

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise.

Which means that these sorts of questions would need to be primarily based on opinions, and it would be difficult in raising facts to support answers.

While I may be wrong, it's an interesting thing that I wanted to bring up here on meta. I'm also curious to see the extended thoughts of those who closed, as well as the thoughts of the community at large.

2 Answers 2


I tend to agree. These questions, as long as they're well-written, can quite easily be answered with a bit of research and linking in some facts and studies. That inherently makes them not opinion-based, because although it is possible to express an opinion in response to them, it is also perfectly possible to answer comprehensively and objectively.

That said, we do of course still have to judge each question on its own merits. If there's a question about the public that can't be answered with facts and figures, and relies totally on personal opinion, then it should be closed.

  • Do you have any thoughts on the questions that I listed?
    – Zizouz212
    Commented Jun 28, 2015 at 20:54
  • 2
    Some questions look like they will be opinion based, until an answer comes in with evidence we didn't expect to exist, so there will always be questions that are closed because we genuinely believe they are primarily opinion based, and then reopened later. I'm glad we're not being too trigger happy in closing borderline cases. Commented Jun 28, 2015 at 21:07
  • Whether something is primarily opinion based is also an opinion based question until answers come in, so it's not possible to have a strict rule... Commented Jun 28, 2015 at 21:09
  • @Zizouz212 - the two you mention don't seem to note that they're looking for evidence, so it's perhaps not surprising that people VTC'd them. We just need to make sure that people know that's what's expected.
    – ArtOfCode
    Commented Jun 28, 2015 at 21:22
  • Perhaps this discussion should influence our decision on whether evidence should be expected for answers to all questions. Commented Jun 29, 2015 at 0:38

Both questions can be answered with sociological studies. The question should clearly state that this, rather than opinions, is expected. Both questions are primarily opinion-based as originally asked, but that can be fixed by an obvious edit, which is preferable to closing the question. Instead of asking “is X so”, make it abundantly clear that the question is calling for answerers that are backed up by facts, e.g.

  • Title: Studies about awareness of …
  • Body: … Are there statistical studies that show …?

I've edited the question about awareness and voted to reopen.

I'm not reopening Studies about harassment in the world of open source development? because it's also too broad. The question stems from a single statement that generalizes from a couple of incidents. Its premise is clearly not of general applicability: among all the people who have voiced an opinion on the topic, it is surely statistically expected to find people who are dissatisfied. Every company, political opinion, and so on has dissatisfied people; their mere existence is not a sign of anything.

  • Thank you for the insight. I really appreciate it :)
    – Zizouz212
    Commented Jun 29, 2015 at 0:04

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