I have been using the Stackexchange network website for a while and with great success. They have been helped me learning and driving me towards my goals. And still do. In my opinion part of this success is due to fact that generally to a very specific question I asks, a very detailed and helpful answer is given back.

I am wondering whether we should take on such guideline and discourage people from asking too broad questions, questions with no unique answer or not specific enough by downvoting and/or flagging.

Ultimately one of the OP's duty is choosing the most appropriate and exhaustive answer among the ones (s)he's received and there's no way to determine the answer to a question if that's more of a topic for a debate (for example: a comparison between Italian and German literary production in 16th century).

I really feel this should not be used as a forum or (mainly as) a place for opinions and so in order to keep this place as useful and helpful as it can be, I think we should implement this rule. Of course, this is just me and I am looking forward to read your thoughts on this matter.

1 Answer 1


Broad questions are not in a good form to be answered for the reason you exposed, so they are indeed off-topic on any StackExchange site.

Generally speaking, generic guidelines about asking questions apply on the whole StackExchange network, and this site is no exception.

That being said, we still have to keep in mind the context and the nature of each specific site. Some subjects are more suitable for quickly determining whether a question is too broad or not, like for instance on StackOverflow: when talking about coding is much easier to identify precise questions and to understand which is the right answer (well, unless you program in Perl, but that's another matter).

On language sites, unless the question is trivial enough for being answered without any doubt, there's always room for different interpretations and a slightly broader discussion.

However, you are right, we shouldn't use this site a forum for discussing. From the help center

If your motivation for asking the question is “I would like to participate in a discussion about ______”, then you should not be asking here.

Specifically I just cast my first close vote on this question

Can Dante Alighieri be compared to Shakespeare as both fathers of their respective languages on the lexical level?

It was a suffered decision, but I after thinking about it for a while, I feel like the question is definitely too broad and primarily opinion-based.

As the OP said, such question was inspired by


which, while it may look on the same lines, it presents an important difference: the question is in the form There exist someone like X?, which is suitable for being answered in a succinct form Yes, Y is the equivalent of X, for the reasons A, B, C that support my claim.

It's still opinion-based, so probably not a great fit, but in the specific case opinions can be supported by facts and examples, so somehow it fits in the SE format.

On the other hand, the (very interesting) question martina posed, is proposing a broad comparison between the Dante and Shakespeare, which is very likely to lead to extended discussions and no direct answers, i.e. the kind of questions we would like to avoid here.

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