We get a lot of the same kind of questions: mostly from folks starting out, but the answers would be too broad or opinionated for the Q&A format. Some examples: "I want to make X / do Y, what do I need to know?" "Should I use this or do that?"
Right now we close these questions to prevent attracting low-quality answers, but I think we can do better. One problem with closing (as off-topic) is that, by saying "we don't welcome questions like these", we're implicitly saying "we don't welcome you here", we drive away users who probably don't come back, even when they've gained enough experience to be able to contribute better to this site. Instead, if we build a collection of softball or canonical questions and redirect duplicates to these, we can say "this is a better way of asking questions here", which encourages people to stick around and learn.
Apart from answering common questions, we can also help narrow down those too-broad, opinion-based questions. Often what the asker really needs is information to help her make a decision, and I think for many opinion-based questions, there are ways to address them in a fact-based manner. To make a car analogy, in order to answer the question "what car should I buy", instead of having a huge poll with options like "Toyota" or "Sedan", a good answer might follow up with a list of criteria such as "what's your budget" or "what will be the primary use". Only the asker can make the final decision, but at least she can now make a more informed decision, or follow up with more specific questions.
I think we can use the refactor as an excuse to do this work.
How this might work
- Find a type of question that keeps getting asked and closed as off-topic, but might be addressable
- Ask the question in the most generic, broadly-applicable way possible, maybe with a tag like softball / canonical and marked as CW
- Answer and revise as usual, avoiding opinion
- Where suitable, mark other questions as duplicates of these
- At the end of the event, publish a list of top contributors to these questions (# of questions/answers, score, # of duplicates), with awards like bounties or hats if they can be arranged