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On M.SE we always discourage questions that are provoking opinion based answers. This is fair in my opinion in most cases, however; in the case of questions holding the and tags I see no way of a question not being opinion based.

I want to understand the point of such tags in the general case, when they are certainly opinion based, and use my question as an example. Should we discourage the use of these tags in general, or should we permit them as an exception to the primarily opinion-based tag?

Note: In the past many such questions have been well received, including 'Best Sets of Lecture Notes and Articles' and How to effectively study math? scoring 137 and 42 upvotes minus downvotes respectively.

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  • $\begingroup$ I'm pretty lax when it comes to people asking for advice here. However, this question just came up in the reopen review queue and I can't vote to open due to the sentence "I have been told that I am not covering topology generally, but rather I will be exposed to one direction that you can take it". As I read it, it makes no sense. I see no one has complained about this, so it might be me missing something and nothing being wrong with that paragraph. But since I don't understand it, I can't vote to open it. I'm telling you this because maybe you might want to rewrite that part. $\endgroup$ – Git Gud Nov 16 '14 at 3:00
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    $\begingroup$ @GitGud I will rewrite that to make it clearer thank you. $\endgroup$ – user142198 Nov 16 '14 at 3:01
  • $\begingroup$ A variation of this question. $\endgroup$ – Najib Idrissi Nov 16 '14 at 10:13
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Tags do not make questions any more or less opinion-based. If you think a question is too opinion-based, vote/flag to close for that reason.

Both tags have some reasons to exist: is about approaches to learning mathematics, and is more specifically about learning without anyone's instruction.

Unfortunately, is misused as ; that is, it is often attached to mathematical questions that are not about learning strategies. Apparently, this is done to claim that the asker is learning on their own. I think this is not a proper use of the tag; when you see it, remove it.


Also, the close reason for primarily-opinion based questions is relevant here.

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.

Answers to a question about learning strategy involve opinions to a much higher degree than evaluation of an integral, but they can be based on expert experience, too.

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    $\begingroup$ Out of $12$ correctly tagged posts, only $3$ are not opinion based in the recent least of size 15. math.stackexchange.com/questions/tagged/… $\endgroup$ – user142198 Nov 16 '14 at 3:00
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    $\begingroup$ Do you think the ratio above is representative of the close rate for opinion-based questions in general? I think tags do have impact on opinion-based flagging decisions. $\endgroup$ – user142198 Nov 16 '14 at 3:12
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    $\begingroup$ @Committingtoachallenge I'm sorry that you are facing so many obstacles to asking your question. $\endgroup$ – Mike Nov 16 '14 at 20:45
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    $\begingroup$ My question is definitely based on opinion, but it is also based on specific expertise and fact. Learning methods are definitely subjective and advice will be certainly opinionated, same with study plans. Have you voted to close either of 'Best Sets of Lecture Notes and Articles' or 'How to effectively study math'? $\endgroup$ – user142198 Nov 17 '14 at 23:40
  • $\begingroup$ @Committingtoachallenge sorry about the obstacles too. I think I have a similar problem. please see >meta.math.stackexchange.com/q/19314/85079 $\endgroup$ – Analysis JD Jan 19 '15 at 4:24

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