16
$\begingroup$

There is a tag called "soft questions", which is described as follows:

For questions whose answers can't be objectively evaluated as correct or incorrect, but which are still relevant to this site. Please be specific about what you are after.

On the other hand, a question should be closed if it is "opinion based", which is described as

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.

I am having difficulties understanding the differences between "soft questions" and "opinion based". To me,

a question is soft

if and only if

the answers to this question cannot be objectively evaluated as correct or incorrect

if and only if

the answers are based on opinions

if and only if

the question is opinion based.

Did I miss anything here? Can anyone give me an example of a "soft question" which is not "opinion based"? How about an "opinion based" question which is not a "soft question"?

If they are essentially the same thing, it is ridiculous that one deserves a tag while the other needs to be closed.

$\endgroup$
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ To me the tag "soft question" signals that the asker is hoping for an answer that supplies "perspective" (e.g. intuition, motivation, etc.) rather than rigorous details. In contrast the "primarily opinion-based" close reason is about the Question falling onto the "bad subjective" side of the spectrum. $\endgroup$ – hardmath Feb 17 at 1:43
32
$\begingroup$

The standard reference for this is "Good Subjective, Bad Subjective".

Note that when we compare the two description you quoted there remains a gap. On the one end of the spectrum there are those questions whose answers "[can] be objectively evaluated as correct or incorrect," these are not soft questions. On the other end of the spectrum there are those whose answers "will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions" these are off-topic.

Between those two there are questions whose answers are not almost entirely based on opinions yet still cannot be objectively evaluated as correct or incorrect. These are soft questions that are not necessarily off-topic.

For example:

What is the best book on number theory?

is mostly opinion based and generally too vague.

Which book provide a good and accessible introduction to number theory for a self-studying under-graduate student that already followed a course on abstract algebra but does not know any complex analysis?

is not a question whose answers can usually be objectively evaluated as correct or incorrect. Still, that might be a question that could be considered as on-topic here and we do have such questions on the site.

$\endgroup$

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .