I don't understand the use of this site if I cannot ask How do you handle co-workers that want to converse with you in the bathroom?

I can offer you at least 100 questions over the past two months that answers are just as opinion based as mine. Even a moderator for the site agrees in the comments. I think that this is an easy out for some people who just want to close things they don't like.

Either there should be black and white rules for this or people who abuse this and close things should be reprimanded.


I would like to hear some insight on how the above questions are less opinion based than mine so that I can write a less opinion based question in the future.

  • I'm out in front of you. Before you assembled this list. I had already downvoted and voted to close two of them.
    – Jim G.
    May 3, 2014 at 18:11
  • 8
    @JimG. - maybe you can explain your reasoning as to why you voted to close two of them, but not the other three? That way blankip can learn at least one voter's thinking as to what is truly "opinion-based". May 3, 2014 at 19:47
  • 2
    I don't understand why the conversation-in-the-bathroom question is closed (as I noted there). I wish it had more reopen votes. May 4, 2014 at 3:46
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    I'd say this reason was definitely abused here. I'm a regular reader, not participator, but unless I am missing something fundamental: literally every single answer you can give is opinionated and usually stems from your own experience. There are no strict rules about office behaviour so there are very little questions where closing it for this reason would be appropriate. May 10, 2014 at 2:07
  • 1
    Can someone identify a few questions on here that are NOT opinion-based? Almost every question calls for subjective answers.
    – Jay
    Oct 20, 2016 at 17:19

3 Answers 3


Answering the general question about "primarily opinion-based", and not addressing the specific examples:

To me, if a question reasonably invites supported answers (based on studies, trend analysis, pure reason, etc), then it's not primarily opinion-based even if it asks for opinions. On the other hand, if a question is likely to draw only "well I think you should do X" responses, that's primarily opinion-based and should be closed.

Sometimes this is just a matter of wording. "Which is better, a big company or a small one?" is primarily opinion-based. On the other hand, "what are the major differences between working for a large company (100k employees internationally) and a small start-up (10 people in an incubator environment)?" is more concrete and answerable. Notice what I did there; just asking about the differences between "large" and "small" would still be problematic, though maybe "too broad" at that point. Even better than this would be "how do I evaluate offers from...? I'm already considering X, Y, and Z factors; what have I missed?".

Ask questions that benefit from expert analysis. Don't ask questions that are better suited for chatting with your friends.


According to https://workplace.stackexchange.com/help/closed-questions:

"primarily opinion-based - discussions focused on diverse opinions are great, but they just don't fit our format well.

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 on facts, references, or specific expertise."

Either there should be black and white rules for this...

I understand the sentiment, but with the subjective nature of The Workplace, the clarity you seek isn't likely.

  • 1
    My situation is a very common workplace thing that people have had to deal with for years. There are many many less common "issues" asked here that inherently are opinion based yet they are still open. Would listing them help?
    – blankip
    May 1, 2014 at 13:49
  • @blankip - I understand. I doubt if listing them would help, but I guess you could try. This sort of thing happens... May 1, 2014 at 14:55
  • Joe - no offense but your answer sounds like an HR statement meant to drive everyone nuts!
    – blankip
    May 1, 2014 at 16:51
  • 2
    @blankip - I was trying to be nice. No offense, but I'm trying to tell you that you can ask "Why was my question closed?" and "Why can't The Workplace have different rules?" as much as you like. Based on the way it has worked so far, I doubt you will end up getting what you are looking for. (I don't make the rules here, it's not my site, your mileage may vary) May 1, 2014 at 18:27
  • So what is your answer? Where is my question on the scaled of relevance for this site? I added examples of other opinion based questions. Is mine more opinion based than them?
    – blankip
    May 3, 2014 at 17:07
  • 1
    @blankip - I don't know. The voters decide, not me. I don't think you'll get your black and white rules - it will always be subjective and not necessarily consistent. May 3, 2014 at 19:35
  • 3
    Joe - Seems to me that @blankip is asking "Can somebody please define what the rules are?" rather than "Why can't The Workplace have different rules?" May 8, 2014 at 13:52
  • 1
    @starsplusplus - perhaps. I'm hearing more of "Why can't the Workplace have clear, black-and-white rules?" I've been trying to express that I simply don't see that happening here. May 8, 2014 at 15:59
  • 1
    @JoeStrazzere Yes, clear rules on what is on-topic and off-topic. How are you reading that? May 8, 2014 at 16:01
  • @starsplusplus - I have resigned myself to living with less-than-clear rules. I think the nature of The Workplace, and the kinds of questions being asked, means that there isn't a great way to definitively determine on-topic versus off-topic in many cases. There will always be several questions that appear very similar and some will be voted off-topic, while others won't. So it goes... May 9, 2014 at 11:29
  • @starsplusplus The rules are very clear: A question is "opinion based" and thus out of bounds if, in the totally subjective opinion of the moderators, its MORE opinion-based than other questions. You are not allowed to ask an opinon-based question, and what is opinion-based is a matter of opinion. :-)
    – Jay
    Oct 20, 2016 at 17:15

I can offer you at least 100 questions over the past two months that answers are just as opinion based as mine.

Please list all 100, and I will close them immediately.

  • 2
    Or rather than listing them here, just flag each of them for attention. May 2, 2014 at 12:41
  • 1
    @JoeStrazzere - well that allows for no discussion. My question was posed to get an answer, not a run around. Flagging the questions holds the moderators and people closing the questions with no accountability. I am going to add a list right now.
    – blankip
    May 3, 2014 at 16:59
  • 1
    @blankip - great. Maybe others will comment, and you'll gain some understanding, if not the "accountability" you are asking for. May 3, 2014 at 19:37
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    I don't see a clear reason why to close any of these or the question in question. As this SE site is called Workplace and not mathematics (or which candidate should I vote in next North Korea's elections?), there are going to be really many opinion-based questions and it would be shame just to automatically close each and every one of them without giving a second or two to asses their prospective merit.
    – Pavel
    May 8, 2014 at 13:06
  • @PavelPetrman: That's a fair point. Early in TWP's Beta phase, questions were closed for very arbitrary reasons. We can and should continue to debate about what's on and off topic, but at least we're much more consistent about what we close now, relative to the beginnning of the Beta phase.
    – Jim G.
    May 8, 2014 at 13:24
  • Wish granted meta.workplace.stackexchange.com/questions/2993/… Dec 3, 2014 at 20:06

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