The Stack Exchange model is based on facts. Questions and answers that are based on facts. How does the Workplace Exchange fit in?

  • 4
    "The StackExchange model is based on facts." [Citation needed] See also: stackoverflow.blog/2010/09/29/good-subjective-bad-subjective
    – Masked Man
    Aug 28, 2018 at 4:27
  • @JoeStrazzere that's what many downvotes on questions i asked were about. Not facts based, not available for a good answer, doesn't fit Exchange model.
    – larry909
    Aug 29, 2018 at 22:04
  • @JoeStrazzere which question are you referring to, that has 69 upvotes?
    – larry909
    Aug 29, 2018 at 22:23
  • @JoeStrazzere I wasnt referring to that question. This question here that you and i are commenting on has 4 downvotes.
    – larry909
    Aug 29, 2018 at 22:41
  • Never mind. I have no idea what you are getting at. Aug 29, 2018 at 22:43

4 Answers 4


Yes and no.

The majority of Stack Exchanges sites are geared toward objective answers to questions. There are, however, a subset of "Humanist" sites that are more suited to softer answers (albeit backed up with some kind of reasoning and citations).

The Workplace is a "humanist" site. Answers are usually based on personal experience of what works best in a given situation, knowledge, or more general advice.

Do you have a specific concern that led you to ask this Meta question? It might be an idea to address that rather than a broad, subjective question such as this.

  • Good answer. Even if The Workplace doesn't strictly follow the Stack Exchange majority model - I'm okay with that. Aug 28, 2018 at 21:26
  • I'm ok with that as well. It's just i got confused when sometimes I asked a question that was on the softer side in a harder style Forum so I just wanted to clarify which sites are considered soft and which ones are so called hard.
    – larry909
    Aug 28, 2018 at 23:22

There is no hard line between fact and opinion, may answers lie in the grey area between. This is true whether the question is how to implement something using a particular code library, what is known about someone’s motivation in a science fiction book or how to deal with a sensitive situation at work.

On many stack exchange sites, including this one, many of the questions require probabilistic answers. We give the answer which is the most likely addresses the question asked. When the question is very specific then the probability the answer is correct is very high and answer appears as fact. When the question is more general or when the circumstances matter, then the probability any given answer is correct is lower and the answer appears to be more opinionated. Good answers not only tell you what the answer probably is, but also also provide context so that you can decide if the answer is applicable in the case you may want to use it.


What about the workplace isn't factual?

We can certainly answer questions about what the advantages and disadvantages are and state concrete reasons why, for example, HR IS NOT YOUR FRIEND and other facts about the workplace.

We can also comment on conditions to expect, what is and what is not professional behavior, what an interviewer is looking for, interviewing techniques that are tried and true, sample interview questions, how to order and structure a resume....

Just what isn't factual?

  • 2
    Of course "HR IS NOT YOUR FRIEND" isn't a fact. It's an overly general opinion used as a meme here. But I don't think "factual" need be required for a site like this (or there would be precious few answerable questions). Aug 28, 2018 at 18:15
  • @JoeStrazzere it is in the purest form. A friend is someone who will stand behind you no matter what. If you go to HR with "dirty hands", they will NOT stand by you, nor should they. Perhaps a better way of saying it may be NEVER ASSUME THAT HR IS YOUR FRIEND Aug 28, 2018 at 18:38
  • @JoeStrazzere serious question here. How would you warn someone who wants to run to HR thinking that they'll take their side in a petty squabble? I'm open to a different way of putting it. Aug 28, 2018 at 18:39
  • 1
    If you want factual, I like "Never assume that HR is your friend" a slight bit better. Realistically, it's fun to say "HR IS NOT YOUR FRIEND", but if you've worked for any length of time you realize that not all HR reps are the same. I've worked for several companies where I would count HR as among my best friends. We all need to understand the roles of all departments with which we interact. I think we do a disservice to many (and an injustice to some in HR) by the "NOT YOUR FRIEND" non-factual meme. Aug 28, 2018 at 18:44
  • @JoeStrazzere yeah, I had an experience with an HR 10 years ago that still has me walking funny. Still my brother's company went above and beyond for him, so I see your point. Aug 28, 2018 at 19:34
  • @JoeStrazzere it's actually a memetic mutation of "murphy's laws of combat" which says When the pin is pulled, Mr. Grenade is not your friend. and we usually reserve the meme for when someone is about to do something that is a CLM in the extreme. Anyway, I'll think of something. Aug 28, 2018 at 19:38
  • Mutant memes tend to lose something in the translation. The reference to Mr. Grenade was completely lost on me, for example. Perhaps because I'm not a huge "Murphy's Laws" fan. Either way, I think we can agree that we aren't taking about facts here, right? Aug 28, 2018 at 21:23
  • Your personal catch phrase (40% of posts containing it are yours) isn't a fact. Sep 3, 2018 at 1:59

Isn't the format of the Workplace Exchange antithesis to the StackExchange model?

Yes, and no.

  • 1
    I honestly can't tell if you meant this is a sarcastic comment or as an actual answer. If you meant it as an answer, then you are repeating Snow's answer. If you meant something different than Snow, then you need to explain your answer. (And really, you should have explanation in your answer no matter what.)
    – David K
    Aug 29, 2018 at 13:06
  • 3
    @DavidK Kilisi is saying exactly the same thing as Snow ◆, and something completely different. His brevity is beautiful, not sarcastic.
    – Ben Mz
    Aug 31, 2018 at 16:49

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