I'm trying to figure out what's on-topic with regard to hypothetical questions. I know the global StackExchange FAQ discourages these (in so many words):

To prevent your question from being flagged and possibly removed, avoid asking subjective questions where … you are asking an open-ended, hypothetical question: “What if ______ happened?”

However, doesn't this rule out the bulk (or at least a large portion) of UX questions? Thinking about the questions I've read, answered, and asked, most of them could be categorized as "Suppose X, how could Y be accomplished/improved?". Strictly speaking, aren't these hypothetical? However, I assume it is not our intention to prohibit all such questions.

More to the point: All three of these solicit hypothetical answers to a real-world problem ("Well, you could solve X with Y"), so why were some closed as off-topic and others allowed?

1 Answer 1


We are a bit more flexible when it comes to hypothetical / subjective question in UX than in many of the other Stack Exchange sites, purely because of the nature of User Experience as a whole. Unless you're looking for some specific research on something it is rare that there is a definitive 'correct' answer to many questions here. However that doesn't mean there isn't a theoretical correct answer to them.

The causeway question as well as the childproof washing machine one are questions stating a problem where there is a theoretical answer - a way for the issue to be solved. The dishes one is a different question though; that is one about what sort of implementation should be put in place to achieve the aim. That's not really UX, that's engineering.

They all walk a fine line between what is and isn't answerable though, as is the case with many questions in the tag group.

There is a great post on the Stack Exchange blog about such questions that is worth a read: Good Subjective, Bad Subjective. I'll let you decide if the questions you linked to in your post fit the bill of 'good subjective' or not, because - somewhat ironically - deciding what is too subjective is a bit of a subjective task in its own right.

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