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I want to ask a question about the methods available for displaying lists of items of varying length and their pros and cons.

The question so far is as follows:


While reading https://stackoverflow.com/questions/111102/how-do-javascript-closures-work it occurred to me that the long format answers resulted in a really long page on desktop.

What options are available for displaying such lists with a fluid number of items that and what are their pros and cons e.g.

  1. Accordion
  2. Allowing users to adjust the page sizes
  3. Adjusting the page size to show a certain maximum length of content per page
  4. Peeking: showing a specific length for each item with the option to expand the post on click.

Is this question on-topic?

If it is, can I convert it into a community wiki with a method and its pros and cons per answer similar to https://stackoverflow.com/questions/3737139/reference-what-does-this-symbol-mean-in-php?

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No, not really suitable. Primarily because there is no answer to a Pros and Cons question. Someone will say one thing they think is a Pro, someone else will give another example, another person will say some things they think are Cons... Nothing is actually the solution to the question.

You should phrase such questions as "Should I do X for my situation". Because that's really what you're asking. Pros and Cons are just intermediary steps to help you make the decision, whereas really you should just ask the question itself and we'll give you the answer.

For example, the thought process for a question should be:

"I can't get {X} to work. I've tried doing {Y} but that's not working. How can I solve {X}?"

The thought process shouldn't be:

"I can't get {X} to work. I wonder if {Y} will work? What are the good and bad things about {Y}?"

The reason this one won't work well is because you're not asking about the actual problem that you have. Focus on X, don't ask about Y.

See: What is the XY problem?

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I would leave it open because the answers likely would be instructive, educational and filled with professional wisdom. Questions that UX designers have in the beginnings of their careers should be addressed. I don't subscribe to the "it must have one and only one answer" philosophy.

I don't think closing questions increases the usage of the site. I think it discourages use.

Pros and Cons of Italian vs. French cuisine would be off topic because it's not about design. Pros and Cons of Horizontal menus vs. vertical ones would be. (in my humble opinion)

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Are we fooling ourselves to think that every question on ux.stackexchange.com can have an answer as opposed to useful information? When we respond to a question, we can't and don't know the entire context, whether it's the team's skill, the project's budget, the client's business goals, the interpersonal situation, and so on, that affect the (re)solution for whatever is causing the tension.

A Pros-versus-Cons question is a request for knowledge. The implied question is: "What do I need to know in order to answer this question myself?" or "Did I think of everything?" In that sense, it could be asking for a review—without asking for a review—which breaks another site rule.

The every-question-must-have-an-answer rule no doubt had a reason. Perhaps it lets moderators end an opinion-based war of words before it can begin? Do any of you remember why the rule was implemented? Is it still needed? Could we allow Pros and Cons with a restriction? For example, "In every answer to a Pros-and-Cons question, include a link to some external authority—whether a blog post or a research paper." (Hard to enforce, but we enforce other rules, too.)

I do prefer questions that have some context, because it helps engage readers when there's a story. So rather than ask "What are the Pros and Cons of X?" I would prefer a question that says: "I am designing a Widget for seniors users who wear eyeglasses. What are the Pros and Cons of X?" This context provides the opportunity to respond that "It may not be X, but Y, that solves this problem."

Finally, isn't every post here a Pros and Cons question? Currently, the rules allow one person to ask a question, and then the rest of us add our responses—a collection of Pros or Cons explicitly included in each response, or later added via the comments.

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