I recently came across a question in the review queue that had attracted a couple close votes as "primarily opinion based" (What is the best practice for aligning table content for text/number mix).

Sure, I can see how it could be answered with "it's just a matter of opinion" and just close it as such, but the answer that was provided was more useful than a silent close-vote. In this case, I believe it's beneficial to the OP to note that the reason for aligning table contents to the right is so the decimal point lines up and it's easier to compare numbers of different lengths, and thus, in this case it doesn't really matter either way.

To contrive another example, imagine a well-written question that asks "Should I use pattern X or pattern Y for this type of application?" Unless there's a clear-cut better design for this use case, this seems like a question that many users might reflexively flag as "primarily opinion based". In reality, however, the poster might greatly benefit from an analysis of the pros and cons of pattern X and pattern Y, even if the answers conclude that it's just a matter of opinion.

In some cases, even though the answer might ultimately be just a matter of opinion, is it fair to leave a question open when there's more to be said?

Maybe this is obvious to everyone but me, but it used to be a bit unclear for me.

The litmus test I've been using to distinguish what action to take is whether there is actual UX commentary to be had or not.

For example:

Question 1: Should the tabs in my horizontal navigation bar all be the same width?

This question could easily be thought of as "it's up to you... It can work just fine both ways" and get punctuated with a close vote.

However, this question could evoke answers that discuss readability, Fitts's Law, user expectation, aesthetic balance, et cetera.

There are real UX topics to discuss.

Question 2: Should I use the phrase "Send Feedback" or "Share Feedback"?

This question has little-to-no impact on overall user experience, and will likely not attract responses much better than "'Send Feedback' is what I've seen most often."

There is not much UX substance behind this question, so all that remains is personal opinion/preference.


In short, if the question touches on real UX themes, I've been voting to keep it open.

If there is little-to-no UX substance, that's when I vote to close. Essentially, the "primarily opinion-based" means "it really doesn't matter from a UX perspective."

That question doesn't seem close-worthy to me. It's a 'I have situation X, what is the solution' which fits the scope of the site.

Now, with such questions there may not be a correct answer, but that is still an answer to the question - there is no defined standard. (Although being able to prove something doesn't exist is philosophically tricky!)

So really I don't think your question is exactly correct here. I don't think the linked question is one that's a matter of opinion, it's a specific situation. Things get a bit more subjective as the scope of the question grows. 'Should I align all my cells left or right' for example. In that case we don't have enough details to be able to give a correct answer, so it's broad and opinion-based. But tighter focussed questions are more likely to be answerable (at least theoretically).

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