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There seems to be a lot of questions that ask for help.

  • How can I improve ...
  • How can I do this better ...
  • Why do I get so nervous when per ...
  • Is there any truth in ...

These all seem way too opinionated. Someone may (and quite rightly, with backed up, justified evidence) disagree with the person's post before.

I have seen on this site

I am voting to close because ...

Can we see these types of questions that are considered too broad or mainly down to opinion?

I did do a Google search seeing if this was something that the site featured but I had no luck.


This question mentioned that 'What are the best' types of questions are considered too opinionated; what about asking for advice from people who know much more than standard beginners?

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    Take a look at the don't ask section of the FAQ and see if it helps clear things up. In general, the type of question is not as important as what the question is asking for. For example, we consider equipment recommendation questions as too opinion based since a lot of it is up in the air and a matter of preference, however we do allow questions asking what one should look for when looking for equipment. The type of question is very similar, but the big difference is enabling anyone to make a decision. – Dom Dec 31 '17 at 0:00
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    It's an important question, but I don't think you can judge a question by its title. To my eye, there's nothing inherently opinionated about the examples you gave -- and there are plenty of questions with really good answers and many up votes that are phrased in those ways. See this meta discussion: music.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/2669/… – General Nuisance Jan 3 '18 at 2:31
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    Here's an example of both at once: "What's the best way to play the first movement of Beethoven's 'Moonlight' Sonata"? The idea of closing is to encourage the poster to drill down to specific problems that he's having and ask about those. – BobRodes Jan 5 '18 at 5:44
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opinion-based

A lot of music-related topics are very opinion-based, and hence many perfectly on-topic questions here will be quite opinion-based. This is not in itself a problem - Stack Exchange allows sites to choose for themselves how opinion-based is too opinion-based. (We're not the most opinion-based site on SE - something like Interpersonal Skills is even more... personal!).

As to exactly what is considered 'too opinion-based' here - as far as I recall, we haven't really tried to pin it down in writing. We tend to rely on close-voting to allow the user-base to decide on a case-by-case basis. The advantage of this is that each question can be considered on its merits. The disadvantage is that it can give a poor site experience for users whose questions are closed without them really understanding why. Personally I would be interested to know if we could try to define more clearly what we consider opinion-based, but it wouldn't be entirely straightforward.

too broad

As a rule-of thumb, I reckon a question that's too broad is one that can't be answered sensibly in a screen or two of text. I don't think that a question is too broad just because a long answer is possible - only if a short answer isn't possible. A recent example is how do I know what chord progressions to use - yes, you could consider that a full answer would require a whole book, at least. But the question is phrased in general, broad-brush-strokes terms, and so it seems sensible to answer in the same terms.

One of the most common types of genuinely too broad questions is where someone has asked a number of distinct questions, each of which requires addressing separately.

'what are the best'

This question mentioned that 'What are the best' types of questions are considered too opinionated.

We have to be careful here - 'what's the best way to replace the damaged bridge on this instrument' might be a much more objective and answerable question than 'what's the best song from 1993'. IMO, It's important not to consider a question off-topic just because of usage of a certain word or phrase. The distinction here is that there is a limited range of reasonable answers to the 'bridge' question, while this is not true for the 'song' question.

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Yes

Go to the main site, click on "Questions" at the top, then click on "Votes" to the right of the large "All Questions" text, which is under the "Music Practice & Theory" logo. This will show you all questions sorted by votes.

MP&T Navigation

Scroll to the bottom and look for the page selector (little boxes with numbers in them starting from 1). Click on the highest numbered box (currently 803).

MP&T page navigation

You should not see the questions on the site with the fewest upvotes and the most downvotes. Most of them will show "[On Hold]", meaning they have been voted for closure or "[Closed]" meaning they are closed.

You can click on them to see the closed reasons and also look at the questions and comments to get a sense of why the question was closed. Here's a good example:

Are female soloists held to lower standards in concert practice than male performers?

Some of the text of the question:

Yet, in music at the highest level I frequently see female piano and violin soloists in concert.

This seems strange to me because I know how competitive music is. I know of one talented musician who plays the double bass and he tried out for a spot that opened in the Chicago Lyric Orchestra and there were 65 candidates auditioning for that one spot.

Are female performers traditionally "given a pass" and held to a lower standard of skill than the males? How does this work? Does the producer just say, "I want a woman as the pianist" and they only audition women?

One important thing to note about this question is that it's not actually asking for an opinion! The question isn't, "should there be lower standards for women in concert practice?"

This highlights that the close reasons we have available to us pretty much never match the exact problem(s) with a question. This question is problematic in terms of finding a single objective answer, and it's potentially controversial, and overall isn't what MP&T is about. You can find many more examples by looking at the lowest voted questions.

You might be wondering now "So what is MP&T about, exactly?" One way to get a sense of that is to do the same thing as above, but instead stay on page one and view the highest voted questions. That will give you an idea of what we do want to talk about here.

I hope that helps with finding more detail and history of what is better and worse in terms of questions here.

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    Beautifully answered. Thanks, Todd. Happy New Year! – davvv Jan 2 '18 at 15:59

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