Today we have new question - or maybe not:

What to learn first?

Maybe my memory is playing tricks on me, but seems to me that this or very similar questions pop up regularly.

Should we have a stock answer for this? (It's really too broad a question anyhow.)

Also maybe for 'How do I get started with jazz'?

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    totally agree - and I agreed with your choice of dupe for the example above. – Doktor Mayhem Feb 23 '18 at 10:11
  • @DrMayhem - and now this one: Learning piano in mid 30 .... 1000 variations on a very common theme - I've begun ignoring all these sorts of questions. But IMO they should all either be flagged as too broad or have canonical answers. – Stinkfoot Mar 4 '18 at 0:14
  • @DrMayhem - On StackOverflow you don't get 10 questions a week about "I was a programmer 20 years ago - all I remember is if... then... else... - how do I get it all back?" Maybe this site needs to define its purpose and goals a little more clearly. (The basic problem is that music is often just a hobby for people, while programming is usually a profession. People don't take music as seriously, and they tend to leave it off and then come back to it, because it's enjoyable but a lot of work.) – Stinkfoot Mar 4 '18 at 0:17
  • I think you'll find a lot of people disagreeing with that statement. For many people music is their career and programming is a hobby, so let's not make assumptions like that. – Doktor Mayhem Mar 4 '18 at 1:14
  • @DrMayhem - Be that is it may you don't generally see such things on SO, where I used to spend a lot of time as a professional. – Stinkfoot Mar 4 '18 at 1:22
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    don't worry - they have problems so much bigger than we do that I'm not jealous at all. Their moderation issues dwarf ours in every way :-) – Doktor Mayhem Mar 4 '18 at 1:25
  • @DrMayhem - I know. It's very serious over there - people use their SO profiles in resumes and they get very pissed off about all sort of things. That's why I don't go on there much any more. Musicians tend to hang a lot looser. :) This site is OK - what doesn't interest me, I try to ignore - I enjoy my music, that's all. But sometimes those posts are just a waste of time and energy for all. – Stinkfoot Mar 4 '18 at 1:29

Many sites do this - they choose a best or canonical answer, usually the one that is the duplicate that always gets chosen, edit it a little if needed to truly be canonical, and always close as a dupe of that one.

This does require remembering the canonical posts, so what some sites do is hold a meta post with the list of canonical dupes.

Well worth doing!

  • I didn't realize it was stack site specific. I thought it was a built in feature because I've seen it on some of the other stack sites. It should be - mod can just pick a standard answer from a list with notice that's what it is, and stick it up there. How many times are we going to answer "what are modes" ; "how do i get started in theory","how do I learn how to play jazz"; "If the song is in C major, why is Bb one of the notes"... – Stinkfoot Feb 23 '18 at 23:57
  • There is no way to do that, I'm afraid. For various reasons - an important one being that this should not be a mod feature at all. – Doktor Mayhem Feb 23 '18 at 23:59
  • this should not be a mod feature at all - Because it should be left up the site's members to decide such matters? – Stinkfoot Feb 24 '18 at 0:11
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    That is how it typically works, yes. Consensus is reached on which posts are canonical (generally by looking at how many questions get closed as dupes of them) – Doktor Mayhem Feb 24 '18 at 7:41
  • Well worth doing! - OK , so how do we do it? – Stinkfoot Mar 4 '18 at 0:19
  • On various other sites, people generally identify popular dupes, propose they be canonical in meta posts, get some agreement, and then the regulars start closing new ones as dupes. We do it informally here so far, based on remembering the dupes. If you see one, vote to close it as dupe. It all helps! – Doktor Mayhem Mar 4 '18 at 1:13
  • If you see one, vote to close it as dupe. It all helps - I often do, but sometimes it's hard to find exact dupe and someone will come along and say not a dupe because guitar is different than piano or this guy hasn't played for 20 years and this guy has only been gone for 5 - But most of that is inconsequential or can be included in a canonical answer. Maybe we should start meta thread listing potential common questions and canonical answers. I'd be willing to start with one... – Stinkfoot Mar 4 '18 at 1:35

Today we have new question - or maybe not

If part of what you're saying there is that it's not totally clear whether this is a dupe or not, I agree! One of the questions is 'where do I start with learning theory if I want to produce music in FL'; the other is 'I'm a guitarist but I don't know how to gain an understanding of musical theory'.

Is a good answer to one of those questions necessarily a good answer to the other? I don't think so.

Could an answer to one of those questions be a good answer to the other? Yes, I'm pretty sure it could.

In this particular case, are the answers to How to learn musical theory? genuinely good answers to What to learn first? ? I'm not sure they are. Although I totally agree with the idea of pointing to good canonical answers, I'm not sure the question pointed to in the "already has an answer" notice here is asked, or answered, from a general enough perspective to be a good canonical answer. I personally wouldn't have closed as a dupe of that question, even though I totally agree that similar questions come around quite often.

Should we have a stock answer for this? (It's really too broad a question anyhow.)

I think you've captured the problem - as a site, we seem a little unsure whether these kind of broad-brush-strokes beginner questions are OK, of if they're too broad, or too opinion-based, or what. So people don't really take a lot of effort in answering them (after all, if you start writing a long answer, it's liable to be closed before you submit it!) and we never really get those good canonical answers.

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    I don't really follow your logic for your last paragraph. We have many ways to facilitate a canonical question that is objective and self contained especially from our expert users that recognize the important core aspects on a question. We've already discussed and did that for "voice type" questions which arguably would have the same exact problems and possibly worse since each case would be uniquely different. – Dom Feb 23 '18 at 23:26
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    @Dom My saying "we never really get those good canonical answers" is a figure of speech - of course we do have them for some topics. But I've been in Stinkfoot's position before, recognising a question that gets asked from various angles frequently, but not really being able to find the answer. Often that seems to coincide with it being the kind of question that's tolerated here, rather than warmly-received... – topo Reinstate Monica Feb 23 '18 at 23:56
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    so that's where an experienced person on the topic come in and helps identity core questions than can give canonical answers to those questions – Dom Feb 23 '18 at 23:58
  • @Dom - Many questions that are so similar that one good answer will do for all of them, even though certain particulars differ. Is there really an important difference between "I'm trained in classical guitar and I want to play jazz - how do I start?" and "I'm trained in classical piano and I want to play jazz..." Recently somebody asked about moving from classical to 'improvised music' - I flagged as dupe (flag was accepted) of a question about classical to jazz piano but OP said no - 'there is other improvised music besides jazz'... Then he accepted answer that was entirely about jazz-SMH! – Stinkfoot Feb 24 '18 at 0:07
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    @Dom absolutely. That's not quite what happened here though, presumably because we don't yet have a canonical answer for this question. – topo Reinstate Monica Feb 24 '18 at 0:17

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