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Today we had this question: The Art of practicing electric contemporary guitar where OP was basically asking

So, I'm a classically trained guitar player who also plays contemporary guitar, mainly blues, jazz, rock and funk and I was wondering what are your thoughts and approaches to contemporary guitar and practice effectively.
[...]
What are your thoughts of practising contemporary guitar to achieve all of this

Too broad of a question, since they mentioned quite a few contemporary guitar genres, in addition to the fact that this would result in a list of an answer and there have been quite a few discussions on meta about these kind of questions, and they usually get closed.

A meta discussion on the topic had luser droog's insightful answer:

The perceived problem with asking for recommendations is that they easily fall into "big list" type of answers which are difficult to keep up-to-date, hard to vet for quality, and just generally fall apart and become pretty useless. There may be some site that still allow them, but IME as the site grows they get shut down.

Tim and I commented on the post saying pretty much the aforementioned fact:

Whereas this might be an interesting question, it is way too broad. I mean there is a very different approach in jazz guitar to rock guitar, from blues to funk etc. There are numerous books on each style – Shevliaskovic 3 hours ago

@Shevliaskovic I know that, Im just seeing what people have to offer in relation to this topic, It really confuses me why people can answer open ended questions on the forums here. – random10101010 2 hours ago

This is not a forum. Most accepted questions have answers that experienced posters write. For that to be facilitated, questions need to be focused and not open-ended. – Tim 1 hour ago

@Tim where does it specifically say that? – random10101010 1 hour ago

and OP, quite rightfully, asked where does it say that these kind of questions are off topic?

I wanted to refer him to the Help Center, but I couldn't find anything that explicitly said this. The closest thing would be in What types of questions should I avoid asking?, where there was:

If your motivation for asking the question is “I would like to participate in a discussion about ______”, then you should not be asking here.

OP's question might fall under this, but I have to say the question is not phrased exactly like that.

So basically to sum up, I would like to propose we add an extra bullet point either in What types of questions should I avoid asking? or What topics can I ask about here? where it specifies the questions that result in (opinion based or not) list-kind of answers are off topic.

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  • Sorry for the delay in replying back. Just popping by to confirm this made it to the CM team's backlog, and we'll get back to you with any updates or requests for clarification, @Dom. – JNat Sep 1 at 14:25
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I suggest the following be added to the What types of questions should I avoid asking?:

  • you are asking for an open-ended list of items: “What are some examples of ______?”
  • your question is just soliciting a discussion: “What are your thoughts on ______ ?”

I also suggest in these cases we always point to the chat. Just because the main site is not equipped for these question we should still make use of the chat to be as helpful as possible.

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    I think these are good phrasings, +1 - only thing I think we should be careful of is not to close questions purely because they happen to contain those kind of phrases - we should be taking the questions as a whole and considering whether they are focused enough. – topo Reinstate Monica Apr 6 at 9:33
  • I pointed them to the chat, then saw this post here. Now I feel good about myself :) – user45266 Apr 6 at 20:16
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I don't think this area of question is necessarily way off-topic here. If the OP had phrased it more specifically - "How can a classical guitar player build a contemporary practice routine" - I would imagine that it would be possible to come up with pedagogically-valid answers. The main problem seems to be the "What are your thoughts..." phrasing, which arguably invites too many interpretations.

So basically to sum up, I would like to propose we add an extra bullet point either in What types of questions should I avoid asking? or What topics can I ask about here? where it specifies the questions that result in (opinion based or not) list-kind of answers are off topic.

It sounds useful, but we need to get the phrasing right. Many areas of music involve some degree of subjectivity, so invite a variety of different answers, and questions regarding 'what techniques could I try to achieve this' are often going to be open-ended by nature. We also don't want to prevent people from providing lists in answers - If a question is something like 'is this cadence ever used in XXX period of music', a list of examples might be a natural part of an answer.

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  • That question was closed at one point because it just became people saying "google X". I've locked it as I'd really not prefer that question being used to try and justify list based questions as it was a good example of answers to avoid. – Dom Apr 5 at 0:49
  • @Dom popular questions often do need mod work, but as it stands that question has many well-upvoted answers. If you've locked it, it suggests that you have a good answer to Shev's question in mind..? – topo Reinstate Monica Apr 5 at 9:44
  • I've removed the question I linked, as now it's locked, it's no longer a nice example! but for the record, it was music.stackexchange.com/questions/42351/… – topo Reinstate Monica Apr 6 at 9:29
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We used to have “too broad” as a close reason. Maybe bringing that language back, maybe as a clause in the “off topic” reason might be in order.

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I agree with @Dom, the phrase “What are your thoughts of” sounds too broad and opinion based. At the same time, I think @topo Reinstate Monica makes a good point that just adding “What are your thoughts of” might add more problems than it is supposed to solve. The don’t ask page already says

avoid asking subjective questions where …

  • you are asking an open-ended, hypothetical question: “What if ______ happened?”

To solve the issue I would suggest to take a slightly different direction. What if we make a minor change in the on-topic page?

Right after the following phrase

... then you're in the right place to ask your question!

Add the following paragraph:

Please look around to see if your question has been asked before. It’s also OK to ask and answer your own question. Questions which are too broad, unclear, incomplete or primarily opinion-based may be closed by the community until they are improved.

Right before this one:

In some cases a question might relate to one of the on-topic categories yet still be opinion-based. The question is off topic. For example, a question asking whether Mozart or Chopin is better. This question is off topic for being too opinion-based. The mention of two figures from music history does not make the question on topic.

Actually, I got this paragraph from Stack Overflow. I think the following phrase says exactly what we need.

Questions which are too broad, unclear, incomplete or primarily opinion-based may be closed by the community until they are improved.

We can also add a link to the chat on the What types of questions should I avoid asking? article:

If your motivation for asking the question is “I would like to participate in a discussion about ______”, then you should not be asking here. However, if your motivation is “I would like others to explain ______ to me”, then you are probably OK. (Discussions are of course welcome in our real time web chat.)

Please let me know what you think!

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  • I definitely agree with the on topic page changes. I do think the don't ask page still needs tweaking even if it's not the suggestion I gave. The problem I think is best highlighted between the OP finding a different bullet that kind of addresses the comment thread they quoted and you citing a different one, but neither necessarily being specific enough to point to in the comment thread above. I do agree that adding too many things to the do not ask page may muddy the water, but I don't think one or two more bullet points will be the tipping point. – Dom Sep 16 at 21:00
  • Especially when we are a bit more subjective in topics compared to other SEs. – Dom Sep 16 at 21:00
  • @Dom Thanks! Could you please tell me what do you think if we rewrite the existing list item to the following one: you are asking an open-ended question like “What are your thoughts on ______” or a hypothetical question like “What if ______ happened?” – Nicolas Chabanovsky Sep 17 at 14:30
  • Please let me explain. It would be hard to cover all examples of open-ended or too-broad questions in the help center. To make it work I think we need to provide a high level guidance that we expect to be interpreted by most people in the same way. If we see that there is a problem in an interpretation we need to adjust wording the rules in the way they are clear to most of the users again. Please let us think about all possible options we can adjust the guidance before we add anything new. What do you think? – Nicolas Chabanovsky Sep 17 at 15:46
  • That sounds better and a step in the right direction. I will say we do get questions with the general idea of “What are your thoughts on ______” over “What if ______ happened?”. The reason I also included “What are some examples of ______?” is because this is a very common phrasing of questions that get closed as too broad or too opinionated on our site. – Dom Sep 17 at 17:19
  • @Dom Hey! Thank you for the suggestion. Could you please tell me if this one works for you: you are asking an open-ended question like “What are your thoughts on ______”, a hypothetical question like “What if ______ happened?”, or you are asking to list something: “What are some examples of ______?” – Nicolas Chabanovsky Sep 21 at 9:26
  • If this works, I will be glad to do the changes. If you want to add something else or in a different manner, please let me know. – Nicolas Chabanovsky Sep 21 at 9:27
  • That works for me. I kind of wish we got a little more feedback on this in the last week of it being featured though. – Dom Sep 23 at 2:48
  • @Dom thank you for the help! I made changes according to our discussion. Please let me know if you have any concerns. If in the future someone wants to improve those two help center pages, let's do that! – Nicolas Chabanovsky Sep 23 at 10:26

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