One of the topic areas of Music.SE that is most exciting and interesting to me is musicology. Because SE, as a system, is richly populated with -- and I use this term with all pride and fondness -- geeks, Music.SE is disproportionately blessed with early musicians and other people with passion for music history. Music.SE's denizens are unusually capable of supporting questions into musicology, as a number of recent questions have demonstrated.
Furthermore, insofar as it is SE's mission to be a repository of good answers to interesting and sometimes recondite questions practitioners of a technical discipline might ask, and to expose those answers to Google so that anyone in the world asking those questions finds those answers, Music.SE supporting musicology questions is not only right in line with what SE is trying to achieve, it is an example of how excellently SE can support sophisticated, deep, knowledgable questions and answers in tiny, under-appreciated academic fields. Answers to musicology questions typically involve pointers to resources -- books, recordings, shows, scores -- that are otherwise hard for questioners to identify as relevant, and in doing so, help bring those musicological resources to wider audiences.
It seems obvious to me that musicology is good for Music.SE, and Music.SE is good for musicology.
But we have a problem. Musicology questions are tending to get put on hold and suspended. I don't think anybody is doing this because they hate musicology, or think musicology questions are, per se, off topic. (Let me know if I'm mistaken about this!) The reasons cited are occasionally "too broad", but more usually "too opinion-based". I think it's because the people voting to close don't realize that that has to do with the nature of musicology itself.
History, as a academic practice and discipline, is, fundamentally, about opinions. Not opinions in the sense of taste preferences, but in the sense of considered hypotheses with substantiating evidence. This is what historians do: attempt to put together the jigsaw puzzle of the past, without the box, missing a lot of the pieces, and with multiple puzzle's pieces all jumbled together. Historians construct hypotheses about how things were, or why, and they marshal the evidence they have, and set them loose in the world. This is what makes history a fundamentally contentious field: conflicting hypotheses contend.
History is a field where you almost never get to know that one answer is conclusively right. The best you are ever likely get is that that the preponderance of evidence supports your contention. But maybe tomorrow somebody will find a score, a recording, an instrument, a picture, a textual description which upends everything you thought. We don't have time machines to go back and check. Is this interpretation how it would have sounded in 1189AD? Maybe, maybe not. You do your homework, and you put it out there, and at best, fellow knowledgable people nod and say, "that's a very compelling case."
Consequently, questions in the history of music don't necessarily have one right answer. You can have five different, even contradictory answers, that all are valid, interesting, and informative. That's not actually different from another sort of question that doesn't get any moderation push-back here: requests for suggestions of approaches to solve performance and mastery problems. When someone posts, e.g. for suggestions how to address the challenge of dyslexia while learning to read music, there can be a nigh-infinite number of different suggestions, all of which are useful to know about. Having "the answer" to a question be a collection of different answers isn't a bug, it's a feature.
Likewise, that there will be multiple, possibly contentious, responses to a musicology question is not a bug, it's a feature. Musicology is like perl: TMTOWTDI. Having one place where all the arguments are represented: that's not a problem, that's an achievement. Having a place where the puzzle pieces -- the bits of evidence -- are collected? That's fabulous. Having a place where the puzzle pieces are discussed, and where are collected the arguments whether or not they are part of the puzzle being assembled? Also fabulous.
The thing that gets me is that the SE platform, with its scoring mechanisms, is a particularly great at supporting that kind of discourse. People who find an argument particularly compelling can upvote it. People who disagree with an argument can object in comments, and the comments themselves can be endorsed by those who agree. People who have additional substantiating evidence can edit it right in to an answer. No one argument has to "win", all, at their varying levels of community support, show up on the page -- and if there's additional future evidence that changes things, well, votes can be added or changed. SE actually handles "opinions" really, really well. And by "well" I mean "in a way which is informative to answer seekers and other researchers".
But for Music.SE to be a home for musicology, it's got to stop unwittingly suppressing musicological questions.
From one perspective, that means relaxing the "not opinion-based" standard. I see it from another perspective: realizing that questions about associations, influences, labels, and tastes are no more "opinion" based and are just as substantiatable as questions like "how do I fix this technique problem?" and that the solution, if there is a problem, shouldn't be to ban or "fix" the question, but to hold answers to a high standard. Same as with any questions.
Regardless of how you get there, it means seeing a question like "Are the works or artists that are considered particularly influential in the development this style, and if so what/who?" and not dropping the banhammer on them as "likely to have opinion based answers", but rather reminding answerers, "Bring evidence".
Let me put this another way: I want, not unreasonably I think, Music.SE to be the place where somebody asking "Should I use Beethoven's metronome markings?" (for those that don't know: a famous, important, unresolved contentious issue of musicology that directly intersects musical practice) winds up, and finds a thorough discussion of the evidence for and against. Right now, when I put "beethoven metronome markings" into Google, you know what discussion site it sends me to? Reddit. (While there are fabulous, thoughtful technical discussions on Reddit (truly!) that... is not one.) But right now, if somebody puts "Should I..." anything it will be shot down as "too opinion-based".
Could we not do this anymore? Because I respectfully submit it's killing off one of the best, most important, most useful parts of Music.SE.
A few examples:
I personally rescued "Why is the saxophone considered romantic?" and have made a stab at saving "Which disco tracks were the most influential in electronic music?" which is still on hold as of this writing. The highly rated question I asked, "Was the viola da gamba or violin particularly associated with England in the late 16th or early 17th century?" was a direct outgrowth of a comment on the merits of "Why is the saxophone considered romantic?" which posited that that question was as absurd and inappropriate to Music.SE as asking why violins are associated with sadness. The question "About note duration"/"Why are only even values used for note duration?" was originally closed as too broad; I recommend checking out both the discussion on it, questioning whether "why" questions are even legitimate to SE (?!?!), and the answer I wrote.