I want to talk about a specific class of opinion based questions That I believe should be handled differently from the standard 'close it'.
We all know that we don't want to be in a position where there conflicting answers and people vote them up or down based on their preferences. SE isn't that kind of site and we don't want those questions. But sometimes a question shows up where the questioner doesn't realize that there is no clear answer. This was the question that triggered it, but I'm sure there are others.
The trouble with closing a question is that whatever we say about how it shouldn't be taken personally it feels to the questioner like a slap on the wrist. They had what they thought was a legitimate question. They didn't know there wasn't a definitive answer (That's why they are asking questions.) The question gets closed. Now they don't want to ask more questions in case they are closed as well. I don't believe this fits with our new policy of being actively nice to newcomers.
Also when people are looking for answers to the question, they will probably ignore a 'closed' question, and so won't find out that there is no conclusive answer.
I suggest that the way to handle questions like this is:
- Leave them open
- Someone provides an answer that says "There is no conclusive answer to this question."
- Vote that answer up, and vote down any opinion-based answers.
I'm obviously not suggesting that we leave open any questions that specifically ask for opinions, or the questioner obviously knew were going to be opinion-based.