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Seemingly, a lot of questions are being closed as opinion-based. How can a user avoid asking a question that's primarily opinion-based?

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A question might be considered "opinion-based" because it is "too broad" and/or "unclear" (also close reasons). When someone asks, "which is better, X or Y?", this could be understood as

  • which do you think is better? (opinion)
  • which has been proven to result in more _____? (unclear, because you didn't specify what you're interested in knowing)
  • are there any metrics relevant to language learning for which some evidence exists that either X or Y does better on them? (too broad)

And it's unclear which of these were meant. Often, "which is better" questions will attract "opinion-based" close votes. While it might seem unfair to say "this is asking for opinion" if the asker didn't really want opinion answers, the question is still probably unclear or too broad, so still close-worthy. And the close reason chosen is much less important than whether or not it should be closed.

So don't ask "which is better" or "which should I do", without giving a clear explanation of what is being asked. Don't fish for answers or opinions, by putting forward a topic and hoping someone responds with something you find useful. Ask a specific question!

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It's just what the close reason says:

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise.

If your question is going to have answers based on opinions, it will be closed as primarily-opinion based. Your question should be able to have an answer which is based on facts, studies, and other expertise.

Avoid asking questions which cannot be objectively proven. Some general examples of questions which in most cases (not all_ will be closed as off-topic:

  • Is X easier than Y?
  • Should I learn X language or Y language?
  • Will ... help me?
  • According to scientific research <subjective question>
    (please don't use "according to scientific research" to attempt to circumvent a question which is really a off-topic question, this will result in many unanswered and low-quality questions)

Anything which may vary from person to person and can't be accurately.proven through studies will probably get closed as primarily opinion-based.

Note: I wrote more here: https://languagelearning.meta.stackexchange.com/a/58/21

  • Au contraire, opinion based questions can definitely be helpful. They ask for a level of experience to help people learn languages. This site isn't necessarily based on facts (unlike science sites), but rather to help people. – Sir Cumference Apr 5 '16 at 23:59
  • @SirCumference primarily opinion based. Subjectivity isn't bad, just questions in which answers will be based on very little expertise. Poor coverups to these types of questions such as "According to scientific research" also fall under this category. see: blog.stackoverflow.com/2010/09/good-subjective-bad-subjective. – Downgoat Apr 6 '16 at 0:00
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The thing to do is to ask questions in a way that draws a factual response. For instance, don't ask if X is better than Y (opinion). Instead, ask what are the advantages and disadvantages of X over Y (fact).

If you are asking for "metrics" or "sources," state why you use the criteria, so that we can judge whether the resulting answers are likely to meet your needs. That is "good subjective," as opposed to whether or not something is "useful" or "good" ("bad subjective").

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