The main motivation here is this question asking where to find a list of currently airing anime, including date and time. It can be seen as a polling question (well, really, it is) and might come a cross as subjective, as there may be multiple valid answers, of which you might choose one by preference, but I also think it has (an) objectively correct answer(s), which fulfills the criteria set forth in the question completely.

What should or policy be here? Close as off-topic / not constructive (polling)? Keep them if they have one or more definite answers, from which one might pick depending on ones preferences?

As a tangent, on SO, there may also be multiple solutions to a specific programming problem, and you pick one that fits best depending on your demands and / or preferences.

  • In the long-run, these will probably degenerate into the same "not-constructive" category as many of the historically locked questions on SO. – Mysticial Dec 12 '12 at 8:36
  • Here is another candidate. – Xeo Dec 12 '12 at 8:42
  • I wanted to vote to close because it didn't seem constructive. – Rapptz Dec 12 '12 at 8:45
  • I agree with Mysticial. Talking about "anime list" sites i.e., even the most balanced question about pro and cons of MyAnimeList vs. AnimePlanet will easily degenerate in not-constructive answers and will be consequently locked. – chirale Dec 12 '12 at 8:45

Questions that ask for resources are dangerous, since you don't have a definite answer or a range of definite answers: you'll receive tons of answers that can be considered all equally "right".

The factor that makes you decide which one is the best is subjective. I might like a different resource rather than yours.

This is not my opinion, rather it's a long established SE policy, so there's not much we can really do.

In any case, I'm not totally against these questions, but I would advise to forbid them on the main site. Instead, let's move them to Meta and make a single resources question so we can use that for these things.

  • We had a small discussion about this in chat (just for context). – Xeo Dec 12 '12 at 19:59

In the beginning, these type of bike-shed questions may be very attractive to many new users joining the site. They are common questions that many people will be searching for and will ultimately bring them to the site.

However, in the long-run, as we have seen on Stackoverflow, they tend to degenerate into the large-scale non-constructive polling questions - which are no longer allowed and ended in many of the existing ones in a historical lock.

So I think it's a double-edged sword. In the short-run they may be useful (or even crucial) to bringing in a critical mass of users. But in the long-run they will probably harm the site.

If we wanted to get the best of both, we could allow them for now. But if and when the site reaches maturity, we may need to consider locking them down - just as what has happened on Stackoverflow.

  • Agreed. So, let us keep them alive in the short run. There is a lot of time to curb them if they start outgrowing their usefulness, no need to battle them from day one. – SF. Dec 12 '12 at 10:22
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    Crazy. I was with you until the "they may crucial to bring in users" bit. Puhleeze... This site will have no trouble attracting an early audience. The worst thing that can happen here is drive towards "we'll worry about quality later." A new site is evaluated for having a strong start with quality content, much much much much much much more so than having the largest possible audience. If these questions will harm the site long-term, don't allow them. You're here to build a strong foundation now... for the long run. Don't fall for these games just to pump up your numbers — bad idea. – Robert Cartaino Dec 13 '12 at 0:07
  • @RobertCartaino Fair enough. So I take it that by your evaluation, this site is already doing better than average compared to other private betas? – Mysticial Dec 13 '12 at 4:12
  • No. You don't make rules at point A, and then change them at point B. We make a ruleset, and stick with it. Rules may change with time, but that should be part of the growing and refining process, not done to make exceptions. – fbueckert Dec 13 '12 at 18:41
  • @fbueckert If you had to pick from: 1) Changing the rules midway. 2) Site fails due to inactivity. Which would you pick? I would certainly pick 1. This is why I made this suggestion. But given that Robert said "This site will have no trouble attracting an early audience.", I can only assume that we are already doing much better than average - so as to be not even at risk of closing down like so many betas have already. – Mysticial Dec 13 '12 at 18:57
  • If we have to resort to changing rules to pull in a userbase, the site deserves to die. Because it will as soon as we change the rules to what we really want. People would be right in saying we sold them a false bill of goods. – fbueckert Dec 13 '12 at 18:59
  • @fbueckert That's a fair enough viewpoint. But it's not like it hasn't happened before with some of the bigger sites. – Mysticial Dec 13 '12 at 19:01

I think we could do something like this - create "resource posts" that become centralized, single-instance posts of given kind of lists.

Allow them for now - another week maybe. Gather the answers, vote them according to quality. Then close, protect, archive and refer people to the archived question in years to come. The validity of the answers mutates very slowly. It will be okay for a few years, when we may conditionally allow one with updates.

Of course much more narrow and specific questions about resources - ones that are bound to yield 2-3 answers max, should be still welcome. Something so broad - maybe one or three per site is enough to cover all needs.

  • A very good example of a poll / resource question with regular updates and high quality content is our C++ booklist. Just as another example. – Xeo Dec 12 '12 at 8:57
  • @Xeo It's worth noting that our book question is the only one of the highly upvoted ones that survived the deletion-audit back in March. And we fought hard for it too. – Mysticial Dec 12 '12 at 9:00
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    In other words, it takes a lot of maintenance and some pretty heavy-handed moderation to keep it from degenerating. – Mysticial Dec 12 '12 at 9:02
  • Should difficulty of maintenance override usefulness of a resource? Too often I see laziness as the motor of moderation here. "Let's kill it early, will save us work later, and usefulness be damned." – SF. Dec 12 '12 at 10:12
  • @SF: It's not lazyness, it's a crap bunch of work to keep those lists up-to-date and clear of spam / low-quality content. – Xeo Dec 12 '12 at 18:59
  • I think @Mysticial is saying it's a case of cost/benefit -- the benefit ("usefulness") might be there, but it's at an extraordinary cost to the community, mods, and top users. – user74 Dec 12 '12 at 19:54
  • @Kasuchiko: Are you sure the cost is so extraordinary? We can always close and/or delete the questions if they become unmaintainable. Meanwhile, the number of answers alone says the demand is pretty high, and it takes a long time for such a list even completely unmaintained to decline in usefulness through link rot to something -worse- than no list at all. – SF. Dec 13 '12 at 9:02
  • I think the price of maintenance is incredibly high, and this is a known cost. Frankly, this is a question that is easily googled and of the type that this platform simply doesn't handle well. Let a blog / Tumblr post be the de facto resource; it doesn't have to be us here. Frankly, it shouldn't be us here. – user74 Dec 13 '12 at 16:51
  • @Kasuchiko: I think I can agree to that: Go one meta level up. We don't provide lists of resources. We allow just one link to a site that maintains such a list. This way users are still satisfied and the cost of maintaining one link is quite acceptable. – SF. Dec 17 '12 at 21:00

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