There has been quite a bit of discussion about the question "Peru: to go from Lima to Cusco by bus or plane?"

Now if we apply the criteria from the FAQ, which seems to have changed a bit since last I looked, and the Blog on the same subject. The question falls under the bad subjective category, since it's asking about an opinion from the group, but much rather a vote from the group on whether or not the poster should fly vs. take a bus.

As such these used to be not constructive. Did this change in the since the site went live?

  • The question has 4 close votes -- only one more is needed. Commented Jan 23, 2013 at 17:06
  • @mindcorrosive I noticed but I moved it here because of Ankur's comment.
    – Karlson
    Commented Jan 23, 2013 at 17:07
  • I have this opinion. Commented Jan 23, 2013 at 20:36
  • 1
    @hippietrail Point taken...
    – Karlson
    Commented Jan 23, 2013 at 20:40
  • @Karlson: Sorry to grumble - good question though. Commented Jan 23, 2013 at 20:43

1 Answer 1


I've rephrased the question for him to make it no longer subjective - but to ask about the differences, so that he can make up his own mind after being informed. Hopefully that'll help show the difference between what is the same question, worded in two different ways - previously subjective, now objective.

Were subjective questions previously bad? Yes.

Are they still bad? Yes

Can we help edit their question to make it more objective, and in doing so improve the site and help them get the information they desire? Sometimes

  • Subjective questions are not necessarily bad. They're ok as long as they invite explanations (“I think X is better than Y because I tried both and…”), as opposed to opinions (“X has my votes because Y sucks”). See the faq and the blog post it cites. Commented Jan 24, 2013 at 21:52
  • "I think X is better than Y because" IS an opinion, though...?. I think it stems from the question though. A question which asks "Should I do A or B?" is begging for subjective answers. A question which asks "Why is A better than B" can be objectively answered. It's subtle, but different.
    – Mark Mayo
    Commented Jan 24, 2013 at 22:04
  • I disagree: “why is A better than B” is purely opinion-based. “Should I do A or B” has a context that defines some goal, so it's more conducive to practical, useful answers. Commented Jan 24, 2013 at 22:17
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    @Gilles - for example The Lima->Cusco bus question. By rewording it to 'what are the advantages of bus or plane?' (ie why is A better than B, but better worded), it can be objectively answered. Whereas "Should I fly or bus" was answered subjectively by vartec with "IMHO the choice is obvious", when in fact it isn't (he's since removed that line in his answer).
    – Mark Mayo
    Commented Jan 24, 2013 at 22:27
  • 1
    Gilles has a point I think. While "Should I do A or B" is poorly worded it could still have objective answers, and might benefit from some kind of rewording; "Why is A better than B" is so pointedly subjective that the system will even pop up a subjectivity warning on detecting the word "better". Ah but Mark's following comment offers a much better wording of such questions. Commented Jan 25, 2013 at 9:16
  • Agreed, which is why it's good we're discussing this. I think some focus should be on making sure questions are reworded properly, so as to avoid people being tempted to answer subjectively as well.
    – Mark Mayo
    Commented Jan 25, 2013 at 9:40

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