I recently asked this question about the pros and cons of the different St-Jacques-de-Compostelle routes.

In my opinion, this isn't really opinion based as I am not asking about any judgement of those pros and cons, simply what they are (so I can judge for myself).

For example, the Camino Frances is features a good support infrastructure, but it also has a much higher density of hikers

What is the best practice in this case? Possibly a different formulation?

EDIT: The question was just closed as opinion based.

EDIT2: The question was just reopened, but I'd still like to get some consensus on what would be the better way to handle things in the future.

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    I generally like pro/con questions. Your question is a bit trickier (I didn't vote to close though) since it's asking for synthesis of a pretty complex set of questions about pilgrimage routes. I don't know to what extent existing guides and resources may be more useful for a question like this one. Jul 19, 2016 at 21:41
  • Yeah, I'm kinda stumped myself. Really don't know what's the best course of action, but I think there's a way to modify it so it fits.
    – JS Lavertu
    Jul 19, 2016 at 21:42
  • As an aside, a friend of mine has been producing a documentary on The Camino called Beyond The Way. I'd recommend it before you go - episodes are bite-sized and informative.
    – Mark Mayo
    Jul 20, 2016 at 23:16
  • @MarkMayo Thanks for the link! Seems very interesting.
    – JS Lavertu
    Jul 21, 2016 at 1:19
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    Related meta over at Programmers: What is the problem with “Pros and Cons”?
    – user25889
    Jul 28, 2016 at 16:45
  • Are "Are pros and cons questions opinion based?" questions opinion based?
    – cat
    Aug 2, 2016 at 15:50
  • Travel meta meta
    – JS Lavertu
    Aug 2, 2016 at 15:55

2 Answers 2


Update after the edit: wow, perfect, and it got a great answer too. Nice!

Before the edit: The essence of the question looks fine to me, but: 1) the criteria aren't clear, and 2) it's phrased in a way that makes it look like you're asking people to write a bunch of reviews you can pick the answer to your question from, instead of just straight up asking the question.

I voted to re-open, but you could improve it by:

1) Making the criteria clearer. When you say:

My criteria include hiking difficulty, extent of the support infrastructure...

...what level of difficulty do you mean? Is your criteria for an easy hike, or a challenging one? With highly developed infrastructure, or minimal infrastructure (many people like the whole 'off the beaten track' thing)? If difficulty is your main criteria, we can't narrow options down without knowing roughly what level.

It'd also be helpful to specify what sort of sightseeing you're interested in if you can. Many travellers are open-minded and would answer "What sort of sightseeing would you like?" with "I don't know, unique things, surprise me", so we don't need details here, but if you do have a passion or appetite for, say, churches, or wildlife, or traditional farming, or whatever, tell us. You'll get better answers.

2) Make it more like a question than a review request. Put those criteria at the heart of it, make it clearly a travel problem that can be solved. This naturally narrows the scope and gives a fact-based backbone to answers: "This route has the following features which meet your criteria" not "I liked this route because..."

Your problem is I think, essentially, you want a certain balance between difficulty and sightseeing. So put that up front. For example:

Which St-Jacques-de-Compostelle pilgrimage route offers the most sightseeing while being [the level of challenge/difficulty you want]

I wish to do the St-Jacques-de-Compostelle pilgrimage. I am deciding which path would be best for me and so I am trying to understand the pros and cons of the following paths in terms of sightseeing opportunities, [ease/challenge] and being [developed/unspoilt]. If possible I'd also like some religious and cultural elements, but sightseeing and difficulty level are my main priorities.

The types of sightseeing I'm most interested in are [mountain views / historic buildings / attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion] and the level of challenge I'm looking for is [novice hiker / Class 3 or Class 4 / like 127 Hours, but both arms].

The routes I'm considering are:

  • continues...

Any good answer will naturally include pros and cons.

  • Great answer, I'll modify my question later.
    – JS Lavertu
    Jul 21, 2016 at 17:14

I voted to close as opinion based because the criteria you mention - hiking difficulty, extent of the support infrastructure, sightseeing - are all subjective. Hiking difficulty depends on training and skill, quality of the support infrastructure depends on habits and comfort levels, sightseeing is inherently opinion-based since what is interesting to you might not be to me.

Per se, pros and cons questions are not off-topic, provided that the criteria are objective or well-defined. The question Are there still any advantages to using an Oyster card for travel in London? for example is a somewhat pros and cons questions, but it focuses on criteria which are globally applicable.

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    Hiking difficulty is hardly subjective. There are numerous rating systems for trails. Here is a description of one. Assessing the extent of support infrastructure is an objective exercise. Things like toilets, cell towers, and first aid stations can simply be counted.
    – alx9r
    Jul 21, 2016 at 12:49
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    @alx9r Yes but a hard trail for you might be an easy trail for me. Also, you need to mention what you mean by support infrastructures. All in all the question as it stands is too broad and lacks specifics IMHO.
    – JoErNanO Mod
    Jul 21, 2016 at 12:54
  • Yeah, that's what I feared by using "pros and cons". I really mean it more like, in regards to each other trail. Aka, trail X is easier than the rest, Camino Frances has more support infrastructure than the other trails, etc.
    – JS Lavertu
    Jul 21, 2016 at 13:10
  • @JoErNanO By that doctrine any question where the answer is cost, time, or distance is off-topic too. What is too expensive, far, or time consuming for me might be fine for you.
    – alx9r
    Jul 21, 2016 at 19:37
  • @alx9r Yes indeed. That's why we ask op's to specify what they mean by cheap and fast so as to narrow the question down to something answerable.
    – JoErNanO Mod
    Jul 22, 2016 at 6:35

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