1

An edit was just suggested to my question, replacing "What's the best way to ... ?" with "How to ... ?"

I approved the edit, since SE automatically gives a warning that questions containing "best" in the title might be subjective and liable to be closed. But on looking around a little, I discovered other questions asking about the "best" way of doing things: e.g. What type of paint should I use to decorate a kitchen appliance? and How do I choose which adhesive or material to repair action figures? The policy against questions about the "best" X presumably isn't absolutely SE-wide either, since there are entire SE sites dedicated to recommendation questions (Software Recommendations and Hardware Recommendations), so this looks like something for each site's community to decide independently.

What should the Arts & Crafts SE policy be on questions about "the best way to do X"?

Should we:

  • close them as primarily opinion-based?
  • allow them, perhaps with some kind of quality restriction?
  • something else?
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  • Fair point, I've edited my kitchen appliance question to be less "best"y :) – Erica May 18 '16 at 11:12
4

If at all possible, edit them.

"Best" is subjective. What's best depends on your situation, your needs, your wants, your resources, tastes, abilities and knowledge. What's best for me might not be best for you...

...But if you lay out your problem, your goals and your resources, folks might just be able to point you in the direction of a workable solution.

So ask for that.

As prescribed by the venerable Help Center,

You should only ask practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face.

Any good question will draw its inspiration from someone's actual situation, a pressing need they wish to address. If you, the editor, can draw upon this and transform a "best practices" poll into a "what can solve my problem" question, please do so!

Yes, it's additional work and requires uncommon skills... But it is with these things that we strive to stand above The Barbarians of The Internet.

Khitan General: But what is best in life?
Khitan Warrior: The open steppe, a fleet horse, falcons at your wrist, and the wind in your hair.
Khitan General: Wrong!
-- "Conan the Barbarian", via Wikiquote

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  • 2
    I always want to give people the benefit of doubt when the word best is used. Usually there are better ways to narrow the question as you suggest anyway. With what I have seen you can almost always edit them or wait for some comments from the OP that could be easily used to narrow the question. – Matt May 18 '16 at 3:10
  • So I was wrong and this is an SE-wide rule? – Rand al'Thor May 18 '16 at 11:23
  • "Ask real questions"? Yes, @Rand. "Don't use 'best'" isn't though; it's just a good idea if you want folks to think you're asking a real question. – Shog9 May 18 '16 at 15:50

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