On Jul 8, 2013, at 3:50 PM, Christie Peterson wrote:

> I agree with both Shaun and Galen's points; when you're asking a "how to do X with tool Y" type of question, SE is a great forum. Like Christina, I've mostly encountered SE when Googling for answers to these types of questions.
> However, for the reasons that Henry and Gary mentioned, I was disappointed in the Digital Preservation SE experience. At the request of one of the SE organizers, I posted a question there that I had also posted to a listserv. It was flagged for not being in the proper form, but I have no idea how I could have framed it properly for SE because it simply wasn't a question that had a single answer. I wanted discussion. Digital Preservation in particular is a developing field and I was trying to gague opinions and currently evolving best practices. Somewhat ironically given the potential value of the commenting and upvoting mechanism, SE did not prove to be a good forum for this.
> There may be some value to having a code4lib SE instance that answers questions of the "how to do X with tool Y" type and similar for the reasons that Shaun and Galen state. But unless the community standards about what makes a "good" SE question change radically, I don't see it being an attractive or useful forum for the more open-ended, discussion/opinion type questions that people often post to library, digital preservation and other listservs.

I actually just responded to this issue the other day on the Open Data SE site:

Back when Cooking SE started (~2.5 years ago), multiple possible answers was considered a valid question.  They didn't tend to like polls ('what's the best ...') but questions about possibilities of how to deal with problems were acceptable.  I'd link to some of them, but there have since been a few people who go around and vote to close every question they don't like, even if they're gotten a dozen or more upvotes.

Here's one instead that's not even a question that's ranked in the top 10 'questions' on the cooking site:

Personally, I'm of the opinion that there are *very* few problems that only have a single solution, or a 'best' solution.  What they really tend to reward people for is coming up with a plausible, moderately detailed answer quick enough.  I've seen a number get marked as the 'best answer' within 30 min of the question being asked where the answer from my point of view was just plain wrong.

I do see a use for the sort of things that might've once been considered 'community wiki' ... what books can I recommend to a 3rd grader who is interested in science fiction?  (I've cheated before and worded them like 'where can I find a list of books to recommend ...')

It *might* be possible to get enough like-minded people involved to ensure that if anyone attempts to close reasonable questions we can get them re-opened quickly ... but I'd like to recommend changing the scope up front to museums, libraries & archives.  I don't know that the more practical 'library' and the abstract/academic 'library science' communities really mesh all that well.

And I should probably go get some sleep as I write e-mail that's even more incoherent than typical when I've only gotten ~8hrs sleep over the last 3 days.