I'm relatively new to this StackExchange but questions like this one would probably be closed on most of the others I'm more familar with. However, it's highly upvoted and many people have contributed answers or comments so I assume I've probably just misunderstood the local StackExchange policy. Could someone point me at some clarification of how the opinion-based flag should be used on Academia.SE?
In my observation, this site is different from many other sites on SE because much of the topic is about typical behaviors and customs rather than about the operation of a particular technology.
As such, the community seems to have settled into several effective patterns for transforming "opinion" questions into objective answers. The most common that I have noticed essentially turn a "Should X be Y?" opinion question into:
"Here is the typical range of variation for X (which may or may not include Y)"
"An effective way of approaching this question is to consider the following factors"
"The current state of debate on this issues is as follows"
Furthermore, two of the custom close reasons on this site ("shopping questions" and "strongly depends on individual factors") capture many things that might otherwise end up falling into the category of "primarily opinion-based."
As such, "primarily opinion based" closures are very rare on this site, often being reserved for places where the OP is explicitly asking for polling or debate.
Backing up these assertions, the current close stats for the past three months include:
- 21% "shopping questions" (highest % close)
- 15% "individual factors" (third highest, just behind "other")
- 2.4% "primarily opinion-based" (second lowest, only higher than "migrate to meta")*