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In my opinion, this question and its answer here are inviting speculations, comments without proper backing of evidence, and argumentative discussion over an Institute being good or mediocre (again, based on the opinions of users and not facts). So...

  1. Does the community agree with me over these? If 'NO', then kindly point where I am wrong.
    I don't have the reputation to vote-to-close, so someone else needs to, if required.
  2. In general, how should our community look upon such questions-answers which are inviting more opinions than facts.
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I disagree that the question and corresponding answer is argumentative, but I do agree that it is not a good question.

Argumentative questions typically* take one of two forms:

  1. A rant (thinly) disguised as a question, and
  2. A question on a topic that is by nature opinion-based and argumentative.

We have a few of the first type here; see here and here, first versions of questions that were subsequently edited to be appropriate for the forum. We have much fewer of the second type here, but it happens all the time on the other Stack Exchange sites; do a search for "what language is best?" in Programmers.SE and you'll see dozens.

The question at hand is neither of those. The poster is legitimately confused as to how to interpret a CV from an Indian university, and is seeking assistance.

The problem is that this is highly subjective. Everyone interprets scores differently according to the culture of their institution. This is reflected in the comments on the answer; something was posted, but someone disagrees with his assessment.

That being said, the answer does address the question in a sufficiently general way that it's useful to the general public (i.e., someone coming here with a similar question would benefit from the answer and ensuing comments). For that reason, I would not close this.


Regarding your general question of opinion-based answers, we have had a lot of discussion on this meta on that topic. I would point you to this question for starters, and check out some of the related questions for more on that topic. Briefly, we allow more leeway on opinion-based answers than other SE sites.

  • Thanks... The question you linked towards the end and your last statement were what I was looking for. – pnp Apr 26 '13 at 5:12
  • @eykanal we have plenty of what I would call “good subjective” questions on the site… things like “given these facts, how do I improve my chances of graduate admission?” are inherently subjective. Yet, they are answerable and useful. It is true that “everyone interprets scores differently according to the culture of their institution”, but it is still relevant to ask for points of comparison, or keys to reading such scores… I'm not asking people to make a decision for me ;-) – F'x Apr 26 '13 at 9:44
  • @F'x - I completely agree, and if you have any links to some good ones (such as the one you mentioned), go ahead and post them. – eykanal Apr 26 '13 at 12:40
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I think there is a huge difference between a question that can only be answered with speculative/purely subjective answers, and a question that you can only answer with speculative/purely subjective answer (and by "you", I don't mean only the OP!).

I believe that one of the interesting points of Academia.SE is to try to bring more facts to questions for which you sometimes only have an intuitive idea, which means that when you ask a question, you might not know whether there is an objective answer or not. Of course, as eykanal pointed out, some questions are obviously rants or only explicitly asking for opinions, and such questions should be closed.

I would say that the question you mention does not belong to such categories: perhaps there exists some official numbers that can help. For instance, if the following question would have been asked: "I received an application from a French student with a score of 14.5/20 at the Baccalauréat, série scientifique, how do I evaluate that?", I could objectively answer that the Série Scientifique is usually considered in France as the most selective category, that around 80% of the students have the baccalauréat, and among this 80%, only 28% have a 14 or more, which is given by a Mention Bien or Très Bien. So 14.5 is a good score.

When it's not obvious, I would say that the best is to let the question lives, and monitor the answers and comments: if there are too many subjective/speculative answers, then it might be worth closing the question. Note that it's quite frequent that some answers are just transformed into comments.

Globally, my point is: don't ask to close a question just because you can't answer it. The objective is to let the community work (I think we had a really nice example of a question closed, edited, reopened, without mod intervention, that's what we should be aiming for), so be involved in the community by asking questions and providing answers, if you can't vote, then leave comments, bring it to Meta, it might attract the attention of high-rep users.

There is a reason for the need of 5 close votes from users who have enough reputations, it's to reach some notion of consensus from users who been involved enough in the community.

  • I agree with Charles… though the current answer, while it may be correct, is not backed up with facts. I am sure there are somewhere statistics and university/institute rankings that could help improve it. Just because noöne has posted them yet doesn't mean they don't exist :) – F'x Apr 26 '13 at 9:41
  • I think there is some relevant discussion in this question. – StrongBad Apr 26 '13 at 11:35

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