We have talked about big list type questions in the past. This question is now on the front page again: Software to draw illustrative figures in papers

I don't particularly like big list questions, but if we are going to have them, then we should make some rules. I think at a minimum they should be tagged big-list and made community wiki. I also think that when possible the question should be required to include a template answer so that all the answers look roughly the same.

  • Community wiki, yes. The others, not so much. But so long as they're particularly useful and rare, such questions are OK by me.
    – aeismail
    Jan 14, 2014 at 17:54

1 Answer 1


Unfortunately, the reason we dislike those questions are because they're big, clunky, and hard to standardize. That question happens to be a very old one. Regarding your specific suggestions:

  • It should be community wiki, and I just made that change.
  • Generally, we discourage "meta-tagging" such as what you suggest.
  • The template idea, while a good suggestion, would be (in my opinion) almost impossible to enforce without way to much work by the volunteer community, and would provide only minimal benefit.

These questions are rare and usually closed before they get too large. I don't think that policysetting is necessary for them.

  • 1
    As for the meta tagging, we also discourage big list questions...
    – StrongBad
    Jan 14, 2014 at 17:59
  • So you don't have any policy at all for Big List questions on Academia? How do you get them closed without a policy?
    – user8762
    Nov 21, 2016 at 2:44
  • @RobertHarvey - We do have a policy; it's that we don't like them, just as the answer says.
    – eykanal
    Nov 21, 2016 at 2:50
  • Sorry, I guess policysetting means something different than I think it means.
    – user8762
    Nov 21, 2016 at 2:59
  • @RobertHarvey - Meta is pretty laid back here. If someone has a question, they ask it. If one answer gets enough popular vote, we call that "policy". If it gets pretty much ignored (like this answer), we call it policy anyways. If someone really cares enough to challenge existing policy—i.e., if someone doesn't like an old Meta answer—they're free to start a new discussion and see if opinions have changed or if they can get more people to chime in to the discussion this time around. This system seems to work well for us, people don't tend to abuse it.
    – eykanal
    Nov 21, 2016 at 3:27

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