I was checking out the recent questions and came across this one, which is essentially an opinion poll regarding the role/attitude teachers should have in class.

As I wrote on my comment, I do like what the question is going after but I can't help thinking that it is essentially not a good fit based on how we (and other SE sites) normally operate. As it stands, there is no right answer to this question. Consider this hypothetical answer:

"yes, I think the teacher is also responsible for the catching students attention by entertainment, if necessary. I tried this in class X for n semesters and it works like a charm...

I don't think anyone of us can claim that the answer is wrong by any merit. We can disagree on to what extent we agree, but essentially any semi-serious (no spam, or one-liner) answer would be a valid answer to the question. Am I mistaken?

Would it be too harsh to vote/flag this kind of question?

2 Answers 2


There might be a correct answer, which might not necessarily but absolutely true, but which might at least quote enough literature on the topic. The problem of student engagement is not particularly new, and is probably well documented. There might even be several, conflicting, correct answers.

Now, what should we do with answers of the form "I tried that, and it (didn't) work" or "I think that this should be the right approach because that's how I like it"? That's a good question, I don't really know. The problem has been already raised in Evidence based answers or Dealing with "In my experience..." answers.

Personally, I tend not to up vote answers that do not provide any sound/motivated/justified argument, regardless of whether I agree with them. But as a moderator, I wouldn't necessarily delete such answers (although I might transform an answer into a comment, if the community asks for it). Similarly, I wouldn't close the question, but I wouldn't reopen it either (so basically, I wouldn't act as a moderator on it).

Perhaps a constructive approach would be to at least edit the question to remove the part asking for "what do you think about that?" and replace it "do you have any objective references on the topic?".

I think this is an important question, especially now that we have graduated.


This is something I've struggled with, because outside of the occasional "Philosophy of Data Analysis" questions that crop up on CrossValidated, there's usually a way to critically evaluate answers, and I think Programmers deals with things...a little too harshly. Especially given we're a new site, I'd like to see a slight bias towards helpfulness and traffic.

I think it's probably most useful to flag and comment such questions if they can be tuned towards more specific answers - for example, "What are some of the pitfalls of X method" instead of just "Should I use X?"

If they can't? I think there's a valid question about whether or not to keep useful but inherently subjective questions open. They seem like prime candidates for something like Community Wiki and, like Charles, I'd seriously encourage folks to vote for the answers that have grounding behind them.

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