I am referring to the liquid soap question: https://lifehacks.stackexchange.com/questions/3848/how-to-make-your-own-liquid-soap

If we don't allow people to ask questions, how are we supposed to get more people using the site? People ask questions. We want people to be sent here by search engines. As we answer questions we build points and increase reputations, obtaining more permission. We can't do any of that if people are not allowed to ask questions. This is for fun! So why don't we allow ourselves to have more fun?

I think it's good to do research in both the question and answer, but the point is, we either want to build a repository or we don't. What if people do research? How did the info get on the place they just read? Seems like a catch-22.

This moral tinge has a way of dampening my enthusiasm.

  • In my job I do a lot of internet searches. I do at home as well. More and more I see Stack Exchange, though mostly Stack Overflow, as having answers. Why do you think that is? Is it because questions are asked properly, or is it because they are asked at all? The scrutiny should be on the way we answer, not on how people ask. Jan 20, 2015 at 22:22
  • We don't want garbage questions, of course, but we could lighten up a bit. The reason given for closing the question referenced here was rude. Jan 20, 2015 at 22:25
  • My apologies if I came across as rude in my explanation, not intended. :)
    – J. Musser
    Jan 20, 2015 at 22:34
  • What @J.Musser said :)
    – Shokhet
    Jan 20, 2015 at 22:36
  • The question is improved now, so it seems it's still in too broad state.
    – kenorb
    Jan 22, 2015 at 17:13
  • I'm glad the user came back and updated. This is also an issue of user focus. When I first used an SE site I simply wanted my question answered. What I generally do is try and find an answer passively through research, then go to an active mode and find a forum to ask questions if necessary. I think most people are similar. If I use a forum I feel compelled to give something back, so I answer questions or problems other people have. I wonder, when in a forum, why people are even there answering questions. Do they enjoy it? Is it a challenge? People who've done SE for awhile may .... Jan 22, 2015 at 20:07
  • elevate themselves to a sense of purpose, such as constructing a wonderful info repository through community effort and protocols. It is indeed nice a few people want to do that, kind of like Wikipedia where people work very hard, but, no one is asking questions at Wikipedia. I think it's good to keep the difference in focus in mind because I like people and I like to be appreciated myself. There are people who enjoy moral environments, doing the morality and officiating in the morality. Such will not be the basis of any participation I have in SE. Jan 22, 2015 at 20:07
  • 1
    @dmcdivitt I am behind you 100% ....sometimes it looks to me this isn't about finding answer or a solution but Feb 11, 2015 at 22:14
  • Since starting this thread I've been doing review and voted a few times. I still get the feeling SE is like selling Amway. It has a cult-like aspect. It would be nice if people could simply ask questions. But there are many other places to do that! It is what it is. It's also an interesting type of online community. Does not have to be rated good or bad. Feb 11, 2015 at 23:42
  • @dmcdivitt You noticed something important: This isn't a forum, and it's not supposed to look like one, It's a community based, strict question/answer site with quality standards. If you (or anyone else) don't like it here, feel free to go somewhere else. As for your question about whether or not we enjoy participating in SE, I can speak for myself and say that I enjoy it so far as the satisfaction of learning, answering, and community building goes. Sort of like volunteering at an event. And just fyi I hold morality very high.
    – J. Musser
    Feb 12, 2015 at 2:43
  • @J.Musser I could have guessed your opinion on morality :) I admit being a stickler for certain values and morals. I also admit the community has grown on me somewhat, but I will never, ever, say structure is enjoyable. Feb 12, 2015 at 2:52

2 Answers 2


That particular question is a list question, and is too broad. There are so many ways to make liquid soap that there are too many possible answers. These questions are discouraged over all of SE.

From Meta Stack Exchange:

Questions that ask for a list are considered not constructive, as every answer is equally valid.

Generally, those questions are infinite, as a new answer could always be added; they also tend to be subjective. As such, those questions should not be asked, basing on what written in the FAQ.

You should only ask practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face. Chatty, open-ended questions diminish the usefulness of our site and push other questions off the front page.

To prevent your question from being flagged and possibly removed, avoid asking subjective questions where …

  • every answer is equally valid: "What's your favorite ______?"
  • your answer is provided along with the question, and you expect more answers: "I use ______ for ______, what do you use?"
  • there is no actual problem to be solved: "I'm curious if other people feel like I do."
  • we are being asked an open-ended, hypothetical question: "What if ______ happened?"
  • it is a rant disguised as a question: "______ sucks, am I right?"

And fwiw, this isn't 'for fun', necessarily. It is fun, but that's not the main point. We want to be creating a site full of quality, helpful information, and one step in that process is keeping the question quality level above average.

  • Not fair! You should let me know you're writing an answer before I start writing mine :P
    – Shokhet
    Jan 20, 2015 at 22:35
  • We linked to the same MSE post, though you quoted it in full.
    – Shokhet
    Jan 20, 2015 at 22:37
  • The person asked about soap. Had brief research been done the multiple available recipes may have been seen. But we would not have had the question here, and no one here would have an opportunity to score points in answering the question. I read an SE thread on the subject: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/124450/… . The issue has been around a long time. I don't think it was appropriate to write the person off so easily without giving anyone a chance to answer. Some people like to answer questions. A couple or three good answers would ...... Jan 20, 2015 at 23:58
  • probably result, and it would not have produced the dreaded infinite list. Jan 20, 2015 at 23:59
  • People who come here to ask questions do not already know how to do it "properly", the "Stack Exchange" way. I don't see the value of this except to spend the remainder of my life doing Stack Exchange. Are certificates handed out so I can make more money? Does it help on a resume? Jan 21, 2015 at 0:01
  • @J. Musser: "It is fun, but that's not the main point. We want to be creating a site full of quality" That is your reason. Maybe you've been doing Stack Exchange too long? Jan 21, 2015 at 0:14
  • 2
    Lol, @dmcdivitt, I've only been on SE for 3 1/2 years. Anyway, I don't think you're getting it. Just because some questions aren't acceptable doesn't mean that when we deal with these, we are disallowing the asking of questions. We are simply (as a community) maintaining the site standards, which are the reason that SE is debatably the most awesome q/a network around.
    – J. Musser
    Jan 21, 2015 at 1:03
  • @ J. Musser I respect the fact that you are here that long but I have one question: should our primary concern be "maintaining the site standards" and being "the most awesome q/a network around" or helping people with their everyday problems? Feb 11, 2015 at 22:25
  • 1
    Believe it or not, @python, those things go hand in hand. Without helping people, we won't be awesome. Without maintaining standards, the site will fall apart, and we won't be very helpful. I get your point, you would like to see us lax up a bit, but we do have to maintain some level of quality. As for our primary concern, since these things work together, one doesn't work without the other. They are both of concern, and are both getting attention atm.
    – J. Musser
    Feb 12, 2015 at 0:27

The reason that question has close votes (including mine) is for several reasons:

Yes, asking questions is important, but if we want to maintain a high-quality site, we need to have standards to maintain the quality of our questions and answers.

  • Most of the questions here have several answers. Very few questions have an accepted answer. People are spending more and more time in comments and less time making formal answers. Why? It's less risk. No scrutiny that way. Jan 21, 2015 at 0:04
  • I can understand having standards. Society does not move forward without standards. Just don't be so quick to pull the trigger. Jan 21, 2015 at 0:07
  • 1
    @dmcdivitt Actually, 'answerments', as I call them, are to be discouraged. If someone has an answer, they can post it. Here's a very thorough guide posted on my main site (Gardening & Landscaping). Perhaps we should have one of those here, so that users like yourself can read it and use comments as constructively as possible.
    – J. Musser
    Jan 21, 2015 at 1:12
  • Obviously Stack Exchange has value because it has increased in size in participation and sites. I should bear that in mind should I have criticism. Nevertheless, a bit more should be given new people who are not accustomed to protocols here. When I first began I was offended at Stack Overflow. I asked a question I needed an answer for in my job. It was a good question, received two down votes, and I was told I didn't do enough research. Later I asked another question and got something similar. What I had was a difficult system with obscure problems. After my second question a Stack ..... Jan 21, 2015 at 1:32
  • Exchange message said I was in "danger of not being able to ask any more". Gee, I saw much Stack Overflow stuff on the internet. What was wrong with my questions? I'm not going to read a long diatribe about how to use the English language properly. Out of curiosity I found other sites here and have been enjoying participation. I haven't needed Stack Overflow since and probably won't use it again. Jan 21, 2015 at 1:34
  • @dmcdivitt Yeah, I've never used SO, but I've heard that they can be pretty harsh. I don't think LH is doing too bad with new users, though.
    – Shokhet
    Jan 21, 2015 at 1:36
  • 2
    @dmcdivitt That simply shows that you didn't know how to best use Stack Overflow at the time. That is entirely not their fault. There's a reason Stack Overflow is as big as it is today.
    – J. Musser
    Jan 21, 2015 at 15:38
  • 1
    @J Good point. Thanks Jan 21, 2015 at 17:43

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