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It seems to me that here (and elsewhere on Stack Exchange) some posts are criticised being matters of opinion that actually can be answered factually, and also that this seems to be very hit and miss, with some being criticized or closed and other being happily accepted. A couple of examples of the kinds of questions I mean:

These strike me as being matters of taste. That is, some people will like morally compromised protagonists and some won't. Some people will like long sentences and some won't.

But while these are matters of taste, from a publishing industry perspective, and from a general literary perspective, they are not matters of opinion. They can be addressed factually. Are there successful published works, or respected works of literature that have morally compromised protagonists (yes) or long sentences (yes).

There are also more specific questions that can be answered factually, such as are agents specializing in genre accepting clients whose work has morally compromised characters and/or long sentences?

It strikes me that if we don't accept questions that are matters of taste, we will not accept any questions about writing at all. If we reject some of these as opinion based and not others, we are being inconsistent. Writing is, in the end, an attempt to appeal to taste. Few if any pieces of writing appeal to all tastes. The question of whether a writing techniques is good or bad is always a matter of taste, but the question of whether such writing is publishable, or might appeal to the taste of others, can be answered, if not definitively, by reference to facts.

Another way in which I think this is important is that the site seems to currently be dominated by people who write science fiction and fantasy, which is a particular taste. It is easy for that taste to become treated as fact, especially given the way that the reputation system works. But if that taste becomes fact here, that limits the breadth of appeal of the group. That is a problem considering that post per day is the one statistical category in which the site performs poorly by Stack Exchange standards.

I strikes me, therefore, that we should be consciously making the distinction between whether a question expresses a matter of taste (almost all of them) and whether it is answerable with reference to literature or publishing industry practices (most of them). And the same should go for answers. An answer should not be up voted and accepted merely because it expresses our taste, but because it points to independent facts about literature or publishing.

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In my opinion, what we should focus on are not the questions but the answers. Even a question that asks for opinions can be answered in an objective manner. And even a question that asks for facts, can (and has been) answered by an opinion.

I generally prefer to be more generous about which questions we allow. Let us see what answers they generate, before we prematurely decide to close them. There are many questions here that are immediately voted to close, but which nevertheless inspire another user to write an illuminating answer. So let us not be hasty, but rather ask for clarification or suggest an edit. The rules are meant to help us make the Q&A helpful, not to blindly delete great Q&A just because they do not adhere to the rules.

The rules of this site are like crutches: if you can walk without them, then that was the goal all along. Forcing someone to use crutches who has healed and can walk without them contradicts the purpose of the crutches.

Also, the rules were taken from and imposed on us from a site with a very different kind of content and don't perfectly fit writing. Writing is not programming. Code works or it does not work, and it works or doesn't for everyone. Writing is different in that every kind of writing works for someone. There is no writing that no one appreciates, even if it is only the recipient of a fifth grader's orthographically challenged love letter. And even if it is only the writer him- or herself. Not everyone wants to write a bestseller.

Writing is not an objective science and there will always be a degree of subjectiveness in all questions and answers. But we can attempt to objectify this subjectivity. We can point it out, become aware of it, and enable us to consciously consider it in our emotionally charged and idiosyncratic endeavour.

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