I was thinking of a question related to Bob Dylan and the Nobel Prize for Literature as follows:

  • What impacts did Bob Dylan make in American Song culture that he was awarded a Nobel Prize for Literature?

I was also thinking to ask about certain libraries which are the treasure houses for literary works, like:

  • Is there any rare literature work that is available in selected libraries only?

  • Which are the world's best literature libraries?

Not only award events, but I was also thinking to ask questions related to various literature events, like:

  • What controversies happened during the launch of such-and-such a book by such-and-such an author?

  • Which are the best literature festivals around the world?

Are all these questions on-topic?

  • 1
    "Which are the best X?" questions are generally get closed as "primarily opinion-based", reading-order is one of the exceptions.
    – muru
    Commented Feb 20, 2017 at 8:09
  • You've asked three unrelated questions here, which makes an answer difficult to provide.
    – verbose
    Commented Feb 20, 2017 at 9:38
  • You can just point out in answer which question (out of mentioned above) can be considered on-topic and which question donot with reason. And finally mentioning the scope of libraries, awards and events related questions in general. @verbose Commented Feb 20, 2017 at 9:57
  • 1
    Any objections if I rewrite this with questions that could be on-topic? @verbose explained well why these particular questions don't work on SE, but that doesn't really answer on-topicness of things like libraries and awards. This would invalidate verbose 's answer, but it would let us address your actual question.
    – Standback
    Commented Feb 21, 2017 at 11:02
  • 1
    @Standback how about just adding a new answer that says: "The particular questions in the OP aren't on-topic, but that doesn't mean libraries, etc. aren't on-topic generally. Here are some questions that are." That would help users more, I think. They would have clear examples of both on- and off-topic questions for those subjects.
    – verbose
    Commented Feb 21, 2017 at 11:06
  • You are all free to edit the question..My ultimate purpose to ask these questions was indeed to discuss scope of questions related to libraries, events etc. but could not think of sharp questions. So @Standback please include your examples. Commented Feb 21, 2017 at 13:57
  • 1
    Edited. I hope the new examples will be more on-point :)
    – Standback
    Commented Feb 21, 2017 at 14:36
  • Thanks @Standback for adding substantive questions Commented Feb 21, 2017 at 16:25
  • 1
    @Standback I disagree with your edit. The original question was very useful to new users who might ask off-topic questions about libraries, etc; they could be directed to it. Answers showing both why the original set was OT and your revised questions on-topic would be great. As it is, you've just asked a completely new question that would require a one-word answer: Yes. This is a disservice to the users and the site. I am asking mods to roll back, and you could post your questions as part of a new answer.
    – verbose
    Commented Feb 22, 2017 at 0:10
  • @Standback your examples should be posted as an answer showing what can be ontopic. Now you have invalidated votes cast on it (and verbose's answer) by drastically changing it
    – muru
    Commented Feb 22, 2017 at 0:54
  • @verbose you have edit privileges, you can rollback the edit
    – muru
    Commented Feb 22, 2017 at 0:58
  • Done. I do hope @Standback posts his examples as an answer, though.
    – verbose
    Commented Feb 22, 2017 at 1:35
  • @verbose My apologies! I think what's happened here is that this one question has split into two: whether awards, libraries, etc. are on topic here in general, and whether OP's specific questions are good ones. It's a crucial distinction - you can ask a great question that's off-topic, or a question firmly within the site's scope, but that still needs to be closed. e.g. here, I feel the examples I gave wouldn't be closed for being broad or unanswerable, but I'm not sure they fall within our off-topic definition. Maybe we don't want questions on libraries, or internet scandals.
    – Standback
    Commented Feb 22, 2017 at 6:15
  • 1
    @verbose: How about this: Let's split this into two seperate questions, to reflect that two different things are being asked and answered. This one, with your excellent answer, explaining why these specific questions are not a good fit, and would be closed. And a seperate question, the one my edit effectively turned this one into - about site policy, to define whether these particular topics are on- or off-topic. (It might even be better to split into two, one for awards and events, another for libraries. Those can be very different beasts.)
    – Standback
    Commented Feb 22, 2017 at 6:19

1 Answer 1


Which are the world's best literature libraries?
Which are the best literature festivals around the world?

As @muru said in a comment, any questions that is open-ended and opinion-based like What are the best X? are off-topic.

What impacts Bob Dylan have made in American Song culture that he was awarded Nobel literature price?

This question is probably best asked in Music Fans, since it's about Dylan's impact on song. If the question were about his place in American literature, that would make it on-topic:

How have Bob Dylan's lyrics affected and been affected by contemporary American poetry? Is his work considered and discussed as part of the American poetic tradition in the same way as that of, say, John Ashbery or Sharon Olds, or other currently active poets?

At this point, though, the question isn't about the prize but about his work. A question like:

Does Bob Dylan deserve the Nobel?

would likely be closed as primarily opinion-based. The citation from the Nobel Academy lays out the reasons he was considered award-worthy, and arguing whether or not those reasons are valid is pointless; the award is a done deal.

Is there any rare literature work that is available in selected libraries only?

I would probably wager that this would get a lot of downvotes and perhaps even close votes as unclear what you're asking:

  • Many libraries have rare book rooms with manuscripts from authors that contain unpublished works. For example, F. Scott Fitzgerald's short story "Temperature" languished at Princeton for decades; a similar fate befell Edith Wharton's "Field of Honor" at Yale. Of course those are rare literature works unavailable elsewhere until they are discovered and published.
  • Rare book rooms are also repositories of medieval books, transcribed and illuminated by hand. Each copy is unique as books weren't mass-produced but bore the imprint of the scribe who made the copy. Every medieval manuscript, even if it is a manuscript of a work since printed and widely available, is a rare work of literature.
  • Even mass-produced books go out of print, thereby becoming hard to find except in research libraries.
  • Some books even get recalled by publishers a few months after publication, meaning that a library is probably the only place they can be seen.

So what do you mean by "rare" works and "selected" libraries? What exactly are you asking?

What controversies happened during book launch of author named X?

How was this book received when it first appeared? is on-topic. So this question is probably the only on-topic one of those in your list.

  • Thanks for such a clear explanation :) Commented Feb 20, 2017 at 10:44
  • Don't accept so quickly, yo. I'm not an expert on what's on-topic for the site; nobody quite is yet, as we are still in beta. Let the discussion go on for a bit, see what others have to say.
    – verbose
    Commented Feb 20, 2017 at 10:50
  • Okay as you say...I am temporarily un-accepting the answer just for few more point of views and discussion Commented Feb 20, 2017 at 10:54

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .