I was writing up a perfectly good question, and the Stack Exchange software told me that the question was likely to be closed for being too subjective.

On the ask a question screen, a pop up dialogue reading "The question you're asking appears subjective and is likely to be closed" appeared.

Maybe it's a bad question. Or maybe this is just a site that has different rules about what questions should be closed for being subjective, given the topics we deal with.

New community members are confused about what kinds of subjective, opinion based questions are acceptable on this site:

I'm little worried about this question. I'm quite new to this site and I read that questions that require an opinion-based answers or debatable might not be appropriate. And I think the fact that this is a literature site makes that point quite vague.... Is this question get passed as OK?

Is there any chance we could make things less confusing for people and remove this popup?

  • I'm trying to figure out what exactly triggers this warning. Does someone out there in that kind world know?
    – user80
    Commented Aug 3, 2017 at 18:39
  • 2
    @Emrakul meta.stackexchange.com/a/20014/222298
    – b_jonas
    Commented Aug 3, 2017 at 19:07

1 Answer 1


Honestly, this is a problem on many SE sites. On main meta, What algorithm does Stack Exchange use to determine if a question may be subjective? tells us that the words Best, Worst, Hardest, You, Your, Favo[u]rite are what triggers the automatic warning. Clearly there could be many questions on many SEs which have titles containing words like "you" and yet are perfectly acceptable questions.

In order to get a site-specific removal of this warning box, we'd have to make a case that Literature specifically is more likely to have OK questions with titles containing these words than other sites. Is this really the case?

It's definitely the case that Literature fields more subjective questions than many of the more hard-science type sites (but that's an argument for not being trigger-happy with the "primarily opinion-based" VTC button, nothing to do with this automatic question warning) and also that this question warning will appear for many perfectly OK questions (but that's not a Literature-specific issue, so it probably belongs as a feature-request on main meta instead). Unfortunately, I don't think either of these is enough to get the automatic subjectivity warning changed for our site.

(But I'd definitely support a feature request on main meta to remove "you" and "your" from the list of trigger words, or indeed a more nuanced request there to make the list of trigger words more customisable on every individual site.)

  • Good point. Questions containing the words best, worst, hardest, and favorite tend to be low quality no matter where they're asked.
    – user111
    Commented Aug 3, 2017 at 19:57
  • Well, questions containing the word favorite (without a U) are low-quality simply by way of being misspelled :-P
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Commented Aug 3, 2017 at 20:00
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    Though, and while being a proponent of good subjective questions and of the proposal to get rid of overzealous warnings along those lines, most of the words you listed there do seem largely inappropriate even on Literature questions. Commented Aug 3, 2017 at 22:27
  • 1
    Agreed. The main outliers (IMO) are "you" and "your" - see my final paragraph, where I indirectly suggest removing just those two from the list everywhere.
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Commented Aug 3, 2017 at 22:42

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