Was it necessary to close Is a clean install better than upgrading? as opinion-based? The phrase "clean install" should be enough to suggest to an informed reviewer that a clean install sometimes has less problems than an upgraded operating system. A clean install is also quick and easy for new users to do. If you're looking for edge cases and corner cases you can find them in this question alongside good advice like backing up files before upgrading, but that's not sufficient reason to categorize the whole question as opinion-based. It seems to me that the edge cases and corner cases have dominated the good advice here.

This question's timeline shows that this question was already reopened once after being closed and I voted to reopen it at that time. Two of the five reviewers who close voted it this time are no longer users at Ask Ubuntu. I think it's time to reopen this question again.

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    "it seems to me that the edge cases and corner cases have dominated the good advice here." I guess that's probably why it's getting closed as opinion-based. Some of the answers are more opinion-based or just needs more details about their opinion to make it more objective. But I do agree that the question should be opened.
    – Dan
    Commented Dec 15, 2021 at 14:01
  • I think there are two problems. The first is what the question should actually be asking: "Is it better to upgrade or migrate?" Because "clean install" implies starting afresh, while migration means moving all the settings and stuffs to a new server. The second is if the site has the ability to somehow limit answers to not just be random passers-by, as my observation throughout SE this is the kind of question that attracts low-quality answers, and let's face it: the close queue is a weakly implemented solution because AU doesn't have enough reviewers to properly manage the queue.
    – Paul
    Commented Dec 15, 2021 at 14:51
  • @Paul This question was protected in order to prevent low quality answers or at least slow them down. Then it was unprotected and then protected back again. Closing the question is a suboptimal solution to the problem of low quality answers in my opinion because it prevents users from posting new answers that are up-to-date for the latest version(s) of Ubuntu, so Ubuntu users always get a chance to read about the latest updates and improvements.
    – karel
    Commented Dec 15, 2021 at 23:34
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    The linked question was posted in 2010, Why after 11 years has it suddenly become opinion based? The question should have a header warning that the question and answers may be obsolete. I don't understand why new questions about EoSS versions are off topic and old questions about the same thing are on topic, seems like a lack of consistency. Commented Dec 16, 2021 at 17:13
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    @C.S.Cameron The question wasn't recently closed. It was closed 7 years ago, then reopened and closed 3 years ago. You can see more details in the timeline, of the post
    – Dan
    Commented Dec 16, 2021 at 18:44

3 Answers 3


It doesn't matter whenever is necessary or not. It is opinion based, and none of the answers there are outside of the realm of opinions. What is not necessary was to reopen it (it was reopened by you, to then answer it, something that you left out). We don't need more opinions, and reopening only invites to that. In the 2 years closed, it never got a reopen vote. If you didn't bring this up, it would have stayed closed. Why is it reopened? Doesn't the "answers" there cover the "it depends" extensively? Do we need more?

  • The reopen date was 2.5 years after the answer date.
    – Paul
    Commented Dec 23, 2021 at 14:48
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    Not necessarily adding a new answer, but one valuable reason to have it open is to be able to close similar question as duplicate to this one. It does seem to be a popular topic people ask based on the linked questions and number of votes on it.
    – Dan
    Commented Dec 23, 2021 at 21:21
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    @Dan you can close other questions as a duplicate to this one without reopening it.
    – muru
    Commented Dec 24, 2021 at 3:32
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    @Dan if we have other opinion based questions, we should be closing them as opinion based, not as duplicates. Closing as duplicate opinion based questions doesn't serve any meaningful purpose but making harder to remove the opinion based target.
    – Braiam
    Commented Dec 24, 2021 at 6:38

Is a clean install better than upgrading? has been reopened again. This will make it easier to keep it up to date. There's less incentive to keep a canonical question up to date if it's closed, and it's harder to review possible duplicate questions if the logical canonical "duplicate of..." question has answers which contain obsolete content or are not up to date.

The objection that it is opinion-based still stands, but it is inherently a toss-up because the answers to this question contain many facts too. In addition to the aforementioned macOS and Android users are provided with a clean, fast and error-free upgrade by default which gives their users the impression that upgrading is better for them than a series of not offered by default clean installations. Ubuntu is more open source by design than macOS and Android. The Ubuntu user is free to modify the operating system, so other installed apt packages are upgraded along with the core operating system packages when upgrading Ubuntu. Otherwise something might not work.

Ubuntu is open source by design has resulted in a more complicated upgrade than in macOS or Android, so we should leave this question open in order to pave the way for a smoother and more successful release upgrade for Ubuntu users. Repetitively closing this question and scattering the most up-to-date information about upgrading Ubuntu all over Ask Ubuntu cannot fully replace the benefits of having one canonical question.


The phrase "clean install" should be enough to suggest to an informed reviewer that a clean install sometimes has less problems than an upgraded operating system.

Eh .. the phrase "clean install" IMO should be read as "clean install + installing whatever other crap I had installed previously so I can get back to a semblance of what I had previously". Nobody's doing a clean slate install and just using Ubuntu as-is. That is inherently a toss-up. I voted to close it again.

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