I had this question closed for being a list.

But this question is open, and I think it's a list because of this:

  • it's not scoped enough
  • it hasn't accepted the answer that's specified in the question.
  • it's a too wide area in the question, with multiple valid answers.

Please explain the FAQ more so this won't happen again.

1 Answer 1


These kinds of questions aren't actually "allowed" as such. But the Indicator-question is an outstanding special-case.

The FAQ should rule them out altogether, as it currently does:

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.

The question about indicators is incredibly useful and on-topic. Even though it's the sort of question we would normally close, this one has proven to not lead to extended discussion, poll voting or anything like that.

I fundamentally disagree with the practice of having special cases, but there is no discussion about it at the moment, no argument to close it. So I guess I'll leave that for the future.

This is just my opinion. I'm not sure, really. As soon as this question loses it's outstanding relevance, it should probably be treated the same as questions like "what native games are available":

This question exists because it has historical significance, but it is not considered a good, on-topic question for this site, so please do not use it as evidence that you can ask similar questions here. See the FAQ for more information.

At the moment, the indicator question is on topic, and it's significance is not (yet) historical.

Or to answer the title of your question:

  • Lists are a subset of questions that don't have an answer as such.

    A question doesn't have to say "list of" to be a list, and sometimes it's difficult to tell. For instance, "what native games are available" is clearly a list, because there are hundreds, but "Browsing the internet from the command line" isn't, because someone will likely post an answer naming all of the command line browsers. Or that's what we'd hope for. (:

The discussion was continued in the Ask Ubuntu chat, as a result of which two questions were posted:

  • You might call that "rationalisation". I don't think I make a good argument here. :) Dec 4, 2011 at 16:41
  • well my question has a specified answer and isn't a list. I had the problem with finding not much games in USC and so I asked here where to find more and I got the answer, but I also got a few others.
    – Alvar
    Dec 4, 2011 at 16:59
  • the indicator question is one of my favorite, but a lot of list questions are my favorites since it's where you go when you have made a fresh install wand wants to know what software I should install and where to get it from. I personally think this list rule is a really stupid one. Why is it there even?
    – Alvar
    Dec 4, 2011 at 17:01
  • If you wanted to be entirely on the safe side, you could have asked a question like "Does Ubuntu provide an extensive list of games?" Dec 4, 2011 at 17:02
  • I agree, list questions are good fun; and they always get a lot of votes. But remember that the fact that they are discouraged means you only see the really great ones. If they were completely allowed, we'd see a lot of bad lists as well. For instance: "List of graphics cards that work with Ubuntu". Which would be outdated, irrelevant, in the wrong place, and so on. Dec 4, 2011 at 17:05
  • so my question about web browsers is not off topic since it's relevent and not outdated?
    – Alvar
    Dec 4, 2011 at 17:14
  • So in general you could say that lists that are out of date like; hardware, versions of programs is not OK. But questions that list software that is supported for a long period of time like, web browsers where to find games and application indicators. ??
    – Alvar
    Dec 4, 2011 at 17:20
  • No, the browser question is okay because it will likely have a good, single answer (there are only a few of them, and they don't change). Topics that rapidly change, and lists containing hundreds of items, generally don't make for a good single answer. In addition, the question has to be precisely "about ubuntu", not like "Who are the editors of OMG Ubuntu". A lot of factors that make your question about games sit right on the edge of what's okay. Dec 4, 2011 at 17:24
  • But I wanted to find websites that list games not a question that list games, there is a difference!
    – Alvar
    Dec 4, 2011 at 17:25
  • If we don't have a simple, hard and fast rule about something, there'll be cases where we disagree. I even think your question isn't bad at all, but we have to make some kind of decision, and base it on something. So we tend to be cautious about allowing questions that are in a grey-area wrt the FAQ. Dec 4, 2011 at 17:25
  • 1
    Just thought I'd chime in here with another answer to a different question, where it's suggested that a reason lists are not allowed is because they act as a way to put out community ads without formally doing so. Dec 9, 2011 at 2:31

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