There are quite a few list type questions that are present in the site. Are these type of questions alright and/or encouraged ?

From Oli: I'm marking this as featured.

I would like to have a proper discussion about the future of list questions. If you have a view on the subject, please share it below and we'll slowly chisel out a framework for supporting them, or if it turns out they're always going to be filth, we can issue (and more importantly, practise) an outright ban.


2 Answers 2


Infinite lists are strongly discouraged but there are exceptions and historical anomalies. We don't like them because answers are quality-ranked here and when you have an infinite list, merit goes out the window in favour of timing, formatting and general favour. There often isn't a single best answer and this makes it hard for people to get the wider answer they want.

I recently suggested a technique for asking list questions by basically having one question and one answer that anybody wanting to suggest an answer edited. Anything else would be deleted. This won't suit all list questions but it should allow some.

We need to formalise a technique for asking questions in this way but there are a couple of examples new-style list questions in the wild now:

I've honestly no idea if we can sustain them in the long run but this sort of question keeps raising its head again and again.

Is that or you limit the domain of the question to a point where there can only be a few answers, or where one might be more correct than the others. I cannot think of a good example at the moment.

  • Those new questions are alright, It seems there is a more specific purpose, and a lot better than "list all the lenses"(although I have many of those style questions favorited)
    – Mateo
    Mar 5, 2013 at 22:39
  • I think list questions are a help to new users and sometimes a deterrent to folks to answer. The real question IMHO is is this "What is the best method to provide help to those requiring it?"
    – pfeiffep
    Mar 24, 2013 at 14:12

I think that in order to avoid the very poor interaction list questions can have in this type merit-based system. I think list questions should automatically be Community Wikis, or something similiar. I understand that this would limit the number of people involved in the answering, so perhaps something similair to a Community Wiki could be created. I think the main goal is to remove the mess of rewarding only one idea when there are lots of right answers. Perhaps keep the "edit bonus"?

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