Over the weekend, I noticed this question about why dragons would be afraid of fire. To me, it seemed like a pretty clear-cut case of an opinion-based question. There are currently 17 answers, each of which seem to be equally valid. There isn't enough information provided in the question to constrain answers, or to provide any indication on what the OP is looking for. There isn't even a solid definition of the OP's dragons (how big are they? Are they intelligent? What natural defenses do they have?). In fact, even if it's not 'opinion-based' (maybe I'm combining that close reason with the retired 'idea generation'), then it's still definitely too broad.

Despite this, everyone who reviewed my VTC chose to leave the question open. I don't review that often any more, so maybe I'm out of touch. Can someone explain to me why I'm wrong, and how that question was suitably constrained and not opinion-based?

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    $\begingroup$ To me, it seems "too broad" but not opinion-based. $\endgroup$ – PatJ Dec 13 '16 at 16:17

This has to do with the removal of ; questions that involve creative thinking and design to address problems are allowed. That would probably put us on the broad end of the spectrum, but there's a good reason why it isn't opinion-based.

Evidence means facts

If answers can create claims, support them with evidence, and reason some sort of connection between the evidence and claims, there is no "opinion" to base selecting an answer on - they will be based in facts, only organized in different ways.

If there is little to no evidence to base claims off of - such as "Would a civilisation be better without nationalities" - and answers speculate wildly or vary greatly, the question probably opinion-based.

"Why would a dragon still be afraid of torches" may not have the most supporting evidence, but answers use reasoning based on known facts as opposed to saying "well I think" or "my idea is ..."

  • $\begingroup$ If we are using standard English, reasoning based on <your favorite justification, whatever that is> is simply NOT evidence; it is still IMHO opinion, just fleshed out a bit. What consitutes evidence about an imaginary species?? I can (and have) dressed up my opinions on that Q (on the very question cited), and all seemed well. Is that really our criteria here? I hate to quote our current 'President,' but all I can say is, "Sad!" Not to mention so utterly confusing that I strongly suspect it has, is and will continue to drive away participants. $\endgroup$ – Catalyst Jan 22 '17 at 18:12
  • $\begingroup$ @Catalyst If the justification is selected facts, then no, it is not opinion-based. In standard English, as you have brought up in your argument, facts are not opinions. $\endgroup$ – Zxyrra Jan 22 '17 at 18:45
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    $\begingroup$ @Catalyst "Sad"? "Utterly confusing"? Rather than being unnecessarily rude and obnoxious you could be constructive and help me improve the answer. Otherwise your downvote hasn't really helped here. $\endgroup$ – Zxyrra Jan 22 '17 at 18:47
  • $\begingroup$ @Catalyst there is plenty of evidence about this topic - read literally any answer on the discussed question. Of course there aren't real dragons, but evolution is real, and claims can be made based on that. $\endgroup$ – Zxyrra Jan 22 '17 at 18:50
  • $\begingroup$ I apologize for mentioning Mr. Trump. I agree with your statement that, "Evidence means facts." But what FACTS can you point to about non-existent creatures? In the question about dragons fearing fire, all of the answers -- mine included -- SPECULATE about what could/might/should be. I'm fine with speculation; IMHO that's what world-building is about. (If we exclude literal planet construction, a la Hitchhiker's Guide.) I maintain that the criteria are neither clearly, consistently stated, nor applied. Evidence? I cite the wide divergence shown in this very thread. $\endgroup$ – Catalyst Jan 22 '17 at 18:56
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    $\begingroup$ @Catalyst See my other reply to your comment. Evolution is not imaginary. Answers aren't saying "well dragons have this, so" they're saying "this trait is evolutionarily advantageous, so". This bases them in fact. And of course the criteria isn't widely applied, that's why there's a meta discussion for it. $\endgroup$ – Zxyrra Jan 22 '17 at 19:01

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