I've only been looking at the questions on the main site for a few minutes, but an awful lot of them seem to be geared toward discussion - aka "opinion-based" questions. Most of them start with "How to deal with...".

  • how do deal with X bahavior
  • how to deal with a user who ....
  • etc.

I realize of course that for moderators, there's little that's more immediate than the need to determine the best way to deal with a problem user/behavior/situation. But these are generally opinion-based, and really just straw-poll questions.

I also realize that various StackExchange sites have guidelines for what makes a good subjective/bad subjective question, and different lines on what's "opinion-based". Do we have a feel for that here, and if not, can we focus on that as an important step in ensuring this site fits the StackExchange model and eventually graduates?

I'd think that for the moderators.se site, there will be a necessity to lean toward allowing "how to deal with..." questions. I'd just like to get the guideline clarified early on.

  • Treat it like a meta site, a discussion is fine, but questions that can only be answered by unsupported opinions (e.g. attempt to start a flame war, poll, list) are not.
    – bjb568
    Commented Jul 30, 2014 at 3:33
  • 1
    The trouble is, most communities have such variation and difference from each other that everyone does things differently. Moderation has a different meaning for everyone, people are used to being moderators at a higher or lower level than others, and employ different punitive sanctioning for misdemeanours.
    – Talisman
    Commented Jul 30, 2014 at 9:28
  • 8
    I want to edit the title of this question to be "How to deal with 'how to deal with' questions." Commented Jul 30, 2014 at 13:34

2 Answers 2


I think that fundamentally, most questions will come down to how to deal with situations. I think that such questions can work, but we need to make sure that we generalize them as much as possible so that we can cover the general case rather than the specific.

For example, "How do I deal with a user who continuously calls one of the moderators a retard after they had a disagreement about a post on cabbage?" is not a good question. It should instead be something more along the lines of "What are the best ways to deal with a user who is consistently disrespectful of a moderator after a decision they disagreed with?"

This distils it down to the key details. We need to know that a user is after a moderator because of a dispute over the moderator's actions. The other specific details are irrelevant or very nearly so. This also greatly limits the number of this type of question we can get as it makes it more likely that we will have a previous question addressing the concern.

  • Although I agree with this, I don't know how it will work out. As far as answering the two example questions you gave, they seem pretty much equivalent... they are just worded differently. I guess we will just have to stress that you should edit if you can only slightly modify it to make it on topic. Commented Aug 8, 2014 at 0:57
  • Right, the point is to make sure the question is discoverable. It isn't that one is off topic and the other fine, it is that we need to be clear what dupes are so we can avoid the same thing a lot.
    – AJ Henderson Mod
    Commented Aug 8, 2014 at 1:02

There's a bunch of 'How to deal with' questions on Writers.SE, and they work pretty well. "How to deal with writer's block?" "How to deal with worldbuilder syndrome?" "How to deal with inability to come up with a good ending?"

These are subjective questions, to which there is more than one good answer, but the asker doesn't require the very best answer, or all answers possible. The asker needs an answer that solves the problem. We can provide such one. And if one that is even better appears later - well, the site allows you to move the tick mark to a different question.

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