What are the criteria for a question in this website to be considered opinion-based, and is it somewhat consistenly applied?
Such criteria would be necessary for moderators for a topic like chess.
I feel like many questions are closed off unfairly as opinion-based whereas some clearly opnion-based quesitons are allowed. Is such decisions made to avoid useless disputes? (To me, this doesn't seem to be the case).

For example, the question "What are the general principles for playing hypermodern against hypermodern?" was marked as too opnion-based and it was re-opened later after asking a meta question (by the way, it is not the case that the edits redeemed the quesiton).

On the other hand, there are obvious opinion-based questions which are let on.
Examples: one, two, three, four, five
The above question listed below for quick reading (without links):
Why isn't Chess960 the standard?
Why are opening books so popular?
Why do people prefer different chess engine evaluations?
What are some good podcasts to listen to?
What do I do next?
I could list many more. Similar to the last one, there are some many questions encouraged in this community that basically ask for opinions and tips on how to improve in chess (more examples: one, two, three).

  • I am afraid lack of proper criteria for moderators could lead to people leaving this community (or not participating actively). Jul 8, 2023 at 3:37
  • Some opinion-based questions are loved by this community, and many of them are indeed very useful to chess lovers. But, the moderator's decision on marking questions as opinion-based should not be opinion-based either. Jul 8, 2023 at 3:40
  • The opinion-based tag has no usage guidance. Jul 8, 2023 at 4:51
  • Taking cue from Moms4mom se as explained in this nice blog, I think opinions one can back up by facts should be allowed in chess se. Jul 8, 2023 at 5:01
  • related, possible dupe: chess.meta.stackexchange.com/q/880/9025
    – Herb
    Jul 9, 2023 at 0:09
  • @Herb The linked question is indeed closely related (the main difference is that this quesiton is for moderators). The accepted answer to that question is probably enough as a guideline. I would appreciate it if the tag description has a link to "What types of questions should I avoid asking?". Jul 9, 2023 at 5:03
  • 2
    Does this answer your question? Are questions involving opinions allowed?
    – Dheebs
    Jul 9, 2023 at 23:46
  • @Dheebs "Does this answer your question?" Probably yes (not sure myself). My concern is whether there is consistency in marking questions as opnion-based. Jul 10, 2023 at 6:17

1 Answer 1


I'll have a crack at this.

I'd classify any question that cannot be answered with a Right or Wrong answer , and leads towards a responses/discussions based on personal belief or conjecture.

So questions such as "Why is [insert chess variant] not played at the same level as classical chess?" leads to responses as , "Its not as exciting" etc. You cannot receive a factual response with any empirical evidence to support the response.

This is where it gets a little gray because there are some "opinion" style questions such as "How do I improve my Rating" that can generally be answered correctly with non opinionated responses, eg: Study and improve your end game, play longer time controls, study tactics, improve middle game, don't set all your focus on opening theory until you have middle game / end game theory locked in. That said I absolutely despise this questions because its no different to "How do I make a million dollars?" , perseverance.

The biggest issues with this is Stack Exchange isn't designed for communities like "Chess" in mind. Its primary design is for programming and leads to factual, measurable responses. Something not necessarily applicable to all facets of chess.

  • Sure. But, then why are questions listed at the end not marked opnion-based? Most (if not all) of them fit your description of questions not acceptable here. Jul 11, 2023 at 7:13
  • 1
    To a certain extent I agree. Unless things can be quantitatively measured, eg; Engine Use, something rooted in historic fact, or understood theory (eg; Opening principles). It will generally be opinionated.
    – Dheebs
    Jul 11, 2023 at 10:46
  • In that case, what should be a decent guideline for a mod to make decision on opnion-based questions? I am afraid many rely on their judgement on whether the question would be useful/interesting to the community. Utility to the community seems a good enough indicator, but personal judgement of this is often highly biased. And the interest of the community is very dynamic. For example, questions on chess variants is a new thing. Jul 11, 2023 at 11:06
  • Definitely more one for the mods.
    – Dheebs
    Jul 11, 2023 at 14:31

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