I wrote a question asking about the downsides of an alternative container solution which I read about in a blog. The question was closed as opinion based, but surely there are objective pros and cons to any technology choice.

How can I improve this question so that it would solicit answers such as, "Docker does X well which a Deb package can not do." or "A deb package solution only works for situation Y, but in situation Z it wouldn't help you."?

Edit: The initial question has now been heavily edited based on the accepted answer here.

  • @Tensibai Now that the question has been heavily edited, do you still think its unanswerable?
    – avi
    Commented Mar 2, 2017 at 13:24
  • 1
    It is still asking to compare apples with oranges, but I think it is reasonably scoped to be answered now. There's still possibility of an opinion war, but I think the scope should keep it reasonable. Voted to reopen.
    – Tensibai
    Commented Mar 2, 2017 at 13:29
  • 1
    Side note: you can ping close voters under the question to let them review the new version as there's chances it will take long with the current review access.
    – Tensibai
    Commented Mar 2, 2017 at 13:31
  • @Tensibai How do you ping all the close voters? I don't want to make comment spam for each one.
    – avi
    Commented Mar 2, 2017 at 13:36
  • Sadly you have no other way, if not you can just wait to see if enough people agree to reopen, the Q is just missing 2 votes now.
    – Tensibai
    Commented Mar 2, 2017 at 13:43

1 Answer 1


Stack Exchange works really well when you ask very specific questions about a problem you encountered in your day to day work — something that can be at least somewhat definitively answered as rankably "most correct."

The handling of "big list" questions varies site to site, but what they all have in common something akin to

"I don't have specific problem in mind, but just tell me everything you know and I'll pick through the answers later."

That is essentially what a "compare [this] to [that]" question is asking.

This is not a discussion forum, so when folks start answering with random anecdotes and bits and pieces of information, they are only guessing about what information will help you specifically. That's not the best way to use Stack Exchange.

How do I improve these questions?

Start with a very specific problem statement. What problem are you trying to solve? Why doesn't your current solution work? What are you looking for… specifically? If you haven't already started looking at the alternative solution yourself, your question may simply be too soon for a site like this — often expressed tritely as "what have you tried?"

But if you did your research and got stuck, I'm sure folks here would love to share their combined experiences overcoming your very specific problem.

Here is an hypothetical example to illustrate:

I am using [software-A] but I'm not really happy about how slow the workflow is in moving multiple users between databases. I looked at [Software-B], but I don't see anything about power-user keyboard shortcuts. Can some who is familiar with both tell me if [Software-B] has a quicker process for this, and maybe compare the workflow between the two?

  • 5
    This need to be really put forward. We have a lot of questions on hold right now because they are too vague. "How to do authentication?" is not a good question, "How to do authentication - we're having THIS issue and we want to prevent THAT type of exploit", that's better. Your paragraph on "Start with a very specific problem statement" should be included in the Ask a question page. That page is not giving enough directions at the moment.
    – Alexandre
    Commented Mar 1, 2017 at 23:29
  • Question has been updated, based on this answer.
    – avi
    Commented Mar 2, 2017 at 13:22

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