During the (multiple) definition phases we discussed (quite) a bit about how opinionated answers would be accepted or received by this community.

Was a consensus reached about this topic? Not aware if some more reasoning was made towards up/down-voting based on opinions, but I believe that can quickly become a problem if we accept opinions and don't shape some kind of "acceptance policy" (mmh, couldn't think of any better wording) about voting.

I am sure this has been on discussed in other communities meta sites, unfortunately I am not very active in metas, please enlighten me. There are already a couple of "suspicious" votes I have spotted on the most broader questions.


1 Answer 1


I am against opinionated answers, unless an answer has some basis in formal theory (books, articles on HBR, etc...). Or there is a case study that has been presented in a public forum (conference, meetup) regarding a method that works - an opinion is not a good answer and should be downvoted and preferably removed.

At the same time, I believe that questions must not be voted to be closed because someone has an opinion that all answers will be opinionated. That is just killing a source of great knowledge without even allowing people to try and answer.

There are plenty of questions that ask very basic things, and in other context would be assumed to bring only opinionated answers. For example, "How do I persuade my boss to do X?". In the DevOps StackExchange, there ARE answers that come from formal theory (books, articles, etc...) and based on case studies of companies who are talking about their DevOps journey/transformation. These questions should be left open IMHO so that knowledgable people can collect and contribute the knowledge, turning this website into a very valuable resource for companies wishing to undergo a journey into DevOps.

To quote my comment on https://area51.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/26466/devops-site-description-too-narrow

There a ton of definitive knowledge that spans thousands of books and more than a hundred years of human endeavor. That knowledge has been battle tested in the field in many other industries, and also in IT. Just because most people have not read the books, and are not aware of this knowledge, does not mean the every answer to such questions is going to be an "opinion".

The above is also currently described at https://devops.stackexchange.com/help/dont-ask

Some subjective questions are allowed, but “subjective” does not mean “anything goes”. All subjective questions are expected to be constructive. What does that mean? Constructive subjective questions:

  • inspire answers that explain “why” and “how”
  • tend to have long, not short, answers
  • have a constructive, fair, and impartial tone
  • invite sharing experiences over opinions
  • insist that opinion be backed up with facts and references
  • are more than just mindless social fun
  • While i really appreciate your answer, I was asking about downvotes (or upvotes) on slightly (or fairly) opinionated answers, not the acceptance of the answers themselves. Sorry if that was not clear. Commented Mar 5, 2017 at 14:15
  • When/if an answer is an opinion without any real basis behind it ... then it should be downvoted. Facts, not conjectures. Commented Mar 5, 2017 at 14:40
  • Ok; while I see this pragmatic approach good for devops tooling, I still see the boundary for deciding what "backed by fact" might be, in relation to practices, quite unreliable Commented Mar 5, 2017 at 20:45
  • @ᴳᵁᴵᴰᴼ why? there are certainly a much larger body of knowledge (books, articles) for practices and methods than there is on each tool. Commented Mar 6, 2017 at 0:00
  • well to be honest I still have to find my "effective Java" of DevOps (I come form a development background), and so many articles about devops on the web, gosh, are opinionated... but maybe i just misunderstood your point, I thought you were only keen to accept formally defined or accepted topics, while after reading your answer again, you just want to avoid the risk of collapsing in a continuous flame with people coming out of the blue, which makes sense Commented Mar 6, 2017 at 0:07
  • Oh, definitely most articles on the web about DevOps are just for buzz and don't really hold any valuable information. But not ALL articles and books are like that, it takes some digging but there are gems. I'm trying to expose those in my answers around this site. Commented Mar 6, 2017 at 0:08

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