Are questions that belong to the category "What Apps Should I Get?" appropriate Android Enthusiasts? How about if they're asking for specific apps, such as "What are good RSS aggregator apps that integrate with Google Reader and allow offline reading?"
Why? Because there's no wrong answer, so anything would go.
Does this mean I just add a bunch of rules to narrow the scope and then it is allowed? Well still no, because answers tend to be valued for how much people like the mentioned app, not the usefulness or quality of the answer.
Wouldn't making it community wiki solve the problem? Again nope! Community Wiki is meant for questions that don't have a definitive answer and thus need some room for discussion or when the answers would benefit from collaboration of the community. The fact that there's no rep, doesn't change the fact that votes no longer equal quality, which is what our engine is designed for.
So what to do? Try asking a question that invites quality answers, that limits the amount of answers (it should be limited to one page of answers) and that explain how the app fits your specific needs.
I think a lot of good points have already been made here but after taking a look at the existing questions, I really think people need to take a good hard look at this:
- What's the Best Security / Anti-virus App?
- Any good World time applications?
- What is the best music app?
- Good Dictation / Transcription Software
- Are there any good firewalls available?
- Is there a good app for monitoring the amount of data traffic?
- What is the best alternative to the stock camera app?
- Whats the best app for identifying apps or settings that cause performance problems?
- What are the best personal finance applications for Android?
- What do you use for note taking?
- Comparision of Twitter Apps
- Alternative keyboards
- What Lost Phone finder do you use and why?
- What replacements are available for Google Maps?
- What Android Apps do you pay for?
- What Apps do you have that you have uninstalled for performance problems?
Edit - I missed a few, and more just keep coming and coming...
- What is the lightest homescreen replacement / launcher app?
- App available for stackexchange on android handset (ok, at least there are only a few of these)
- What are the options for Tricorder apps?
- Apps for RSS feed aggregator sites
- Android app for linkedin integration.
- What voice privacy apps are available?
Guys, this is seriously awful. We are just one day into the beta and out of 109 questions on the site, 22 of them (over 20%) are about which apps are "good/bad/best" - yikes!
Worse, almost none of them are Community Wiki, so people are actually gaining rep for asking and answering the most mundane and subjective questions imaginable.
I think this list very dramatically illustrates the problem with allowing these questions. There's no end to them. What's the best compass app? What's the best flashlight app? What's the best ukelele simulation app? Gah!
Is this what we're going to be, just a glorified review site? Is it really that hard to just go to the market and read the reviews? The Android developers have already built us this beautiful rating and review system that you can access right on your phone. We don't need this fluff.
Please, please, let's start closing these questions. At the very least close them until we have moderators who can properly wikify them, but even then, I don't want to see people's 1-line recommendations taking up 20% of the site. This is turning into a land grab with everybody wanting to own one of the big bad 500+ upvoted poll questions. If we don't nip this in the bud, it's going to bite us hard later on.
P.S. I'm not saying every question about an app is bad. Here are two that are fine:
- Is there an alarm clock app that takes account of personal and/or public holidays?
- How can I choose between Shazam and Midomi?
In the first example, somebody is looking for a very specific app and has provided criteria to significantly narrow down the list of candidates. In the second example, the author is asking for a comparison of two specific apps. I see no problem with either of these.
I just don't want to see two hundred "Post your favourite [X] app" polls by the time we hit public beta.
What Apps Should I Get?
Should be closed as not a real question (too vague). Here are some similar questions that I imagine being asked:
- What is your desert island top 5 apps?
- Which app do you use the most?
- Which app has changed your life and now you couldn't live without?
- Which relatively unknown app do you think more people should know about?
I think this sort of question could be very popular and attract lots of answers and might even be an interesting read. I'd rather not see this type of question regularly, but it's almost inevitable that we'll get some popular questions of this type.
"What are good RSS aggregator apps that integrate with Google Reader and allow offline reading?"
Yes, I think that's OK. It's answerable and it helps someone solve a specific need. In the definition phase of this site someone suggested this question:
Is there an app/Which app is best that can do [task]?
This question received 6 ontopic votes and 0 offtopic votes. So this sort of question seems like it should be allowed. Also people are asking this type of question a lot, so it's obviously something people want to be able to ask.
If the question in subjective, I generally agree with Ivo Flipse's answer, though I think there are usually good ways to re-phrase the question that are not subjective: Instead of "Which dinosaur app...", you could ask "What are the differences between these three dinosaur apps?" or "Are there any dinosaur apps?"
(Sorry, Dinosaurs were the first random topic that came to mind. I must be a five year old.)
I don't think it's appropriate to eliminate questions simply because they have a subjective element, especially if there is the question can invite objective answers. For example, I don't think a completely subjective question like "What's the funnest game app?" has any value. Questions like that shouldn't be asked, however, a similar app suggestion question like "What is the most effective anti-virus app?" is completely appropriate. This question invites quantitative responses that will add value to the community. If you use a particular app and you simply like it, then don't answer. If you have used several apps and have knowledge about something that makes one app definitively stand out from the rest, then by all means, share. I don't see the harm in this.
I think there is value to a generic, community wiki question when it provides answers a lot of people are going to look for. Phrasing the question, "What should I get?" is a bad idea, but maybe making a CW question that is generically useful for all users is not bad: "What is your favorite Twitter app and why?"
Check out the following CW questions on Stack Overflow. All of them have multiple "right" answers, but are highly rated and favorited by the community. In fact, these are some of the highest rated of all questions: