In the past, we've tried to discourage questions asking for 'pros and cons' and/or 'tips and tricks' (as the main thrust of the question) on the grounds that they tend to attract lists of answers (which are often opinion-based) and/or superficial answers rather than one or a few well-thought out fact-based answers (one of which can be accepted as the 'best'.)

Jmort53 said about list type questions at https://genealogy.meta.stackexchange.com/a/93/6485 :

The problem with list type questions is:

  • They attract a lot of spam.
  • They tend to generate link-only answers or one-liners.
  • They eventually become outdated, oftentimes quite quickly.
  • It's difficult to determine what the best answer is and vote good stuff to the top.
  • Most importantly, they don't focus on solving real problems.

Most questions worded asking for 'pros and cons' and 'tips and tricks' are focussed on solving real problems, so that isn't an issue -- people asking for 'tips/tricks/pros/cons' almost always have genuine problems they're trying to solve, even if their question isn't well focussed. And spam is a lesser issue in this context (although not impossible).

However, IMO, link-only answers or one-lines are very likely, especially to requests for tips and tricks:

  • Don't foo the bar on a Thursday when there's an R in the month.
  • You should look at this website -- it tells you everything you need to know.
  • I tried that but it wasn't useful. Don't bother.

And requests for 'tips and tricks' and 'pros and cons' are pretty open-ended, which doesn't encourage good answers (including an answer accepted by the OP) or make it possible for the votes of others to sort the wheat from the chaff.

It's often straightforward to reword these types of questions to focus in on specific areas of concern and encourage answers that are backed by facts, and thus improve the possibility of getting good substantial well thought out answers. We've often done this in the past, as part of our general efforts to improve the site. It doesn't prevent the questions getting excellent answers that meet the OP's need but it does head off the hit-and-run answers that don't meet our standards.

Do we still want to edit questions whose main thrust is to ask for 'tips and trick's and 'pros and cons' or are we now more relaxed about it now?

2 Answers 2


Yes - I think that we should continue "to edit questions whose main thrust is to ask for 'tips and trick's and 'pros and cons'".

For precisely the reasons that you have outlined, whenever a question arrives that asks for 'tips and trick's or 'pros and cons', I think we should always try to revise it into a form that:

  1. tells us what you want to know, and preferably why:
  2. where you have looked, or what you have tried; and
  3. where you are stuck

The alternative to me would be to consider voting to place on hold (with some lee way for new users on a Beta site) and await the asker to edit it themselves.

I believe they will often get better and quicker answers if experienced users of this site perform those preliminary edits as soon as they believe they are necessary.


There are plenty of times where one might ask the advantages or disadvantages of taking a particular research approach when solving a particular problem. I support editing the questions that ask for "tips and tricks" in a way that steers the answers to more thoughtful solutions, instead of producing a list.

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