Okay, so our policy is that questions that are opinion based, asking for lists, asking for references, speculative, "what-do-you-think-of-x" etc. are off-topic on history.se.

While I agree and respect the rules, and I try my best to ask questions that fit the rules, sometimes I feel that these restrictions are maybe too strict. I'm not asking to change the rules. But after spending a couple of years on this site, I've come to respect the regular senior members of the site, whose answers continue to enlighten me, and makes me realize I have too much to learn.

And so I was wondering, could we have a platform with the same set of people, but maybe with somewhat relaxed rules? Is chat (or meta...maybe not) that platform? Do we allow "off-topic" discussion on chat?
Or (since I'm not familiar with the assumptions of why we do history) is it considered futile to engage in subjective questions?

Does this even make sense? What do you think?

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    Yes, off-topic and subjective discussion is allowed on chat. Unfortunately, History's chat is not very active. – called2voyage May 26 '16 at 20:17

Just about any topic is in-bounds in chat. I at least try to check it regularly. That's where I generally suggest "good book on..." requests go.

If your question is speculative, there's a very good chance you can ask it on Worldbuilding. Just phrase it something like "In an alternate universe where the Byzantines had access to an unlimited supply of Greek Fire, would Constantinople still have fallen?"

For (reference) lists, we tried a proposal for those a while back. It was...not an unmitigated success. I tried to make the proposal something simple, but I think it still was not simple enough. But if you open a question of this type, and specifically say in the question you want that proposal's rules used (with a link), its possible the closers might leave you alone. No promises.

As for "subjective" things... the problem there is if there are multiple supportable conclusions, there's no possible way to pick one of the answers. Perhaps the poster with the better writing skills will "win", or the questioner will pick the answer that correctly guessed their own personal favorite conclusion, but that doesn't mean that answer's conclusions are correct. In the meantime, there tend to be oodles of comments arguing about things. SE's tools just really aren't designed for discussions. That's what chat is for. (Or you could try to wedge your subjective question onto WorldBuilding, where the presumption of fiction tends to keep tempers down).

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    1. I see. Nice to hear that we have one platform with same users for such off-topic discussions. 2. Well, I've seen the common posts on Worldbuilding SE, and while it's technically within the scope, I don't think that's what it's for. Particularly, your suggested example feels like a hack. :-) 3, 4. Thanks, but not really, I don't have any suggestions of my own (except that we should be more welcoming for new users). In either case, I'll try to use chat. – taninamdar May 26 '16 at 21:37
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    @taninamdar - 2. I've used more than 20 programming languages, but the most hackable one by far is English. :-) – T.E.D. May 26 '16 at 21:43
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    @taninamdar - Seriously though, they have an alternate-history tag with almost 150 questions on it. I'd say a good half of them at least are of very similar form to questions I've seen closed here for being speculative. However, they do still close questions there for being "primarily opinion-based". I'm not conversant enough with that stack to know where exactly they draw the line. – T.E.D. May 26 '16 at 21:48
  • I think the line gets drawn on a rather arbitrary basis on WB. Some great questions have been shut down rather unhelpfully, while other more dubious ones pass. It seems to be whatever mood they're in at the time. Alt History doesn't seem to be too popular at the moment, and unless it's science based, it doesn't get a lot of support – user17382 Jun 15 '16 at 21:07
  • @Thomo - Have you tried to correlate with reputation? In my experience, any first post I make on a new stack is highly likely to get closed, along with comments lecturing me on how to write a good question/answer. Now a large amount of that is probably me legitimately not knowing the posting "culture" there. But it seems like the higher my rep goes, the crappier the posts I can get away with. So, its tough to shake the feeling that there isn't a kind of low-rep hazing going on. – T.E.D. Jun 15 '16 at 21:17
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    @ted - I've not really done any research into it, more of a general observation. And it's not been a problem for me as I haven't actually posted a question :) I'd definitely agree with the feeling of rep hazing, as you mention it. Which I guess is something that's always going to be a problem with a system designed like SE, where people with low rep/ new users are deemed less knowledgeable/reliable than someone with a high rep - deserved or not - just human nature I guess – user17382 Jun 15 '16 at 21:26

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