This is longer on my mind but now I experienced it also with my question.

Imagine there is a question which has real answer which can be found after investigation (whether it is more or less realistic to do), but no one from the audience knows it. Based on several opinions (without additional questions and further research) the question is marked as opinion based.

Why network speed changes rather in "steps" than totally randomly?

Is the above one really opinion-based question? For example, if developer of mentioned measurement app will read the question today and then describes and explains the behavior of measurement, then it is clear that the question is not opinion-based, but has its true and reasonable answer. (The app-specific behavior was partially identified long time before closing.)

But community here will not wait for hypothetical case that the app developer finds the question... Shouldn't such a question simply remain open, waiting for the right answer (even forever) instead of being labeled as opinion based? This can be dangerous precedens, because if someone has tricky formatting issue in MS Word and there is more opinions, but no right answer, will the question also be labeled as opinion-based?

As an user who is asking the question, may I view such a question as legitimate (hoping that someone who knows the answer finds it) yet before posting?

  • In what means this question is not legitimate or low quality? I am new on meta, so be nice and explain. :) – miroxlav Nov 16 at 8:15
  • 1
    On Meta, voting just expresses agreement or disagreement. – fixer1234 Nov 17 at 7:15
up vote 2 down vote accepted

I'll focus just on this aspect of the question:

But community here will not wait for hypothetical case that the app developer finds the question... Shouldn't such a question simply remain open, waiting for the right answer (even forever) instead of being labeled as opinion based?

Generally, no. If a question can only be answered by someone with inside knowledge, like the developer, it's not a good fit for the site.

  • We don't want a question to languish as unanswerable until or unless the developer happens to stumble across it (which may never happen). For those kinds of questions, it would be more useful to go directly to the developer to get the answer. Then consider posting a self-answered question here to share the information.
  • While these kinds of questions are unlikely to attract an answer from one of the few people in a position to provide one, they tend to attract bad, unreliable, and opinion-based answers from readers who aren't really in a position to provide a definitive answer (they're bad answer magnets).
  • Answers to such questions tend to be difficult to validate, generally making them unreliable.
  • Answers that are unreliable often attract upvotes from readers unfamiliar with the facts because they sound plausible and are assumed to be based on knowledge. The upvotes lend false credence to the answer. These sometimes get a little push-back in the form of requests for citations, but it's hard to refute an answer if nobody actually knows the answer.
  • Thank you. So, if I understand correctly based on my question and your answer, it is not always possible to triage my own question when asking, but the community will decide if the question is answerable from their viewpoint. (As stated in the question title, AFTER asking.) Is it possible to go away also with this outcome? Thanks again. – miroxlav Nov 16 at 9:32
  • @miroxlav, well put. The questioner won't always know whether or not something is general knowledge. People ask what they want to know. It's often the subject matter experts who can recognize what is answerable. So yeah, it's not always possible to know before posting the question. – fixer1234 Nov 16 at 10:19

I don't really agree that it is opinion based, but because there are a lot of technical reasons why you are seeing what you are seeing it is one that is difficult to answer with any real authority. It could be seen as "too broad" perhaps.

I saw your question and thought it might be a difficult one to answer but not necessarily impossible. It is one which depends a lot on network infrastructure outside of your control, of the design of speed testing apps and how they measure and average the values they are reading, and finally the setup and speed of your computer itself.

Focusing on a speedtest webapp would make it off topic per the site rules, but that's fine because we shouldn't have to, and indeed in your question you used an actual application. Most of the behaviours seen could be attributed to flow control and bandwidth management across multiple domains, combined with some averaging in the application. The problem then becomes one of home vs corporate networking. The site is slightly focused more towards home computers and networking which might be a problem, but hopefully we can ignore that for the moment.

So, down to bandwidth management and interactions with an app... this is where the question becomes tricky. Why an app shows things in a specific way is a question only the developers can answer. It is also combining a number of issues and is difficult to separate whether the problem lies with the application or the network.

Why a group of applications exhibit the same behaviour would point more towards a broader networking problem. Personally I'd lean towards allowing a question that showed repeatable program agnostic behaviour.

What might cause one application to show data one way while another showed it differently under the exact same conditions could be seen as opinion based.

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