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I was browsing through some recently deleted questions, and found this one:

What is your most spectacular or interesting death of a computing device?

What is your most spectacular or interesting death of a computing device? ...

Now, the post was already closed, and marked as community wiki, but I'm bringing this up because I've seen a few humorous questions in the past, and didn't see this one as particularly harmful. Now, I understand we're trying to clean up Super User, but should questions like this really be removed from the site? I'm just placing this here as a question to see if anyone else shares my viewpoint, especially because similar questions exist on other StackExchange sites, and I think they bring back a sense of "community" (and keep the overall atmosphere a bit less tense).

I'm not saying we need to allow a million of these questions, but they are far and few on this site, and even if new ones are posted, it's usually possible to flag it off as a duplicate of another one. Also, these questions are usually set as community wiki anyways (I know that's not it's primary purpose, but it does overcome gaining reputation from these types of questions).

Thoughts?

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Can we allow fun questions?

Jeff wrote about this subject in his blog post from January 2010:

Stack Overflow: Where We Hate Fun

[...]

In my mind, there are three broad guidelines that determine whether a question is appropriate for Stack Overflow:

  1. Does this question match the criteria provided in the Stack Overflow FAQ?
  2. Is this question accepted by the community, as reflected in upvotes, favorites, views, and answers?
  3. Does this question teach me anything that could make me better at my job? Can I learn something from it?

I personally see nothing wrong with a fun question, but only if it's on topic, receives a lot of views/votes and (and this is the most important part) is something you can learn from.

However, those shouldn't dominate our site and serve an actual purpose.


What could be a "good" fun question?

In my opinion, a "good" fun question is essentially a good question which happens to be funny in some way. An example would be:

How to mess up a PC running Windows 7?

Ok, so for my PC class I have to find 3 hacks that would mess up the lab's PC. Me and my partner are going to mess up the PC and then another team will try to fix it. The system on it is Windows 7. Anything that would stop the normal use or render the PC useless works.

This is not a hypothetical question. It's on topic, it's very practical, and it teaches you about stuff you might want to avoid, or gives you an idea about Windows or PC internals you haven't yet heard of. And of course, its answers are funny.


How do we deal with fun questions?

Jeff continues with:

I should clarify that we absolutely do not want the site overrun with “fun” questions. There’s no way we’re sacrificing our core Q&A mission to turn into a brainless LOL-fest like Reddit or Digg. But, there is a certain balance we’re trying to achieve. A world without fun is like a world without waffles and ponies. And what kind of monster would want that?

I think an important part about the whole thing is that as soon reputation is involved, the whole idea of reputation is for the birds. Why should you receive a potentially enormous amount of reputation for "just a funny answer" (or "story")? Some people work very hard for their reputation and it would be far too easy to cheat the system and get rewarded for the wrong reasons (at least in the current status of this Q/A system).

Currently, making such questions Community Wiki is the only way to deal with it. But Community Wiki was never meant to handle this. We'd be making a post CW for the wrong reasons.

Also, we've learned that discussion-style or open-ended questions don't make sense on this platform. Long lists of answers become cluttered. First answers float to the top, while late answers don't get any attention at all.

It's not for the sake of not wanting fun that I wouldn't want these questions to dominate the site. It's for the problems that come with reputation, their ton of answers and their style of discussion. As @random said, these kinds of things would probably be better suited for our Chat or reddit.

To summarize, I'd say: Make it on-topic, make it useful, and don't make it open-ended, then I'd personally have nothing against a fun question.

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Usually when these discussions are deleted it's because another moderator or other users have gone ahead and done so. It's a race to the bottom to clear these out and some are quicker on the clean up duties than others. You snooze, you lose out on your name casting the vote to delete.

Are they good questions fit for the site? No.

Are they the stuff that may be interesting in some slight way for the blog? Perhaps.

Community wiki is still no excuse for posting discussions where you sit around and regale each other in stories as the days pass by. That's for chat.

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    FYI: The blog is a source for some fun stuff, but not meant to encourage discussion behavior on questions within the site. I in no way feel like we need to have 'special' questions just for the blog. The blog services the site, and not the other way around. – James Mertz Aug 30 '11 at 16:32
  • The blog could have posts based around topic brought up by these questions, but that's about it. The comments would be what you see currently devolving on these going-to-be-deleted questions. Just like reddit. @kro – random Aug 30 '11 at 16:41
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    Hey, remember, on Stack Exchange, we hate fun! – slhck Aug 30 '11 at 17:24
  • @slhck awesome link, thanks for posting that. I think it's something everyone should read before voting/posting an answer to this question. Obviously everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but there are some very interesting points to consider in that entry. – Breakthrough Aug 30 '11 at 18:08

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