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:
- Does this question match the criteria provided in the Stack Overflow FAQ?
- Is this question accepted by the community, as reflected in upvotes, favorites, views, and answers?
- 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:
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.