Frequently questions ask for the "Best X for Y" but the OP is unaware that "best" is very individual and the criteria for goodness needs to be provided for people to give better answers.

Should "best" be given special treatment when analyzing the question? Perhaps even be considered a stop-word which cannot be used? (at least in the title?)

  • 5
    Won't work. There are legitimate reasons for using the word that have nothing to do with the quality of the question. Example: "Which technique provides the best performance?" The word "best" doesn't always imply a shopping list or poll question. May 23, 2011 at 14:43
  • For me, frequently on Stack Overflow questions such as what is the best xyz are extremely helpful. Often times I use it to get a gauge of best of breed in a domain that I am not directly familiar with. Not that I expect the answers to be definitive but they can be a useful heuristic.
    – User
    May 24, 2011 at 15:49
  • People so often ask for the best way to do xyz, when really they just need a way. And of course, they rarely define what "best" means for them.
    – Erik Eidt
    Feb 27, 2020 at 15:32

2 Answers 2


Try asking, say, "What is best in life?" on Stack Overflow. As soon as you finish entering that title and tab off the entry field, you'll get a little warning:

The question you're asking appears subjective and is likely to be closed.

Pretty much what you're asking for, right? Ah, but that won't appear on Programmers, because Programmers loves subjectivity!

If you see a question that doesn't provide enough information to be answered (not just general, but outright vague) then close it. Otherwise, edit the title to reflect the actual question, assuming it doesn't already. If you can find a way to eliminate "best" while doing so... Well, shucks, that would be best.

  • 1
    I'm not sure Programmers love subjectivity, always... this site is becoming more and more schizophrenic there days.
    – user2567
    May 23, 2011 at 8:45
  • 3
    Subjectivity is nice. "best" is not.
    – user1249
    May 23, 2011 at 8:58

Mr. CRT covered the specific issue with adding best as a stop-word, but in general, this is a problem that can't be solved entirely by heuristics.

If we ban "best", "greatest" will take its place. Once "greatest" is banned, "most awesome", and so on will come. Heck, we've even had problems with people inventing words to evade moderation focused on weasel words.

As Mr. CRT alluded to, when you see a question hinged upon a word like that, it's the symptom of a larger problem with the question in general, one that isnt going to be fixed by removing a single word.

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