What is the best X? versus What is your favorite X? versus What X to use?

I'm wondering if such questions result in the same answer, often the best is your favorite and vice-versa.

My guess is that we should see such questions as duplicates, but what do you think?

  • 1
    Could add "What [Editor] do you use?" to the VS List.. – DavRob60 Sep 28 '10 at 13:23
  • Done. :-) ` ` ` ` – Tamara Wijsman Oct 4 '10 at 15:22

Since they're going to accumulate much the same answers, they're effectively dupes. Close them.

I much prefer "Favorite" questions to "Best" questions, myself, since they're less likely to lead to arguments. If somebody claims I should obviously use emacs as my primary editor, that's an indictment of my competence, and hence inflammatory. If somebody claims they really like emacs, that's a difference in taste. Therefore, I'd be tempted to flag the "Best" question as the dupe if there's a real choice.


Probably yes. I'm waiting to community decides on vote as I was oriented to don't interfere on what can be left to community.

The best you can do is vote to close if this is your interpretation.

  • Yeah, that's a good idea as a moderator. I didn't took the vote to close because I think this is something that can be discussed and agreed upon, or else we will see only some being closed while others are left open resulting in similar discussions... – Tamara Wijsman Sep 24 '10 at 22:19
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    The issue is that if you merge them, the answers are going to be A) Huge and B) Duplicates. I would almost label one as a duplicate of the other instead of merging – TheLQ Sep 24 '10 at 22:19
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    @TomWij: The downside of being moderator is it turns your decisions all or nothing. @TheLQ: Probably the best solution. – Maniero Sep 24 '10 at 22:34
  • @TheLQ: There wasn't a plan of merging, but it's a nice idea if it's done manually... But yes, labeling the second question that comes as a duplicate asap is probably the best idea. – Tamara Wijsman Sep 24 '10 at 22:37
  • @bigown: Unless you're the 5th vote. – Roger Pate Sep 25 '10 at 2:35
  • Well I'm going to get the ball rolling and label "Whats the best editor?" as a duplicate since it only has 6 answers and a score of -1 (-3,+2) – TheLQ Sep 25 '10 at 4:26

Just to put a spanner in the works:

"Best" questions can often be rewritten to ask "which X meets these criteria" and then list the criteria as the author often includes a couple of features they want/need.

"Favourite" questions are purely subjective.

  • Which is a good argument for editing, when that's feasible. The example given here doesn't lend itself to that however. – Shog9 Sep 28 '10 at 15:47
  • @Mr. C - I wasn't necessarily suggesting that, but pointing out a more general rule we need to consider. – ChrisF Sep 28 '10 at 16:34
  • yeah, I wasn't necessarily disagreeing with you; "best" is a red flag in either case, whether the response is "edit into favorites" or "edit into specific question". – Shog9 Sep 28 '10 at 16:40

"Best" questions are inherently bad - there is seldom a single best as most choices are a compromise of some sort so inevitably you're going to get answers that tend towards favourites (or just stuff you use). Its hard to generalise objective criteria for best (although possibly if you list a lot of constraints it will refine the question to the point where you could get a concensus). Worse things change - best today may not be best tomorrow.

"Favourite" is much more honest question in that - as suggested - its obviously at least somewhat subjective so you know where you are to start - when can have a favourite that is not necessarily the best in some respect you can explain that and its not necessarily flamebait in the way that an assertion that something is best is (c.f. is an iPhone better than Android better than WP7 better than my MiL's ancient Nokia? When the answer is "it depends" - given that all she ever wants to do is make phone calls reliably...)

All that aside, they're substantially looking for the same thing - which is suggestions and recommendations so yes they are, in effect, duplicated (or would be if the question were asked right...)


I could consider something the best in the category, but something else could still be my favorite for a number of reasons. So no, they are not the same. But the overlap is usually too huge to allow both the questions.

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