Quick and dirty summary:
- We've tried these types of questions before and they didn't work out.
- This isn't a forum, we try to avoid discussions outside of the chatroom (and sometimes meta).
- There is a difference between questions/answers that are useful to anyone, and questions/answers that are useful to only one person.
- Not every question is a good question.
- We don't have to take questions we consider to be bad, in the hopes that they'll attract users. Because our user-base is growing without those questions.
- Those questions attract visitors, but not users. We should be focusing on attracting users who will stay and answer questions. Visitors will come on their own as long as we have content, which we need users to build and maintain.
Best small pet for a fairly small space in a bedroom?
This is clearly a recommendation question. The problem with recommendation questions is that the person who's going to be taking care of the animal is the best person to choose an animal they want. Any answers to a pet recommendation question are no better than if the person went through an encyclopedia of animal species.
Part of what we consider with questions, is whether or not the question is useful to anyone, or just the person asking the question. If a person asks a question that's only useful to them, then that question is nothing but noise on our site.
Yes, plenty of people google "What pet should I get?". But no one is going to find an answer that question that applies to them. What they're going to find are lists of animals, and then they're going to decide on what animal they want on their own. Again, nothing more than looking through an encyclopedia.
But the real problem with recommendation questions is that encyclopedias are a bettor format for them. We can't physically host an answer those questions with the format of this site.
Let me break it down to give you an idea of why that is:
- There are an estimated 1,367,555 species of animals in the world.1
- Of the estimated 65.976 vertebrates, there are:
- 5,513 species of mammals.
- 10,425 species of birds.
- 9,952 species of reptiles.
- 7,286 species of amphibians.
- 32,800 species of fish.
- Of the estimated 1,305,250 invertebrates, there are:
- 1,000,000 species of insects.
- 85,000 species of molluscs.
- 47,000 species of crustaceans.
- 2,175 species of corals.
- 102.248 species of arachnids.
- 165 species of velvet worms.
- 4 species of horseshoe crabs.
- And then there are 68,658 species without any decided classification.
First off, how would we list all those animals?
The answer is that we don't. People only think about a few select species.
So then why, with all these different species of animals to choose from, is it that the answers are only for a select few species?
The answer is that Everyone has a bias.
Normally the bias doesn't matter. If I ask a question about cats, I want someone who spends time with cats to answer it. But with open-ended questions like "What pet should I get" no one is going to take the time to give a comprehensive answer. Partly because no one wants to suggest an animal they know nothing about.
All it leads to a lot of noisy discussion about what animals people like best, and thats something we want to avoid.
Everyone is free to ask for suggestions in the chatroom.
1 ICN Red List
How do I shop for and set up my first fish tank?
The only problem with your question was that you were trying to cram multiple different questions into one, which is against the rules. You had to have known this, otherwise you wouldn't have included your meta-comment about why your question(s) deserved to be an exception.
You broke the rules, I asked you to follow them, you refused, your question got closed. I don't see anything in that process that's broken.
Help! My cat pees on everything!
A question having answers does not designate whether or not a question shouldn't be closed, and it especially doesn't designate whether a question is good.
There will always be someone willing to answer a bad question. That's why it's important to close bad questions early, so that we not only avoid the noise it creates, but we can avoid the arguments of people's questions being closed when they got an answer.
The question was bad because there wasn't enough information to answer it. People don't always include everything that's needed when asking questions, and since we're dealing with live animals, there are many variables we have to deal with. It's created a couple meta discussions, the main one being: What common information should a question poster be expected to provide about their pet?
The answer was upvoted because it's good general advice on what to try to narrow down the problem, but it technically isn't really a solution to the problem, because we don't know what could be causing the problem. Since we don't know what's causing the problem, it's too broad for us to give an answer to, which is why it was closed.
I'm going to re-use the graph I used in this answer to illustrate that we don't have to worry about gaining users. They come on their own. Which means we don't have to accept bad questions in order to gain users.
If anything, I think we need to worry less about gaining visitors, and more about gaining users, the ones who will stick around and write good answers to questions. None of which will happen if we hold to the same level of quality as Yahoo Answers. Visitors don't build sites, users do.
Bottom line is, if you think these questions are good questions for the site, I think you would be better off arguing why they're good, and why you think they're answerable, rather than saying that we should keep them because we need to attract users. Because right now, I can't say I see the value in those questions.