After this question was closed:

What Star Trek episode to introduce a new viewer?

Wikis pointed out this question that remained open:

Which Discworld book to start a newbie on

There is no doubt those questions are both list questions, as every answer is worth the same and only the argument differs. This would lead into a pool because of the site's mechanics. Also, they could be classified as a personalized recommendation question that is restricted to a series.

But, as the op pointed out, we allow questions about . This is an exception because, in my humble opinion, they fulfill the same criteria. Also, "where to start" question are a subset of questions that ask only for the first item in the order.

Should we, as a community, define "where to start" questions and other exceptions?

2 Answers 2


Suggested order questions, including questions about where to start, aren't what we call “list questions”: list questions are questions that call for items on a practically unbounded list. Suggested order questions are explicitly allowed on this site, but this doesn't mean that every suggested order question is automatically ok (similarly, “who is your favorite Harry Potter character” would not be ok even though Harry Potter is on-topic).

I think this question is a borderline case. I'm certainly not going to apply a moderator vote to it either way (unless it's to implement a consensus achieved on Meta).

MAW74656: I suggest editing your question to make it more precise. Add something about your girlfriend's tastes, so that the answers don't boil down to the answerer's favorite episode. Also, please note that “lead to fun discussion for all” is not what we're here for; this is a questions and answers site, not a discussion forum.

  • 3
    But, if he "add something about your girlfriend's tastes", doesn't it become a personalized recommendation?
    – DavRob60
    Aug 24, 2012 at 12:50
  • @DavRob60 You have to achieve balance. The perfect question is the Dao to which we should aspire.
    – user56
    Aug 24, 2012 at 12:53
  • 3
    So, you are the one who will bring balance to scifi.stackexchange!
    – DavRob60
    Aug 24, 2012 at 12:55
  • @DavRob60 - stop plotting to kill Gilles (if you forgot, THAT was how the balance of the Force was restored) </star_wars_geekery> Aug 24, 2012 at 14:38
  • @DVK: Actually, plotting to kill Gilles would not be a good analogy. It's the impulsive action that did it. (A little advance plotting would have saved a lot of trouble.) </star_wars_linguistic_aside>. (The perfect nitpick is the Dao to which I aspire.)
    – Tynam
    Aug 24, 2012 at 15:23

Frankly, I see "Which Discworld book to start a newbie on" as worthy of closing on merits as the Star Trek one. Neither provides even remotely enough details to choose between multiple valid orders.

The only redeeming quality for Pratchett one is that it produced an great answer that picked one (good) criteria (dependency graph); as such, I would strongly recommend that someone either edit the Pratchett question to match that answer, or VTC it as too vague.

As far as Star Trek one, I already expressed my opinion in the comments. It needs a lot more details explaining how to discriminate between possible first episodes, otherwise it has as many "correct" answer as there are episodes+movies and thus can not be answered in SE Q&A format.

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