There are quite a few questions (I added the tag; it should perhaps include viewing-order in some way, but I couldn't think of a suitable word).

Personally, these questions seem ok: there are many series (e.g. OSC's Ender books) where the chronology of the books overlaps and/or differs considerably from the publication order, and it is confusing to know where the best place to start is. (Although my personal opinion is that publication order is always best).

However, they are clearly subjective. However, I feel that they meet all six of the guidelines for good subjective questions.

A question about the viewing order of the SW movies currently has 4 close votes. It seems like the biggest problem here is that the prequels are widely disliked, and so the answers tend towards "ignore the prequels", which doesn't answer the question well. However, I think Mike Scott's answer is very good: it usefully explains what a good order is.

Personally, I would vote down "the prequels suck" answers, and either vote down or not vote up the question (because it seems too subjective, although Mike's answer does counter that somewhat).

If the SW question is just a bad example of an acceptable type of question, should it be closed rather than down-voted or ignored? Does the community want to ban all questions of this type?

2 Answers 2


In the sense of defining policy and scope for this site…

Asking in which order a series is meant to be read (or viewed) seems more useful and authoritative than questions just citing general trivia and reference. There is no basis for shutting them down.

If you feel the answers are too opinionated or snarky, simply vote down those answers (i.e. the best answers should float to the top). Those users are missing the point of Q&A… and this site.

There very well could be nothing subjective about the question. If an author intends their material to be viewed in a certain manner, that's the answer. If the author has no such intentions, then that's the answer.

If the question gets shut down because the users cannot distinguish between diatribes and Q&A, that does not bode well for this site.

  • My vague opinion: Seems like some order questions are more subjective than others. For instance, what order to view the Star Wars movies in is mostly preference. But a question like "What is the in-universe chronological order of novels that feature the Foundation?", might have more substantial useful answers. Commented Feb 2, 2011 at 17:44
  • 1
    @Mark Rogers: Then the answer--assuming you are right--is "Lucas had no intended viewing order so the order you watch them is largely a matter of personal preference." You could go on and state if there is a widely-accepted consensus but that's more about understanding Good Subjective, Bad Subjective. Commented Feb 2, 2011 at 18:01
  • would you mind weighing in on this (related) meta question? meta.scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/208/…
    – Tony Meyer
    Commented Feb 2, 2011 at 23:37

I think we may want to revisit this issue. The accepted answer back then was to restrict these to "intended" versus "suggested" as the latter is clearly subjective. But the questions tagged rarely, if ever, follow this rule.

The recent changes to the close reasons include

primarily opinion-based: Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise.

Take this recent question: In which order should I start Watching Star Trek movies and TV series. As of now, there are 5 answers - all subjective.

I feel like we should be closing most of these questions as the new close reason pretty clearly applies to them.

  • 2
    I disagree. With the exception of a single answer to the question you listed as an example, all of the answers are opinion backed with expert experience in the form of justifications based upon an analysis of the content and context of the episodes. Answers like this are definitely bad, as it is admittedly based solely upon personal preference, but answers suggesting order based upon continuity issues, production value changes, creator intent and vision, or specific story arcs are very much "opinion based on expert experience", imo.
    – Beofett
    Commented Jul 3, 2013 at 18:33
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    Suggested order should (and can) be supported by reasoning (i.e., "good subjective"). Spoiler issues, most accessible or most enjoyable first (which, of course, depends on the audience but that can be stated in an answer or be part of the question), production order to see idea evolution/world-building (again with consideration of audience), etc. are obvious considerations.
    – user11683
    Commented Jul 4, 2013 at 22:01
  • I still see an issue in that the answers themselves may be "good-subjective", but the questions themselves really open them up for "bad-subjective". There is always room for a good answer to a bad question - that doesn't mean that we shouldn't close a bad question.
    – phantom42
    Commented Jul 5, 2013 at 6:09
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    @phantom42 In order for a question to qualify as bad under the hold reason you cite, "answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions". In other words, the question has to be worded in such a way as to make bad answers likely, and good answers unlikely. You're calling a category of questions bad merely because bad answers are possible, which is not in keeping with the spirit of that hold reason (and, in point of fact, any question can receive bad answers).
    – Beofett
    Commented Jul 5, 2013 at 16:14

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