There are a few questions on this site that are in the form of "List all ...". Are these questions on topic?

Founders of Jewish movements

Accurate list of Gedolim

List of Techelet Wearers

words often mispronounced

Abbreviations before/after names

good learning site

At first glance, they are just requests for lists (which can be done just as well on Wikipedia) and similar to polling questions. On the other hand, they are genuine questions and AFAIK do not go against the FAQ.

What does the community have to say?

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+1 I was in the middle of composing such a question! –  Double AA Mar 25 '12 at 4:41
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FTR, I disagree with the first question in your list. That doesn't seem to be asking for a list, but rather if any of those listed still exist. –  HodofHod Mar 25 '12 at 4:53
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@HodofHod you're right. I think it depends on what is considered a correct answer. A correct answer to #1 is (for example) "Strashelye still exists". Even though there are more, that is sufficient for an answer. If the question would be "list the descendents of the Alter Rebbe"... –  Shmuel Brin Mar 25 '12 at 4:56
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FTR, the I and HodOfHod was discussing was "Are there other extant Chabad groups besides Chabad-Lubavitch?" –  Shmuel Brin Mar 25 '12 at 4:57
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Also see the same question on Meta.SO –  HodofHod Mar 25 '12 at 4:58
    
Added another. - –  HodofHod Mar 25 '12 at 5:04
    
possible: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/867/759 –  Double AA Mar 25 '12 at 5:56
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Boo............ –  Seth J Mar 25 '12 at 20:11
    
@DoubleAA I didn't notice, but almost all of these questions are already closed. The only two exceptions are "List of Techelet Wearers" and "Abbreviations before/after names". Personally, I think that the latter should be transferred to meta. –  Shmuel Brin Mar 26 '12 at 6:45
    
@HodofHod ping you too. –  Shmuel Brin Mar 26 '12 at 6:46
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@ShmuelBrill, why to meta? It's not a question about the site: it's a question about terms found in s'farim in the course of Jewish life, and learning. –  msh210 Mar 26 '12 at 21:32
    
@msh210 what about our glossary? Why is it on Meta? –  Shmuel Brin Mar 26 '12 at 21:34
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@ShmuelBrill, it's a list of terms found on-site. –  msh210 Mar 26 '12 at 21:41

4 Answers 4

I think this question should be closed because it will likely solicit debate and opinion, not revolving around facts or citing sources.

No, I kid. Kinda. In all seriousness, though, I think that these "list questions" add as much value as any other when they are written well and produce good answers. The idea is to learn. I know that for my question the top answer has undergone 28 revisions by 11 users (to date) and inspired a spinoff answer with the less flattering and more negative abbreviations associated with names written in Sefarim (even though it was not part of the question). The question itself has gotten 11 upvotes (to date), and the top answer has gotten 21 upvotes!

Why this should be deleted or closed just because it is a list is beyond me. I asked the question because I honestly did not know what some of these abbreviations meant, and, as someone who learns but was never trained on this particular item, it is 1)a little embarrassing to go to my Rav at my age and ask him what it stands for and 2)not so easy to remember the answer to all of the different abbreviations or versions of the same abbreviation. This has helped me out in many instances, and I actually consider it one of the best examples on the site in terms of the community posting and helping each other out to actually learn something factual about Jewish Life and Learning that some (in this case me) didn't previously know.

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They don't match any of the no-nos listed at "What kind of questions should I not ask here?". So if they're on-topic and seek objective answers, I think they're fine.

That said, I closed "words often mispronounced" because it started to seem as though it would allow way too many answers to be readable. I suspect the same may be true of the question that inspired this meta question.

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One of the requirements listed is "answerable". –  Double AA Mar 25 '12 at 4:55
    
Also, they are not necessarily practical questions based on problems that people face. –  Adam Mosheh Mar 25 '12 at 5:13
    
@DoubleAA, that sounds like the makings of an answer.... –  msh210 Mar 26 '12 at 21:45

According to Wikipedia, it is obvious that lists are different than articles. Just pointing that out. Perhaps if you infer from this that normal questions on mi.yodeya are like articles on wikipedia, then lists are different than general questions on this site. For the record, what do some of the other SE sites do for list questions?

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I don't think "normal questions on mi.yodeya are like articles on wikipedia". –  msh210 Mar 25 '12 at 15:37
    
Are you asking for a list of what the other sites do with respect to lists? –  Seth J Apr 30 '12 at 19:12
    
@SethJ - No I wasn't, but that's not a bad idea either. You should ask about that; I would upvote you! –  Adam Mosheh Jul 22 '12 at 19:26

I think that the criteria for judging whether a particular list is a good fit for this site is to see whether the individual items in the list would make good questions by themselves, but are more useful to the community when these individual questions are gathered in one place.

For example, asking for the meaning of a certain abbreviation which one finds in Torah related material is certainly a legitimate and useful question, and it makes much more sense to have similar such questions gathered together in one place - for findability and addabilty (newly coined words :-). (I would add that for this particular post I think it might be useful if there was a permanent link to it on the side of the page, since such abbr. are sometimes found in posts.

In the case of Techeiles wearers, I am guessing that someone who is trying to decide whether to wear it might ask if a certain Rav wears it or not to help them decide, and so a list in one place would be useful.

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