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Disclaimer: The following was originally an "answer" to another meta question: determining our scope. I recently realized that I never actually got around to ask this as a separate question, and never really got any replies to it. The mentioned examples are a bit out of date, but I guess they still convey the point.


Seeing that fandom seems to be on-topic, how do we consider speculative questions? For instance with the upcoming European championships, questions based on opinions are likely to come, but considering that the rest of StackExchange is based on clearly answerable questions I am not sure if it would be off-topic to ask a question like "How do you think the generation shift in France will effect their chances in the Euro 2012?" or "How will Spain cope with not having David Villa?"


For further reference, please check the suggestion/proposal in my answer to another meta question; "original answer or not".

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Personally, I think we should focus on outcomes and measureables rather than idle speculation.

Yes, speculation is something important in fandom, but for the most part it's pure conjecture.

There is one exception. That would be questions that ask for and about predicting outcomes based on hard data. However, these should be general cases for a sport or sports league and not specific game outcomes as those are far too localized and largely irrelevant once the event has passed.

I have a feeling that most fandom questions targeted at specific happenings in specific events are probably too localized unless generalizable as rules examples, rare statistical anomalies or other things with broader application than just to that specific instance.

  • +1: Good points.. – posdef Nov 5 '12 at 15:33
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To the point, speculative questions would promote discussion. These questions are better suited for Sports SE Chat - The Clubhouse.


However, to address a few of your points:

A few examples:

  • Should A or B be MVP this year?
  • A is no longer on the team, how will they respond?
  • Did A's injury lead to his team's poor performance?

Can these examples be answered "good subjectively?"

The intangible aspect of a generation shift or loss of a player is not measurable, but as you source, not exact either. Will this end up being too specific for its own good? Also, as computing advances at a rapid pace, so does sports. Will this question be relevant several months from now? If so, can it be objectively answered (like A or B for MVP) or factually evaluated (the team responded terribly after A's departure)? The shelf life of these questions do not appear to be promising.

  • +1 Good points. I think one needs to separate the first question from the second though (not sure how to classify the third, to be honest). A-vs-B type questions are simply argumentative; questions of the second type could be salvaged with qualitative discussion I think, as long as everyone can unite on the fact that there does not need to be only one "right" answer. That being said I can definitely see people not getting that, and the potential burden it might put on the moderation staff. :| – posdef Nov 5 '12 at 15:32
  • Btw about relevance of questions; let's keep in mind that even questions regarding "hard" sciences lose their relevance over time... – posdef Nov 5 '12 at 15:34
  • @posdef I hope you meet quantitative and not qualitative wrt the second question. – wax eagle Nov 5 '12 at 15:36
  • @waxeagle well i guess a bit of both, really.. I mean one could speculate on how an injury/retirement/transfer/trade might effect a team based on their roster and previous performances. That was what I meant with qualitative arguments, but i guess one can even make quantitative arguments there (goals/td.s scored, yards gained, fouls committed etc). Does that make sense, or am I being a bit too vague? :) – posdef Nov 6 '12 at 12:05
  • yep it makes sense. There are both qualitative and quantitative arguments that are reasonable in sports (as there are elements that cannot be quantified). That said, asking about a specific game's potential outcome should always be too localized. Asking about how a team will fair the rest of a season is still too localized to me. However, qualitative or quantitative analysis on how the loss of players affects overall season outcomes should be squarely on topic. – wax eagle Nov 6 '12 at 13:28

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