Asking random, open-ended recipe questions is something many users fear will dilute the site, attract non-serious cooks, or create a muddled community which is indistinguishable from the rash of recipe sites already on the web.

Proponents (myself included) want to leverage the community's storehouse of good ideas and experience, don't want to turn off new-comers, and think recipe questions can make for interesting discussion, at least occasionally.

We currently have a few options to mitigate the problem, ranging from most exclusionist to most inclusionist (I'm a pseuo-wikipedian).

  1. No recipe questions allowed, go elsewhere
  2. No recipe questions allowed, go to recipes.stackexchange (separate site)
  3. No recipe questions allowed, go to recipes.cooking.stackexchange (meta-type sub-site)
  4. No recipe questions, make it more specific, technique or problem oriented.
  5. No points on open-ended questions, make it community wiki
  6. If it doesn't get votes, it won't get answers, let the game work
  7. Recipes are great! We want them!

I'm somewhere between 4-6 when it comes to personal preference.

So how about this: make asking recipe questions a reputation-based ability.

Counterargument will be that we don't want to put something not wanted by the community on a pedestal. On the other hand, trusted users will have a better feel for the type of questions the site seeks, encourage new users to learn what that type is, and most importantly, just limit the sheer number of recipe-type questions.

How do you think this would/could work?

  • No. I'm in the 1-3 range. Asking a question currently is not a privilege on any stack site. I don't think it's a good idea to start now.
    – hobodave
    Jul 29, 2010 at 16:35
  • Well, that's not entirely true. Meta itself requires reputation points to participate at all. 'No one else does it', may be an indicator, but it's not an actual reason. The broader idea is that trusted users have broader abilities. This is integral to the stackexchange format. Making a certain type of question one of those abilities is only "shockingly new" if you don't put it in the context of all the other things that require community experience and effective vetting through reputation points.
    – Ocaasi
    Jul 29, 2010 at 16:47
  • off-topic... should I make this community wiki or not. I'm not sure I see the difference on Meta
    – Ocaasi
    Jul 29, 2010 at 18:07
  • I'm a 1. This is a site for techniques and fixing problems. It is How To Cook, not What To Cook.
    – daniel
    Jul 29, 2010 at 18:42
  • Meta sites are largely discussion-oriented, so standard practice on meta is not to make anything Community Wiki unless you want people to be able to edit it (which is really what CW is supposed to be for everywhere). You don't get rep here anyway, so don't worry about it.
    – Aaronut
    Jul 30, 2010 at 3:40

1 Answer 1


Similar to other suggestions that have been made, I do think it's a nice idea, but I don't think that it would actually work. Consider that:

  • Many new members won't be aware of the restriction and will ask anyway;

  • Other new members will consider the restriction unfair and will ask anyway;

  • Rep inflation is a fact, and while it's considered "by design" for site privileges like editing/closing, it doesn't make sense here (no matter how much experience somebody has, the questions still dilute the content);

  • There's no automated system for identifying recipe questions that can't easily be abused, so we'd have to rely on the close/reopen system anyway, which can also be abused;

  • Because it has to be maintained by humans, it will inevitably spark long and heated arguments about what exactly constitutes a recipe-swap question (this will also happen if we close them as off-topic, so it's no worse than the current situation, but it's also no better)

  • Once people reach closing rep, they have to be taught this whole system somehow (it's far more difficult than saying "all recipe requests should be migrated");

  • Making the questions wiki solves the rep problem but not the badge problem (and believe me, badge farming is just as much a problem as rep farming);

I give you an A for the idea, but just about every implementation scenario playing out in my head with this seems to end badly for everyone.

  • What about the question filter. It already identifies questions with recipes in the title. Would it be that much of a stretch to just prevent titles with recipe in it? (I recognize that would lead to people just cleverly rephrasing, but it seems that's what's likely to happen already under an overly strict proposal).
    – Ocaasi
    Jul 29, 2010 at 16:50
  • 2
    Well put. As Robert Cartaino has suggested I feel strongly that we should "hold the line" and just say no to recipe swaps.
    – hobodave
    Jul 29, 2010 at 18:39
  • 1
    @Ocaasi: Exactly, people will game the system to try to get through the filter. People may try to do that anyway under the current system, but the difference is that under the current system, the rules are being enforced by humans, who are a lot more difficult to fool than a naïve filter. It's okay if a small handful of borderline questions slip through the cracks, but a systematic approach is likely to the message, "If you can figure out a way to get your question through the filter, then you'll be OK." I think it's important that we don't send that kind of message.
    – Aaronut
    Jul 29, 2010 at 18:56
  • Well said. I wholeheartedly agree. Jul 30, 2010 at 3:02

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