I like Aaronut's classification of questions of this type. I freely admit to having a low tolerance of these types of questions. My decisions are more or less along the lines of Aaronut's classifications, but often it's just my purely subjective interpretation of it being a good question.
Here is a list of some of the different criteria I use to vote these closed:
- If it's too broad I vote to close.
- If it's a dupe I vote to close.
- If it's a GTKY I vote to close (e.g. what do you cook when alone?)
- If it's a "Whats your favorite ____?" I vote to close. (some exceptions)
- If it's a call for recipes I vote to close.
- If it isn't marked CW I judge it harshly - minimally downvote it.
Here are some rather subjective things that I use to judge positively:
- It was opened as a CW.
- The author acknowledges that it is potential close-fodder and proactively justifies why he asked it anyway.
- If I think it could provide some benefit or inspiration to an amateur or professional chef. The sushi combination one is an example.
- If it's a call for recipe ideas. e.g. the sushi one, and the popcorn one
- It is well defined (not overly broad)
- The author demonstrates some knowledge of the topic, and even suggests some answers himself
I acknowledge there's a lot of gray area here, and that I don't give these questions the benefit of the doubt. They start out at -5 on the brownie point scale and have to demonstrate that they're significantly useful to keep around.
It's inevitable that as we grow more and more people will come and post these questions, often as the first thing they ever contribute to this site. These questions tend to explode with answers, upvotes and reputation much more quickly than a legitimate answer, often giving the questioner and top answerer a nice rep boost that they wouldn't get otherwise. This, of course, only encourages more of the same.
An interesting observation on the quality of questions was made when http://stackexchange.com/ was most recently updated to show the list of "hot" questions across all sites. The majority of them sucked. Of the top 10 hot questions, 3 were polls, 2 were lists, 2 were "religious wars", and one was a blatant meme play. The concern is that this page is "the network's business card to new users, advertisers and venture capitalists".
The same applies to our front page. Do we really want Gordon Ramsay to stumble across this site and be presented with the following list of questions?:
- What is your favorite cheese?
- What is your worst kitchen mistake?
- How do I mayonnaise?
- I accidentally the souffle
- How long have you been cooking?