Of course my question on organic foods was closed as being too subjective, despite there being studies quoted in answers. There are plenty of objective materials out there which people would be able to provide regarding this.

What is the use of a cooking site where anything like taste is too subjective?

What's next, people spending more time complaining in comments about people who don't accept an answer instead of just answering questions?

  • 1
    You could probably reword that question to ask for evidence/facts about the benefits of organic foods on a per-food basis.
    – delete me
    Commented Jul 9, 2010 at 20:04
  • I agree, cooking is a subjective topic. Whilst there are many established and prescribed methods of preparation and cooking, it all comes down to personal taste. Human taste buds and olfactory bulbs are all slightly different.
    – Kev
    Commented Jul 10, 2010 at 17:24
  • Someone please edit the title of this to be more specific. The title is something that should be discussed here, independently of the specific case of the organic soap(box).
    – bmargulies
    Commented Jul 11, 2010 at 17:16

3 Answers 3


I wouldn't have closed the question because it was about Organic foods, but because it was too broad and didn't have "one" answer.

As a question it will prompt discussion and debate, which isn't what CookingSE is for. Stack Exchanges work best when questions are specific, and can be answered directly.

Hope you're not disheartened and will continue to participate :)

You could split your original question and ask two seperate questions from your original question. e.g.

Which foods are most affected by pesticides? And which "organic" foods are not noticeably better than conventional non-organic versions?

Is actually two questions, I'd suggest the first could be region specific, e.g. the answer could be wildly different depending on federal regulations in USA, Canada, Mexico, European Union . . .

Also, what is "better" is often subjective, better from a health perspective, environmental perspective, cost, eithical to farmers . . .

I had several Stack Overflow questions closed until I got my questions detailed and specific enough.

Hope this helps.

  • I thought I was the only person who felt like this; +1
    – Pops
    Commented Sep 13, 2010 at 6:01
  1. it's a food site, not a health site.
  2. food labeled as organic can still be grown using pesticides - frankly, the subject would be a huge can of worms even if it was made on-topic.
  • But one could provide an answer that furthers research/understanding by providing links to studies, arguments, etc. For example, I'd recommend the movie, "Food, Inc." as one such source.
    – JYelton
    Commented Jul 11, 2010 at 21:16

I believe that there should be a limit to the subjectivity thing. There is one thing when you are discussing at SO about a programming questions. Computers are deterministic, so you can have many questions that have a single -objective- answer.

But as soon as we move into something much more flexible (like cooking) we must expand our tolerance for subjectivity. For example, when someone asks a recipe for a certain food, that discussion itself is subjective.

"Your recipe uses too much sugar" or "A touch of lemon makes it better" are something that you could read in such a discussion.

Cooking is in itself subjective, almost completely a matter of taste. So I feel we should establish some guidelines on where to draw the line so that we don't transform this into a "scientific cooking site"

  • A lot of this has been hashed out here already. The litmus test is: [a] is the question about a recipe (good) or asking for recipes (bad), and [b] does the question require an expert to answer (good) or could it be answered by anyone at all (bad)? This site already does tolerate a great deal more subjectivity than Stack Overflow ever did, but there's still a difference between a question, a discussion, and a poll.
    – Aaronut
    Commented Jul 24, 2010 at 12:48
  • I would just add that a large portion of the design issues and advice people ask for on StackOverflow are subjective also. Lots of non-experts answer questions on StackOverflow (the majority of answers are from non-experts, almost by definition).
    – Cade Roux
    Commented Jul 25, 2010 at 2:52

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