A question came up about asking 'easy questions'; it referred to the Easy-Veg question as an example of this.

It seems to me this question was a poor example for their question (which was likely meant to address questions of a trivial nature). The Easy-Veg question can be split in two directions, and I would like to know how people are viewing it:

Should it be left as an objectively answerable, nice and specific question to suit this individuals specific needs (which the OP will need to provide), OR converted to Community Wiki format as a standard 'important learning books' CW question?

  • In the former case, the question fails spectacularly by being incredibly broad, vague and has no discernible criteria for evaluating any expertise in a given answer.

  • In the latter case, it is very list-y, but that doesn't mean it's a failure. Looking at the stackoverflow democracy, cream-to-the-top example this question pretty much fits the bill.

What are your feelings on this question, it should be restructured before it's roots take too strong a hold.

  • 3
    Wow, I hate that book question. You'd think, after almost three years, I would hate it less... But no, each year that goes by I find it more and more disturbing and wrong.
    – Shog9
    Jun 17 '11 at 21:16
  • @shog I bristled looking for the m.so stuff as well. I know any CW thing is contentious but that's why I thought changing the whole thing might make it useful, a la the cooking translations
    – mfg
    Jun 18 '11 at 20:55

I suggest nuking such questions as vague/not-a-real-question. "Easy to grow" can mean so many different things that it's hard to provide anything but multiple, equally valid, stabs in the dark.

Of course, while voting to close those I would add a friendly comment inviting the OP to edit the question or post a new one that is more specific, for example:

"I'm new to gardening, and a little nervous about putting a lot of effort into plants I may not yet have the skill to care for. What is a very hardy perennial flower for partial shade next to my house in $geographic-area?"


"I have too little time to spend gardening these days, so I'm trying to trade in some of my more finicky plants for lower-maintenance ones. In particular, I have $plant-foo and $plant-bar in my garden, but would like to find varieties that don't require such frequent watering."


"My daughter wants her first vegetable garden, and I want to help her be a success despite her stereotypically six-year-old attention span. What five or six veggies could I help her put in that will fare well with minimal intervention after planting? We live in $climate-zone."

"Easy" can mean "hardy", "needing less $resource" (such as water), "low-maintenance", or any number of other things. Rather than relegating vague questions to CW status, help them shape up into really great questions like the examples above.

  • I agree by virtue of the criticism in my question here ; I just wonder if it might be repurposed as something useful given the amount of energy in answering
    – mfg
    Jun 20 '11 at 23:53
  • The problem is that the vague question led to answers that are all over the place -- I don't think there's an edit that would improve the question without deprecating all/most of the existing answers. I'd just let this one go as a learning experience rather than setting a bad precedent for the future.
    – HedgeMage
    Jun 21 '11 at 0:19

My opinions are:

1) With the exact description of the weather/soil condition/temperature/etc, we can give many suggestions that is good.

2) With a community wiki, it is essential for editor to have a good knowledge about what he is editing and not getting subjective. Maybe he get a good sunshine/average temperature and most of his/her plant grow pretty good, thus he/she think the plant are easy. Who knows?

3) With a community wiki, it is possible to expand the list into category of different weather/soil condition/temperature and we should decide what is the range of very hot/hot/warm/cool/cold because that is subjective too....who to blame if one don't know his weather is very very hot(maybe 35+ degree Celsius) and he failed to plant a plant with moderate tolarance to hot(maybe 30-34 degree Celsius)?

4) The wiki should be descriptive about the plant too.

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