Are questions asking for an example of myth fitting some specific criteria allowed?

Ex : "Are half human half horse creatures specific to Greco Roman mythologies, or is there an example of centaur-like creature in another mythology?"

Since it is possible for these questions to have multiple answers, should they be changed to "list questions", even if the user needs only one example?

Note: I assume here that the question is non trivial and a google search didn't come up with any fitting answer.

4 Answers 4


I don't see a problem here. Plenty of questions in StackOverflow can yield multiple answers. Other SE sites allow opinion questions when it's coming from some authority (https://music.stackexchange.com/questions/40571/it-is-ok-to-correct-wrong-notes-when-playing-piano) - why are we so hung up on being too rigid?

One little thing I can think of is the inability to award "best answer" to those who post in list/examples questions. Is that problematic?

  • 1
    Not having sufficient criteria to decide the better answer is problematic. "The best answers are voted up and rise to the top" is the core promise of all SE sites, and what separates us from discussion forums.
    – yannis Mod
    Jan 28, 2016 at 7:58
  • What's the solution? Is there some other rule we can enforce other than banning the questions, which I do not favor.
    – cmw
    Jan 28, 2016 at 8:39
  • At this point, I think we should err on the side of inclusiveness. The few examples of questions that fit SE's "big list" definition we have around haven't actually caused any problems, and produced sufficient answers. The collective experience of the network may have shown us that this type of question generally doesn't work, but outright banning them without any concrete evidence that they don't work on this site doesn't make much sense.
    – yannis Mod
    Jan 28, 2016 at 8:51
  • One thing we can do is try to narrow them down and better specify their requirements, when possible. For example, does this recent question really benefit from the secondary question about Zoroastrianism? It's already broad without it, and a question about the origins of angels in Zoroastrianism can always be asked separately.
    – yannis Mod
    Jan 28, 2016 at 8:52
  • I actually made the call for Zoroastrianism on that one, because much of Jewish and therefore Christian and Islamic theology comes ultimately from Zoroastrianism (e.g. eschatology and dualism). It made sense here to include it, but I would not recommend expanding it to say Graeco-Roman religions or Hinduism or Native American traditions.
    – cmw
    Jan 28, 2016 at 8:55
  • I wonder if there is something we can do with the answers, or if there's some way for the moderators/elites of the community to influence a question's right answers...
    – cmw
    Jan 28, 2016 at 8:56
  • The only tools moderators have towards influencing right answers is voting and commenting, same as with every other user. And although we do have the ability to delete every post on the site, we are strictly prohibited from deleting answers we think are wrong.
    – yannis Mod
    Jan 28, 2016 at 9:02
  • Btw, re: zoroastrianism and moderators, I ask because without some prior knowledge, the question would seem to broad, but an expert in the field would correctly see the relationship. That's why I wondered what the users can do e.g. to prevent unnecessary editing or downvoting.
    – cmw
    Jan 28, 2016 at 9:20
  • You can simply post a comment explaining the relationship, as you did here. In terms of influence, nothing beats a polite explanatory comment.
    – yannis Mod
    Jan 28, 2016 at 9:26
  • Yes, I agree, although at current traffic, this might prove ineffectual for new and more knowledgeable users... But if there is no other option, so be it.
    – cmw
    Jan 28, 2016 at 9:27
  • Well, the question went from -2 to +1 after your edit, so there's also that. A clarifying edit always helps.
    – yannis Mod
    Jan 28, 2016 at 9:28
  • Fair point. I don't disagree that it does help. I'm just worried about how effective it might be overall. I guess we'll see.
    – cmw
    Jan 28, 2016 at 9:40

So, in a perfect world, the question that you proposed would be off-topic. However, there are several question that are similar to the one you proposed in your question ("Are half human half horse creatures specific to Greco Roman mythologies, or is there an example of centaur-like creature in another mythology?") that have not been closed. Here are a few questions I found:

  1. What are some examples of "Mothers of Monsters"?
  2. Are there Kali-types deities in other pantheons?
  3. Are there any other gods that permanently had an eye removed, other than Odin?

We haven't really enforced a policy on these types of list myth x questions, in part because of our low activity, and in part because there were some disagreements about these types of questions that haven't been resolved. So, for now, go ahead and ask your question about centaurs.

(I have to admit, the voting on this meta post confuses me. If people agree with the premise of Chenmunka's answer, then why haven't people been downvoting/voting to close all of the questions that are "just list questions"?)

  • 3
    I think the reason the voting is confusing is that we haven't yet had a large enough number of these questions to help us decide if we like them or not. So - at least for the time being - I think "go ahead and ask" is the best advice.
    – yannis Mod
    Dec 27, 2015 at 17:21

Generally speaking, these would be off-topic as they are just list questions. I would say your example comes under the category of Too Broad. If, as you suggest, the questioner wants just one example, that implies there are many examples, i.e. a list.

  • 1
    Why is a list so bad?
    – cmw
    Jan 28, 2016 at 9:10

It would help people understand the topic better so it works for good. I think it would be great to make a list of them.

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