We've discussed the topic of list questions before, both on meta, and in chat. Generally, it seems that the consensus is that the problem with list questions is the answers they attract, not the question itself. Based on that consensus, there are two possible things we can do:
Option 1: Close list questions
This tends to be the approach across the network. This is because as sites grow, the moderation workload of dealing with the questions increases exponentially with the level of traffic. "answers have more intrinsic value than questions", and list questions almost always fail to attract those more valuable answers when they do attract those answers, they are not consistently voted up. List questions tend to have people voting on answers that are their favorites instead of answers that are actually the best answers.
For all of the above reasons, closing list questions is a common approach network-wide and would certainly solve the issue at hand.
Option 2: Establish standards and rules for answers to list questions
Since we can generally agree that the issue with list questions is the answers they attract, another possibly solution is better regulation of the answers. Regulation is challenging because typically list questions become Hot Network Questions and then attract a huge volume of low quality answers. So, if we choose to regulate those answers, we need some rules that we will enforce strictly.
I propose that we begin a policy of warnings and deletions for any answer that does not include the reasons why that answer is good. Specifically, any answer that does not include reasonable explanation of why it is a good answer should receive a standardized comment1 pointing to this meta question and then be deleted by any users who have that privilege, or get a post notice2 by a moderator, and then be deleted 6 hours after that notice if no edits have occurred.
Here's an example timeline:
- User posts answer without explanation
- User with vote to delete privileged see it -- they leave the standard comment, vote to delete, and ping a moderator in chat OR Moderator sees it -- they leave a standard comment and add a post notice. After the post notice has been added, no more delete votes should be cast.
- If 6 hours have passed, and the answer has not been improved, users should begin voting to delete again, or moderators should delete the answer.
This policy may sound strict, but users can always try again -- hopefully the standard comment can help users see how to write a better answer, and if not the users in chat can point answers in the right direction.
1 My recommendation for this comment would be "Please add some explanation to your answer -- answers without explanation will be deleted in accordance with the policy stated in this meta post. If you'd like to understand why your answer was deleted and how it can be improved, please ask us on meta or in chat"
2 A post notice is warning on the post which states "We're looking for long answers that provide some explanation and context. Don't just give a one-line answer; explain why your answer is right, ideally with citations. Answers that don't include explanations may be removed."