I believe there is a misconception that all list questions are bad or off-topic. However, they are not all bad or off-topic. It is possible to ask good list questions. In fact, there are good and useful list questions asked before and kept open, so the community is accepting good list questions. Here are some examples:
- Words with "bi-" prefix that no longer mean "two"
- "Unicorn": what other words have this "cornus" etymology?
- Words for meat differ from the words for the corresponding animal
- Unusual words to denote a specific length of time? Like fortnight but for different amounts of time
Note: It was closed and re-opened; and people are trying to close again. However, I believe it is a useful question with useful answers.
Some historical questions are locked with the reason:
Locked. This question and its answers are locked because the question is off-topic but has historical significance. It is not currently accepting new answers or interactions.
For example: Hardest tongue twister seen
It is clear that the question above is a subjective, forum-like question so it is blatantly off-topic.
It is nowhere stated that list-questions are off-topic.
One of the lines says:
Your questions should be reasonably scoped. If you can imagine an entire book that answers your question, you’re asking too much.
I understand that a list question can be interpreted as broad but it is not explicit that all list questions are broad enough to fill up an entire book. Good list questions have a reasonable scope and they are usually narrowed down with certain criteria. (See the example questions listed at the top).
Examples of broad/useless list questions which should be closed as off-topic are:
What are examples of adjectives?
What are the words starting with dis-?
What words have Latin origin?
Subjective, forum-like list questions are blatantly off-topic and it is clearly stated in the "Don't Ask" page but it is not about list questions; it is about all bad subjective questions.
To prevent your question from being flagged and possibly removed, avoid asking subjective questions where …
- every answer is equally valid: “What’s your favorite ______?”
Examples of bad subjective questions (list question or not) which should be closed as off-topic are:
What words sound best?
What is your favorite word?
What word is hardest to pronounce?
Good list questions are not subjective, they are reasonably scoped (or not too broad) and they are useful. Here reminding one of them again:
Words with "bi-" prefix that no longer mean "two"
Summary, possible solutions and expectations:
- Not all list questions are bad or off-topic; and they can be very useful and teach something. Good list questions are not subjective also.
- The community should have a way to keep good list questions, possibly by dedicating a tag with clear info. Or just keep the good list questions open.
- In my previous tag solution question, I've suggested that vocabulary tag can be used for good list questions; possibly by re-naming it, as "vocabulary" is an ambiguous term, but the final decision was removing it. There is also list-request tag which reads in the info that "This tag exists solely to indicate that these questions are [off-topic]"; however, the info can be updated in a way to accept only good list questions.
A related question asked before on Meta
Are list questions always bad?
It is a bit different and it doesn't address all the points; and it was asked long time ago.