I asked this for several reasons.

  1. I do some traveling and try to work cycling into my trips when possible.
  2. I enjoy group rides, meeting people and seeing different parts of the country by bike.
  3. The names of centuries (or other group rides) are often indicative of the ride characteristics and thus useful in determining interest.
  4. I find it useful to be able to ask others about first hand experience.
  5. The names are also often indicative of the 'fun' factor of a ride.

I'm a cyclist. I asked an answerable question that has useful answers both for me and potentially others. I asked the question on a Q&A site about cycling and the question is shot down. Huh?

I'm told that the question is more suited to forums. Ok. Then why the question regarding for/against bike helmets? That question was apparently carefully phrased to pass muster. Yet, since reading and participating in usenet forums since the '90's, I've seen dozens of various incarnations of that question. So, what's the utility in rehashing for/against bike helmets?

I personally think that a site on the subject of bicycling needs to be 'looser' than that of the stackoverflow mothership. Why? Computer programming is constantly evolving and mutating. Cycling, not so much. I don't think it will take too long to cover most of the essential cycling questions, and once that ground is covered the questions will start to trickle in.

Anyway, that's my 2 cents. It's late.

One other thing. Neilfein said on the question comment section, "I'd love to try and help you come up with a way to ask this question that fits the site. " So, you're saying that I can ask the exact same question, but just need to have the way I phrase it approved?

  • 3
    Yeah, the internet needs another helmet discussion.
    – Unsliced
    Commented Oct 19, 2010 at 8:42

4 Answers 4


This question is addressing a question that's going to be crucial to whether this site lives or dies - and I've already said as much elsewhere.

Over time the questions will start to get more and more specific. The 'big' general questions have all be been asked and the only way to not duplicate content is going to be esoterica.

I can't see anything particularly wrong with this kind of question, perhaps it is a bit general, but it's a question, albeit with subjective answers, a reasonable candidate for a CW. Perhaps it could be more localised - "I'm going to be in $REGION next year, what rides might you recommend?" but that's a different question.

  • I like your comments elsewhere especially regarding localization and advocacy. I also think that you're spot on in your observation that the basic questions will get answered and that the site could throttle itself to oblivion.
    – user313
    Commented Oct 19, 2010 at 17:41

If this kind of question isn't suitable for bicycles.stackexchange.com then I think the site is doomed (or at least, metaphorically in a ditch in the rain trying to mend a puncture).

There aren't really all that many technical, objective questions about bicycles. Bicycles are pretty simple machines really, and once the pool of questions about number of gears, frame material, crank length, handlebar setup, etc have been asked and answered, then what's left for the site? If there's going to be any ongoing asking and answering, it's going to be about riding bicycles, and that's going to involve the personal circumstances of the asker.

Since the site is in beta and, to be honest, isn't actually overflowing with interesting questions, the site moderators might want to think about what kinds of question are going to keep the site alive and healthy in the future.

If a question is too personal, then moderators do have the power to edit the question so that it invites general contributions as well as specific ones. Similarly, if a question is too vague, moderators can edit it to be more specific, or invite the asker to clarify or improve the question. In the circumstances, this might be more productive than closing everything down.


To me it seems like a perfectly reasonable question. Something leading to a nice overview of 100 mile rides. Nothing too subjective about it either. A ride fits the description (100 miles) or not. If it does, list it, if it doesn't... don't.

Maybe someone links the global inventory of 100 mile rides. If that exists, then all other answers to the question are redundant, but it is still nice to have a link to it in answer to an obvious question on this site.

I think the response here should have been "please rephrase to make the question more clear" rather than "close".

  • We asked the community about this in Sepember, and we didn't really get a consensus on the question of closing bad questions versus letting the community close to vote. The mods tried letting people vote to close, and almost nobody did that. Commented Oct 19, 2010 at 14:10
  • But the absence of "votes to close" on the question this meta question deals with could also just indicate nobody saw a reason to "vote to close" right? Commented Oct 19, 2010 at 15:13
  • @neilfein: The thread you linked has three upvoted answers all requesting that questions should either be downvoted or vote-to-close'd rather than being closed outright -- that's consensus, isn't it?
    – darkcanuck
    Commented Oct 20, 2010 at 2:15
  • @darkcanuck - I don't think so. There were three answers, and they had upvotes of 2, 2, and 3. Consider the amount of users on this site and the lack of participation in meta at the time. Undoubtedly, this will change in the future -- increased participation in meta is a great sign. Commented Oct 20, 2010 at 2:45
  • @darkcanuck - Also, you're <100 rep points from having access to mod tools yourself, and @Gary.Ray should already have access to them. Commented Oct 20, 2010 at 2:45

One other thing. Neilfein said on the question comment section, "I'd love to try and help you come up with a way to ask this question that fits the site. " So, you're saying that I can ask the exact same question, but just need to have the way I phrase it approved?

I never said "approved". And it's more than the way you phrase a question, it's finding a question that has a single answer that's the hard part. We do have several questions here that have multiple answers, perhaps we should start being a little harder on these as they're asked.

If you're having trouble coming up with a way to ask the question that works in the Stack Exchange Q&A format, perhaps the community can help you identify what the core of your question is that's answerable. Alternately, if you don't care for this idea, just re-post the question in a different form, or edit the existing one and ask for it it be re-opened. "Closed" is an unfortunate term on Stack Exchange, it implies that the question is gone for all time; it isn't.

  • 1
    I know you didn't say 'approved', but it did have that effect. I'm also not sure why you say the question isn't answerable. Somewhere I ran across a meta thread mentioning that google is our front door or something to that effect. Say this question generates a nice list of notable organized rides with useful comments. Down the road someone googles for centuries and land here. Wouldn't that be a good thing?
    – user313
    Commented Oct 19, 2010 at 17:30
  • @wdypdx - Traffic is good, but I'm not sure what a thread like this can do that a forum can't do as well or better. Your second attempt is better, as it specifically mentions that you want people's impressions, it gets away from the names of the rides (mentioned twice in the original), and in general narrows things down a bit more. This is a question that will benefit from people voting on the answers, more so than the original. Commented Oct 19, 2010 at 17:43
  • @neilfein - I hope I haven't come across as a butthead about this. There is a question on the unix and linux site - "What is the best to learn linux programming" - That question comes across to me as pretty subjective; especially because the poster didn't even accept the answer with the most votes. I've also noticed questions of similar vein on several of the sites I frequent. So that's one reason that I thought my question was perfectly fine.
    – user313
    Commented Oct 20, 2010 at 20:27
  • @neilfein - Ran out of characters in previous.. I'm also noticing a fine line as to discussion vs Q&A among the SE Q&A sites. On various questions there is extensive commenting/arguing; so the line between Q&A vs discussion does get a bit blurry.
    – user313
    Commented Oct 20, 2010 at 20:33
  • @wdypdx - You're right, the line is pretty blurry, and this site has already pushed the line far beyond what's done on other SE sites, or at least the trilogy sites. Commented Oct 20, 2010 at 22:49
  • @wdypdx - I also agree that there's a lot of commenting and arguing, although I'd add that it's quite civilized (especially compared to some of the forums I frequent). Meta is here for these discussions. I can't imagine what Stack Overflow must have been like before meta was introduced. Commented Oct 20, 2010 at 22:50
  • @wdypdx22 I strongly urge you guys to read blog.stackoverflow.com/2010/09/good-subjective-bad-subjective very closely. In this particular case I think the question was too unfocused.. "list all century rides everywhere in the world!" If you could narrow it down to a (popular) region, or a particular type of century ride.. Commented Oct 22, 2010 at 3:27
  • @Jeff - There's this one, bicycles.stackexchange.com/questions/1614/…
    – user313
    Commented Oct 22, 2010 at 18:58

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