1) I know you guys are the expert in moderating your forum and I am sure you have seing this question thousands of times
The automatic response says: "Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience"
This is no the math forum. It is user experience based. Even a theorical phisics forum it is full of theories!
2) The second part related to my answer. "but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise"
Is it not a fact that there are some good free tools, inkscape, gimp scribus? Yes it is a fact.
Can I link to a reference? Yes I linked to the original developers site, yes there are many questions on the same forum of people using the tools.
Specific expertise, yes I have sometime used them.
Is my answer:
commentary on the question or other answers? - No
asking another, different question? - No
“thanks!” or “me too!” responses? - No
exact duplicates of other answers? - No
barely more than a link to an external site? - No
not even a partial answer to the actual question? - No
3) I was reading some criteria on how a beta forum pass the test, I do not remember the exact link but said that the forum needed to motivate the participation of people. 2.5 answers per question is a good average.
And it is simply. If it is a good answer, vote for it and it goes up, as simple as that.
I have noticed some actual answers just posted as coments. Are people just getting afraid of taking time to just answer, in his (her) opinion? Couse some one are going to delete it? Or vote down? Why it is safer to just make a coment?
Some questions have no answers, just some coments.
4) Guys. This is an iteresting forum. I started to participate just some days ago, couse i like the intelectual challenge. My reference was reading stack overflow looking for answers. I can not answer there becouse it is not my field of expertise.
I really don't care (much) if the answer should stay or blown up into oblivium.
I know you want the best answers, and the best questions, but this is not the Encyclopaedia Britannica, yes, it is opinion based, yes if some one has the opinion that it is a good answer, vote.
Deleting answers and voting down, it is also opinion based. Do that but realy meditate on it before pressing the butons.
Althoug stack overflow thrend is going up, the overall one is that this form of comunication is going down.
That is the macro tendency, the micro tendency is that if "power users" don't encourage people to participate, both (tendency) are the same.
I have not seing an "on hold" question corrected or edited. Probably the user just googled it better.
This is just my opinion based... opinion.
A happy face for you :o)