We've had a few of these questions recently which are now closed. The latest one, which is actually one of our oldest questions but just resurfaced, was about mayonnaise, and - this is no surprise to me - the top-voted answer essentially begins with the red-flag words, "my personal favorites are..."
This is in direct contradiction to the "what should I not ask" section of the FAQ and the same reason we don't allow recipe requests. Questions phrased in that way invite people to post and vote on their favourites - opinions rather than facts - and by definition have no wrong answers.
I'm looking at these as a group and thinking that they are basically a special case of culinary uses questions, for which we have specific guidelines that have served us (reasonably) well. It seems to me that we ought to have a similar one for what-can-I-add-to-X questions.
Specifically, the policy I think we should have is this:
Requests for help with modifying a recipe must make a reasonable effort to describe the specific goal.
In other words, these would be closed:
- What can I add to X to make it better?
- What are some uncommon ingredients to add to X?
- How can I improve the flavour/texture of X?
But these would be totally OK:
- What can I add to a roast to give it a smoky flavour?
- What can I add to ice cream to prevent ice crystals?
- How can I stabilize a vinaigrette (prevent it from separating)?
- How can I get more "crunch" in my homemade salsa (without changing the taste)?
- How can I make my chili hotter (without changing the taste)?
Hopefully I'm making the intent clear here - my goal is definitively not to block recipe-modification questions, only to prevent them from turning into recipe polls themselves.
Any thoughts on this? Is it a good policy? Bad? Any recommended additions or alterations that would make it more clear or easier to follow/enforce?