There is nothing in the FAQ or here on meta that says these questions cannot be asked, but they usually either

  • are answered with a quick look at Wikipedia or
  • encourage pointless speculation

Shall we close these as off-topic?

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Yep. And by yep I mean yes. –  Nick Chammas May 2 '12 at 9:14
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1 Answer

Because they will encourage speculation, and not hard-and-fast answers, I say yes, those are off-topic. The motivation for StackExchange sites is the answering of objective questions, in a timely manner. Since we can not be objective and timely at the same time when answering these, we should close them.

Duplicates should be doubly so closed, as the system will eventually delete those.

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When closing these you could leave a comment suggesting that the question be asked in chat. –  Leigh Riffel May 2 '12 at 17:07
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That should be the responsibility of anyone posting a close vote or flagging as off topic, yes. Moreover, if you're the first one voting to close (once it's closed you get the dubious distinction of being the first one in that list) then you get to be publicly shamed if you didn't leave some guidance. Food for thought. –  jcolebrand May 2 '12 at 17:13
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jcolebrand, Exactly. –  Leigh Riffel May 2 '12 at 17:18
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+1 - 100% agree. –  JNK May 9 '12 at 18:37
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