This question has been closed because it is considered "useless for future visitors".

Stack Overflow, the first of these sites, is highly successful since if you have a problem you can go there and post a question about it, and if the question is well written and you're lucky, somebody will answer to you.

Sometimes the question is a general one which might be useful for future visitors, often it isn't. There are PLENTY of problem-specific questions that aren't likely going to be useful to anyone else. Still, they are in-topic, and they receive proper answers.

This is how the first site has been build and has become successful. Now, if this site is going to alter this core policy I think it should have a very good reason to do so. I failed to come up with any reason that would apply to this site but not to SO.

Furthermore, this policy is, pardon my french, patently stupid. What's the point of "I'll help you if you have a reusable problem, I won't help you otherise"? It's just arbitrary. A Q&A site is good if you know you can go there when you have a problem, to receive answers. This site instead wants to focus on solving at whim only some problems and not others? Nonsense.

I have the feeling that this policy has been born out of ignorance on how the SE sites actually work, about which are really the policies of the main sites. I.e. both mods and part of the community "thought it was done this way", so they decreed it is. Wake up call: is isn't!

  • 4
    I have absolutely no idea why you seem to want that "typo" question reopened. The OP got his answer within minutes, and there's nothing meaningful that could be added to it. I'm even more confused by the fact that 11 people thought the question was so good it deserved to be upvoted, which probably puts it in the top 2% of ELL questions by upvotes. I think that's a terrible advert for the site, and I've now voted to delete it - purely because of the embarrassing number of upvotes for both question and answer on such a meaningless posting. Commented Jul 15, 2014 at 4:14

2 Answers 2

  1. It is not the case, as you imply, that the questioner was dismissed without a “proper answer”. A comment pointing out that this was probably a typo was posted within three hours, and subsequently two answers (one of which has received 21 upvotes—a very large number on this site) were posted before the first comment recommending closing.

  2. It is not the case, as you state, that this question was “closed”: it was “put on hold”. I am sure that you, as a user of very long standing at SE, are aware that this rubric was adopted to encourage questioners to address perceived deficiencies in their questions. OP is still free to edit the question and raise any concerns which were not resolved by the answers or evident in the original question.

    And even if it is ultimately closed, it is not deleted. It is merely marked as requiring, in the opinion of five experienced users, no further attention from answerers.

  3. It is not the case, as you imply, that our policy of holding and closing questions turning on typographical errors is contrary to SE practice. Here is a reproduction of the SO off-topic choices I found with a five minutes’ search there:

    enter image description here

    Typos in code are not different from typos in texts: both occasion the incoherence which troubles OP, and both may be resolved by the correction indicated in the answer.

    Note that the reason for holding or closing such questions is substantially the same as that FumbleFingers gave you, to which you take such umbrage: ‘this [question] was resolved in a manner unlikely to help future readers.’

    Our practice in fact was inherited from ELU and originally fell under the old ‘Too Localised’ rubric, which goes back to at least 2009 and was merged last year into the ‘Off-Topic’ rubric across SE.

    But even if that were not the case, we are as a community charged by SE with defining our own standards of topicality; and it has been our position from the outset that questions which turn on a clear typographical or editorial or NNS error in the text addressed are not on topic.

  • 1. closing or holding prevents new answers from being written. If the policy demands a question should be closed, it may be closed before it receives any answer. It's only happenstance that he was able to receive an answer before the hold, it might not have happened.
    – o0'.
    Commented Jul 13, 2014 at 14:23
  • 2. so what? If it's "put on hold" but the core is still OT, there's no way to edit it to make it back IT. What you are pointing out matters for some questions, but this specific case cannot be "salvaged" to meet your "standards".
    – o0'.
    Commented Jul 13, 2014 at 14:24
  • 3. that closing reason (I was about to write "holding" due to your point 2, but please notice it is still called "closing") is usually used for questions which aren't reproductable. If they can't be reproduced, nobody but the OP can tell if any answer works, so nobody should be able to vote on answers, so the whole system fails. This is not the case here.
    – o0'.
    Commented Jul 13, 2014 at 14:27
  • 1
    I have edited my response to reflect the edits in your question. I will address your point 3 in due course. Commented Jul 13, 2014 at 15:19
  • With respect to 3, it does not appear that this reason is/was used on SO only for nonreproducible problems: see this Meta.SE question suggests that there are many typo questions which should be closed. It merely classifies typographical errors with nonreproducible problems. Commented Jul 13, 2014 at 16:05
  • 1
    With respect to 1 and 2: A question which turns on a typo or editing blunder can be satisfactorily responded to in a comment, and I think you will find that they inevitably are. Questioners get the response they need - after that, the only matter that remains is the status of the question in the archives, which is governed by community norms. Commented Jul 13, 2014 at 16:19
  • 1
    @Lohoris - RE: closing or holding prevents new answers from being written. I must ask, though, what else is there to say about the matter? And, if there is something else to say, why couldn't it be put in a comment instead of an answer? You've made some very emotional, if not harsh, statements about a question that's really not a question. As was explained, "Fought by tears" in meaningless; what would be the point of discussing what it means?
    – J.R. Mod
    Commented Jul 14, 2014 at 10:13

Stoney addressed most of the question already, but I'd like to expand on your last paragraph, since there's clearly a difference in understanding there:

I have the feeling that this policy has been born out of ignorance on how the SE sites actually work, about which are really the policies of the main sites. I.e. both mods and part of the community "thought it was done this way", so they decreed it is. Wake up call: is isn't!

No, in fact, it IS. One significant purpose of a site beta is to determine how the community wants to incorporate and internalize SE norms. Shog explicitly noted this:

I think [the Wikipedia guidelines sum] up how most of the policies on Stack Exchange should be viewed: not as inscrutable edicts handed down from on high, but as advice based on experience - things folks have tried and found to work or... not work... and the policies we've observed these communities enforcing as a result.

It is entirely correct for you to bring up your concerns over this policy, but simply stating that the entire community is wrong is not the way to go about it. This is doubly true when community decision has been explicitly stated to be correct by Stack Exchange. At that point, you're better off going to Meta.SE and expressing your concerns there directly to SE staff, since you would be asking for a change in company policy and direction.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .