Why is it that Can there be too much uniformity in coding standards? gets challenged by a mod as "not a real question" but yet this Easter eggs, good or bad? is just fine and is determined a "real question". I'm really getting confused as the point of this site.

  • @Josh K thanks for improving my links I should have been more complete.
    – Gratzy
    Jan 23, 2011 at 21:17
  • No problem.
    – Josh K
    Jan 23, 2011 at 21:28
  • You'll want to look at this question that I posted as well: meta.programmers.stackexchange.com/questions/877/…. I think some of the closing guidelines are just too blunt of an instrument and left open to interpretation if not open to abuse by those who are zealous about questions meeting varied criteria. Jan 26, 2011 at 10:34
  • And then there is this one: meta.programmers.stackexchange.com/questions/1050/…. It just seems to me the fundamental issue of what is an acceptable question here ought to be revisited. Jan 26, 2011 at 10:36

3 Answers 3


Part of the reason will be that the different moderators will have different interpretations of the guidelines. We're not identical so this is inevitable. Personally I think your question is OK - but perhaps you should have brought out the style over substance aspect a little more clearly - and with the accepted answer it has I think it is a useful question.

Try not to take the criticism personally (I know it's hard). As to what you can do, well you've brought this to our attention so we can have a discussion and hopefully reach a better consensus of what's OK and what's not OK.

The other thing you can do is to look at your question as though it were written by someone else. Does it give enough information? Is the intention clear? The question isn't just for you - if it's a good question it needs to be beneficial to the wider community.

  • +1, also there is a reasonable chance that all moderators won't be looking at all the same questions.
    – Josh K
    Jan 23, 2011 at 21:07
  • 1
    I don't take it personally. I don't mind criticism in the least. What I find frustrating is the aggressive closing of questions. There is very little consistency. If a moderator thinks a questions is borderline how about letting it go and see what the community thinks. Go close the questions that clearly don't meet the requirements instead of the borderline cases.
    – Gratzy
    Jan 23, 2011 at 21:11
  • @Gratzy - not an excuse, but an explanation (of sorts) - with questions moving off the home page relatively quickly there aren't enough non moderator eyes on the questions with a few votes so the mods have to step in. There are only 5 other 10K+ users who have access to the "tools" to see the lists of questions pending closure. As more people hit 10K there'll be less need for the mods to step in. On a personal note I try to leave a comment on dubious questions to start the ball rolling and only come back and cast my vote after it has 2 or 3 non-mod votes.
    – ChrisF Mod
    Jan 23, 2011 at 21:49
  • 1
    I would understand that completely however as I pointed out in the comments of my question there was only one other question on the front page with more votes. At the time my question had 5. That was the point I was trying to make exactly, that others felt differently than the moderator.
    – Gratzy
    Jan 23, 2011 at 21:59

That's fine -- this is the very purpose of meta, so we can have these discussions in a constructive way and learn how to make these decisions better in the future.

In these specific cases, I support both questions with the edits they had to make them more constructive.

So the guidance is

  • yes, ask on meta! That's great! I mentally add 5 airquote upvotes to any person smart enough to come to meta and make a reasonable, non-argumentative statement in support of their questions!
  • always be open to editing questions to make them more clear and more constructive

One thing that is important to remember is that it's been well agreed upon by moderators and the site owners that upvotes are not an indicator that a question should remain open.

However, I don't think this is very well communicated to users who haven't being reading meta or the comments of many closed questions.

To those users, it's natural to think that upvotes indicate a good question. What it indicates is that it's a popular question. If you read http://meta.stackoverflow.com and http://blog.stackoverflow.com, you'll realize this has been addressed many times - even popular questions can have a long term negative effect on keeping the site in line with it's purpose.

There are a number of topics that would likely receive a high net score, but yet be closed as not aligned with the site's purpose. Just search through the questions sorted by votes and you'll find several, including two of the first four.

That being said, I didn't see anything wrong with your question, and I felt like the upvotes were also well deserved. As others have pointed out, sometimes the wording of a question can simply feel like a "discussion topic" to a moderator rather than an answerable question, but I didn't see yours that way (which is why I answered it!)

  • We should rename the badges then
    – user2567
    Jan 25, 2011 at 21:46
  • 2
    I don't quite agree with "upvotes are not an indicator that a question should remain open". I don't mean popular=good, I mean that popular questions should be harder to close. You point to meta and to blog. Meta is a whole site, so the premise "if you read it" is always false. On blog I see nothing about closing questions. So I'm missing your argument "why".
    – maaartinus
    Jan 26, 2011 at 0:34
  • @maaartinus if you are going to take my points so literally then I can't help you. I mean that by browsing meta and SO blog then you see comments about this problem being addressed. I don't have links simply because it's so large, but it's been said - many times. My point is that it should be addressed in a place where more users, and especially new users, learn this concept.
    – Nicole
    Jan 26, 2011 at 0:48
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    "upvotes are not an indicator that a question should remain open." I'm sorry, but then what is the point of upvoting a question if the moderators can simply take it down if they don't agree with the community? I've upvoted questions that have not met all (or any) of the requirements of a good question, but have yielded good answers regardless. It seems to me the merit of a question needs to take into consideration the answers it yields as well, if it gets that far. I appreciate that most mods are offering chances to edit questions to raise the quality, but upvotes really ought to be respected. Jan 26, 2011 at 10:41

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