Recently one of my questions was closed as not constructive:

Why don't software libraries solve all our problems?

Could someone please help me rephrase this question so that it is a good fit for this community?

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Stack Exchange works based on solving specific, practical problems: "I'm working on project X, I ran into problem Y, I've tried Z, but now I'm stuck. How can I solve Y?" Open-ended discussion topics, while great for forums and blog posts and conversations after work, aren't the niche Stack Exchange aims to fill.

It should be pretty clear whether you're asking a practical question about a specific problem or you're looking for people's opinions or thoughts about discussion topic, but a couple of good guiding questions are:

  • Did you mention the particular problem you're working on that you're trying to solve in your question?
  • What would a correct (and not merely insightful or interesting) answer look like? Did you mention the criteria for correctness in your post?

To this end, I don't see how you can rephrase your question in a way that would not invalidate all activity thus far on it, and would advise instead to ask a new question about the particular problem you're working on that has you thinking about the general issue. What particular thing are you working on that has you thinking everything about it can be solved by libraries? Is there a concrete problem you have in mind that you'd like people to provide a solution for?

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  • 3
    I wrote the question in good faith. I thought the question was specific and practical. I was hoping for some well thought-out answers. My goal was not open-ended discussion but rather deep, important insight by experts, which evidently did not manifest. This experience has soured me a bit to Programmers. Asking me to ask a different, easier question is not really helpful. I understand your desire to keep Programmers within scope, but I cannot see the boundaries like you can. Sorry to take your time; I won't bother Programmers anymore. – Nathan Farrington Feb 22 '12 at 22:20

Your question was a good one.

  • Some moderators strictly interpret the Programmers.se charter, which has undergone massive changes during its short lifetime.
  • Interestingly enough, @Mark Trapp is no longer a moderator.
  • In the future, I recommend that you appeal to either @Thomas Owens or @mapleshaft. They'll give you a fair shake.
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  • This should probably be posted as a comment instead of an answer, since in it's current form it's stating an opinion rather than giving an answer to the question and will likely just get downvotes. And mods are only human. They each have their own opinion on this site and it will differ between them. Mark was a good moderator, even if I do disagree with him on many of his question closures. – Rachel Mar 11 '12 at 19:12
  • @Rachel: I mostly agree with you, but here's my problem: Nathan was making an appeal, and the same moderator who closed his question fielded his appeal! How absurd! – Jim G. Mar 11 '12 at 19:41
  • This wasn't an appeal, it was a request for help rephrasing the question: the user even emailed me privately asking the same thing (I told him I would help him on meta). Not sure why you're trying to make the implication something unseamly happened with me leaving when I already told you the opposite. And ChrisF, Josh K, and Yannis Rizos are also moderators. – user8 Mar 11 '12 at 19:51

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