I am curious as to the reasoning behind closing https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/q/142186/22493 as an exact duplicate of Java dev learning Python: what concepts do I need to wrap my head around? when they are clearly asking the exact opposite.

I realise that both questions could easily cover the same ground, but despite the flaws in https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/q/142186/22493, none of the answers to Java dev learning Python: what concepts do I need to wrap my head around? really provide an answer to it.

  • 1
    To me, questions are duplicate in the sense that the answer would be a list of things considered as important differences between two languages. As far as I can tell, it would take relatively low effort for the reader to "invert the direction" of an answer to one question so that it becomes an answer to another. I'd prefer calling questions like this isomorphic but the closest "official" term for that seems to be, well, duplicate.
    – gnat
    Apr 2, 2012 at 11:44
  • I understand what you are saying @gnat but I don't think those answers are quite as isorphic as you suggest. The important things in java are far from the opposite of the important things in Python. In my answer I didn't try to try to compare the languages (which the OP would have learned during the initial Java>Python transition), but more generally answer the 'coming back to java after a long absence' aspect, which seemed more pertinent to me, and for which I can't find an existing question.
    – Mark Booth
    Apr 2, 2012 at 12:31
  • I see. Well I can imagine the non-isomorphic version of the question, re-phrased to emphasize back-to-Java part and de-emphasize Python. I doubt though that this would save it from closing. Note your own answer refers to entire book addressing stuff like that, which brings the question into don't ask category: "If you can imagine an entire book that answers your question, you’re asking too much..."
    – gnat
    Apr 2, 2012 at 13:02
  • @gnat - I would tend to agree, but often people don't realise that the scope of their question is a whole book. Plus, arguably, Java dev learning Python: what concepts do I need to wrap my head around? should fall into the don't ask category too, along with many others.
    – Mark Booth
    Apr 2, 2012 at 13:11
  • people not realizing too wide scope - well could this justify keeping their questions open at P.SE (and attracting dozens of equally-valid answers)? As for your assessment of Java dev learning Python being too wide, it makes good sense to me
    – gnat
    Apr 2, 2012 at 14:20

2 Answers 2


I was responding to flags on the question and at one of them referred to the linked question as a possible duplicate.

One of the existing close votes may have been close as a duplicate as well - unfortunately I have no way of checking this.

I'm quite happy to admit that I got it wrong, but as maple_shaft says the question would have got closed for another reason anyway - there were three close votes on the question before I saw it. Either way this question was going to get closed.

  • Thanks ChrisF, the explanation is appreciated.
    – Mark Booth
    Apr 2, 2012 at 12:37
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    @MarkBooth, I'll admit to being one who flagged it as a duplicate of the wrong question - mea culpa :) I misread the title (and subsequently skimmed over the text). And as they said, either way it's not a very good question, for various reasons.
    – Cyclops
    Apr 3, 2012 at 10:54

I can't speak for ChrisF about closing this as Exact Duplicate, but if I had to guess, he probably agreed with me that it was too localized in its present form but was merely offerring a helpful link to a very similar question.

I had asked for the OP to revise his/her question and after almost 24 hours there was no attempt to improve the question. I suppose I might have tried but I wanted to give the OP a chance to change it in his/her own words.

  • Thanks maple_shaft, it's a shame the OP couldn't be bothered to revise the question, but c'est la vie. *8')
    – Mark Booth
    Apr 2, 2012 at 12:38

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