This question was closed for not meeting the criteria for a good subjective question:


The criteria are posted here:


I've attempted a rebuttal in the question, but it's drifted off the front page now and I'm afraid I won't get any feedback whatsoever. I'd like to know, is there a flaw in my reasoning? Is this really a bad question, or was it closed prematurely?


  • 1
    I love it when the only two guys who respond are the two guys responsible for your question being closed and one of them has the audacity to tell you not to defend yourself. He seriously thinks that because he closed your question, you need to 'fix' it, not just hope the 14 people who upvoted it will reopen it as is. Commented Nov 5, 2010 at 20:11
  • 2
    I responded because it was a question I voted to close (though it was random chance I spotted this Q here). I'll happily provide anyone with feedback on why I've voted a particular way. Commented Nov 5, 2010 at 23:46
  • Also, the stuff bigown edited out of the question should not have been there - it wasn't part of the question. Meta discussion belongs on Meta (strangely enough), so the 'plea for mercy' should have been part of this question, (with a link in the comments directing people here to discuss further). Commented Nov 5, 2010 at 23:47
  • 2
    @Peter yeah, I certainly like it when people defend themselves. I just don't understand why a question, regardless of its applicability to the realm of programmers, with that many upvotes should fall under the ire of the administrative shutdown - seems to violate the spirit of the internet. Commented Nov 6, 2010 at 3:53
  • 1
    @PeterBoughton, @BigOwn: Then the user should be pointed to the Meta in the comment or the edit reason, now it says "spam" is being deleted. Twice... And spam is "unsolicited bulk junk". Commented Nov 6, 2010 at 17:34
  • Peter - not convinced on the upvote argument - there are plenty other places on the internet for off-topic fun, and there's the whole 'broken window' thing which Jeff talks about. Commented Nov 6, 2010 at 18:58
  • Tom - agreed. Removing without pointing to meta is not helpful, and calling it spam is wrong. Commented Nov 6, 2010 at 18:58
  • Also, just want to point out that I only gave a 20% vote/opinion on the question at that point. And perhaps more importantly: voting to close doesn't mean I think a question is irredeemable - I'd be in favour of it if more focus is given to Peter Turner's "fostering inspiring environments" angle, with the answers from Gulshan,Pierre,Karim being along the right lines. Commented Nov 6, 2010 at 19:01
  • btw, I've updated my answer to (hopefully) give more constructive feedback, and just be a better answer overall. Commented Nov 6, 2010 at 19:38
  • 1
    @Peter Turner is right about close question not be in the spirit of the internet. StackExchange sites was created exactly because the spirit of the internet produces garbage most of time. We can't allow broken windows. Peter is always trying to break windows here, defending this behavior and helping to pollute SE. Peter has the audacity to defend against the rules of this site every time. Peter doesn't like the rules of the site and can give up, but he prefer to troll as much as he can.
    – Maniero
    Commented Nov 6, 2010 at 23:06
  • @TomWij and @Peter Boughton: I don't write a comment because my edit started in reaction of this question on meta, so my comment was leave here, but I agree that could be better to write a comment there.
    – Maniero
    Commented Nov 6, 2010 at 23:09
  • 1
    @bigown - telling people they're "polluting" the community by their presence and contribution is not constructive, and won't get a better reaction out of anyone. The question being discussed doesn't seem to be as bad as you're implying with the "pollution" remark in any case, and it has some thoughtful answers (and quite a few votes) already. Many people evidently think it's relevant, and more would probably have voted it up by now had you not locked it. Throwing out constructive ideas because they don't fit into all six seemingly arbitrary guidelines seems like a large broken window itself.
    – Inaimathi
    Commented Nov 7, 2010 at 0:15
  • @bigown: There are two Peters here, which Peter did you meant in your comment? Commented Nov 7, 2010 at 1:18
  • @Tomwij: Peter Turner is in the start of comment. And I think is clear the big difference between each Peter behavior on this site.
    – Maniero
    Commented Nov 7, 2010 at 4:30
  • 5
    @bigown: I'm not sure you've understood what it means to be a moderator. This is a community site, not your site, and as such your influence is supposed to be moderating, not dictatorial.
    – Joren
    Commented Nov 10, 2010 at 16:23

2 Answers 2


No, it's not a bad thing to discuss - it's just not suitable for Programmers.SE (in its current form)

In General:

When considering whether to vote to close a question, I have a simple metric I use:

Will this question make [me] a better programmer.

i.e. I attempt to objectively determine if there is value in the question (and any answers) at the time of voting. Obviously applying empathy if I'm not directly involved/educated in the topic, and if it's borderline I might wait a bit and see how it evolves before voting.

The "six subjective guidelines" I don't agree with, because it's not a matter of subjectivity, and "sharing experiences" is not a valid measure of whether something is useful (sometimes experiences are helpful, sometimes they're not).

Voting to close is not a one-way decision; it doesn't mean the question is bad or irredeemable. If a question is improved and made into something useful, I will happily vote in favour of the question.

This is all about me wanting to help create a Q&A website which is useful and respected - not one that is considered a dumping ground for everything closed on StackOverflow, nor a place where the signal:noise ratio (i.e. useful:mindless-fun) is too low.

I want to share programming wisdom, (not discuss showers, dreaming, and tacky TV shows).


For this specific question, when I voted, there wasn't any point in it. It was more of a discussion - so find a discussion forum to have it in, or pop into the SO chat room.

When combined with responses such as these:

I've always said I do my best programming in the shower.
Driving, definitely the best ideas are coming while driving.
Often when I can't sleep at night. Usually because I have a problem on my mind.
Sometimes a few weeks after release: I look at my code and wonder "what was I thinking?"
I came up with the solution to a totally intractable database problem in a dream the other night.
Usually on my way home, about 5 minutes after leaving the office.
This totally reminds me of that Big Bang Theory episode...

None of those are helpful and will not make anyone a better programmer.

To make it a good question...

It needs to focus on making people better programmers, and tuning the question towards what we can do to improve our inspirational abilities.

And to keep it on-topic, it needs to be specifically targeted at programmers - what sort of ideas do programmers have/need compares to other people? Well, ideas on API design. To inspire yourself for that, you might get a list of method names from ten popular APIs, print them out, jumble them up, and see if that helps inspire you as to good names for your own API.

The question body should remind people it's asking for programming advice on coming up with ideas, to make sure the answers are focused in the right direction.

  • 1
    The responses you list have all either been downvoted, ignored, or received a single upvote (ok, except for the programming in the shower one, but that's not quite the non sequitur it appears to be. See paulgraham.com/top.html). The constructive, thought out responses are sitting comfortably at the top of the answer pile, which makes me think this question was constructive after all.
    – Inaimathi
    Commented Nov 7, 2010 at 0:13

Please don't spam on your question. What you had posted on question is an advertisement to reopen it.

Nobody wanted to reopen it for 5 days.

This question is non-constructive AND off-topic. I followed Peter's vote but I could have closed it for being off-topic. This has nothing to do with programming.

You can commit to the Personal productivity proposal and maybe they could accept your question soon.

  • @TomWij: Thanks.
    – Maniero
    Commented Nov 6, 2010 at 22:51

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