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I would like to know why my question has been closed nearly instantaneously?

What is a good product planning tool?

I read the FAQ prior to asking, and it does not seem to contradict any of the following guidelines to me:

  • inspire answers that explain “why” and “how”.
  • tend to have long, not short, answers.
  • have a constructive, fair, and impartial tone.
  • invite sharing experiences over opinions.
  • insist that opinion be backed up with facts and references.
  • are more than just mindless social fun.

In fact, those are the exact types of answers I want for my question.

And it would seem to me to fall under the category of "practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face". Is it not possible that someone else might need a product planning tool under similar circumstances?

I understand that there is a desire to keep this site constructive, but if people can't ask real-world questions, then what is the point? I use other StackExchange sites regularly without nearly the amount of trouble avoiding getting my questions closed. I can't help but feel that the atmosphere of legalism on Programmers is hindering what could be an even more useful site.

Nobody owes me anything, and I'm grateful for anyone who is willing to help me. However, this is not a particularly welcoming environment, and I don't think I'm the only one who thinks so. If this sort of question is not acceptable here, then perhaps someone is interested in pointing to me to a website where people will answer questions like mine.

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    To be perfectly honest, I don't see how your question has anything to do with software development. Certainly you'll be using the tool to help with your programming activities, but that doesn't really make it on topic on Programmers (even if we look past its not constructive elements), product planning is not a process unique to software development. I've asked on the Project Management SE chat room if your question would be on topic there, and if it is we'll certainly migrate it. – yannis Nov 9 '12 at 14:03
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    Also, and since I'm kind of a history buff: Drakon's laws essentially put an end to a tradition of blood feuds. Harsh as they might have been, they also gave everyone the opportunity to have their day in court (Meta?) on an era when people would slaughter each other any chance they got, with or without reason. I get that you were going for dramatic effect, just wanted to point out that Drakon's laws at the time were a very good thing. – yannis Nov 9 '12 at 14:37
  • Well I'm a software developer, so it seemed relevant to me to me :) I had no idea there was a Project Management SE. That's good to know, but I've been also steering away from typical project management tools after looking into them because they seem loaded with all this jargon and cruft and it turns out I need a slightly different problems solved than many of them are built for. My frustration aside with this process aside, I'm very grateful people have taken the time to address my concerns. – acjay Nov 9 '12 at 18:08
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"any suggestions for a good tool/service" makes question a perfect match for type questions that are strongly discouraged per Q&A is Hard, Let’s Go Shopping!

As far as I can tell, question looks salvageable using a healthy dose of Atwood's transform. I would consider editing it into something like "How do I tell if a product planning tool would suit my needs... etc then flagging to reopen.

The fact that question has been closed while it had no answers greatly simplifies editing it. Otherwise one would have to take additional care to make sure that changes don't invalidate existing answers - which in some cases can effectively lock the question from any substantial editing at all.

  • And please don't migrate to project management. They will tell him he needs to choose a tool that increases synergy among project resource components so that he can maximize ROI while achieving project milestones and career growth objectives in concert with the company mission statement and the project managers guide of conduct as specified in The Generic Giant Project Management Resource. – psr Nov 9 '12 at 17:32
  • Thanks for the feedback. My rebuttal would be that I would know whether a product planning tool suited my needs because it would have the abilities I described. I know how to tell. In the canonical Atwood question, there are dozens of products that would fit the bill, with little differentiation. In this case, I think I've specified the scenario to the point where there may be 3 or 4, with specific pros/cons that I and any other person with a similar problem could evaluate. – acjay Nov 9 '12 at 18:19
  • @psr is the project management site really that terrible? – Ryathal Nov 9 '12 at 20:14
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    @acjohnson55 - I agree with your reasoning entirely. But gnat's suggestion would probably convince enough people to not vote to close that it would remain open. And it might, debatably, attract answers helpful to more other people. – psr Nov 9 '12 at 21:00
  • @Ryathal - Totally my personal opinion, of course. And it's not entirely that bad, I thought there were a very small number of very good people and a large number of management drones that would have trouble passing the Turing test. A couple of times I thought someone was doing a parody of business-speak, but it turned out they were not. The people who are also active on Programmers are much better, so I was disappointed (though some of the people I personally liked don't post on Programmers, so there is at least a chance of getting good information that you wouldn't get here). – psr Nov 9 '12 at 21:09
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To quote the FAQ

and it is not about...

implementation issues or programming tools
what language/technology you should learn next, including which technology is better


What kind of questions should I not ask here?

You should only ask practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face. Chatty, open-ended questions diminish the usefulness of our site and push other questions off the front page.
To prevent your question from being flagged and possibly removed, avoid asking >subjective questions where …

every answer is equally valid: “What’s your favorite __?”

I feel the bolded parts accurately describe your question.

  • I interpret "programming tools" in that context to mean that it's not about how to actually use a tool. I'm not asking for a laundry list of tools, technologies, or favorites. I'm asking if someone knows a tool that solves a particular (but not overly particular) problem. The only valid answers would be ones that solve the problem I describe, although sure, presumably there are multiple valid answers. But it's not really a matter of "I love product XYZ because it's my fave!" type of question. – acjay Nov 9 '12 at 18:16
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What constitutes a "good" planning tool (or indeed any thing) is highly subjective.

What works for me and what I think is important may well not work for you be completely irrelevant for your needs.

The close reason states:

this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion.

Stack Exchange is a bad environment for these things. It's deliberately like this so that it can concentrate on getting great answers to great questions. It does mean that some perfectly good questions can't be asked here.

  • With all due respect, I don't think it would solicit debate or argument. I think there are enough specific parameters to make it not a poll or extended discussion. If I asked the question poorly or the title was too general, I can accept responsibility for that, because I don't know all the best terminology for project management. But I think I asked a fairly tight, yet relevant question, and I think that as a community, it would be more helpful to err slghtly on the side of permitting questions that aren't blatantly unproductive. – acjay Nov 9 '12 at 13:21
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    You've basically argued against subjective questions, but the FAQ specifically allows them, within bounds, and it doesn't differentiate between high and low subjectivity. If Programmers wants for there to be no subjectivity in questions, it should simply state that that's the case. But as you might be able to tell, I think there is plenty of room within the StackExchange format for subjectivity within reason. But it's not my house, so I suppose I'll have to find a better place to get my professional questions answered. – acjay Nov 9 '12 at 13:26
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    @acjohnson55 "within bounds"... Your question, unfortunately, isn't. – yannis Nov 9 '12 at 17:43
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I second @gnat answer (+1). You'll need to proper adjust it and rephrase somehow in order to avoid pooling answers.

Try to avoid talking about the tool and focus on your problem, instead.

Besides, I'd say that maybe you could have some other opinions when asking @ PMSE.

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I really appreciate the feedback I've gotten here. But I've got to say as someone who's from outside of the community, I think you guys are being a bit overzealous. I understand that it was a battle to rid Programmers of the frivolity of its beginnings, but after reading all of your responses, I still think many folks are serving the guidelines, rather than letting the guidelines serve the site.

For the record, I asked my same question on Quora and received a very simple, accurate answer (and a me-too answer, which probably would have been a harmless comment on SE). The world didn't explode into a cascade of unspecific answers, debate, polls and favorites. In fact, I've been using the recommended tool for a couple hours now and have achieved most of what I'm looking for. So I'm not just bellyaching, I'm trying to point out that I think there are reasonable questions that are being closed out of a somewhat unreasonable fear of a proliferation of chatty useless answers.

StackOverflow has been a game changer for me as a programmer, and I really love the SE model. The Quora model weirds me out. I'm simply saying that I think the SE platform as it is being implemented here is leaving things on the table of usefulness in the hopes of achieving a certain purity of question.

This SE doesn't belong to me and I can't dictate how to run it. Presumably everyone on Meta here has seen far more examples of chaotic questions than me and have a better understanding of the risks of a question like mine. But I want to provide one voice in favor of a little more leeway in letting people ask questions in a way that feels natural to them, rather than trying to contort them to an ideal that may not fit.

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