The question "How to effectively do manual debugging?" has been closed. Why?

The close reasons stated are:

  • "it's ambiguous", but it seems clear to me what's being asked (the answers seem to indicate the same)
  • "it's vague, overly broad", but it's about a pretty concrete, real-world scenario
  • "it's incomplete", if so: what's missing?
  • "it's rhetorical" that's probably not it (right?)

In addition it seems to me that it fulfills most, if not all of the requirements from the FAQ about "good subjective":

  • 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.

There's probably a good explanation that I'm missing. Then the final point of interest, the close reason includes:

For help clarifying this question so that it can be reopened, see the FAQ.

So let me know: what things can I do to clarify the question and get it reopened?

Edit: After reading the answers and comment I figured I should('ve) add(ed) the reason why I like to see this question open, improved, and with great answers.

When trying to help others improve their SO question, new users often end up asking "But what can I do to improve my question?". I was hoping that there could be an SE-network-place that has answers to that question, or at least the sub-question on manual debugging strategies, so I could link to it in comments. I thought this particular existing question could be the right place.

PS. The "not constructive" a.k.a. no polling questions policy does make more sense to me than "not a real question", and I wouldn't know if the question could be salvaged to become "constructive" again.

  • "Say you don't have a debugger available, what would be an effective approach to debug code which doesn't work (as expected)?" that's the whole (whole!) question text. To me, "it's vague" is a perfect match
    – gnat
    Commented Jan 2, 2013 at 18:11
  • That a question is short doesn't automatically mean it's vague (though it does imply the asker's not sharing his research with us).
    – Jeroen
    Commented Jan 2, 2013 at 19:25
  • By the way, I appreciate that- and agree with posters here that it's not a very well-asked question, which is why I ask what I could do to improve it. I'll add the reason I why I'd like to see it open to my meta question.
    – Jeroen
    Commented Jan 2, 2013 at 19:27
  • People who vote to close a question do not religiously follow the reasons listed in the FAQ. When a question is closed (on any SE site), and points you to the FAQ, rarely can you figure out the reason from the FAQ. Questions are not closed by popular vote. It only takes a handful of people who think that your question is, err, "sucky."
    – Kaz
    Commented Feb 2, 2013 at 20:52
  • If 10,000 people look at your question and think it is fine, but five think that it is sucky and should be closed, then it is closed. This is somewhat balanced by the requirement that they have to have a certain rep to cast close votes.
    – Kaz
    Commented Feb 2, 2013 at 20:54

2 Answers 2


I would have chosen "Not Constructive" as it's asking for a list of debugging techniques.

As it currently stands, this question is not a good fit for our Q&A format. We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or specific expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. If you feel that this question can be improved and possibly reopened, see the FAQ for guidance.

List questions aren't a good fit for the Stack Exchange Q & A format.

It's entirely possible that 2 people selected this reason, but the displayed reason is always the one chosen by the majority.

If you can edit it so that it's not calling for a list and your edit doesn't invalidated the existing answers we can consider reopening - though I'm not making any guarantees.

  • 2
    I would add that this is not a real 'SE' question because it meets the "If you can imagine an entire book that answers your question, you’re asking too much" criteria.
    – Eric King
    Commented Jan 2, 2013 at 23:02

It seems like it's polling for what people think is the best, with minimal demonstration of prior research (which is an example of a "not constructive" question, not a "not a real question" question). There are 9 answers to the question. Only a couple do a good job of providing a good overview of a number of techniques. A number of others focus on the same thing (logging) with various commentary about it. Several are also low-quality answers that should either be expanded upon to explain why it's useful and how to employ it or should be comments on the question.

Given that there are answers, I don't see anything that can be done to improve the question without invalidating answers. If answers are invalidated, they also need to be cleaned up in order to make the question viable.

A good question on this subject would have done prior research to find methods of debugging without a debugger (a few Google searches should turn up some ideas), and then ask a specific question about a given situation (mention the language, the project, and the tools that are available) and how to use a particular method or methods to solve the specific problem.

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