Can someone help explain why my question was closed? How can I update a large legacy codebase to meet specific quality standards?

One of the comments said that my question was a list question, so I have rephrased it in a way to no longer be a list question. I feel that the question is on-topic for the site and have read the FAQ, but I don't know how to proceed from here.

Can anyone help me rephrase it so that it would be acceptable? Also, can anyone tell me if i is ever likely to be accepted on this site?

2 Answers 2


Well, starting with the title:

What is the best example...

This immediately sets off alarm bells and indeed if you type the title into the Ask Question box you get the following warning:

The question you're asking appears subjective and is likely to be closed.

The problem is that "best" is a highly subjective term and these sort of questions lead to people just promoting their favourite book, program, TV show (or what ever the topic of the question/site) is.

What are you actually trying to find out here? Do you want to know what techniques for dealing with large legacy codebases were successful and which weren't? If so ask that question - though even then the question might get closed.

  • a question about working with legacy code bases would likely already be a duplicate.
    – Ryathal
    Commented Jan 31, 2013 at 13:24
  • 1
    Ryathal: I don't want information on working with legacy codebases. There is plenty of information out there. I just want to know about information in the public domain about successful quality turnarounds in large legacy projects. Given the breadth of information about technique it seems there should be some good case studies.
    – mikelong
    Commented Jan 31, 2013 at 14:30
  • @mikelong basically, with this you want an information where some large company would tell the world like, "our product profoundly sucked in such and such way..." It's very unlikely marketing dept would approve publishing stuff like that. I figured this from recent chat discussion of your question: chat.stackexchange.com/transcript/message/7913391#7913391 "The consultants doing it (much of the time) find themselves NDA'ed to silence on the projects."
    – gnat
    Commented Jan 31, 2013 at 16:28

Your first revision (Examples of large legacy codebases that have been improved) was asking for a list of examples, which is considered "not-constructive" by StackExchange because the end result is a big list of items, each of which are equally valid and with no one-right-answer.

Your second revision (What is the best example of a large legacy codebases that have has been significantly improved) is better, however everyone's definition of "best" is different, so in order for a question asking for "the best X" to stay open, you have to clearly define what you consider "best" to be. Most efficient, best performing, etc. Otherwise the same thing happens: the end result is a list of answers that could all be equally valid, with no way for users to objectively vote which answer is better than the rest.

I've made an update to your question to try and get it reopened, by focusing on the actual problem you appear to be facing (figuring out proven ways to update a large legacy application to meet today's quality standards, without rewriting it), however it still needs 4 other reopen votes by the community to get reopened.

It's currently at 4 reopen votes, so I don't think it will have a problem getting the 5th vote and getting reopened now :)

  • As far as I can tell an existing answer has fallen a victim of salvaging edits. It reads like a poll/list answer. Resource recommendation, quite a decent one but still... As author pointed even before edits, "I wanted to make this a comment, but it was too long. I understand this does not answer the question fully."
    – gnat
    Commented Jan 31, 2013 at 13:56
  • Hi Rachel, Thanks for your help!
    – mikelong
    Commented Jan 31, 2013 at 14:00
  • @mikelong rev 5 "Focus the text on the case study or evidence" is quite slippery, resource requests are not quite welcome at Programmers. As far as I understand, one would rather present an underlying problem instead - a problem that was intended to be solved with particular resource requested
    – gnat
    Commented Jan 31, 2013 at 14:50
  • 1
    @gnat I'll agree that asking specifically for a case study will likely lead it to being closed again, so I made another edit to specify that the answers should be backed up by an example company or case study that has successfully used the approach described in the answer if possible.
    – Rachel
    Commented Jan 31, 2013 at 15:27

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