Should I try to persuade my manager that code tidying should take priority over meeting deadlines?

I do not agree that this question should have been closed. If it was truly a duplicate, than the answers would have been the same. As it is, the answers are not the same.

"Should I" is not the same as "How can I".

There were several good reasons to keep the question open in comments, however those comments were deleted.

Sometimes I absolutely despair for this site when good content is mercilessly closed like this. Eric Lippert took the time to write an absolute gem of wisdom, it's such a huge shame that it'll go almost entirely unnoticed now due to over zealous moderation :(

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    Just as a note, the post was originally closed as "not a real question" by 5 regular users. – ChrisF Feb 25 '13 at 16:27
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    not a real question - with several upvoted answers, including one by Eric Lippert - doesn't quite add up. Can a moderator undelete the comments and move them here? – MattDavey Feb 25 '13 at 16:30
  • I didn't see the question until now so I haven't had chance to decide whether that was correct or not. I just thought it ought to be brought into the open. You'd only know if you opened the revision history of the question. – ChrisF Feb 25 '13 at 16:31
  • fair point - there was some discussion around whether or not it was "a real question" in the comments, they ought to be brought into the open too. – MattDavey Feb 25 '13 at 16:33
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    @MattDavey We can't undelete comments. I could post a screenshot of the deleted comments, but I don't see anything particularly interesting or useful in there (except perhaps Eric's reply to your comment). – yannis Feb 25 '13 at 16:37
  • @YannisRizos I did not see Erics reply to my comment, what was it? – MattDavey Feb 25 '13 at 16:41
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    @MattDavey i.stack.imgur.com/1tsCc.png – yannis Feb 25 '13 at 16:42
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    Matt - please be more clear when railing against moderation. In this case, it was community moderation that originally closed your question, not the moderators themselves. Granted, some mods like Yannis are looking for an excuse to suspend someone (that's a joke, btw), but by and large the mods are pretty even-handed in their handling of things. – user53019 Feb 25 '13 at 18:04
  • @GlenH7: Why would he need to be clear about whether he was talking about community moderators or moderator moderators? What they both do is moderation, right? – Michael Shaw Feb 25 '13 at 21:06
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    @MichaelShaw - erm, no. They are definitely different. I have noticed a trend of site users complaining about heavy-handed moderators closing their precious, er I mean, their question. However, it's generally the community that has closed the question, not a mod. That's why ChrisF pointed out the original community close in the comments above. The phrase "over zealous moderation" accuses the diamonds of doing something wrong when the reality is something completely different. My point is to direct the invective where it's due. Mod close != community close. – user53019 Feb 25 '13 at 21:18
  • Just to clarify again, it was not my question. Apologies if it seemed I was attacking the moderators, I just get very frustrated seeing so many good questions getting closed here. It makes me sad frankly to see such great content being closed – MattDavey Feb 25 '13 at 21:18

The problem is the "if so how" statement in the actual question.

If the OP had left it focussed on whether they should have the discussion or not then it wouldn't have been seen as a duplicate.

Most of the answers seems to be focussing on the "should" aspect so if the OP is happy to edit that bit out we can reopen it.

However, given that it was originally closed as "not a real question" it may well get reclosed again anyway. I would imagine that the reason it was closed originally was because "should" questions are really discussion questions where there are lots of equally valid answers. However, we can and should be flexible about these if they bring out good answers.


To answer your first question:

I deleted the comments because they didn't add anything of value to the question itself. They were mostly a meta discussion that belonged here anyway. There is currently no feature that allows for moderators to migrate comments to a meta discussion or chat room. I figured that the same arguments about Not a Real Question and Duplicate would reoccur here.

To answer your other question:

Should I keep trying to persuade him, and, if so, how?

The answer the Should is rather uninteresting and could be based on any number of opinions. Popular opinion and demonstrated by the nine answers that all seem to say, NO it is not a good idea to push deadlines to take care of technical debt.

Furthermore not every answer is focused on Should... many answers like this one are specifically answering How which has been answered to death on the duplicate with 14 answers.


Beyond maybe a One Word answer, NO or YES, should wasn't that important in my opinion. The real thing the OP wanted to know was how to frame the argument to his boss to address technical debt. Should questions generally don't do well here because there is often wildly different opinions and perspectives for it be answerable in a clear way.

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    I strongly disagree with the idea that "should" wasn't important or could be answered by a simple yes or no. I think what matters about "should" is how you reach the yes or no conclusion. I had an answer to the question that I couldn't post (because it was closed before I finished it) that answered the "should" question without actually saying yes or no, but how to approach this sort of situation. – Michael Shaw Feb 25 '13 at 20:52
  • "Beyond maybe a One Word answer, NO or YES, should wasn't that important in my opinion." - It seems to me that the majority of answers, certainly the top 3 are heavily focused on the should and not on the how. These are certainly not one word answers. – MattDavey Feb 27 '13 at 9:38

Per Aaron's suggestion the question has been edited to provide more emphasis on the differences that weren't covered in the duplicate. Please join me in voting to reopen if you agree with the changes.


I think that the question was a constructive subjective question.

I consider the following quote to be valuable insight.

You're in the business of delivering value to stakeholders, not in the code prettification business.

Stack exchange is about getting good answers. If a question has both good and bad answers, the fault of the bad answers is probably with the answerers, not the question. To put it another way, bad questions are bad precisely because they fail to produce good answers.

I suggest editing the question to clearly emphasize the "should" and distinguish it from the "How can I convince my manager to deal with technical debt" question.

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    An edit is a good idea, but easier said than done. Why don't you append your suggested wording to this answer? If it works, I will vote to reopen with that change. – Karl Bielefeldt Feb 25 '13 at 19:50
  • @KarlBielefeldt: I don't see why an edit would be hard. Why wouldn't removing "and, if so, how?" and adding a link to the question about how to do it suffice? – Michael Shaw Feb 25 '13 at 20:41
  • @Michael, it wouldn't suffice because also asking "how" isn't the only issue in the question. If you merely remove it, you've boiled it down to a yes or no question, and the back story doesn't support that question very well. – Karl Bielefeldt Feb 25 '13 at 20:57
  • @KarlBielefeldt: I'm not sure what you're referring to with the backstory support. Would you be happy with replacing "and, if so, how" with "and why or why not"? – Michael Shaw Feb 25 '13 at 21:45
  • That would work. – Karl Bielefeldt Feb 25 '13 at 21:56

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