1

"Comments are a code smell"

From the FAQ, I would expect it to fall under the "good" topic of Software Engineering, and from Good Subjective, Bad Subjective, it seems to meet almost all the criteria for "Good Subjective":

  • Not only to the answers posted all agree, they also all explain why.
  • Most answers are medium-length, not short.
  • Most of the upvoted ones are impartial (that second one, not so much).
  • On the other hand, that second one falls under this criteria - it shares an experience to explain why.
  • There are references in some of the less-upvoted answers.
  • This one in particular seems to have hit a nerve - it's most definitely not "mindless social fun".

And there's the massive amount of upvotes both the question and answers have, so it was definitely a question users liked. (I'm still using it as a reference because of the high-quality answers and examples!)

So... Shouldn't this be an open question on this site? It seems like exactly the type of thing we should be encouraging. (Perhaps, just edit the question's "What do you think?" and change it to "Is he right?")

  • "just edit" - this idea has been discussed in depth a while ago at MSO: Suggestions for editing old “Not constructive” question into constructiveness so that it can be preserved – gnat Mar 17 '13 at 6:21
  • "I'm still using it as a reference because of the high-quality answers and examples!" And that's exactly the reason I locked it, to protect it from deletion. The question qualifies for a historical lock because a) it's not a good question, b) but some of the answers are great and c) it has a lot of inbound links. I'm not so sure why you think we should be encouraging such questions, quite the opposite really, open ended, overly broad and ill defined questions are not what the site is about. The fact that it got a few awesome answers doesn't make it a better question unfortunately... – yannis Apr 3 '13 at 5:47
5

You forgot to mention the 20 or so answers that are not very good answers; they fail "Good Subjective, Bad Subjective" tests 1,2,4 and 5 for the most part. Thats' a pretty good indication that the question itself is "not constructive."

Closing and locking means that the question is already adequately answered, we're not accepting any more answers, and the post is protected from deletion. I'd say that post is a perfect candidate.

  • 2
    The vast majority of those "me, too" answers are by users that are low-rep even now; it may well have been their first posts on this site. If it existed back then, the correct course of action would've been to put that new user protection on the question (where you need some amount of rep to post an answer). – Izkata Mar 16 '13 at 21:32
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    Does the question really need more answers, from anyone? – Robert Harvey Mar 16 '13 at 21:34
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    So you advocate locking all questions that have an accepted answer? – Izkata Mar 16 '13 at 21:35
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    They were new users; the answer should've been downvoted and explained to them why an additional answer was not necessary – Izkata Mar 16 '13 at 21:36
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    So you advocate locking all questions that have an accepted answer? -- That's a straw man. Do you have any questions for me that are not straw men? – Robert Harvey Mar 16 '13 at 21:37
  • They were new users; the answer should've been downvoted and explained to them why an additional answer was not necessary -- Or, we can just lock the question and be done with it. – Robert Harvey Mar 16 '13 at 21:38
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    It is not a straw man because you said it yourself: Closing and locking means that the question is already adequately answered, we're not accepting any more answers, and the post is protected from deletion. So why not just do it to all questions with accepted answers? – Izkata Mar 16 '13 at 21:39
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    @Izkata: You didn't answer my prior question. Does this post really need more input from anyone else? Locking prevents posts from being updated, so it's only done on posts where there's clearly nothing of substantial value that anyone can add. – Robert Harvey Mar 17 '13 at 0:46
  • Who decides whether or not a question warrants any further activity? Apparently, like so many things on this site, that decision has been taken away from the community and now lies with a few individuals. – MattDavey Mar 18 '13 at 13:03
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    @MattDavey: Well, I hope we can both agree that the question is not a very good one. Consequently the focus shifts from keeping the question open (which is hopeless) to preserving it (protecting it from eventual deletion). The question would be a much better one if it asked about where and when comments should be used (almost certainly a duplicate of some other question), rather than the flame bait and bikeshedding bait that it currently is. – Robert Harvey Mar 18 '13 at 15:13

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