I am struggling to figure out why “Too object-oriented” was closed as a duplicate of How can I convince management to deal with technical debt?. I see that there's a relationship between the two, but there's a vast difference between

  • How do I convince management we need to rewrite some code?
  • How do I convince my peers to allow me not to make the situation worse?

Am I missing something?

  • 6
    Questions to the effect of "How can I convince my [company/coworkers/boss] to do [something/anything] seldom fare well here. We are not referees, nor are we convincing to people whose minds are already made up. Apr 4 '13 at 22:04
  • Sidenote: Some of the Meta comments on the question were removed, no point in keeping them when we have a Meta discussion on the question.
    – yannis
    Apr 5 '13 at 9:35

I was reacting to flags on the post indicating it was a duplicate.

There were already two duplicate votes and a comment indicating that at least three people thought that the problem was fundamentally the same. I reviewed the flags and agreed.

People do make mistakes, so if you disagree the correct things to do are:

  1. Edit the question to emphasise the differences (just saying they're different is not enough).
  2. Cast a reopen vote.
  3. Raise the issue in chat to see if anyone else agrees.

These actions will put the question on the reopen review queue which will bring it to the attention of more people.

Finally, flag the question for moderator attention and bring it up on meta as a last resort.

  • 1
    Well, I cast a reopen vote and I didn't think the question needed editing, it seemed clear enough to me what the poster was asking -- I think people reacted to the answer more than the question. I don't really use chat; it feels like a conversation there needs my full attention and this is my spare time. So I came here, which is where I usually see these things discussed. If that was a mistake then I apologise. People do make mistakes :).
    – pdr
    Apr 4 '13 at 21:40
  • Thanks, I also still feeels this are related but not a duplicate. But I do not have more time to spend on stackexchange bureaucracy
    – ThuneGrill
    Apr 5 '13 at 6:36
  • 2
    @ThuneGrill This isn't about bureaucracy, but about getting the best answers possible for your question. And right now that's not quite easy because your question isn't as clear as it can be. I don't think your question is a dupe, but I also don't think that "I struggle in making my motivation clear" is on topic on Programmers.
    – yannis
    Apr 5 '13 at 9:33
  • 2
    @ThuneGrill (cont...) Nevertheless your one clarifying comment points to a knowledge transfer question, that would be perfectly on topic. Work it into the question please, and also try to make it more about programming and less about people. We love programming, but people... not so much ;)
    – yannis
    Apr 5 '13 at 9:34
  • @ThuneGrill: Alternatively, you could make it more about the people than programming (ie. what to do when your peers tell you you're doing it wrong and you know, intellectually, that you're not, is not a problem specific to programming), and take it to The Workplace (workplace.stackexchange.com). I think you might get a better reception there.
    – pdr
    Apr 5 '13 at 10:41

I have edited the differences into the question and nominated for re-opening.

< minor rant ~= read for the constructive aspects >

@pdr - While the original intent of the question was clear to you, the fact that the question was closed as duplicate indicates that the difference was not sufficiently distinct for the community. Editing in that case is a courtesy to the community that says "hey, you missed the nuance in this question, let me help point it out to you."

Props for calling out the closure in Meta though. I wouldn't have seen it otherwise, and I think it's a good question now that we've clarified the difference. I'm dealing with a similar issue at a smaller scale.

@ThuneGrill - as the sender / asker of a question, it's your obligation to make sure the receivers (the P.SE community) understood your question. Burying two or three questions within a single paragraph that's a little ranty (yes, I note the irony) doesn't help the signal-to-noise ratio of your question. If you need help with editing your question, you're more than welcome to ask on Chat in The Whiteboard.

Also try to keep in mind that we're trying to build high quality Q&A within this site. I understand that it's easy to get defensive instead of treating things as constructive feedback. What I think you're calling bureaucracy is actually what makes this site stand out from forums where you can't get a solid answer to a question. Apologies in advance if I have misunderstood your comments.

Please keep in mind that you can always flag your question for moderator re-opening after you have edited the question to address the concerns brought up from close voting.

You do have a solid question, and thank you for asking it here in P.SE.

< /rant >

  • 1
    Fair enough comment. I guess I'm not really comfortable with editing. I don't do it often because I feel other people are better at it than I. (eg. I would have completely rewritten that question, where you have refocussed it.) I doubt I am the only person in the community who feels that way (or who doesn't use chat), and that shouldn't be a problem. The point of a community is that everyone plays to their strengths.
    – pdr
    Apr 5 '13 at 15:11
  • @pdr I agree that everyone should play to their strengths, and I think you took the right action by calling out the question in meta. Chat can have a low signal-to-noise ratio, and most of us have a very limited amount of time that we can devote to this community.
    – user53019
    Apr 5 '13 at 15:25

I think that even after the edits, the question lacks enough focus to be a good fit for the stack exchange format. There seem to be lots of questions rolled into one. Questions such as

  1. How do I convince someone to change their mind?
  2. What do I do when I'm in a shop that writes messy code?
  3. What do I do when I'm in a shop that doesn't conform to my architectural style?
  4. How do I explain the benefits of the Single Responsibility Principle to someone who is suspicious of or hostile to object oriented programming?

As written, the question seems geared towards #1.


That argument was made before it got closed. People closed anyway because the "when" argument wasn't convincing. The writing of new code is future work. The fixing of technical debt is future work. Both questions are about asking the powers that be for permission to write code differently tomorrow than it would have been written yesterday. The important distinction isn't when the differences get created, it's how they want it to be different.

I understood the core problem to be, "I cannot articulate clear and distinct advantages of OOP over their style, because I have no earthly idea why someone would want to program like that." Thunegrill obviously already knows quite a bit about OOP. That's why my answer took Stephen Covey's approach of "Seek first to understand, then to be understood."

The core problem of the other question is, "I cannot articulate clear and distinct advantages of refactored code over working but difficult to read code, because the people I'm trying to convince don't have coding experience."

Either way, we're comparing two different ways to implement the same requirements. The difference is one question is procedural vs. OOP, and the other question is repeatedly patched vs. refactored. It probably wouldn't have been closed as a duplicate if that distinction had been made earlier.

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