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I asked: https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/198052/what-is-the-modern-alternative-to-newsgroups and 2 minutes after it was closed as "not constructive". No comments, no answers, just closed. What is wrong with this site? I am a full time developer with more than 10+ experience, 3K+ reputation in SO... This question is REAL, it related to programming (but it is not a specific programming question), and after searching a lot in the 'net I have found no answer for it. So I guessed the intelligent group of programmers that is on this site could help me answer the question. So what the hell is going on here?

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    Just to put you straight. It was closed by five regular users. There were no diamond moderators involved at all. – ChrisF May 14 '13 at 12:57
  • Sorry - so how do I call users with "close question" priviledges? – vainolo May 14 '13 at 13:05
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    You'd basically call them users with vote to close privileges. Not aware of any other specific term. "3k users" maybe. – slhck May 14 '13 at 13:16
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    @vainolo - "close voters" is sufficient. It's important to understand that 5 votes from community members can close a question or a single vote from a moderator can close a question. – user53019 May 14 '13 at 13:40
  • "I guessed the intelligent group of programmers... could help" -- your mistake is expecting your question being in environment like this. This is common misconception, but unfortunately, things are very different indeed. Take a look here if you want to understand what's wrong with this expectation. "I think that if I could ask a question to a group of skilled programmers sitting around a table at lunch, and get interesting, valuable answers, then..." – gnat May 14 '13 at 14:41
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    I stopped using this site a while ago because I got so pissed off with questions getting closed all the time. I thought I'd give it another chance but judging by this, things have not changed at all. – MattDavey May 16 '13 at 8:56
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Your question is not constructive as the answers will be a list of people's favourite alternative to newsgroups.

You will be no better off with an answer than you are now.

Stack Exchange works by making sure that the noise is kept to a minimum and quickly closing questions helps in that.

You might be better off asking that question in chat.

  • Why is that answer not constructive? It would actually be very constructuve! – vainolo May 14 '13 at 13:05
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    @vainolo Everybody has a different opinion about what constitutes a "modern" "alternative" to something. That alone makes such a question subjective, and thus not constructive. – slhck May 14 '13 at 13:17
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    @vainolo "Not Constructive" can almost always be translated into "does not fit Stack Exchange's question standards". They do not want questions that generate multiple answers each containing one piece of the ultimate solution, or ones that just generate links to other sites. Their choice of wording is poor, and they're planning on changing it in the future. – Rachel May 14 '13 at 14:33
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I was close voter #5

First off, let me address the tone of the meta question. Getting upset and angry at us, lacing the question with unnecessary vitriol sets the tone of the question and may make it more difficult to get sympathetic help. While I do realize that having a question closed or downvoted can be a bit of an ego hit, please do remember that we are people too and are attempting to keep the site on target and focused. With P.SE, that has been a long and constant battle with much history to it. I would suggest reading A Group Is Its Own Worst Enemy for some insight into the dynamics of the communities of social software.


There are two problems with this question that I saw, the "not constructive" being the bigger one... the other one being off topic.

The question was off topic because the question did not pertain to programming. Usenet had a plethora of news groups - most of which were not about programming at all. While you mentioned comp.lang.c, replacing it with alt.games.rougelike.nethack would be the same question. If the question was only about programming, it could have stayed here... if it was about nethack, we could have migrated it to gaming.SE. As it is about everything, its off topic on Programmers.SE (and likely other places too)..

From the FAQ:

Question applies to:

The other part of the question was not constructive. This is a guideline that spans all stack exchanges (even if something was on topic for gaming or cooking that got mistakenly posted here - the "not constructive" would still apply). This is quite different than closing the question as not a real question (as you say, it is real - though it isn't constructive).

A constructive question should have one answer that authoritatively answers the problem/question. A poll for resources "I am looking for a book on C", while vaguely on topic doesn't have a single answer. The usenet community has split exists in bits on google groups, mailing lists, stack exchange, reddit, twitter, blogs, perlmonks, private/restricted usenet feeds, and a plethora of other social media sites and resources that cater to a particular bit of the conglomeration that was known as usenet. Since all these answers are correct (and I am sure that people can think of others that are equally correct), the question itself cannot have an answer and is not constructive.


The social norms of one site may differ from another. The reputation of someone on one site isn't transitive to another site. If anything, having a reputation of a seasoned SE user on another site would mean that we expect more of you when writing a question.

On close votes - as you do have 3k rep on SO, you might consider browsing the close vote review queue there. It has about ~52500 questions that are in the queue. After spending some time with such questions, I would hope that you would have a more sympathetic bend to those who close without comment - trusting that the explanation of the close reason itself was enough to communicate the reasoning.

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    Thanks for the long and comprehensive answer. And sorry for the hard language :-) – vainolo May 14 '13 at 15:30
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I see two issues with your question.

  1. Your question is off-topic because newsgroups and their successors are not unique to the programming profession.

  2. Your question is too broad; there are too many possible answers to be a good fit for the StackExchange format.

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