We have a new lock type that can be added to questions that are not strictly on topic or constructive but have, because they have been edited and expanded, become a valuable resource.

The first question that it's been applied to is this one:

What technical details should a programmer of a web application consider before making the site public?

This lock is best applied to a question that has a single CW answer that covers all the points. At the moment that doesn't apply to this question, so if people could take one of the answers and edit it into the accepted answer then flag that, now redundant, answer for moderator deletion it will make the task of cleaning it up that much easier.

If there are any other questions you think this lock would apply too, flag those as well. It doesn't matter if the question is closed or not - we can sort that out. Starting the ball rolling by editing the best answer would be useful too.

  • 1
    I prevaricate this maneuver. Commented Jun 21, 2013 at 20:12
  • @JimmyHoffa Don't use your big words on me, I have Google powers! (You are avoiding/evading this action?)
    – Rachel
    Commented Jun 22, 2013 at 14:31
  • These types of questions are still not encouraged though, right?
    – Dynamic
    Commented Jun 22, 2013 at 19:44
  • @Dynamic - indeed not. It should be only used for questions that would otherwise be given an historical lock.
    – ChrisF Mod
    Commented Jun 22, 2013 at 22:42
  • 1
    @Dynamic There is a mythical creature called the canonical question. However, it has never actually been observed in the wild. Attempts to breed it have largely proven unsuccessful. An example of one in captivity can be found here: stackoverflow.com/questions/8028957/headers-already-sent-by-php Commented Jun 24, 2013 at 17:35
  • @RobertHarvey So are these types of questions acceptable then?
    – Dynamic
    Commented Jun 24, 2013 at 17:39
  • 1
    @Dynamic In what sense? Canonical questions and answers have always been the raison d'être of Stack Overflow, although in practice such wheat is quite rare in a sea of chaff. Commented Jun 24, 2013 at 17:42

1 Answer 1


There doesn't seem to be any guidance for what would make a good or bad collaborative question. So far, I'm having an easier time defining what such a question is not:

  • Frequently changing. The answer should be fairly consistent over time. It may take time to get there, but if the type of question requires frequent additions/subtractions over the life of the question, it's likely not a good fit.
  • Off-topic. Currently, things that are off-topic include what to learn next (although proper phrasing, such as the web development question, can push it to the good side of this line), recommendations for tools or libraries, recommendations for off-site resources, and education or career advice are all off-topic and probably wouldn't make good collaborative answers.
  • wrt guidance for what would make a good collaborative, I'd borrow key point from Good Subjective, Bad Subjective: The best subjective questions invite explanation... “How?” and “Why?” has more lasting value than a bunch of product-feature bullet points or a giant enumerated list, no matter how extensive...
    – gnat
    Commented Jul 21, 2013 at 21:49

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