Often, I face myself asking a tricky question where someone interested in giving me a constructive answer would have to sit down and think. They would also need to care about my question and my problem and be open-minded (which is the whole idea behind Programmers.SE). Instead, they often end up just trying to make a point - the point they may have had all their lives and they wouldn't reconsider - or make me bad or show off their (sometimes questionable) knowledge. In short: useless and not constructive.

Usually, this doesn't happen when the question itself is technical and can be answered very objectively (as on Stackoverflow). But as soon as I'd like a subjective, critical but constructive answer, I get a bashing. And even more so, the bashers get voted up by other bashers such that the really constructive, interesting answers will move down in ranking among all the answers.

Is there a way to circumvent that? E.g. in phrasing my question very carefully (how?) Any ideas welcome.

NOTE: I've already asked the question here: How to phrase my subjective question to avoid unconstructive answers, but meta.programmers is the better place for it than meta.stackoverflow

1 Answer 1


The most important factor in getting constructive answers, by a wide margin, is to ask the question constructively in the first place. For example, I'm looking at one of your questions, which goes:

Would anyone care about a database-mapping tool, that's not really an ORM?

I still find it hard to believe that most Java persistence tools and standards try to somehow implement an object-relational model...


In short, they're still in Vietnam as qstarin put it in his answer.


And so on and so forth. The problem is that this question is written as a rant, quoting an editorial that's four-and-a-half years old, to boot; you appear to be upset that more people aren't using your software. That's fine, but you have to approach it from a neutral perspective if you don't want combative answers.

Personally, I don't even think you should have asked the question, because the motivation is a little suspect. But assuming people can get past that, I might have worded it like so:

Is jOOQ a viable model for querying databases?

As the creator and maintainer of the jOOQ tool, I've often felt that an object-oriented query model has several advantages over a more traditional ORM, such as:

[blah blah blah]

However, I'm not sure how many others share my enthusiasm. So I was wondering if anyone can point me to some disadvantages of using this approach? Are there issues that I am overlooking, either conceptual or practical? Is there anything that I could add or change to make this more attractive to developers?

This still sounds a little like self-promotion but at least you're not subtly insinuating that everybody else is doing it wrong. That's why you got the answers you did.

Now, that said, if you are absolutely certain that the question itself is constructive, then the best way to get constructive answers is to ask specifically for them:

[Question text]

Please answer constructively.

I realize that many people have strong feelings on the subject of ORMs and similar subjects, and that is fine, but please explain your answers, giving specific examples from your own experience if possible. Constructive criticism is welcome, but please be specific!

  • Hi Aaronaught. Thanks for the honest answer. You are right. From how you put it, I couldn't agree more. And you actually analysed the topic I was concerned with. I do realise now that my question could be seen as a rant itself, I hadn't thought of that.
    – Lukas Eder
    Dec 11, 2010 at 17:37

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .