That recursion question «Is recursion not something programmers know?» (10k link, img) suddenly disappeared. Why and what happened to it?!


1 Answer 1


GlenH7, Amon, and I were the three delete votes on it. A closed question that is at -3 can be deleted by users that have 20k rep without having to wait for two days.

This question was attracting significant discussion in the comments. The question post had 13 comments, the posts had 10, 14, and 4 comments on them (and showed no sign of stopping or slowing down).

The question had a number of reopen votes on it, which would have likely made it (and I will point out that it would likely get closed again - neither Glen, Amon nor I had cast close votes on it in the first round). The question itself was (I believe) a rant about the lack of experience of php coders, an opinion poll about what to do when interviewing a candidate who can't do recursion for a Fibonacci series. The answers were veering off into critiquing the interview question and the applicability of recursion in today's computing environment.

The combination of these things (the discussion in comments, the off topic nature of the question, that the question was likely to get reopened and reclosed (with probably a few more answers jumping into the bandwagon)) strongly suggests that it is going to become even more contentious with time. At best (or worst depending on opinion), it would be one of those ugly historical locks (historical significance on a 1 day old question?).

Discussions are indeed fun and interesting - but they are a poor fit for the Stack Exchange Q&A format. I would love to banter about this in chat, or see what anecdotes occur on Quora or Reddit for it... but it is very tough to get it to fit in the Q&A format as asked and written.

Deleting the question gives people who have 10k reputation (and the OP) the opportunity to try to edit it into a question that should be reopened without the drama associated with bumping the question and repeated "leave closed" reviews. In its current form, however, it should remain closed and ultimately be deleted as it isn't a good fit for the Q&A format. That it was done sooner than later was to try to reduce the poor experiences for the people who chance to answer it in the reopen/reclose cycle and reduce any associated drama.

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    @BenAaronson the second answer the question got. The answer is tangent to the question being asked - and there are lots of tangents to the question (including critiquing the question itself). The reason these are showing up as answers (and getting up votes) is that question itself doesn't have a possible concrete answer - every answer to it must be an opinion and everyone has one (and then people vote according to if they agree with the statement rather than if it is a good answer that solves the problem and we get a bike shed).
    – user40980
    Jul 5, 2015 at 2:55
  • It's also "Unclear what you're asking," since the OP never specified what they meant by, "No one has been able to answer it." It's not clear whether that means no one gave any answer (sounds unlikely) or if no one gave exactly the desired answer. For all we know, he rejected answers that used an $n < 1 check instead of $n < 2. (Unless that's clarified in comments, but it should've been edited into the question if so.) That's a some hay on top of a mountain, of course, but it is one more reason for it to go.
    – jpmc26
    Jul 15, 2015 at 1:26

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