Yesterday I asked a question that meets the on-topic requirements of this site. I did my research, and I asked an answerable question. A very good answer (+95), based on facts and logic was given, proving the question is answerable.

Why on Earth would this question be closed? There are 4 close votes on the question now. Sure, I already got the answer to my question, but after I contribute a good question, and it's received well by the programming community, I take it personally that 5 incorrect users may close my question after 75 other users vote that it's a good, valid programming question.

I've asked 14 questions on this site, none of which have a negative net vote count at the time of this post, with an average of 14 positive votes per question asked. In other words, I try hard to ask good programming questions here. However, I dislike the way certain users here vote to close every question that they personally don't like, regardless of whether it's actually on topic for the site or not. Subsequently, those same high rep users are likely the most active on meta, so I won't be surprised if this meta post receives down-votes quickly.

If this question is wrongly closed, I will no longer contribute my questions to this site. That's all I have to say. Retrospectively, this is extreme, but this is not the first time I've run into such things on Programmers SE.

  • 2
    In addition to the existing answers, I would also point out that your question appears to have been on the hot network question list given the large number of votes and views in such a short amount of time. It is highly likely that many people stopped by and voted who otherwise would not have done so. When a question appears on the HNQ list and ends up closed, your meta question is the inevitable result. It is an unfortunate side effect, please do not take it personally.
    – user22815
    Oct 1, 2015 at 16:00
  • 1
    I see you've edited your question, but you still seem pretty upset. Do you not agree that your question is quite similar to the suggested duplicate? In my answer and my decision to leave open, it's because I thought it was just different enough, but it was honestly close in my mind. Do you disagree? Duplicates are a different beast than the other close reasons - a question can be amazing, but if it's a duplicate, it can and should still be closed.
    – durron597
    Oct 1, 2015 at 17:02
  • @durron597 Seems to me the question that mine is marked a duplicate of asks "Is it possible to write regular expressions in a more readable way without sacrificing performance" while mine asks "What is the reason that regular expressions were designed the way they were?" - The two questions are fundamentally different, and while their answers will have related information, the answers (and the questions) are focused on different things: Is there a specific reason this was this done? and Can it be done better?
    – J.Todd
    Oct 1, 2015 at 17:33
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    @JonathanTodd like what was stated in Thomas' answer, you should edit your question to make it clear that yours is not a duplicate as well as precisely what your expectation is for an answer. Please keep in mind that if the dupe target is a more general version of your question and its answer can answer yours, then your question is a duplicate.
    – user22815
    Oct 1, 2015 at 17:44
  • @Snowman I think my question is already explicitly stated and your thought process on determining the duplicate is actually the issue. You didn't consider the fundamental differences between the two questions, but rather scanned them both and decided "Close 'Nuff: Dupe". See my above comment for an explicit explanation of the difference between the two questions, as they are now, without any edits.
    – J.Todd
    Oct 1, 2015 at 17:49
  • Even so, I changed the last line of my question to re-state the question in the title.
    – J.Todd
    Oct 1, 2015 at 19:17

2 Answers 2


If you click on the close button, all four close votes are "duplicate", with a pointer to this question. This is indicating that everyone thinks the answers to the other question directly answer your question. If this is the case, then closing as a duplicate is a good thing, so that people searching for an answer can be brought to a single question and set of answers that can be maintained. If it's not a duplicate, something about your question is making them think that it is a duplicate. If there's anything you can edit about your question to improve its clarity or explain why the answers to that question don't help you, that would be beneficial.

If you don't want to participate over one question being closed, that's your decision to make. But voting and community participation are key to Stack Exchange. The up votes indicate that your question is, in the eyes of a large number of users, a good one. If it does get closed, closures can be undone - edits to close questions put them in a queue for review and voting, meta posts can bring discussion and community votes (along with moderator attention - moderators are notified of every new question on Meta), and flags can be used to summon moderators to review community decisions and reverse ones that are incorrect. It looks like your contributions are generally well-received. A couple of closed questions or down votes shouldn't be taken personally - it's just the opinion of one or a small number of users and most things can be undone.


For what it's worth, while it takes only 5 users to close a question, it also only takes 5 users to reopen it, or one moderator. These users may not vote to close your question again, once it's reopened, it would need a different five users to close the question.

This is the Close Vote Review Task for your question, which was permanently ejected from the queue by a moderator.

All that said, I suspect the reason you have received any close votes is two fold:

  1. It is fairly similar to this question: Readable regular expressions without losing their power? and people have voted to close as duplicate.
    • Personally, I think it's different enough, but that's why I voted to leave open. I don't think anyone can argue that it's not at least quite related.
  2. It's somewhat opinion based; it's hard to know the mindset of the original authors of the regular expression syntax used today.
    • However, again you've phrased it in a way that has an answer "Is there a specific reason..." which is why I voted to Leave Open.

So, while I don't personally agree with the close votes on this question, I also think they're not unreasonable. I hope you continue to contribute to Programmers.SE.

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