I dont know if this is a question but to me it seems wrong that these answers exist.

Take this question Is anything in programming truly evil? . Currently there is 35 answers and i counted about 7 real answers (of what is evil) out of the 35. Thats a lot of answers (28/35) that arent really answers (nor are comments). Something about it feels wrong.

But then again i hate another thread and all of them are serious real answers. I only consider one to be actually correct and cant believe all the upvote in the thread especially the top answer (currently +63) which doesnt even address avoiding the ELSE keyword which can EASILY be done!

Total nonsense -_-

  • 2
    Voting down sounds like the best solution. I often dream of a world where it's grammar itself to forbid the formulation of thoughts I judge stupid. Sadly, I have to live in this one. – cbrandolino Dec 22 '10 at 13:32
  • That 'evil' question is truly sad, and should be closed post-haste. I'm working as hard as I can to get to 3k, so I can close stuff like that again. (and yes one of the answers is mine, but I will have no heartburn if that question gets deleted). – user1842 Dec 22 '10 at 21:43
  • 2
    @Lance: considering that your beef with the answers to that question appears to be born of a rather severe misinterpretation of the asker's intention, and further considering that the asker returned and edited his question to clarify what he was asking, I'm not sure why you don't just delete your answer and move on. I hate to accuse you of trolling, but find it hard to believe that you would be unfamiliar with the common tongue-in-cheek usage of adjectives like "evil" and "considered harmful" among programmers. – Shog9 Dec 22 '10 at 22:09
  • @Mr. CRT, I'm glad you pointed out that he edited it after my answer. – user1842 Dec 22 '10 at 22:12
  • 1
    @Lance your proclivity to offer criticism and then write joke answers should be considered harmful. Doing so is probably more effective than even closing a question. It's also more cowardly and games the system. – Peter Turner Dec 23 '10 at 14:14
  • 2
    The Evil question (which I asked) was in part meant as a retort to the is X evil, is Y evil questions of which there were a few springing up. I agree, there were a lot of poor answers but as people say, vote them down. If you think the question is out and out bad vote it down and / or leave a comment, ideally suggesting an improvement which might encourage better answers. – Jon Hopkins Dec 23 '10 at 16:49
  • @Jon Hopkins: there were too many of them (maybe i can DV them but i hate DV without leaving a comment). Although i will mention i do like the accepted answer. – user2528 Dec 23 '10 at 19:28
  • 2
    @acidzombie24 - I agree with you about wanting to leave comments but in this sort of case I think it's fair. Some answers are so obviously trite / bad that someone who would leave them would be unlikely to pay attention to a comment anyway. – Jon Hopkins Dec 24 '10 at 9:58
  • 2
    @acidzombie24: this is why I get so irritated with the whole, "never downvote without leaving a comment" crowd. Because you've so tightly linked the two separate forms of feedback in your mind, you now find yourself hobbled, unable to use the one that's actually most appropriate because you don't have the time/energy to follow it up with the second. Think about that for a minute: if there are just a few dozen others who feel the same as you, your combined withheld down-votes could be the difference between ~30 poor but highly-voted answers and a few good answers followed by all the crap... – Shog9 Dec 24 '10 at 18:15

Vote 'em down, baby! Use the power!

  • 1
    Let me upvote this answer.. – Arcturus Dec 23 '10 at 14:07
  • This is strangely irritating. :) – Mateen Ulhaq Mar 30 '11 at 22:36

Tell what you think in a comment.


The nature of subjective topics is to encourage controversy and populism; that's why some of us felt strongly about removing these sorts of questions from Stack Overflow.

Express your feelings by down-voting; combat opinions you feel are wrong with well-reasoned rebuttals.

If you can't handle doing that, you may wish to stick to the more technical questions on Stack Overflow. If it bothers you seeing that so many people hold different beliefs, you may wish to join a monastery.


I agree that questions that lead to poor answers and non-answers (which usually take the form of rants) are problematic. Sometimes it's not the fault of the question either, but a couple few initial answers setting the tone for what's to follow.

  • Yes i completely agree. – user2528 Dec 22 '10 at 21:46

I don't understand your anger about the ELSE question. The top answer is a perfectly good one. By inverting the default (fallback message) and the actual action (logging in), the "security problem" you address would be resolved (which of course is rather a SO question). Also the second rated answer is a good answer, as it shows that your suggestion might lead to new security problems.

Besides, that's their opinion and maybe you are just not right about your hypothesis, that ELSE is something bad per se. But maybe that's not what you wanted to hear...

  • I dont see the 2nd answer talking about security... nor do i see a security problem with mine or the answer i favour (then again it doesnt touch security. Just recommending the else usage) – user2528 Dec 25 '10 at 6:57
  • Exactly. So why do you think only one answer (way down below in ranking) is "correct"? Maybe you had something else in mind but most people didn't understand that. Like me, obviously... – Lukas Eder Dec 27 '10 at 19:33

Yeah this was exceptionally annoying, I asked a simple question about who the Patron Saint of programmers should be, not surprisingly the 'community' found some pretext to close it. But the answers weren't what I was looking for so it doesn't bother me that it was closed.

However, I doubt it would have been closed had I not gotten a bunch of joke answers because the question is relevant to me and other like minded programmers.

I don't know what you can do to discourage people who don't take the time to write a decent answer except disagree with them in the comments. Which may encourage other people to downvote them - especially if they completely missed the point of the question where it would be an objectively good idea to downvote their answer.

  • Can you outline which of the guidelines for subjective guidelines that question met? – Jon Hopkins Dec 23 '10 at 16:47
  • 1
    The question was closed as off topic. It was about as good a subjective question as you can ask. I think the onus is on the closers to say which of the guidelines it didn't meet. I didn't ask for a list of Saints and Blessed, I asked for a particular saint and the reason behind that saint, I was forced to modify my question because people thought it wasn't software oriented, but no one says the patron saint of cobblers isn't shoe oriented. It's pointless to defend myself against such ignorance, I just don't understand why my question couldn't be tolerated and ignored by those who disagree. – Peter Turner Dec 23 '10 at 16:56
  • 1
    IMHO that question was closed essentially because it comes across as a bit of fun rather than something that's going to provoke more substantial debate (I don't say it couldn't trigger good answers, I think it's just unlikely). The issue here I think is partly that the close categories is they don't always allow the closers to clearly reflect their reasons why. P.S. As it goes if I were a cobbler, personally I'd feel the same way about a similar question on cobblers.stackexchange.com. – Jon Hopkins Dec 24 '10 at 9:47

You must log in to answer this question.