Something has changed ever since Programmers got out of beta. Too many good questions, which are fully in the spirit of the site, are getting closed prematurely. Mostly these questions seem to be closed due to minor issues like grammar. Others have been improved by more senior members, but get closed anyway.

Here are a few examples:

The closing of the PHP question was particularly shocking, not because it was asked by a PHP developer, but because "what feature would you like to see in X?"-style questions have been around here for a long time.

I can understand the impulse to close when there is more than one red flag: (1) poor grammar; (2) the question has meta commentary, asking if this is the right place; (3) extra detail is added, which pulls away emphasis on the question itself. Now that all of the red flag issues have been addressed on these questions, I hope we can reconsider the decision to close.

Simply, if you close questions and provide specific reasons for doing so, and then when those reasons are addressed you leave the question closed, you will discourage good users.

Update: Here's yet another example:

I like Anna Lear's comment: "The close makes no sense. This question isn't about SO as a site and doesn't belong on meta. The question is about ways to improve as a developer to be able to better answer questions."

  • 2
    I've noticed this too, but don't have enough rep yet to vote to reopen.
    – Michael K
    Commented Dec 22, 2010 at 17:30
  • 1
    Good news: you will have enough rep soon ;)
    – user2567
    Commented Dec 22, 2010 at 18:22
  • 1
    The PHP one I agree with (though it's pretty broad) and it's been reopened, the rest (including the update - and I've left a comment on the question saying why I voted to close) are bad questions. Commented Dec 23, 2010 at 22:00
  • 1
    Incidentally, I don't think questions are closed for grammar. I think there is a high correlation between bad grammar and bad questions but they're being closed because the question is poor rather than the grammar. Commented Dec 23, 2010 at 22:03
  • @Jon: Thanks! I think it helps to give reasons for cases like these.
    – Macneil
    Commented Dec 23, 2010 at 22:12
  • @Macneil - The other thing is that if a question is incorrectly closed in the eyes of the community, it will get reopened and if you voted to close it the first time you can't vote to close it again so you'll need a different five people to re-close it. Commented Dec 23, 2010 at 22:14

4 Answers 4


These fare poorly on the subjective scale.

  1. If you read the question, it is literally asking "what single quality you would want to see in a prospective employer?"
  2. The OP should have revealed a bit more about who he was and what his goals were; I support leaving this one open.
  3. Might as well be "what's your favorite word".
  4. Completely speculative and not in a good way.

Read over these questions with the 6 guidelines in mind ...

  • inspire answers that explain “why” and “how”.
  • tend to have long, not short, answers.
  • have a constructive, fair, and impartial tone.
  • invite sharing experiences over opinions.
  • insist that opinion be backed up with facts and references.
  • are more than just mindless social fun.

... and I think you'll agree with the exception of #2, they are all correctly closed.

  1. What does this question have to do with programming?
  2. It's open. The OP didn't reveal his position and intention.
  3. It's absolutely useless. Just curiosity, fun.
  4. Maybe it can be reopened now, but the existing answers are very poor.

Poor grammar is not a good reason to close a question. Questions should be closed based on their content.

Edit for the new question added on above post:

What does this question have to do with programming? I don't know where it's appropriate, SO, MSO, Writes.SE or whatever, but I'm pretty sure it isn't on PSE.

  • 4
    For the record, I am not saying they should be closed for grammar. I am saying that they are. As for #1: Look at it, it's asking for an updated Joel Test. It has everything to do with programming! #2 Who the OP was shouldn't have mattered. #3 Values questions can be important. #4 I hope so.
    – Macneil
    Commented Dec 22, 2010 at 16:12
  • (grammar)but the answers are very poor. ; )
    – rlb.usa
    Commented Dec 22, 2010 at 16:13
  • Change "programming" to "programmers"... [Can't edit my comment above.]
    – Macneil
    Commented Dec 22, 2010 at 16:28
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    Just because the answers are poor doesn't mean the question is invalid. Let the voting sort out the good answers. Also, there is an "edit" feature that may be used to improve content. I suggest that instead of defaulting to "close", think about editing instead. Maybe some judicious 'refactoring' will help the discussion along.
    – Michael K
    Commented Dec 22, 2010 at 17:28

Yes, we are closing too many questions.

I'm all for closing questions that are clearly off-topic, but think the attitude on all StackExchange sites is way too strict. The guidelines are a bit too strict. Don't get me wrong--I don't want StackExchange sites to become Reddit--but I think we are more in danger of becoming Wikipedia in that the community is hostile to most questions except those created by the 1% who really grok the site.


You are closing questions that should be migrated. Closing should be a last resort, not a hair-trigger reflex.

  • 1
    If the poster was question blocked on the site it was to be migrated to, it gets closed instead by the system.
    – user40980
    Commented Feb 7, 2013 at 15:46
  • So you're saying that every single post that gets closed is made by someone that has been blocked on the other site?
    – daviewales
    Commented Feb 8, 2013 at 5:23
  • @daviewales Unfortunately people posting off topic questions on Programmers to circumvent blocks on SO isn't exactly rare. That said, obviously not every closed question is made by someone that has been blocked on the other site. If you point me to the specific question you're talking about, I could further investigate and let you know why it wasn't migrated.
    – yannis
    Commented Feb 8, 2013 at 16:14
  • Thanks. The question was programmers.stackexchange.com/questions/186121/…
    – daviewales
    Commented Feb 8, 2013 at 22:21

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