How can I improve my question? How to make a large scale change in a software project?

I apologise as I'm not experienced with this platform.

1 Answer 1


Not every question is a good fit for the Stack Exchange model.

Typically, good questions:

  • fit within the scope defined by our help center;
  • are about a real problem you have;
  • provide sufficient context for the problem (e.g. on Stack Overflow, a MCVE is often expected);
  • demonstrate what you have already tried to solve the problem;
  • can be answered by a software engineer from their general experience, as opposed to niche knowledge, opinions, or anecdotes;
  • can be answered within a few paragraphs;
  • will have answers that are objectively right or wrong (e.g. answers that fail to solve the problem);
  • can help other people in the future.

For example, interview questions are a bad fit because they are hypothetical and have no “correct” solution. Open-ended questions that ask for discussion or opinions are a bad fit because these typically elicit opinions rather than experience, and because there cannot be a correct answer. If anyone could write a response to add their anecdote or another small aspect overlooked by other answers, that question is too broad. Resource recommendation questions are a bad fit because they invite spam, are quite opinion-based, and are unlikely to help people in the future once the resources are outdated.

Your question satisfies a lot of these aspects of a good question and is not bad. In particular, you have clearly shown your thoughts about possible solutions. But it has the following problems:

  • It is too hypothetical and too vague to be answerable. It lacks the necessary context so that someone with experience from a similar context could write a good answer.

  • You note that many books and articles discuss hypothetical scenarios. But this is a Q&A site, not a book. If you can imagine a whole book to be written about your question, that question is too broad.

    I'd also like to point out that articles might use hypothetical scenarios to illustrate some point, as opposed to trying to address every possible variation of this scenario. When these scenarios are reduced to the concrete problem you are actually having, then it becomes answerable in the context of the Stack Exchange model.

I therefore think that it was correct to put your question on hold. As the question fundamentally cannot be edited and clarified to address these issues, it will likely be deleted. I disagree with the downvotes because it is clearly on topic and shows good effort, and merely fails to be a good fit for the Stack Exchange model.

However, the community-moderation constraints of the platform sometimes make it necessary to vote good questions down. The reasoning goes something like this:

  • We want to focus on the good, on-topic questions the site receives.
  • Therefore, we would like to remove unsuitable questions from the front page.
  • A question will not be shown on the front page if its score is -4 or less.
  • A closed question can be deleted by some community members if it is either old or its score is -3 or less.
  • Therefore, it is positive to quickly downvote unsuitable questions, regardless of whether they are otherwise good.

Downvotes on questions are therefore not only a feedback mechanism for you, but also a content curation and moderation mechanism.

In this case, I wouldn't take the downvotes as a judgement about the quality of your question (which is in fact above average) , but merely as an indicator of a bad question–site fit. It would likely be a great fit for other more forum-like sites that invite discussions and opinions.

  • Thanks for writing this excellent answer. You are mentioning an issue which bothers me a while: the necessity to downvote questions for deletion, even if the question shows some research effort and is well-written (but nethertheless too broad or too opnionated). Shouldn't there be a different mechanism which allows "voting for deletion", but without giving the OP negative rep?
    – Doc Brown
    Commented Jan 4, 2019 at 13:48
  • @DocBrown But what would be the alternative? Slashdot style voting along multiple factors (e.g. interesting vs good research vs on topic)? Or giving close voters a choice between the outcomes "on hold" (intended for editing and reopening) vs "closed" (scheduled for deletion)? Either way, such a big change that it will never be implemented if they couldn't even continue the very successful "three close vote" experiment.
    – amon
    Commented Jan 4, 2019 at 21:15
  • I think an alternative must still be simple and easy to understand. Maybe a question becomes eligible for deletion immediately after closing when it got a total score of 0 or less, but for the final deletion, there will be one or two delete votes more necessary than currently. Of course, chances such a feature request would be accepted are probably very low.
    – Doc Brown
    Commented Jan 5, 2019 at 0:19

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