Regarding this question: https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/393863/how-to-intelligently-discover-and-track-meaningful-changes-in-html-with-a-c-qt

I laughed, because the answers/opinion provided in the comments, are very useful to answering the question, probably good enough to accept as an answer, hence this meta post:

enter image description here

Seriously, those four comments almost completely suffice as a good answer, even if it merely attempts to dispel the practicality of what I wish to achieve, although I'd say the XKCD comic vastly over-exaggerates the complexity of my question.

In case the question was closed because it was too broad:

According to the principles here: Why questions about "the correct way" are too broad


- State your criteria.

  • The answer ideally needs to take into account, that the backend is Qt/C++ oriented, so I can interface easily with the other libraries I depend on. I can do things like inject JQuery into the webpage, or track printfs and the like. If it matters, the current engine I am using is based upon Chromium, https://wiki.qt.io/QtWebEngine

  • In short, I need to handle HTML with a C++ backend instead of a Javascript Backend, which is a significant difference given one is Synchronous and one is Asynchronous.

- Be specific.

  • I chose html specifically. Not xml or anything like that.
  • I laid out a specific example, with opacity
  • I gave my language and framework, Qt/C++ along with its WebEngine based on Chromium

- Focus on requirements.

  • Like for example, lets say that only one value changes in a 100,000 line html document changes; Do I reparse the entire document, compare, and find the change, or is there a way to avoid all of that and fish out the difference?

  • In short, I require the intelligent way to parse in the worst case scenario.

- Tell us what you want to achieve, and ask us how you can achieve it.

  • My original strategy of just detecting every change in the html string and parsing it on an interval, seems to me, to be a very bad approach.

  • What API design philosophies, or existing API's, should I employ when interfacing with HTML, that will give me the correct signals to do code injection, or when to scrape data?

  • Maybe this could be worded better, but I kept it semi-broad in case strategies or APIs for doing this sort of thing already exist, or have already been established
  • If not, I was going to suggest a black-list or white-list approach. Ask whether it is possible to save processing power by parsing with diffs, and how that can be achieved.

If my question is really that poor despite all of this, how can I improve upon it?

Would perhaps asking three different questions be appropriate:

  • How to reparse HTML using diffs to save processing power?
  • Advantages and disadvantages to doing a whitelist approach to parsing and tracking HTML?
  • Advantages and disadvantages to doing a blacklist approach to parsing and tracking HTML?
  • 3
    Upvoted. My experiences are worse. I think it may be necessary to build a support group for victims of power abuses. Also see my most recent meta post on the same topic.
    – Tim
    Jun 27, 2019 at 9:58

1 Answer 1


First, let me say Robert did not really answer your question (and I don't mean the fact he only used the comment sections):

  • The comment to your first bullet point gives just a starter for an idea of one possible solution, but I would not call this an answer.

  • The comment to your second bullet point tells you very clearly why this part of the question is unanswerable, and why Robert thinks it is too broad.

So I don't see those comments as a valid "proof" your question is really answerable, quite the opposite.

Note further, Robert's former meta post "Why questions about “the correct way” are too broad" is not an exhaustive definition of the "Too Broad" close reason. Questions fulfilling all the mentioned criteria can still be "too broad" if

  • they have many possible answers

  • would require answers that are too long for the Q&A format of this site.

See also this older meta post, which contains a more basic explanation of the "Too Broad" close reason . When Robert wrote his meta post, I suggested him to add a link to that one - seems we forgot this during our discussion, but we can still fix this.

So if I were a mod, would I have done the same?

Though I share Robert's opinion in this case that especially the second part of your question is too broad for this site, I think closing and deleting your question by a single person so quickly is quite undemocratic. The very least thing I would expected from a mod is giving a askers a polite and clear explanation for the deletion.

My preferred way of action here is to leave such a decision for a question which is not obviously crap to the crowd - just because I think something counts as "too broad", others may have a different point of view, and I would like to hear them first.

Sometimes someone manages to give a very general answer to a very general question in a concise manner. By deleting your question so quickly, one removes the chance of finding such an answer from the community. It also makes the time frame for the asker very small to improve the question.

However, this is not a guarantee - I think it is not unlikely that the community would have closen your question as "Too Broad" either, just a little bit later, in case you would not have narrowed down the focus of it.

Would perhaps asking three different questions be appropriate

Maybe, but be aware asking about "advantages and disadvantages" of a certain approach is just a poll, and polls are usually closed as "too broad", as described in the meta post I already mentioned.

  • 2
    question revisions history shows that after close and comments it was hanging totally unattended for about 7 hours and that neither asker nor anyone else attempted to do anything about it. It shows 20+ views but no edits, no reopen votes, not even (totally effortless) votes up or down, nothing at all. I can't read moderator's mind but such a stark lack of interest looks like very probable reason for deletion
    – gnat
    Jun 27, 2019 at 9:19
  • 1
    @gnat your perception of lack of interest isn't valid reason to delete or close the post.
    – Tim
    Jun 27, 2019 at 10:02
  • 1
    @Tim it's valid given that question was on hold, system even removes such questions automatically after a while. Also please note that what you call my perception is based on facts I observe (10K rep lets me see deleted post): there are no edits, no comments other than from moderator, no votes of any kind (not even reopen vote from asker who could cast it having more than 250 rep points)
    – gnat
    Jun 27, 2019 at 10:14
  • @gnat "system even removes such question automatically after a while" can back up your claim only if the "system" implements a real gold standard, which is quite questionable. Lots of normal questions and answers lost their visibility because of being unfairly treated and thus can't be searched on the internet, due to what is implemented by the "system".
    – Tim
    Jun 27, 2019 at 10:15
  • 1
    @Tim I don't understand what you mean by gold standard, but automatic system deletion of closed questions follows just few simple rules described in details here
    – gnat
    Jun 27, 2019 at 10:19
  • @gnat Let me give you some idea why it is not implementing a real gold standard. If a post is closed or downvoted due to mistreatment, and then deleted by the system according to the link you gave, does that mean there is no chance of receiving justice? Mistreatment leads to loss of Q&A participation, and should those who asked or are willing to answer questions withstand the consequences, or should someone else take the responsibilty?
    – Tim
    Jun 27, 2019 at 10:23
  • 4
    @gnat: honestly, 7 hours does not really seem many to me. Some people have an offline live, do you know? And this site is not stackoverflow, we don't have their visitors frequency.
    – Doc Brown
    Jun 27, 2019 at 10:39
  • @Tim do you think that someone in their sane mind would implement automatic content deletion without providing means to correct possible mistakes (be it matters of justice, or simple system error, or anything else, whatever). Without digging deeper I could easily recall at least hadful system features that were implemented with the primary purpose to ensure that issues related to this can be discovered, reviewed and addressed. Few of these features are at work in this very meta discussion
    – gnat
    Jun 27, 2019 at 10:42
  • @DocBrown wrt 7 hours, I don't have strong opinion on that. At first I felt it's more than enough, especially given that question was hanging unattended for ~5 more hours prior to closure but now that you pointed to it, I am not quite sure anymore. Need a bit more time to chew it and make up my mind
    – gnat
    Jun 27, 2019 at 10:50
  • @gnat Let me just remind that the post is not about automatic removal by the system, but about the manual closure and removal by users with the power to do so . Some of my posts have received an answer, and thus are not subject to system's automatic removal. But they and my other posts without replies are brutally closed and removed by some powerful and privileged users including the same moderator in question (and you) .
    – Tim
    Jun 27, 2019 at 10:57
  • 1
    @Tim same features work for posts deleted by people, and these features work the same way. Because, if you think of it, people deleting content are of course safer than automatic system but still can make mistakes or judge wrong, so the same reasoning applies, and the same safety measures are necessary
    – gnat
    Jun 27, 2019 at 11:03

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