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Useful threads are being closed as "not constructive:"

This question is not a good fit to our Q&A format. We expect answers to generally involve facts, references, or specific expertise; this question will likely solicit opinion, debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. See the FAQ.

For example, What is the best .NET obfuscator on the market? was very useful for me since I am new to obfuscation and the question gave me a start. Also that question has lots of votes and bookmarks - these alone are the markers of usefulness. The question is closed anyway. No idea why.

Same happened to my question, .NET Obfuscation: Deepsea vs Crypto Obfuscator - which is better?, which received one bookmark immediately.

I was waiting for an answer with the two products downloaded and installed. I desired that experienced people would share their thoughts and point me to the better one. No. Closed. I.e. I must go to some other forum and ask there or I must search on Google and write down the pros and cons of each myself. I am not asking questions just because I have tons of time and want to chat; I need an answer, that's why I am asking. I am asking because I think that SO has the most professional people to answer and because I didn't find a good answer in Google.

I saw other questions closed which I myself found to be useful and I bookmarked some of the closed questions.

UPDATE

If I want people who have an experience which I do not have with some software products and I want to see which product is better in the terms of usability and reliability, not just better in terms of the price or has a better official website or better described on the official website, how do I ask this question? Or is this a question which I cannot ask on SO? I.e. this sort of information is not available on SO?

Is this one breaking the rules as well: F# - Pipeline Best practice ?

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marked as duplicate by gnat, Martijn Pieters, hims056, Doorknob 冰, Hugo Dozois Dec 15 '13 at 17:20

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

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This has got to be a dupe at this point, but the short answer is that "list of X" and "what's the best X for Y" questions rarely work well with the Stack Exchange Q&A system. –  Pops Oct 26 '11 at 14:48
    
@PopularDemand I also believe it's a dupe but for the live of me can't find one that matches. –  Diago Oct 26 '11 at 14:51
    
@Diago - Why was my question closed as not constructive? has an additional issue of "off-topic" and insufficient data, but seems quite close to this. A +30 question closed as not constructive although there is much agreement it should be kept open? addresses a popular list question that was closed and has lots of info, it's probably the closest to being a dupe, but this has other redeeming qualities and can probably stay. –  Kevin Vermeer Oct 26 '11 at 15:00
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@net_prog You seem to not be understanding, Your question will not find an answer on SO or any other, and listing a whole bunch of other questions and asking if they are valid, is not making your case. The question is closed because SO, and no other SE site, will accept it. Move on and find the next question to ask. –  Diago Oct 26 '11 at 16:05
    
Your last example is just badly worded. I fixed it for him. –  Won't Oct 26 '11 at 16:12
    
@net_prog Your welcome to your opinion. As are we all. If we had to go around fixing everyone's questions, there will never be new one's. A -10 on meta is a pretty good indication that everyone feels the question can't be saved, and I looked at it, and can't see how it can be turned into a programming problem. –  Diago Oct 26 '11 at 16:21
2  
@net_prog: Nothing says you can't edit to fix all issues detailed in the close reason! If you think you can fix the problems with your question, then do so. Flag for moderator attention, say you have edited to fix and request reopening. I am still mulling over a [feature-request] about how best to emphasize this option is viable. However, I don't believe your question can be "fixed." Its too localized (answers are useless two versions down the road) and there is no way to subjectively grade one product against another and prove which is "best." –  Won't Oct 26 '11 at 16:22

3 Answers 3

up vote 4 down vote accepted

"What is the best $THING?" leads to a list of answers with, usually, no right answer.

Sometimes the questions can be re-worked to fit. Maybe asking "What features should I look for in $THING?" would work.

Those questions are sometimes allowed if there's a very narrow focus and you show your working. "I'm looking for a $THING that has $FEATURE. I've tried $BRAND_X, but it lacks $FEATURE. I tried $BRAND_Y, which has $FEATURE, but it also has $SUCKY_FEATURE".

Don't forget that (if the user has enough reputation) they can ask in chat for advice about how to ask the question, or what recommendations people have.

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1  
I still want to get an answer to my question on SO (stackoverflow.com/questions/7888081/…). Should I rework it and flag it to open, or maybe you could advise on how to ask to have people share their experience on the both products? –  net_prog Oct 26 '11 at 15:26
    
@net_prog Please see my comment to your question. People on SO do not share their experiences and those type of questions are off topic. Rather find a forum specific to the software to ask that type of question, or use google to find reviews. –  Diago Oct 26 '11 at 16:06
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@Diago, are you sure? "Great subjective questions invite sharing experiences over opinions. Certainly experiences inform opinions, but the best subjective questions unabashedly and unashamedly prioritize sharing actual experiences over random opinions. ... You should be uniquely qualified to have your opinion based on the specific experiences you had. And you should share those experiences, and more specifically what you learned from your experiences, with us! –  net_prog Oct 26 '11 at 16:12
    
@net_prog Not only am I sure, the community agreed. –  Diago Oct 26 '11 at 16:14
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@Diago, this quote was taken from the article which I read using your link. As I understand the quote clearly states about sharing the experience. –  net_prog Oct 26 '11 at 16:20
    
@net_prog In the end it doesn't matter what the quote says, it is up to the community to decide if your question meets that requirement. Honestly, move on. I know I am. –  Diago Oct 26 '11 at 16:23
    
@net_prog - that question isn't asking for people's experience; it is just asking "which is better". What features are most important to you; which features are least important to you? Then you could try to ask about experience of those actual features; but be prepared for the q to be closed again. "$THING claims to have better $FEATURE than $OTHERTHING; have you found that to be true?" –  DanBeale Oct 26 '11 at 16:31

Another answer:

You ask to compare two questions. Your question is purely subjective. Sure, people will share their experience, but it will still be subjective experience.

The other question (about pipelines) gives three options and asks which is better. But this question is less subjective; there's likely to be measurable performance or bug-testing or correctness or security or readability differences. And this si where people's experiences come in. "Don't do X! I remember we did that and it led to a bunch of hard to fault-find errors".

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@net_prog - I am sorry you feel that way; and I hope you see that I have been trying to help in some small way. –  DanBeale Oct 26 '11 at 22:21

Useful in this case is subjective.

In the beginning SO was fairly relaxed regarding subjective questions, however the community has grown, and now consider these questions off topic as they are not solving a particular programming problem. The community has therefore started closing these questions, because they do not suite the mold of a Q&A site.

From the SO FAQ:

To prevent your question from being flagged and possibly removed, avoid asking subjective questions where …

  • every answer is equally valid: “What’s your favorite __?”
  • your answer is provided along with the question, and you expect more answers: “I use _ for _, what do you use?”
  • there is no actual problem to be solved: “I’m curious if other people feel like I do.”
  • we are being asked an open-ended, hypothetical question: “What if __ happened?”
  • it is a rant disguised as a question: “__ sucks, am I right?”

Robert expanded on this topic on the blog with Good Subjective, Bad Subjective.

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