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I asked a question that was closed for what I felt was a ridiculous reason -- Questions on Stack Overflow are expected to generally relate to programming or software development in some way. Ridiculous, not because I thought that it was a great question, or that it didn't need to be closed for some other reason, but because the given reason was clearly (in my opinion) wrong.

Is it a poor use of flags, to bring the question to the attention of moderators?

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No, it's not inappropriate, and it looks like you got a good outcome. –  Robert Harvey Nov 8 '11 at 17:26
    
The question in question: stackoverflow.com/questions/8053867/… shog9 re-opened it. –  Adam Davis Nov 8 '11 at 17:27
    
It's already been re-opened by a moderator. –  Matt Fenwick Nov 8 '11 at 17:27
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It's not on topic, though. I'd say it belongs on programmers - it's a much more abstract problem about programming language analysis, and not programming. –  Adam Davis Nov 8 '11 at 17:29
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It is a bit broad... Probably a better fit for Programmers.SE. –  Robert Harvey Nov 8 '11 at 17:30
    
The question is now about to be closed ... for the exact same reason (4 close votes). –  Matt Fenwick Nov 8 '11 at 18:04
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Eh, I would have closed as "not constructive" as I don't see how it can be answerable in this format. Seems like a very nebulous subject that could spawn lots of discussion or debate rather than good, concise answers. –  Won't Nov 8 '11 at 18:09
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Closed 3 times in an hour. You don't see that every day. –  lunboks Nov 8 '11 at 18:12
    
@Won't -- agreed that it might not be constructive, and that's why I was so frustrated -- it was originally closed for being off topic. –  Matt Fenwick Nov 8 '11 at 18:14
    
Status update -- migrated to Programmers. –  Matt Fenwick Nov 8 '11 at 18:15

1 Answer 1

up vote 10 down vote accepted

In general, moderators aren't the only people you want to convince. They are trusted to represent the will and interests of the community in their judgement, which applies equally to closing and reopening. It is not inappropriate to use flags to point these out, much like you can equally flag things for closure.

However, there are other alternatives available. You could just petition right on the comments - there is a fair amount of passerby traffic that can notice this. Or, if the legitimacy of the post is arguable (and you have a strong argument, as it were), starting a Meta post about the post will allow for a much broader discussion. Unlike closure, reopening via flagging will only go to moderators. You should keep in mind what the audience of your plea is, how clear-cut the reopening is, and whether the explanation even fits in just a small moderator flag, when determining the route to appeal a closed question.

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Nice answer, this really helps. –  Matt Fenwick Nov 8 '11 at 17:58
    
I agree with Grace Note. Community moderators are "human exception handlers"; they should not be called in action for something that can be handled from the community. –  kiamlaluno Nov 8 '11 at 18:03
    
While I don't disagree with your answer, I see it lacking in a certain aspect: The question that was closed clearly related to programming or software development in some way, even if it was inappropriate for the venue. So let's say you're in the boat of "Question got closed, but it should be migrated" as Matt was. Do you vote to re-open (5 votes) just so it can get migrated (5 more votes)? I doubt people would re-open a question that should be closed but is closed for the wrong reasons, which in my mind makes a flag seem appropriate. Thoughts on that? –  corsiKa Nov 8 '11 at 19:30
    
@glowcoder I would think that a more appropriate flag for that kind of thought pattern would've been "Get this migrated", which is a might different from flagging to reopen. One says "This belongs here, it should stay", the other says "This doesn't belong here, but it fits elsewhere". The instance here, the initial thought pattern was that the question was not off-topic, which is a pre-requisite for being migrated. So it's rather mutually exclusive to the scenario of flagging for migration, neh? –  Grace Note Nov 8 '11 at 20:02
    
@Grace I agree that the thought process wasn't the same in this case as what I outlined in my comment. Would you say it would be appropriate to say that the flag, in his case, was perhaps the right course of action for the wrong reason? –  corsiKa Nov 8 '11 at 20:09
    
@glowcoder It wasn't inappropriate, I can say that much. It was a valid course of action for a valid reason. –  Grace Note Nov 8 '11 at 20:11

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