Meta Stack Exchange is where users like you discuss bugs, features, and support issues that affect the software powering all 158 Stack Exchange communities.

What is meta?
Here's how it works:
  1. Any Stack Exchange user can ask a question
  2. The community provides support, votes on ideas, and reports bugs
  3. Your voice helps shape the way Stack Exchange operates

For example, Which are the default defined constants in PHP?

This has been closed as NARQ, which is probably the best fit, but this is not true of that question.

It's difficult to tell what is being asked here. This question is ambiguous, vague, incomplete, overly broad, or rhetorical and cannot be reasonably answered in its current form.

It is easy to tell what the OP wanted, and (IMO) it is not ambiguous, vague or any other adjective from the description.

The question could also be described as "Not Constructive", because it isn't, but again the reasons for it's non-constructiveness are not described by the description for NC.

The reason the question has been closed is because (like so many questions) the OP did not bother to do 30 seconds of research before asking a question.

I think there should be a close reason of "Lazy Question" or something similar, or the description of NARQ should be updated to include this kind of situation.

share|improve this question
"It is easy to tell what the OP wanted..." Then you're lucky, I have no idea what the OP tries to ask... – Time Traveling Bobby Jan 3 '12 at 13:27
@Bobby I would say he wants to get a list of all the defined constants in PHP. Or possibly functions. Either way, a quick Google will tell you how to do either, even if your Google-fu is poor. – David X. Random Jan 3 '12 at 13:32
There is the possibility of a "General Reference" close reason - but it's only been implemented on a couple of sites - – ChrisF Jan 3 '12 at 13:33
You see, that "or possibly" is the whole point of the NARQ close reason. – Time Traveling Bobby Jan 3 '12 at 13:36
up vote 3 down vote accepted

I think "not constructive" is a perfect close reason for this question. From the faq (emphasis mine):

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.

This question doesn't lead to answers that require specific expertise at all. It just requires google searching / looking at the documentation. Give me a half hour and I could probably answer that question (and I've never written PHP before) =)

As Scrooge / ChrisF mentioned in the comments, this would be a great candidate for the "General Reference" close reason that's being tested on some of the other sites.

Note: In defense of those that closed it as "Not a real question", I think one could argue that it's "overly broad", and thus fits the bill for that as well.

share|improve this answer

From the description of "not a real question" overly broad applies to it. As the FAQ says:

Your questions should be reasonably scoped. If you can imagine an entire book that answers your question, you’re asking too much.

Asking which constants and which functions are available in PHP is a too broad question, as to answer I should consider:

  • the PHP version
  • which extensions are available
  • for which platform PHP has been compiled

The other problem I see with this question is that it doesn't seem asked because a real problem, which is what the FAQ suggests not to ask.

You should only ask practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face. Chatty, open-ended questions diminish the usefulness of our site and push other questions off the front page.

A PHP expert could tell you which of the PHP functions are "core" functions, and which are implemented in an extension, but why would you ask an expert the list of the PHP functions when the list is available on the PHP site? It sounds like asking to a chef a list of all the ingredients for all the recipes, in some way.

If the "general reference" was a closing reason on Stack Overflow, it could be used for that question, but Stack Overflow doesn't have that closing reason. I think that closing it as being too broad is what we can actually do.

share|improve this answer

Maybe a "Not Enough Research" close reason would be more suitable, there's plenty of questions that are not "General Reference" that would fit this bill too.

share|improve this answer
The "general reference" closing reason has the following description: "This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information." In this case, the site is the PHP site, and Google points to the PHP site if you enter the right search string. – kiamlaluno Jan 3 '12 at 14:32
In this case true, I just think SO comes across a lot of candidates that are valid questions, but don't show enough research effort. – Brian Deragon Jan 3 '12 at 14:38
I think the difference is between a too basic question that doesn't show any search effort, and a question that is not too basic. – kiamlaluno Jan 3 '12 at 14:57

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .