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I recently asked questions on SO which may be slightly more theoretical than the average:

but I can't understand why they where 1/down voted, 2/closed as off-topic.

1/Down votes are almost never commented, I think it should be mandatory (for question) to understand what's wrong. And beeing off-topic is not the same as being a duplicate, not constructive, too localized or not a real question, because determining the scope of SO is hard enough (see 2) and the question was certainly correctly written, if that's the only concerned which was flaged. It may deserve being closed, but not down voted ...

2/Why are these questions off-topic? Programming and Security can't be so far away from programming? But when I read

Also if such companies would create patches instead of anti-virus software, then they would not earn as much money, not to mention viruses are actually made by anti-virus companies just to sell their anti-virus. (upvoted)

I understand that people have a very 'down-to-earth' vision of the questions/answers, that's obviously not what I expected.

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As a start: Q&A sites like to have a single question to be answered. Above, I see two. The first has been answered many times though, like in Encouraging people to explain down-votes. Care to edit that out of the above? –  Arjan Jan 14 '12 at 10:36
    
... and posted the question here gave me more down-votes! Thanks guys ;) –  Kevin Jan 14 '12 at 10:49
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@Kevin votes on Meta are different –  Jason Plank Jan 14 '12 at 11:32
    
Well, you could always try your questions on that other site.. ;) –  Marvin Pinto Jan 14 '12 at 16:23
    
The site fields questions that have a programming problem - a specific issue which can be solved with code. Your questions cannot be solved with a code snippet, or an algorithm that can be converted to code, therefore it's not a programming problem. It's a problem a programmer might have, but this site has a very narrow, laser-like focus. You might have more success on programmers.stackexchange.com and/or cstheory.stackexchange.com - but you'll have to be careful to couch your questions to fit the FAQ and community well. Poke around first and get used to the community. –  Adam Davis Jan 14 '12 at 17:04
    
@AdamDavis Thanks for that clarification, I didn't know this statement before –  Kevin Jan 14 '12 at 19:21
    
@JasonPlank I was talking about the two question I mentioned, this question was not down-voted yet when I wrote my comment –  Kevin Jan 14 '12 at 19:22
    
@Kevin Oh, OK. I wasn't sure. –  Jason Plank Jan 14 '12 at 20:24

3 Answers 3

From the faq:

What kind of questions should I not ask here?

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.

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

If your motivation for asking the question is “I would like to participate in a discussion about __”, then you should not be asking here.


Virus, Antivirus and vulnerabilities

  1. What is the practical problem you are facing?
  2. How is it exclusively a programming question?

Definition of programming paradigm, model

No effort is shown, the question is just a list of buzzwords, i.e. it includes no info on what your definitions are and what exactly you do and don't understand. If it did and it's scope was reasonable, it might have been on topic on Programmers.SE and migrated there instead of closed.

But as is it wouldn't survive on Programmers, you are asking for explanations on a list of concepts, which even individually would require very long answers to explain. Even if you asked separate questions on each one, you'd have to do a lot better than just post the name of the concept.


1/Down votes are almost never commented, I think it should be mandatory (for question) to understand what's wrong. And beeing off-topic is not the same as being a duplicate, not constructive, too localized or not a real question, because determining the scope of SO is hard enough (see 2) and the question was certainly correctly written, if that's the only concerned which was flaged. It may deserve being closed, but not down voted ...

Voting is anonymous. Everyone can chose to leave a comment explaining their down vote or not. If that changes, I'm out of here. Both your questions are off topic, and all you had to do is read the faq. Why should I waste a few seconds saying just that?

Sorry if that sounds harsh, but this is a site for professionals and serious enthusiasts. I don't have a problem with you posting those questions, obviously I'm spending some time to explain what's wrong with them (imho) but suggesting that down voting comments should be mandatory is...

Stack Overflow is not a replacement for reference sites, you don't ask here to learn things you have no clue about, instead you ask questions to get solutions on actual programming problems you are facing. Some (at least) minimal understanding of the concepts involved is required.

If I don't see that in a question, I'll down vote it immediately and I feel no obligation to explain myself, or even help the OP revise the question. The OP is the one asking for free help from volunteers, it's his / her responsibility to ask good questions.

2/Why are these questions off-topic? Programming and Security can't be so far away from programming?

Again, from the faq:

What kind of questions can I ask here?

Stack Overflow is for professional and enthusiast programmers, people who write code because they love it. We feel the best Stack Overflow questions have a bit of source code in them, but if your question generally covers …

  • a specific programming problem
  • a software algorithm
  • software tools commonly used by programmers
  • practical, answerable problems that are unique to the programming profession

… then you’re in the right place to ask your question!

You might argue that anti viruses are commonly used by programmers, but "commonly & exclusively" is implied.

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I think for the Q2 it should be possible to give a definition for these concepts (I'll need one for my PhD!) and match the keywords with the definitions, no? –  Kevin Jan 14 '12 at 10:47
    
@Kevin I posted a quick & dirty version first, just posted my expanded answer, please read and tell me what you think... I noticed you deleted the "mandatory down vote comments" part, so please ignore that... –  Yannis Jan 14 '12 at 10:56
    
@Kevin You can get definitions on all the concepts you asked for from Wikipedia. You should post questions on Programmers only if those definitions somehow confuse you, but you should tell us how exactly they confuse you and what more do you need. –  Yannis Jan 14 '12 at 11:00
    
Thanks for your answer, I understand better that I should have detail the problem I was facing. I can't find the answer on wiki, who's not clear on these topics: prog. paradigm == prog. model, exec. model not referenced ... –  Kevin Jan 14 '12 at 11:09
    
@Kevin well they are vague concepts, don't expect much clarity. Glad I could help... Feel free to ask on Programmers, but please read the faq there and search for similar questions. We close & down vote a lot there as well :) –  Yannis Jan 14 '12 at 11:13
    
@Kevin for example I think it would be ok to ask something like: "I read the definitions on programming model and programming paradigm on wikipedia and I don't understand exactly how they relate to each other. From what I do understand they relate like this and that, am I missing something"... But I can't promise how the crowd there is going to react :) –  Yannis Jan 14 '12 at 11:15
    
Yep, I'll see what I can do. I know in 'real world' it's not so important, but for my PhD I'll have to put the right words at the right place! –  Kevin Jan 14 '12 at 11:17

Yes, it's true that computer science questions are hit-and-miss on Stack Overflow, and there's no site for them on the Stack Exchange network. This has been discussed quite a bit (main background: 1, 2). At long last, there is now a proposed site for computer science that is in its commitment phase; I invite everyone interested in computer science (which is the science behind programming) to commit to this proposal and participate on the site when it goes live.

However, the questions you link to are not good questions about computer science, so that cannot be the reason they were downvoted and closed.

  • Definition of programming paradigm, model: you're asking for the definition of a few terms. These terms aren't scientific terminology with a precise definition. You then ask to match words from column A with words from column B. The question is not about science, it's at best tangentially related to scientific writing, but it's so far removed from any practical writing concern as to be unanswerable from that angle.
  • Virus, Antivirus and vulnerabilities: I don't see any computer science connection, this looks to be more about the social context of software. As for the question itself, it doesn't look interesting at all: by definition, malware exploits a software or social vulnerability, yes, sure, so, well, what are you getting at? There is a social context behind malware, and some of that is on-topic for Security Stack Exchange, but your question isn't really asking anything.

All in all, your questions were downvoted and closed because they're not good questions, and they're not about programming nor about computer science anyway.

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Not all of the more theoretical CS questions are being downvoted and closed. Just check some of my most recent activity on SO to see that. I feel like your questions are being closed because they're not generally a good fit for Q&A style sites, like SE.

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