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I saw a Stack Overflow question called What weapons do hackers have and how do you defend against each? (if it has not been flagged/deleted yet) which was interesting, but the post was way too long.

My question is: Should I flag a lengthy question, or should I just leave it alone? And if so, how long does it have to be to qualify?

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Perhaps ask the OP if he can briefly summarize his question at the top, so the main point of the question can be understood without going through the whole post. Then if all the detail is truly needed he can expand on that below it. Just a thought. –  Bart Jan 27 '12 at 9:13
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That question wasn't really all that long at all. I'm not saying it was short, but... And the main problem with the question is it was too broad and kind of rambling. (which is tangentially related to the length) –  Andrew's a Unitato Jan 27 '12 at 9:18
    
Also, this is just my opinion, but please don't upvote such a question! You were thinking of flagging it, for heaven's sake. All you've managed to do there is encourage the behavior in the future. –  Andrew's a Unitato Jan 27 '12 at 9:20
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What is the goal of the flag? "Hey mods, check out this awesome long post!"? Length shouldn't be a consideration when talking about quality. If it was, we'd just shorten the max length of a post. –  Won't Jan 27 '12 at 15:40

2 Answers 2

up vote 14 down vote accepted

Length alone does not make a bad question. It can be an indication that the asker has not put in the work to reduce the problem to the minimal example (and if they're not prepared to put in the effort to ask properly, few people are going to be prepared to put in the effort to answer well); but sometimes questions do have to be long to be asked at all!

In the particular case you mention, however, the length wasn't the problem: the ['not constructive' / 'not a real question']-ness was, and now the necessary number of close-voters have acted on that. If you find an example where they haven't yet, by all means flag for one of those reasons.

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No, you don't have to flag posts just because they're long. The system already flags posts automatically if they're beyond a certain length.

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interesting - I didn't know that. What happens next? I would expect these posts go to review queue - am I right? –  gnat Jan 27 '12 at 13:51
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@gnat They go to the diamond moderator queue for review, but I don't know for sure where else they show up. I'd guess they show up in the 10k review queue as well. –  Bill the Lizard Jan 27 '12 at 13:54
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@BilltheLizard: "I'd guess they show up in the 10k review queue as well" -> Give the lottery a shot this week... you might guess right on that as well :). –  Matt Jan 27 '12 at 14:30

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