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I think that "What is the most under-valued part of .NET?" should get a historical lock.

I don't believe that's because I have a combined total of 197 upvotes on the question (as of 3/29/2012). Rather, I think that it is one of the better unconstructive questions, and received very many good answers. Most of the answers were appropriately short and to the point.

BTW, I also recognize that bringing it to the attention of meta may cause the final delete votes to be cast!

Update: The question has been undeleted. While I appreciate the risk that this update will cause it to be deleted again, I'd also like to stimulate more discussion on protecting it or not.

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...And there's my "undelete" vote because I agree about the historical lock. (Why didn't you just use a flag?) –  Cody Gray Mar 29 '12 at 19:27
I believe I did once use a flag, but the delete votes kept coming. This way, we get to discuss it, and either lose or win. I'm hoping that most of the deleters also come to meta from time to time. –  John Saunders Mar 29 '12 at 19:28
@JohnSaunders: I laughed a bit when I saw you join in on the deletion ;) –  user7116 Mar 29 '12 at 19:29
@TheEstablishment see these comments on another historical lock question –  Some Helpful Commenter Mar 29 '12 at 19:34
@sixlettervariables: yeah, but I changed my mind after re-reading the other answers. I believe I cast my delete vote in a fit of righteous self-destructiveness at about the time of the change in rep visibility (I cast the final delete vote on another answer I got big rep from). –  John Saunders Mar 29 '12 at 19:36
@Conrad: Yes, I've read that comment before. What am I supposed to take from that comment? Are you agreeing with me that just a flag would have been more appropriate here? Or are you highlighting the phrase "if they have some intrinsic value", and implying that the question in question lacks that, thus it's not a good candidate for a hysterical lock? –  Cody Gray Mar 29 '12 at 19:36
@TheEstablishment I see now. Flag for "Put a historical lock on this question". Meta for "Delete this popular question" –  Some Helpful Commenter Mar 29 '12 at 19:41
Someone let me know if it gets undeleted so I can cast a delete vote for a Bad Subjective question and its answers. –  Powerlord Mar 29 '12 at 20:07
@Powerlord et. al. I just found it was undeleted. –  John Saunders Apr 26 '12 at 19:37
@JohnSaunders Thanks for letting me know. –  Powerlord Apr 26 '12 at 20:03
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2 Answers


I believe we have to decide what kind of questions we want to have on the site. How can we reasonably write this in the What kind of questions should I not ask here part of the FAQ, and the say that this question is highly valuable:

What part have you found to be the most surprisingly useful? What's your favourite obscure namespace? And conversely are there any shiny bits that are best avoided?

This is a prime example of what non-constructive means to me. The only value I can see is to use it as a Bad Example.

The answer Linq is truly amazing is no better than the famous "I like cake". Why save it? What's the value?

It would be amazingly inconsistent to keep old bad questions because they have attracted high value over time, while quickly closing new bad questions because we believe that such questions reduce the value of the site.

How is it - are they attracting value, or are they just bad? They can't be both, can they?

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But, I really do like cake. –  user7116 Mar 29 '12 at 22:38
That LINQ answer is not one of those I believe we should keep. I was thinking of this (surprise), this, this, this, this and others like them. –  John Saunders Mar 29 '12 at 23:04
@John - I still don't see why old non-constructive questions are good and should be preserved, while similar new questions are closed almost immediately. You show five different answers to the question, but SO asks for questions with a single correct answer. I might be missing the historical perspective, but see this as highly inconsistent. If I were to ask "What is the most under-valued part of C++?", it would be killed immediately as non-answerable. Why?! –  Bo Persson Mar 30 '12 at 5:19
Different times, plus the quality of the answers. I'm not recommending the question remain open, notice? –  John Saunders Mar 30 '12 at 14:40
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There's a post notice that we can apply to questions like this one:

We're looking for long answers that provide some explanation and context. Don't just give a one-line answer: please explain why you're recommending it as a solution. Answers that don't explain anything will be deleted. See Good Subjective, Bad Subjective for more information.

I think if that question gets a lock we should go through and delete a lot of the answers that don't meet these standards.

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That would be fine. The answers I like best are concise, but not one-liners. There are also a few duplicate answers (LINQ, for one). –  John Saunders Mar 29 '12 at 19:37
"If a question is going to be edited to be the best it can be, reopen it! The point of locking or deleting is that a question has absolutely no chance of being saved, the difference being that a lock is slightly less disruptive and preserves the history of the question. Revising history on incredibly popular questions by deleting and consolidating answers is exactly the type of thing having the historical lock was supposed to prevent against." (source: Mark Trapp) –  gnat Mar 29 '12 at 19:40
@gnat Quoting Mark in this context doesn't tell me what you think about the question John is asking about. Are you saying that you think answers like "Linq is truly amazing" should be preserved? –  Bill the Lizard Mar 29 '12 at 19:57
@BilltheLizard based on my experience with historical lock candidate questions cleanup we tested at P.SE, I definitely think answers like "Linq is truly amazing" should be preserved. I understand that this sounds counter-intuitive - just check with P.SE moderators (Yannis, Thomas) details of locking as-is vs preiminary cleanup –  gnat Mar 29 '12 at 20:56
@gnat As much as I like being quoted out of context, there is no problem removing non-answers. My issue was with the belief that locks are only for questions that have been vastly improved to be the best of what Prog.SE had to offer. If you're going to take the time to improve a question to that extent, just reopen it. –  user149432 Mar 29 '12 at 20:57
@MarkTrapp I see. What about bumping the question by cleanup edits? - "example of how editing questions before locking harms more than it helps..." –  gnat Mar 29 '12 at 21:00
@gnat That would be the type of improvement that would be unnecessary and harmful to a question that requires a historical lock. But that's not what at stake here: Bill is suggesting the junky one-line non-answers should just be deleted. That doesn't bump the question to the front page or require unlocking the question. –  user149432 Mar 29 '12 at 21:03
@MarkTrapp What Bill is suggesting is "...we should go through and delete a lot of the answers that don't meet these standards" - does that mean removal of junky one-liners, nothing else? –  gnat Mar 29 '12 at 21:07
@gnat Why not ask Bill? He's the one who gave the example of the answers he's talking about. All I'm suggesting is that you've misconstrued my position on an entirely different situation to apply it to this one. Deleting crap answers when a question is locked is markedly different from abstaining from locking a question (or removing a lock) so people can go through and improve the question and its answers and make it the best of what the site has to offer. If a question has underwent that level of improvement, it should be reopened. –  user149432 Mar 29 '12 at 21:11
@gnat Yes, the only preliminary clean-up I'd do before locking this question would be to go through and delete the answers that don't explain why they're there. I guess in my answer I shouldn't have said "we should go through..." when I really meant that the moderator who locks the post should do it. –  Bill the Lizard Mar 29 '12 at 22:30
Fair enough. Bill, @MarkTrapp - thanks for explaining. –  gnat Mar 30 '12 at 7:32
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