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In the following question: DateTimePicker Should only show Current Date

The OP asking for a way making a date picker to allow selecting only the current date.
Well... It can be done, but it just doesn't make any sense!

Should questions like this be closed? How should we react to those kind of questions?

share|improve this question
@M.Babcock. Thanks for the grammar fix! – user173320 Apr 4 '12 at 13:20
I wouldn't want your question to be closed for not making sense. :) – M.Babcock Apr 4 '12 at 13:21
The question makes sense, it's understandable. Just because he's doing something stupid doesn't mean it isn't an answerable and readable question. If you can't understand it, it should be closed and edited, but that's not really the case here, you just don't think they should be doing what they are. – Ben Brocka Apr 4 '12 at 13:55
@BenBrocka - I think what gdoron means by "doesn't make sense" is that it isn't logical or intuitive. The words used are understandable, yes, but the question in general is confusing at best. – M.Babcock Apr 4 '12 at 13:59
I don't think there's anything confusing about the actual question beyond the "why" (which he isn't asking). Should the reason of implementation really matter? I've seen many stupider design decisions than a single-choice date picker. – Ben Brocka Apr 4 '12 at 14:03
JMHO, but maybe asking for clarification (what aim is being pursued?) beforehand would give the user a chance to reformulate his question. I mean a premature close would be as unproductive as leaving a bad question open. – James Poulson Apr 4 '12 at 14:31
up vote 15 down vote accepted

Your title is a little misleading. Questions that literally don't make sense should be closed as "not a question"; it's right in the close description:

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.

None of those things apply to this question -- it's perfectly clear what the user wants, you just can't see any application of it. I generally don't like closing these questions, because maybe the user does have some crazy use case you haven't thought of.

Users shouldn't need to get into a debate about why they need something before SO will finally cave and tell them how to do it; if you know how to do something, just tell them. You can mention in your answer that it seems stupid if you want, but you should still say how to do it

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Exactly. Imagine the pedantry if we closed questions because concatenating strings to make SQL statements "didn't make sense". – Ben Brocka Apr 4 '12 at 14:45
I voted to close the question as too localized, but I see it could make sense, in some cases, to show a date selector where the user can pick just a date, in the same way I have seen a selector that allowed me to choose a single string. – kiamlaluno Apr 4 '12 at 15:02
I agree, but it looks like it's a duplicate: – Kevin Apr 4 '12 at 15:34
@Kevin Maybe, and casperOne made an argument for closing from lack of research effort, but specifically closing because "that sounds dumb" I think is usually bad – Michael Mrozek Apr 4 '12 at 16:20

There's nothing wrong with the question. It's a principle of UI design that it can, in some cases, be less confusing to show an expected element 'read-only' than to hide it. If this is a UI that sometimes solicits a date and sometimes is asking for something use while keeping the date fixed, it's a perfectly reasonable question.

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I tend to vote to close something like this as NARQ.

It is asking something that has no real application and isn't really there to satisfy academic curiosity.

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Sounds like "Too localized" to me even more than NARQ. – Daniel Fischer Apr 4 '12 at 13:14
@DanielFischer - Why? Localized to a single date? ;) – Oded Apr 4 '12 at 13:15
Artificially constrain a selector to allow only one choice? I don't think that's likely to be useful for anybody else. – Daniel Fischer Apr 4 '12 at 13:17
@DanielFischer. you meant: "I don't think that's likely to be useful for anybody." Remove the else :) – user173320 Apr 4 '12 at 13:18
@DanielFischer - Or even to the OP... I see this as a "how do I do something that no one in the right mind would even consider", hence NARQ. – Oded Apr 4 '12 at 13:18
Read this comment. ohh boy... – user173320 Apr 4 '12 at 13:57
@gdoron - He must have cleaned it up. – Oded Apr 4 '12 at 14:00
What does NARQ mean? Just curious. – James Poulson Apr 4 '12 at 14:34
@JamesPoulson - Not A Real Question. One of the options when voting to close. – Oded Apr 4 '12 at 14:38

I would say that it depends on other aspects of the question.

In this particular case, I've closed it. The question in and of itself fails many of the tests that we use to indicate the quality of a question:

  • It shows no research effort
  • It doesn't answer the fundamental question "what have you tried?"

Because of these reasons, it's been closed as NARQ.

However, there are well-thought out questions which show the above items, it shows attempts that a user has made to solve the problem, or research into the problem as to why they do or don't think it is possible.

In those cases, I believe the question is perfectly valid, even if the answer is in the negative; however, that negative should have equal quality, explaining why the negative answer is justified (simply saying "no" is not enough).

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I have had to do some pretty strange things for clients under NDA at various times. I have to hide exactly what I'm doing, or how it plays a role in my application, and generally it's easy enough to frame the question in such a manner that it doesn't sound Entirely stupid.

But I'd hate to have my completely valid and answerable question closed just because I have more information about my situation that I can't share than the rest of stackoverflow.

Questions should not be close merely because you do not see the value.

There is a very specific list of reasons to close the question, and this is not one of them.

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It's not a question of whether of who sees the value in the question. I see no value in [php] questions because I don't use PHP. It's a matter of whether or not it has quality in which case, this question is lacking on a number of points which we use to help gauge quality on questions on Stack Overflow. – casperOne Apr 4 '12 at 14:34
@casperone I'm addressing the topic of this question specifically, assuming an otherwise good question. I do disagree with the quality measurements some are applying, but while that may be an issue with the one example being used, it isn't an issue with the question posed here generally. – Adam Davis Apr 4 '12 at 14:37

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