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I'd like to ask for a second opinion here. A couple people, including a diamond mod, closed this question as non-constructive. (Note: this is the original revision referred to)

I disagree, as it seems reasonable, partly researched (if questions were fully researched askers would always know the answer), and concrete enough for me to answer.

What do you think, and why?

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I'm sorry about the misunderstanding I caused. I sincerely wanted to be constructive, and I did my own research (and I thought about the convention used in the network). However, since I'm really new, I'd like to have some feedback on that decision and, maybe, some pointers that I could follow to continue my researches. Please, apologize me if you read my post in the other way around: I promise that I'll be more careful when I'll ask the next questions so to avoid this issue. –  Matteo Jun 20 '12 at 7:19

2 Answers 2

Any time you see a question that cannot be answered definitively, it is a candidate for "Not Constructive."

In this particular case, the question asks for "approaches and tradeoffs" (plural), basically making it a "Big List" question.

The "Not Constructive" nature of the question is evident in the answers it is attracting, which, on their face, seem to have little to do with the actual question.

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

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That's after my edit. Can you also look at the original, the version that was closed? As I said, I may have inadvertently made it worse. I think it was less list-seeking but more subjective before. –  Matthew Flaschen Jun 19 '12 at 19:29
I wasn't particularly impressed with the original, either. That version is basically "Gorilla vs. Shark." –  Robert Harvey Jun 19 '12 at 19:29
"Cannot be answered definitively" (CBAD) seems to be the REAL metric for "not constructive." Meaning that I'd use the term "cannot be answered definitively" in lieu of "not constructive," to make the point a lot more clearly. –  Tom Au May 19 '13 at 17:01

This looks like another case of poorly-formed questions that look non-constructive but probably isn't. The What is the best way to do that? is a big non-constructive flag that gets a question closed. The question behind doesn't look non-constructive but I'm certainly no C++ expert. Perhaps you could rephrase the question to get rid of those non-constructive lines and form it into a more acceptable and specific question?

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I thought the mention of htonl indicated it wasn't a blue-sky (too broad, subjective) question. I've tried to rephrase it somewhat; not sure if it's an improvement. –  Matthew Flaschen Jun 19 '12 at 18:54
Though still a bit research-y and discussion-y, at least with the removal of the big red "best way"-flag it's better. I think new visitors will be less trigger happy with the current formulation. –  Bart Jun 19 '12 at 18:59
Why isn't it constructive to ask for the best way to do something? Isn't it implicit in just about every question? The question "How do I do X?" is generally requesting the best way, isn't it? A good answer to such a question will show a way to do X, and then talk about when it's is a good choice, and when alternatives might be more appropriate. Users then vote on which answers are better. –  Rob Kennedy Jun 19 '12 at 19:23
@RobKennedy: "best" is a subjective term as any person could have different opinions on what the "best way" is. By using the word, you're implying that there are multiple to infinite number of ways to do it. Even with the edit, this question is still extremely close to the non-constructive line. –  animuson Jun 19 '12 at 19:25
@animuson, but usually there are multiple to infinite ways to do it, even if you don't use the word best. If I ask how to do x (say, convert a string to an integer), I'm really asking for the best way to do it, not for a terrible way that uses regex (or one of the other bad ways). –  Matthew Flaschen Jun 19 '12 at 19:30
@MatthewFlaschen: Yet in one form you're soliciting different opinions and the other form you're not. Also, "multiple" was a bad word choice on my part because multiple answers doesn't necessarily mean a bad question. In a high majority of cases, when the OP uses the word "best" they are looking for opinions and ideas, which is why it's been primarily "flagged" as a subjective word. –  animuson Jun 19 '12 at 19:32
+1 on your explanation. "soliciting" is the key word here. The same can be applied to questions that ask for opinions. On some subjective questions, people give their "expert opinions" and that's fine, but the question should never ask "What do you think?" or "What is best?" The question instead should always focus on setting very clear, solid parameters. This keeps the answerers rallied around the focus of the question and avoids encouraging "soap-boxing". +1 +1 +1 –  jmort253 Jun 19 '12 at 19:46

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