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A question I wrote was closed as NARQ. The explanation given for NARQ states that the question is vague, hard to answer, etc.

My question was closed because the moderator felt that I hadn't put in sufficient effort on my own and simply wanted someone to write my code for me. If that's what you want moderators to do, that's fine. But the explanation given didn't match the real reason, which was quite confusing since my question was very specific, clear and in compliance with the FAQ guidelines. I'd suggest that you come up with a better explanation of NARQ.

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closed as too localized by casperOne Jul 24 '12 at 18:45

This question is unlikely to help any future visitors; it is only relevant to a small geographic area, a specific moment in time, or an extraordinarily narrow situation that is not generally applicable to the worldwide audience of the internet. For help making this question more broadly applicable, visit the help center.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

You're not really asking anything. You're merely stating requirements it seems. I would have voted the same. –  Bart Jul 24 '12 at 17:48
It isn't a formal requirement or anything, but one clue you didn't ask a real question is the lack of question marks. To my reading, you present a broad problem, not a specific problem. It's hard for me to find a handhold to start tackling your question because it's so broad. But I do agree that NARQ is difficult to explain. –  Jon Ericson Jul 24 '12 at 17:54
So you would have been OK if I had just entered "How do I do this?"? Seems silly. –  SteveWash Jul 24 '12 at 18:04
No, more than that, see the answers below. –  Ernest Friedman-Hill Jul 24 '12 at 18:06
Also, note, you could be editing the question at this point to reflect what people are telling you here, and then ping one of the moderators or flag it for moderator attention asking it to be reopened. –  casperOne Jul 24 '12 at 18:16
Also note, downvotes work differently on Meta –  casperOne Jul 24 '12 at 18:19
@SteveWash I've reopened your question given your most recent edit (thanks for that). GL hope your initial experience with SO doesn't turn you off to the site. Also, "too localized" is typically what we do on meta when questions about specific closures/deletions have been resolved (in this case, the question is open, so it's about a specific point in time). –  casperOne Jul 24 '12 at 18:48
Done, but I don't believe I have access to ping yet. –  SteveWash Jul 24 '12 at 18:50
@SteveWash "ping one of the moderators" means flag the question, choose the "other" option and explain why it should be reopened (or at least considered for reopening). Flagging requires 15 rep, so now you can flag. –  Daniel Fischer Jul 24 '12 at 19:15
Congrats on getting your question answered, and again, welcome to SO! –  Ernest Friedman-Hill Jul 25 '12 at 3:05

4 Answers 4

I mentioned in a comment that the post lacked a question mark. Silly? Yes. But oddly, I've found that when I look at my questions that don't have such punctuation, I haven't really fleshed out my question.

Amazingly, I find that I solve many of my own problems merely by asking about them. Knowing that a question might be closed motivates me to really dig into the problem and see what might be causing it. Remarkably, problems that have stumped me for hours suddenly clear themselves up when I sit down to describe them or grab a co-worker in the hall to explain them. For many problems programmers face, properly describing the problem in detail goes a long way to solving it.

So, as others have indicated, you might take this opportunity to edit the question to show what you've tried that hasn't worked.

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Seems like heavy-handed, overzealous moderation to me, starting with the "whatHaveYouTried" comment.

Wouldn't it have been better if the moderator had made an effort to encourage the OP to improve the question, adding a bit of detail how that could be done? More effort initially but would have saved all the back and forth commenting later on.

I have seen many more worse questions get improved with some helpful comments/nudges.

Do moderators get rep points for closing questions (as compared to helping someone improve their question)?

If so, does that not constitute moral hazard?

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Nobody gets any reputation from closing questions. I'm not sure where you got the idea that moderators are any different in that regard. –  Jon Ericson Jul 24 '12 at 18:06
I was asking if that was the case - see the question mark? –  skinnyTOD Jul 24 '12 at 18:08
First, you're asking a question in an answer, which is frowned upon. To answer your question, no, we don't get rep for closing questions. Second, the comment was making an effort to get the OP to improve the question. Was it terse? Perhaps, but it was not rude and it also indicated that something was lacking. This is infinitely better than providing no comment, which is something moderators do often (we are not obligated to leave comments on every question we close). I did it here because the question can be made into one that meets Stack Overflow quality standards. –  casperOne Jul 24 '12 at 18:08
That's a funny thought, though. We joke about the "game", and how people take the pursuit of rep points to an extreme. It would be funny as hell if diamond mods got points for "defeating" ordinary users. Maybe if I successfully post a question that doesn't get closed, casperOne should have 50 points stolen from him :) –  Ernest Friedman-Hill Jul 24 '12 at 18:08
A good question usually follows the pattern: This is what I want/have, this is what I've tried, this is where I'm stuck. There first part is there in the question. So to ask "what have you tried" is a short, but not necessarily bad way to get the question on track again. –  Bart Jul 24 '12 at 18:09
@casperOne Of course it was terse, and rather rude. A little help on your part would have avoided changed the outcome entirely. –  skinnyTOD Jul 24 '12 at 18:10
Rep gains come from: Upvotes to a question or answer, a bounty award, accepting an answer to your question or (when under 2K rep) acceptance of your suggested edit. There's no reputation associated with any moderation tasks, whether performed by a "normal" user or an elected moderator. –  Josh Caswell Jul 24 '12 at 18:10
@skinnyTOD I disagree with it being rude. How do you justify that the comment was rude? And again, the comment was the help. The close banner is the help as well and I did more than was required to help the person. –  casperOne Jul 24 '12 at 18:14
Oh, and I pointed him to [Meta] where he could get clarification on how Stack Overflow governance works. I'm still at a loss as to where I was rude. –  casperOne Jul 24 '12 at 18:17
«I was asking if that was the case - see the question mark?» With that leading and inflammatory next line (and the ease with which you could have answered it yourself‌​), I have a really hard time believing that was not a rhetorical question. –  Josh Caswell Jul 24 '12 at 18:20
@casperOne: You may not have been rude but you certainly weren't as helpful as you could have been. I know it gets tiring wearing the kid gloves for new users but try to remember that a lot of people don't know what the hell stuff like "NARQ" means, and may need a little more guidance on how to improve their question than "What have you tried?". –  Wesley Murch Jul 24 '12 at 18:24
@user1549128 If it came off as overzealous, then apologies, however, closure is a regular thing on Stack Overflow, but it's not always bad. It simply states (and to people new to the site, it can be confusing) how it can be improved. Now that you know this, your question is a perfectly good one, it just needs a little work. The close reason is the impetus to give it that work and then the content will have the quality that we're looking for. And note, the reason we are so heavy-handed about these things is because we like to keep the bar for quality on SO very high. –  casperOne Jul 24 '12 at 18:25
@user1549128 Also, you learned how to use Meta on your first day. That's actually a really good thing, as now you know where to come when something isn't right or you don't understand something which the community can help you with. This is the site for all governance of Stack Overflow, and you'll find that there are a number of people willing to help you here with the site just as there are people willing to help you on the main site. –  casperOne Jul 24 '12 at 18:27
@casperOne: More than what's expected or more than what's required? Personally, I expect moderators to display exemplary behavior, including being courteous and helpful, and guiding new users that show potential (like this user) into becoming good SO'ers. To some degree I believe that you did that, but maybe in a way that was a bit curt. A topic for another day I guess. –  Wesley Murch Jul 24 '12 at 18:38
@skinnyTOD: All right, I'll give you the benefit of the doubt. There's no mention of diamond moderators in that FAQ because there's no distinction for that purpose. The basic functions of the site don't change for them; they simply have extra powers. –  Josh Caswell Jul 24 '12 at 18:54

I am on the fence here. On the one hand, you supply good details, I don't think it's really too localized, and what you're asking is pretty clear.

On the other hand, as written, it shows no apparent research effort. It's a description of the question, but there's no "Here's what I tried", or "Here's where I'm stuck". Based on your question here and your comments there, I'm betting you did try some things before asking here, so this is unfair. But you didn't "show your work," and that's why you got closed.

"Closed" isn't the same as "deleted". A closed question can be edited to improve it, then reopened. That is entirely appropriate here, I think. If you added a "Here's what I've got so far" and then flagged the question to be reopened, I think it stands an excellent chance.

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Great point about closed vs. deleted. –  simchona Jul 24 '12 at 17:54
That is a great point and something I didn't understand at the time. Learning curve is a bit steeper then needs be, but that's hard for people already over it to see. –  SteveWash Jul 24 '12 at 18:10
In all fairness the message says: "For help clarifying this question so that it can be reopened, see the FAQ." –  Bart Jul 24 '12 at 18:12
I saw the FAQ. My question was pretty clear. It described the tables involved and the output I was looking for. The FAQ didn't say "show your efforts". –  SteveWash Jul 24 '12 at 18:14
@SteveWash It's clearly mentioned in the How to ask page, which you had to click through when asking your question - "Sharing your research helps everyone. Tell us what you found and why it didn’t meet your needs." It's also linked to in the FAQ and on the "Ask a question" page. –  jadarnel27 Jul 24 '12 at 18:35

Your question clearly states your problem, which is a good start. However, the SO community likes to see some effort in the question as well. For example, are there any methods you already tried? Did something work, not work, seem too inefficient? That's where this part of the close reason comes in:

This question is ambiguous, vague, incomplete, overly broad, or rhetorical and cannot be reasonably answered in its current form

Because you didn't say what you tried, the question is hard to answer on StackOverflow. That's why the moderator wrote,

Questions that don't show any original research effort are closed as NARQ on Stack Overflow.

It's not a "real" question in that the question can't be reasonably answered--without effort on your part, the question isn't quite narrow enough yet.

You can improve your question (which, note, isn't bad) by adding a few things you've thought about, and your reasoning on why they did or didn't work.

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And my point is that that's NOT what I was originally told by having the question flagged as NARQ. If you take each word int the description of NARQ, only "incomplete" might apply as per the SO standards. –  SteveWash Jul 24 '12 at 18:07
@user1549128 It takes some getting used to, I'll agree. Knowing what it means now, how would you like to see it changed? –  simchona Jul 24 '12 at 18:09
I think the moderator should have another option to apply instead of NARQ when flagging the question for Closed. Maybe "Show Some Effort" with an explanation of "We're not here to do all your work for you." THAT I would have gotten without going back and forth. –  SteveWash Jul 24 '12 at 18:12
I must say, @user1549128 has a point. If you are familiar with the policies here, you see how that question fits NARQ (but it's easily fixable, I think), since it doesn't contain the own efforts and thus isn't specific enough. But if you're new, you wouldn't call that vague or incomplete. So the NARQ reason could indeed do with a makeover. But someone would have to come up with a better formulation reflecting the policies, that's the hard part. –  Daniel Fischer Jul 24 '12 at 18:20
@user1549128 Note that we are limited in the close reasons, as per the FAQ (different one, I know). In this case, NARQ is the closest that we have and the one most frequently applied for questions of this nature. –  casperOne Jul 24 '12 at 18:22
Seems to me you need another close reason. You people put a lot of effort into helping others. NARQ pisses people off when its not acurate (beyond the local useage of the phrase on SO). If I had understood that "what have you tried?" was the actual close reason, then no problems. –  SteveWash Jul 24 '12 at 18:30

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