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I just came across a discussion that was closed and I don't understand why.

A user named Neal posted the following comment:

"We are not a simplepie help desk..."

Neal and four other members promptly closed the discussion, the reason being that it's apparently "too localized".

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Why are we not allowed to ask questions about SimplePie, even though Stack Overflow has the tag and the SimplePie website links to that tag?

Someone was nice enough to offer an answer to the OP's question as a comment, because the discussion was closed. So clearly this wasn't some obscure and confounding question the community was ill-equipped to answer.

Could someone explain to me what might be the reasoning behind the closure?

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I read your question as asking about an error or bug with an external PHP library you are using. The place to ask that is via the support mechanism for that library. If you were asking about a problem with code you wrote that would be somewhat different. –  talonmies Aug 16 '12 at 16:26
    
Someone made a comment about the tone of my thread title. "Why are so many members of this community on a power trip"... is a very tame phrasing. I'm not attacking anyone in particular. And I didn't use vulgar or otherwise harsh language. If anyone considers this hostile and incendiary language, I can only hope you are joking...otherwise this community is worse off than I thought. –  Richard Aug 16 '12 at 16:30
    
And I see that my previous comments have evaporated because someone decided to change the title of the thread (because they didn't care for the tone). Is that a bug or a "feature"? –  Richard Aug 16 '12 at 16:36
    
@Richard: Your original title was unconstructive. You wouldn't walk into a club that you hope to join and publicly proclaim "Why are so many members of this community on a power trip," would you? Mild, civilized rants are still rants. –  Robert Harvey Aug 16 '12 at 16:38
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@RobertHarvey My discussion was on power trips, not a particular thread...that was just an example. But now that it has been "edited" there's nothing left to discuss because all the points I was trying to discus have been deleted, because nobody want to talk about those things. I asked "Why are so many users on a power trip" because that is the topic I wanted to discuss, I can't be any nicer than while still preserving the sentiment. Sigh. I know there's no point in saying this, but I'll say it. The response to this discussion only further illustrates the point I was trying to make. –  Richard Aug 16 '12 at 16:47
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Your original subject is off-topic here. This site's name is not VentMyFrustrations.com. The purpose of this site is to discuss actual Stack Overflow issues, which is what the current edit of your post now does. –  Robert Harvey Aug 16 '12 at 16:48
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Welcome to SO my friend : meta.stackexchange.com/questions/143401/… :) You can ignore (as I have ever since) the arrogance and the hostility of these quaint obsessive "geeks" and only deal with & appreciate the serious ones (fortunately they outweigh the rest) who don't waste their free time hanging around SO/meta waiting to quickly run in formation & obsessively downvote. You may also ignore their usual desperate attempts at diminishing the true value of the subject at hand by calling it an "angry rant". –  Sprout Coder Aug 16 '12 at 16:50
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Oh, please. Man up and volunteer some of your time maintaining the site or answering people's questions, instead of trolling meta. –  Robert Harvey Aug 16 '12 at 16:50
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Expressing frustration about "power trips" isn't going to help anyone. Be specific about the changes you'd like to see, and how specifically you'd like them to be implemented. Otherwise, this is just throwing spaghetti against the wall. Word of warning: Have a clear understanding about how the community works and why it works the way it does first, otherwise your subsequent posts will suffer the same fate. –  Robert Harvey Aug 16 '12 at 16:55
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@SproutCoder I have no problem at all if the OP wants to address an apparent community issue. Go ahead, but keep it constructive. The problem with being emotional about it is that you will end up having a shouting match rather than a discussion. In this particular case Shog9 wrote the answer below. In light of that answer I edited the question as I did to be in line with the answer. I would have no problem with the OP if he addressed what apparently was his original issue in a new question and in a constructive manner. If you find that Geeky, irrelevant or obsessive, so be it. –  Bart Aug 16 '12 at 17:00
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@Richard: I looked at your original edit, and I don't see anything actionable there, except maybe... are you suggesting that the OP should have the right to reverse any action on their post, like close votes, downvotes and deletions? Why would you give someone a traffic ticket if they could just tear it up? That doesn't make any sense. –  Robert Harvey Aug 16 '12 at 17:15
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Anyway, you mentioned that you think Stack Overflow is a very high-quality venue. It is that way because we're strict about the things people post, and the manner in which they post them. That's all. If you want "discussions," there are better-suited places to do that, like Redditt. –  Robert Harvey Aug 16 '12 at 17:20
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@RobertHarvey I didn't start this discussion to talk about discussions. I was talking about attitude, policy. All I'm saying is that we don't have so anal about everything. If a question is skirting the line between allowable and unallowable, why not allow it? Why go out of your way to close an arguably legitimate question? Note: I said arguably. If a question is clearly out of bounds with the rules that's a different matter. Also, I did not suggest people should have the power to tear up their traffic tickets, but rather the power to properly challenge it. –  Richard Aug 16 '12 at 17:30
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@Richard Then why not ask that exact question constructively? Say "Here is question X. It's apparently borderline, but there is value in it. Why are we so strict on the rules and almost always close it? What is the motivation behind it? And why don't people have the power to challenge such decisions?"... or whatever. That I would discuss with you. But if instead of "What is the motivation behind doing X?" you say "Why are people on a power trip?" your discussion is off on a bad start. It's not even about me being insulted, but about you not giving your question the best chance. –  Bart Aug 16 '12 at 17:39
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The way you challenge an unfair action is to cast a moderator flag, or post here on meta about the specific situation, both of which are very effective. This question (as currently written) is proof of that. Like I said, understand the community and how it works. –  Robert Harvey Aug 16 '12 at 18:09

1 Answer 1

The question was somewhat unclear, but nothing that couldn't be corrected with a simple edit.

So I simply edited it. And then re-opened.

EPA Official: S-sir, I'm afraid you've gone mad with power...

Russ Cargill: Of course I have. You ever tried going mad without power? It's boring. No one listens to you!

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@Richard: See - there are nice people on SO too! ;-) –  Jon Egerton Aug 16 '12 at 16:20
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Yes. I know there are nice people on SO. That's why I care enough to have this discussion. –  Richard Aug 16 '12 at 16:35

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