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This question: http://stackoverflow.com/questions/5458392/programmatically-take-ownership-of-a-registry-key-in-c seems to have been closed because no reason was given WHY the asker wished to do what they wanted and better options might have been available, but IMO that doesn't diminish the value of the question.

How do I take ownership of a registry key programmatically in C#?

Now, I find myself in the position of needing the answer, and there is precedence for closing questions of this type, and not only will my question be subject to the same judgements, it will also now be a duplicate.

"How do I do X" is just as valid a question as "What is the best way to accomplish Y", and they're not the same question. Is it reasonable to vote to close the first question because you think the asker should have asked the second question instead?

Was this question closed in error?

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There's no conclusive proof that the question was closed for the reason you think it was closed for. The close reason is NaRQ, not "duplicate of 'what is the best way to accomplish Y?'." The mod who closed it didn't say why he closed it. Speaking as someone who doesn't know anything about that technology, it's possible that the question isn't answerable without more information about the OP's specific case. It is quite short, which is generally a red flag, although not necessarily an excuse for closure. –  Pops Aug 20 '12 at 20:24
    
I guess I assumed that was why it was closed (NaRQ, and the comments that were given). It certainly is answerable, however. –  Mark Aug 20 '12 at 20:26
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The question should be deleted. If it's showing up on people's searches, then it's just wasting their time. It's a year old, after all, and never managed to get reopened. –  Robert Harvey Aug 20 '12 at 20:26
    
@Robert - it's a brief question but it's also legit, but I think the community got this one wrong. It can be answered in its current form, it shouldn't be outright deleted. (I've tendered an answer with more detail). Having said that it is an old question so it won't be missed. –  slugster Aug 21 '12 at 1:43
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4 Answers

I wouldn't say this question was closed because there's a better way to do it, it was likely closed because it doesn't give any sort of attempt at doing it before asking the question. The common question "What have you tried?" comes to mind. I'm not familiar enough with C# to make a call on this specific question, because it seems a bit edge-case to me, personally, but that definitely stands out there as a factor for closing it. The entire question is a single sentence...

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Ah, I meant to include a "what have you tried" line in my comment. Very good. –  Pops Aug 20 '12 at 20:27
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"What have you tried" has always mystified me a bit. It turns it from a how-to question useful to others, into a highly-localized "troubleshoot my code" question only useful to the OP. –  Robert Harvey Aug 20 '12 at 20:29
    
The question definitely wasn't going to win awards, but it was certainly specific, and answerable. –  Mark Aug 20 '12 at 20:30
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@Mark: Like Robert has stated in the comments, let this question go. I'm sure you could probably write a much better question covering the topic that will attract answers. –  animuson Aug 20 '12 at 20:33
    
I did write a new question, it just bugged me that this one was closed (apparently) because noone had enough imagination to come up with a reason why it would be necessary. –  Mark Aug 20 '12 at 20:34
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Must resist... temptation to trollishly vote to close... new, good question as duplicate of old one.... –  Pops Aug 20 '12 at 20:37
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A bunch of people from the community deemed that question should be closed.

I've voted to reopen it, because I can see that it is a perfectly valid question, even in its current form. @animuson gives a perfectly feasible explanation of what probably happened, but I think this is a case where the community got it wrong.

In this case the OP shouldn't need to give a reason why he wants ownership, there are perfectly legitimate reasons for a specific entity to own something.

To answer your question: no, a question shouldn't be closed because there may be a better alternative. In this case there is a definitive solution - if this was a new user with a low rep I might query their intent in case they were doing something wrong, but for anyone else what they do with the solution is their problem.

A question should only be closed because of physical issues with the question (formatting, language, lack of detail, off topic, etc.), not because the OP appears to be approaching something the wrong way.

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You can always ask how to do something, thats by all means allowed, but askers who propose such questions with no code what-so-ever that they have tried and/or links they have visited - It is only inevitable that such a question will be closed, IMO

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I can only add that a clear, constructive suggestion on how the question should have been asked be given to the questioner so that someone who has to ask the same question later knows how to avoid having the question closed. –  Chris Gerken Aug 20 '12 at 20:40
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Why do you need to take ownership of a registry key? (This is a rhetorical question.)

If you ask this question, but include what you're really trying to do as the real underlying question, and propose taking ownership of the registry key as one possible solution (that you currently don't know how to implement) then you should either get answers as to how to take ownership, or you will get answers that solve your problem without needing to.

Additionally, if you re-organize your question in that manner it will no longer be a duplicate.

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You dodged the question. Assume that I need to do this, and the why is a secret that would compromise national security. Now, answer the question. –  Mark Aug 20 '12 at 20:15
    
@Mark If you have particularly restrictive constraints on the context of your question such that you can't provide enough information to meet the SO's minimum standards for a question then you simply won't be able to ask it here. This is inherently an xy problem. –  Servy Aug 20 '12 at 20:18
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It's not an XY problem at all. "How do I do X" is a valid question, even if YOU can't think of any good reason to do X. It's certainly something that a need was forseen for; there's a method called .SetOwner(), after all. Someone thought there was a valid reason do do this! –  Mark Aug 20 '12 at 20:19
    
@Mark It most certainly is an XY problem. You may think it should be acceptable despite that fact, but that's saying something entirely different. You can see the linked threads for the problems that arise with these types of questions, and why they are not encouraged here. –  Servy Aug 20 '12 at 20:22
    
I guess we disagree on whether it's an XY question. –  Mark Aug 20 '12 at 20:27
    
@Servy: It could be an XY problem. It may not. Without further information provided by the asker, how would you know one from the other? –  Nicol Bolas Aug 20 '12 at 20:40
    
@NicolBolas an XY problem is asking for the means, rather than the end. This doesn't seem like it's an end into itself; it seems like it's a means to some unknown end. –  Servy Aug 20 '12 at 20:43
    
@Servy: But the XY problem is only a problem if they're using the wrong means to that end. IE: someone trying to parse HTML with RegEx's and so forth. And even then, it is only a problem if it is objectively wrong (ie: cannot reasonably work and/or the alternatives are easily available and fundamentally superior), such as with RegEx parsing of HTML. –  Nicol Bolas Aug 20 '12 at 20:54
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