Meta Stack Exchange is where users like you discuss bugs, features, and support issues that affect the software powering all 158 Stack Exchange communities.

What is meta?
Here's how it works:
  1. Any Stack Exchange user can ask a question
  2. The community provides support, votes on ideas, and reports bugs
  3. Your voice helps shape the way Stack Exchange operates

My post which was aimed at not asking a question but at sharing knowledge was closed today.
When posting a question on Stack Overflow, there's a little checkbox below which says "Answer your own question – share your knowledge, Q&A-style"

I tried finding ways to parse XML with Java via Groovy but couldn't find one on Stack Overflow. I also found many people asking a solution for the same but no success. So, I went on to write a post about it by asking and answering the same. The sole aim here was to help people who faced a similar situation. And I was really excited about the fact that I could contribute (maybe a little) to the ways of XML parsing by starting this post.

I also got another fellow suggesting a couple of different ways to achieve the same.
Until today when I saw some community members downvoted and closed my question without any proper reason. Let me know if my post isn't genuine or if it's copied or if it's a duplicate or if it's not trying to solve a problem.

My question - is Stack Overflow all about just asking/answering bigger and complex and harder questions and not sharing knowledge (which of course may mean insignificant to some but can help others a lot)

My Request - Can we have feature on Stack Overflow where community members provide an explanation of why they close a post and also provide some constructive feedback. Trust me it'll be a great help and also it'll avoid discouragement.

share|improve this question

closed as not constructive by Rosinante, Toon Krijthe, phwd, yoozer8, ChrisF Oct 3 '12 at 21:53

As it currently stands, this question is not a good fit for our Q&A format. We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. If you feel that this question can be improved and possibly reopened, visit the help center for guidance.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Moderators didn't close your question, it was closed by community members – Sathya Oct 3 '12 at 9:48
@Sathya Thanks for pointing that out and I have edited my question here. – Arham Oct 3 '12 at 10:18
see: Can I answer my own questions, even those where I knew the answer before asking?. In brief, both parts of "share your knowledge, Q&A-style" are mandatory - when "sharing" a knowledge, it should be done "Q&A-style" – gnat Oct 3 '12 at 12:14
Hey, your question was re-opened, yay! What you need to keep in mind is that closure is a temporary state, any closed post can be re-opened if improved. As for the feature you are asking for, we already have it and you've already used it (this Meta question). Why would you want feedback from the five close voters, when you can get feedback from potentially everyone? – Yannis Oct 3 '12 at 19:10
Yes, am glad that I was able to improve my question based on the comments here and got it reopened.:) Regarding feedback, once a post gets closed, it becomes very cumbersome to create another post(Meta question like this one) to seek feedback. There might be 100s of questions getting closed everyday. Do you expect everybody to post Meta questions in this regard? Wouldn't it be better if the ones who closed the post also mentioned the mistake and solution there itself on the same post rather than only saying "not a real question"(which in itself may sound ambiguous at times) ? – Arham Oct 3 '12 at 19:42
Like in my case and many other closed posts, nobody ever mentions what's wrong with the question but simply down votes and closes the question. I believe downvoting never does any good to the one who posted the question until and unless he's conveyed the exact reason. As I see some community members feel responsible to close a question that they think should be closed but how much pain does one incur if he also mentions the exact reason in the form of a comment and then down vote? – Arham Oct 3 '12 at 19:54

There is already quite some information in the description of the close reason. Your question was closed as "Not a real question" with the following 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. For help clarifying this question so that it can be reopened, see the FAQ.

I don't want to go into details about the specific question as it is not my area of expertise, but the problem I see is that you didn't actually ask a specific question. Sharing clever solutions you found is encouraged, but you have to formulate your question as an actual problem someone might face. Your question is is just not a question, but a description.

Users are encouraged, but not required to leave comments explaining the closure. I consider this sufficient to provide constructive feedback.

share|improve this answer
Agreed but as I mentioned it wasn't a question really but a knowledge sharing post. Had the sole aim been for posting a question and earning points, then I could have copied the title as a question. But the aim was to open up a discussion around that where people can discover new ways of solving the problem. But now since it's closed nobody can comment or contribute to the problem. – Arham Oct 3 '12 at 9:58
This is not the place for 'knowledge sharing posts'. – Rosinante Oct 3 '12 at 11:08
@Rosinante: I have to disagree with you: Q&A are knowledge sharing posts, essentially. They must be in the Q&A format, however. – Joachim Sauer Oct 3 '12 at 11:36
@Rosinante: Else why would they mention at the bottom of every page "Answer your own question – share your knowledge, Q&A-style" – Arham Oct 3 '12 at 12:04
@Joachim: I missed out on the part saying "Q&A-style". :) I've edited my post accordingly. – Arham Oct 3 '12 at 12:05

There was only one thing missing in your post. A question!

If you were going to post a question, make sure it's actually a question. This is a knowledge sharing site, but it's disguised as a Q&A site. You have a question, we have an answer. Sometimes you might even have an answer to your own question, and that's ok. But, you have to have a question.

As far as your feature request, we already tell you why a question was closed, and it's even has a link to the FAQ. No, it's not ever going to go farther than that (and why should it?).

If I were going to post your question, here's how I might have posted it:

How do I parse XML using Groovy and the ScriptEngine API?

Here's what I've tried:

public void Parse(string XML)
    //code that doesn't work

But it's not working. How can I parse XML in Groovy?

Note that this question has the following things:

  1. An actual question.
  2. Code, showing what you've tried (don't just post what I posted, it'll be closed because there's no actual code behind it).
  3. A specific question, "How can I parse XML in Groovy?"
share|improve this answer
Thanks a lot George. I guess the issue here is I was more focused on what to share as my findings than what to ask. Hence, my question got converted to more of a description. – Arham Oct 3 '12 at 11:58

Can we have feature on Stack Overflow where moderators provide an explanation of why they close a post and also provide some constructive feedback. Trust me it'll be a great help and also avoid discouragement.

We already have that:
enter image description here

share|improve this answer
@Bernhard - If you have expertise in the same area, then could you please help me in formulating the question? For the part "no one would come up with the answer that I gave" - I have had many people asking for XML parsing in Java with minimal verbosity and I couldn't find a single answer to that. – Arham Oct 3 '12 at 10:04
@Arham So such expertise, unfortunately. – Bernhard Oct 3 '12 at 10:32

Just giving a small suggestion. You are not supposed to say How do I do something using something . This would result in unending discussion. Instead you could post a bit of code, then ask for some issue and then you could post the solution. Now you can edit your post and flag it for reopening. This might help.

share|improve this answer
Whats wrong with "How do I..."? I feel it is a very appropriate way to start a question... – Lix Oct 3 '12 at 12:36
I am not against How do I . How do i" in this context is pointing to discussion , which would result in different views from different persons. – Sahil Mahajan Mj Oct 3 '12 at 12:40
I have edited my answer to make it more elaborative. – Sahil Mahajan Mj Oct 3 '12 at 12:42
Depending on the question it is very possible that there will be more than one way to get the desired results... – Lix Oct 3 '12 at 12:44

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .