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I just voted to reopen a closed question.

It was a question that related to database design. The questioner was asking how to denormalize a database design so as to make a replica database suitable for use as a reporting database. The question was tagged with "database design". In my mind, it was well within the topic of database design.

It was closed as "off topic", not really relevant to programmers.

I think that database design, even for reporting purposes, is well within the realm of software engineering these days. It's even arguably within the realm of programming.

The days when programmers designed files and data architects designed databases are gone. I know. I made a living as a database specialist in the 80s and 90s.

What, if anything, can I do beyond voting to reopen in order to change popular opinion about whether this question should have been closed? I've had questions about other closed questions before, but this one seems like an open and shut case.

share|improve this question

closed as off-topic by James, ChrisF, Werner, CRABOLO, Monica Cellio Apr 8 '15 at 18:23

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "This question pertains only to a specific site in the Stack Exchange Network. Questions on Meta Stack Exchange should pertain to our network or software that drives it as a whole, within the guidelines defined in the help center. You should ask this question on the meta site where your concern originated." – James, ChrisF, Werner, CRABOLO, Monica Cellio
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

are you asking about this question? how to design a denormalized database. First thing I'd do for it is to edit the text into better shape. Closed question, without answers, is in perfect shape for that since editing won't invalidate answers that could have been based on original wording – gnat Nov 7 '12 at 18:21
The more subjective design based questions are generally more appropriate in Programmers or CodeReview, rather than StackOverflow. – Servy Nov 7 '12 at 18:29
Don't forget! – Mat Nov 7 '12 at 18:57
The question is unanswerable for the usual reasons. No one can predict the performance impact in the abstract. – Rosinante Nov 7 '12 at 19:46
up vote 1 down vote accepted

I've made an edit to the question to make it more readable and have voted to reopen it as well.

You might want to check with the guys on to see if they want the question though, as it seems like something they'd be able to answer better than a bunch of programmers. Usually I just drop by their chat room to ask questions like this.

In regards to your question about what else you can do other than voting, there are a few things you can do:

  • Edit the question. Quite often it was closed for a reason and could use an edit, and the edit bumps it to the front of the "active" page, so more users are likely to see it. If possible, leave a comment as well explaining your edit so users that see the closed question know it's been modified prior to the reopen attempt.

  • Ask for reopen votes in chat. Reopen votes expire after a few days if nobody else votes to reopen, so you generally want to try and draw attention to the question before they expire. Just be sure you're nice about it and be willing to accept that some other users might disagree with reopening it and argue about it.

  • Ask on meta to get it reopened, and explain your reasoning in an objective way. You already did that, which is how I saw the question.

  • If the question still doesn't get the attention it needs after a few days and votes start expiring, you can also flag it for a moderator and ask them to reopen it, along with the reason why you think it should be reopened.

    Typically I don't do this unless I make a significant edit to the question that addresses the reason why it was closed in the first place, and I have not been able to draw enough attention to the question to get it reopened through other ways.

It should also be noted that the new Reopen queue now provides more attention to questions with reopen votes, so often all you need to do is clean up the question, add your reopen vote, and leave a comment explaining the question has been modified and you are trying to get it reopened.

share|improve this answer
For the record the OP didn't actually post the question on meta. Another user looked through his activity and posted a comment with what he assumes the question is. – Servy Nov 7 '12 at 19:14
Thanks for your answer. WRT whether this belongs over in "DBA", I'll admit to quite a bit of internal confusion over what the job title "DBA" really means. During part of my career, I got to visit lots of sites where there were DBAs, and a few sites where there were databases, but no DBAs. The job responsibilities varies all over the lot. Some DBAs were little more than database babysitters, responsible for regular backups and cleaning up messes. They weren't expected to come up with new databases. At other sites, DBA were like "strategic data architects", just below the CIO. – Walter Mitty Nov 7 '12 at 21:55
For what it's worth, I think this question is better off in SO than in DBA-SE. It's about development, not administration. But I could easily be wrong on this score. – Walter Mitty Nov 7 '12 at 21:56
As far as design questions being subjective is concerned, it goes with the territory. Interesting design questions always have more than one valid answer, and comparing the value of different answers generally involves details of the case usually not presented in the question. – Walter Mitty Nov 7 '12 at 21:58
The most helpful thing I've read is the suggestion to edit the question in order to improve it. I'll admit that I haven't got a clue about how to go about that. I'll just keep paying attention. – Walter Mitty Nov 7 '12 at 21:59
@WalterMitty In regards to, I've always thought that if you have a database or query question that you just want to work in any way possible, ask on SO, however if you are trying to optimize your database or query, or you are trying to understand the inner workings of them, then ask on because a database administrator is more qualified to answer those kinds of questions instead of a programmer that typically just wants their database or query to "work". – Rachel Nov 8 '12 at 0:52
@Rachel, I can't confirm your perception of dba-se. Most of the questions I've seen in there are questions that a dba asks of another dba. They are very tool specific, and they are very nutsy boltsy. (nothing wrong with that per se). By contrast, a lot of the database design questions asked in SO are of the fundamental variety, the kind that exposure to a few fundamental principles of database design can make a world of difference. And, judging by the responses to my answers, I think I'm reading this one right. – Walter Mitty Nov 8 '12 at 1:46
During part of my long and varied career, I taught 1 week courses on database programming & database design. In that experience, some of the stupidest questions were the ones most deserving of an honest response. That's where the concepts really got passed. Of couse, that was face-to-face teaching which is very different from the Q&A on stack exchange. And I myself was a programmer long before I went into databases. – Walter Mitty Nov 8 '12 at 1:49

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