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Watching Stack Overflow over the past few days I see questions often being closed rather overzealously. There are definitely some questions that deserve to be closed (e.g. "Do my homework", etc) but it's a shame that other questions get closed despite being marked as community wiki; e.g.

My view is that this type of slightly off-topic-but-still-interesting question enriches the SO community (you only have to view the number of people who responded to this), and I wondered what other people thought?

Also, have people noticed a change in attitudes towards closing questions? For example, I see that no one has closed this SO "classic":

share|improve this question
Oh... not again... – juan Aug 20 '09 at 16:35
@Juan: Sorry ... I don't follow meta that closely. Don't tell me - This is a dupe. – Adamski Aug 20 '09 at 16:36
If only you knew how many times the cartoon question has been referenced... – juan Aug 20 '09 at 16:37
Another appeal to common practice. Why is logic so hard to find amongst programmers? – GEOCHET Aug 20 '09 at 16:55
Look here Programmer Cartoon has been closed and reopened 3 times before being locked open by the Community. – David Basarab Aug 20 '09 at 16:58
If only you knew how many times the cartoon question has been closed... (it's more than 3 - close / open events didn't used to show up in the revision history) – Shog9 Aug 20 '09 at 16:59
I wish there were a close reason of "mentions that stupid cartoon question." – Hilarious Comedy Pesto Aug 20 '09 at 17:02
@Pesto: Or at least "Based around logical fallacy." – GEOCHET Aug 20 '09 at 17:03
@Adamski: I suggest you do a search on [closed-questions]. – John Saunders Aug 20 '09 at 19:02

Community Wiki isn't carte blanche to post anything you want. It doesn't allow you to sidestep the normal rules/guidelines of SO posts. This is still a Q/A site and extended discussion is frowned upon be it CW or not. Likewise, if the primary topic/focus of the question does not relate to actual programming, it is usually going to get closed whether or not it is CW.

With respect to old questions (like "programmer cartoons") they are effectively grandfathered-in to the site. They were created in the early days when posting guidelines were still being hammered out, and they have had so much activity that most people just let them be. They sit in the background as a little bit of noise, museum pieces of the early days of SO.

share|improve this answer
Lies, they were put there by Jon Skeet to test our faith. – TheTXI Aug 20 '09 at 16:54
If they're tests, did we pass or fail? – gnostradamus Aug 20 '09 at 16:55
I passed, you failed. – jjnguy Aug 20 '09 at 16:55
I passed, but I copied off of jjnguy. – Hilarious Comedy Pesto Aug 20 '09 at 16:57
I failed, but I copied off of jinguy too. – devinb Aug 20 '09 at 17:13
@jjnguy: "Pics or it didn't happen." – gnostradamus Aug 20 '09 at 17:15
Shit...Beaten by my own game. – jjnguy Aug 20 '09 at 17:40

I know exactly what you mean Adamski! I asked this question yesterday because I'd made an assumption about the answer in a separate explanation and suddenly I wasn't so sure and wanted clarification.

It's programming related, it's a genuine question (albeit subjective) and it got closed! I would expect a little leeway given I've been on SO for almost a year. I've only voted to close a small handful of questions, eitehr because they are terribly-formed, homework or completely off-topic.

Some people here seem to be far too trigger-happy for my liking.

share|improve this answer
Er, why has this been downvoted? – oxbow_lakes Aug 20 '09 at 17:26
Your question is unanswerable. We cannot tell you why someone did something. If you read the FAQ, you will see that questions asked on should be answerable. – GEOCHET Aug 20 '09 at 17:27
String wholeFile = new Scanner(pathToFile).useDeliminter("\\Z").next(); – jjnguy Aug 20 '09 at 17:33
Your question calls for speculation. It probably would have survived had it been CW, though. – Hilarious Comedy Pesto Aug 20 '09 at 17:34
@Rich B - This site is meta not SO. No question is too trivial or newbie to ask and any question about SO is relevant. That's what it says in the 1st paragraph of the faq. Perhaps you are confused – oxbow_lakes Aug 20 '09 at 17:36
@Pesto - true enough. I didn't make it CW because I felt that it was a genuine question. I wasn't asking "Why did they X" as a whine, I was asking "Why did they X" in case someone knew the answer! – oxbow_lakes Aug 20 '09 at 17:40
@Rich B - the question was eminently answerable – oxbow_lakes Aug 20 '09 at 17:41
@Rich B - good grief - you've downvoted my SO question as well! Thanks for that. It was a genuine question!: I really want to know the answer. It's programming related. SO is a programming Q&A site. I hope you can sleep at night (ed. you've gone too far)! – oxbow_lakes Aug 20 '09 at 17:46
@oxbow: The question is not answerable. It is clearly not ok with the FAQ. Sorry. No argument you are going to make is going to make that question less subjective. – GEOCHET Aug 20 '09 at 18:05
@Rich. SO how come you have answered these questions? They are subjective and unanswerable. Clearly against the FAQ and the spirit of SO. I implore you to remove your answers!… and… and… to name but three – oxbow_lakes Aug 21 '09 at 8:20

It's a shame that the question you first linked to got closed?? I disagree.

Questions asked on the sites should have clear answers solving a specific problem.

While the question you point out may have clear answers, they are not solving any particular programming problem.

At least, that's my opinion.

share|improve this answer
I thought that marking as Community Wiki meant that the post was more discussion-related, rather than question that required a clear answer? – Adamski Aug 20 '09 at 16:40
So, posts that are more discussion related should be CW. However, that doesn't mean that I think they are ok. – jjnguy Aug 20 '09 at 16:41
@Adamski: I think you are missing a large part of how this site works. I recommend reading the FAQ to start and then lurking here a while to understand the community opinion on these types of topics. – GEOCHET Aug 20 '09 at 16:58
@Rich B - by "site" do you mean SO or Meta? Adamski has almost 3,000 points so has clearly been on SO a while – oxbow_lakes Aug 20 '09 at 17:16
@oxbow: Rep is not an indicator of knowledge of the site or of anything else. He is demonstrating a clear (and startling) misunderstanding of how SO works. – GEOCHET Aug 20 '09 at 17:20
@Rich B: Thanks, I took your advice and read the FAQ. In particular I noticed "Be nice." and "Bring your sense of humour." :-) – Adamski Aug 20 '09 at 17:32
@Rich - your arrogance is quite astounding. The point of SO is of course to be a great place for Q&As. However, this only happens if people are encouraged to ask questions and post answers and forming relationships helps greatly in this. And of course, discussion help form relationships. As has been mentioned a gazillion times, if you don't want to see offtopic or subjective questions, filter them out! – oxbow_lakes Aug 20 '09 at 17:33
@Adamski: Does the FAQ really say "humour"? I better go fix that spelling mistake... – Hilarious Comedy Pesto Aug 20 '09 at 17:46
@Pesto: Humour is the English spelling. – Adamski Aug 20 '09 at 18:00
@Adamski: Sure, but it also gives clear guidelines for appropriate questions which you seem to be ignoring. – GEOCHET Aug 20 '09 at 18:04
@oxbow: is not a discussion forum. Simple. No matter how much you want it to be. – GEOCHET Aug 20 '09 at 18:04
@Rich - The FAQ also states that any question relating to SO may be asked here and that "No question is too trivial or too "newbie"." so I'm confused as to how I've ignored these guidelines. Can you please elaborate? – Adamski Aug 20 '09 at 18:56
@Adamski: The question is not too "trivial or newbie" I don't know of anyone who is claiming that. – GEOCHET Aug 20 '09 at 19:00
@Rich: Please elaborate on which guidelines you think I'm ignoring. Feel free to quote from the FAQ if you like. – Adamski Aug 20 '09 at 19:10
@Adamski: If you couldn't read the FAQ yourself, I am not sure how me reciting it will change anything. But here goes: Avoid asking questions that are subjective, argumentative, or require extended discussion. This is not a discussion board, this is a place for questions that can be answered! – GEOCHET Aug 20 '09 at 19:11

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