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I asked a question over at sharepoint.stackexchange.com that was closed as not constructive.

While this question may not fit in the narrow guidelines of what SE is looking for it is definitely not not constructive.

An alternative exists for StackOverflow for these types of general discussion questions, like Code Review, but these more specialty focused sites do not.

These specialty sites need to be a little more flexible in their guidelines and allow these constructive yet discussion oriented questions a little leeway especially considering the amount of traffic they receive.

Do we need to remove the close reason "not constructive" from specialty focused sites?

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4 Answers 4

up vote 4 down vote accepted

You can't completely remove the close reason; if you remove it you'll eventually wish you hadn't.

However, the criteria for which it applies is broadly up to each individual community. As long as a site is consistently producing content that makes the Internet a better place and helps people get better at whatever they do, it's putting the engine to work for its prescribed purpose.

A site that deteriorates into mostly shopping, getting to know you, list of lists, guide my life, or other equally noisy topics would not really be considered successful. We have one extreme defined, which is the strictness of Stack Overflow. I don't think we've yet seen the other end of the spectrum, or how far the engine can be successfully pushed into the subjective realm. Politics may end up being that other extreme, it's too early to tell. What I can say is, the space between those extremes will probably be one giant happy medium so long as the community can make it work. Skeptics and Programmers are two good examples of finding just the right 'groove'.

Still, there has to be a point where the community can step in and say no, this question is just too broad, too open ended and not grounded enough in some kind of actual problem people may face .. even with our relaxed guidelines. That's why the reason is needed. It's there after years of painful learning.

If you feel as if the reason is used in too many instances where valuable information might not have been contributed due to the rules the community established being a little too strict, the thing to do is bring that up constructively within your community. Maybe write out a sketch of the ideal answer you were hoping to receive, then take a look at your question again and see if it could have been asked a little bit differently. If you still think something needs to change, or just needs to relax a bit, bring it up on your meta site.

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This is not something we can enforce here on Meta Stack Overflow. Each site's community is responsible for setting and enforcing the guidelines of their site, including what kinds of questions they find acceptable. This is an issue you'd need to bring up at that specific site's Meta, rather than here.

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Where would "that specific site's Meta" be? –  iambriansreed Dec 19 '12 at 22:55
    
Click the "meta" link up in the header on that site. Sharepoint's would be here. –  animuson Dec 19 '12 at 22:55
    
Thanks. But this is an issue that might apply to all the the specialty sites, however, I see your point that each site's community makes the rules. –  iambriansreed Dec 19 '12 at 22:57
    
If there is a strong consensus among the community, they are allowed to change their close reasons specific to that site, but there's definitely no way to apply those rules over multiple sites from here. It really is something each community needs to discuss on their own. –  animuson Dec 19 '12 at 22:58
    
Wow. I had no idea each specialty site had a meta. Awesome. –  iambriansreed Dec 19 '12 at 22:58

Do we need to remove the close reason "not constructive" from specialty focused sites?

Is asking about using SharePoint on boat considered constructive? You want to blur the lines some but where does that stop, removing "not constructive" is not a good idea!

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The original name for the "Not Constructive" close reason was "Subjective and Argumentative." The first "Related" question on the sidebar explains it very well in the first comment:

If it's subjective it doesn't have a single, correct answer.

Neither of your questions ("is our organization setup wrong?" and "Do developers normally have access ... ?") has a single answer, so the close reason is dead-on.

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