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So I've had a few of my questions closed in the past. Most for good reasons.

However, most recently my question, Nicer responsive masonry, was closed for being "not constructive" and "likely soliciting debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion".

As I understand it, the "not constructive" reason is often used to close generic "which one is better, X or Y?" questions, and apparently five different people thought that that was what I was after.

Which it was not.

My question was literally a "practical, answerable question based on [an] actual problem that [I] face", as set in the FAQ as the description of an acceptable question.

Looking at the second paragraph, I'm guessing it would be easy for someone to just read that and say "oh, I know where this is going" and summarily vote to close. Which is what I'm guessing must've happened here.

So now the question is closed. I voted to unclose it, but I doubt this edge case question will ever see the other four people who'd magically find it, thoroughly peruse and analyze it against the rules and guidelines, and cast a vote to reopen.

As such, there should be more process to closing and/or reopening. I know that I posted a question that belongs to SO. I know that those five people made a snap judgment and are wrong. Where do I go to state my case?

share|improve this question
Meta is the next step, and you've already made your case by posting this question. Just a note: One re-open vote is all it takes for the question to enter the re-open queue, people seeing it is not as doubtful as you think. – Yannis Jan 22 '13 at 22:42
@Yannis and it apparently worked. Also I don't think you need a re-open vote to get something into the queue. I think it just needs an edit – Some Helpful Commenter Jan 22 '13 at 22:51
@SomeHelpfulCommenter: Yes, that's a new feature they recently added. I remember commenting on it with great excitement in the Tavern. – animuson Jan 22 '13 at 22:54
Should a question about 'masonry', 'gutters', and the like be on the home improvement site? – Rosinante Jan 22 '13 at 22:56

The only problem I saw with this question was the actual question:

Is there an alternative plugin/library that would achieve the same masonry effect, but with more 'native' looking resizing (i.e. one without the delay), considering an element width set in percentages, and gutters?

Asking for alternate plugins/libraries is considered "listing" and very unconstructive. You do have a clear problem there, so I've gone ahead and just removed the reference to alternate plugins/libraries. If someone comes by with an alternate that solves your problem, then by all means they should mention it. Don't directly ask for them, though - it makes your question look bad. Leaving it out also makes the question look like you could potentially solve it without an alternative, by reworking what you have (I don't know for sure if that's possible, myself).

share|improve this answer
Thanks for the clarification; I didn't know that a single paragraph could override the other merits of the question like that when considered for closing, I'll keep that in mind :) – Emphram Stavanger Jan 22 '13 at 22:51
Not even a single paragraph, but a single word. Keywords such as "suggestion" are known to rake in close votes. – animuson Jan 22 '13 at 22:53
@EmphramStavanger Closure is a temporary state, and while editing is always preferable to closure, when people see the problem but can't fix it (for whatever reason), voting to close is appropriate (it's just a signal that the question has problems). Questions get re-opened all the time, you shouldn't lose sleep over a closure. More importantly, closing a question says absolutely nothing at all about its quality, that's what (up/down)votes are for. – Yannis Jan 22 '13 at 22:53
@Yannis See, that's something a casual user like myself could never have understood without being explained; to me at least, "closing" doesn't imply "make some edits and try again, kid", but I'd intuitively more or less associate it with deleting articles on Wikipedia; "we don't need your kind here". I obviously don't have the rep to close anything, but do people who vote to close get an orange nag plate telling them that an edit would be preferable? – Emphram Stavanger Jan 22 '13 at 22:59
@EmphramStavanger there is a link to the close faq on the close message. Which says this Closed questions cannot be answered, but are eligible for improvement (and eventual re-opening) through editing, voting, and commenting. See How to Ask for guidance on editing your question to improve it. – Some Helpful Commenter Jan 22 '13 at 23:01
@EmphramStavanger No, there's no such notification. You get the ability to vote to close when you reach 3K rep, by that time most people are (more or less) familiar with the culture of the site and with what closing is and isn't. Also, all close notifications end with this sentence: "For help clarifying this question so that it can be reopened, see the FAQ." – Yannis Jan 22 '13 at 23:02
@Yannis I saw that, but I didn't even click it because I thought my question was unjustly closed by trigger-happy mods. The "not constructive" reason for closing is probably the vaguest of all, and if I hadn't posted here in the Meta, this closing experience wouldn't have taught me, the noob, anything about good or bad questions. That's why I think editing should be actively encouraged as an alternative to closing. Or maybe a "provide extra explanation" when voting to close. – Emphram Stavanger Jan 22 '13 at 23:09
@EmphramStavanger people definitely do drive by vote to close and it blows That said there's a worse problem then a good question getting closed: bad questions being left open. If the people that volunteer their time to answer questions don't feel that bad questions (as defined by the community) aren't dealt with they won't stick around. Then there would be no point in coming here. As an aside encouraging users to leave comments when voting to close has been explored before – Some Helpful Commenter Jan 22 '13 at 23:43
@SomeHelpfulCommenter Alright, agreed. And I agree that in closings for reasons like "exact duplicate" and "off-topic", the close message itself should be sufficient. But in "not constructive" or even "not a real question", I think a specific comment is warranted to help newbies; especially if the community is prone to deliver backlash based on a single word in an otherwise valid question (as animuson said previously). – Emphram Stavanger Jan 23 '13 at 0:14

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