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If you have the rep and are so inclined, can you visit this question and vote to unclose if it seems reasonable (as it does to me)?

How do I access Oracle from Python?

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By what standards is that a good question? "How do I get started?" really is not a good question for the site IMHO. It might have been back in the day (2008) but not now. –  Bart Jan 31 '13 at 7:15
"How do I access Oracle from Python?" seems a good, unambiguous question. It's been viewed 20K times and shows up on the first page of googling "python oracle." also IMHO –  Mark Harrison Jan 31 '13 at 7:18
Its Google strength and view figures do not make it a good question. A popular one perhaps, but the content is not deleted anyway, so no problem there. In my opinion it falls squarely on "Not a real question". I would have closed it as such. –  Bart Jan 31 '13 at 7:19
@Bart: Bbbbbbut it's self-answered! –  BoltClock's a Unicorn Jan 31 '13 at 7:20
the title of your question "How do I access Oracle from Python?" seems to be interesting ,but the content "How do I get started with cx_Oracle?" may be the one that causes this confusion.Anyway, it has 30 votes and more than 20k views, that shows this question is a popular one. –  MicRO Jan 31 '13 at 7:21
LolZ, you edited the content right now? You could have done it earlier. –  MicRO Jan 31 '13 at 7:26
Sure, I edited as per your excellent suggestion! –  Mark Harrison Jan 31 '13 at 7:26
Which is probably why it merited being reopened, of course. I'm on the fence myself when it comes to popular questions that still aren't very good in the scope of Stack Overflow "standards". Couldn't the question be, I dunno, protected, locked, something like that, if it holds great value to the community? –  J. Steen Jan 31 '13 at 10:14
@J.Steen That is what sometimes happens. A Historical lock which locks the question and adds a message that by now it is not an example of a good question. –  Bart Jan 31 '13 at 13:29
@Bart Ah yeah! Historical lock. That's the term I was looking for. I've seen it before, just couldn't remember the name. =D –  J. Steen Jan 31 '13 at 13:30
Probably not the best choice for a question like this, though. Is it historically significant? If it's just a self-answered question that has gotten lots of views over the years, then it's not very historically significant. It's been reopened, though, so I think we can leave it at that until some people decide to close it again. Remember that a historical lock on a question also freezes it and all of its answers. –  BoltClock's a Unicorn Jan 31 '13 at 13:33
I see you have updated your question. Are you sure that the current question doesn't invalidate some of the answers? That is, do they still answer the question you now ask? I'm not entirely sure they do, but given my limited knowledge on the topic I might be mistaken. @BoltClock'saUnicorn Wasn't suggesting that a historical lock would be appropriate here. In fact, I have my thoughts on the current question as well, but I'll let it be. –  Bart Jan 31 '13 at 15:58
@MarkHarrison Do the other answers still answer the new question though? Some of them seems oddly out of place. But that might (as I said) merely be me misjudging them based on my lack of knowledge on the subject. –  Bart Feb 1 '13 at 6:28
If you're going to make a post like this on meta you shouldn't just say, "go reopen this". You need to explain why you feel this question merits reopening, either by explaining how the edits made removed the problems that caused it to be closed, or why the reasons for closing it are incorrect. –  Servy Feb 1 '13 at 18:54
@JeremyBanks Of course it is. You now make the other answers seem to be strangely out of place and susceptible to downvotes. They no longer answer the question asked and might as well be removed. That's pretty much the worst edit any OP could make and, if anything, disrespectful of their contributions. Ask a new question, if you have a good one which can stay open. The old question was closed, not deleted. Move on. –  Bart Feb 19 '13 at 20:33
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2 Answers 2

I feel like I should answer this question somehow. Basically, I work with Python & Oracle and this is my territory.

I do not think that this question should be re-opened and have, in fact, voted to close it again. I'm going to attempt to explain my reasoning...

I don't think you can claim that this is a "good" question; you've fallen into the trap of most self-answers and concentrated more on the answer than you have the question. Whilst this may have been a great question at the time I believe it wouldn't, currently, be received in the same way. In your question you would be expected to show a rudimentary knowledge of the subject and an attempt to do something for yourself; neither of which are in evidence.

I agree with LittleBobbyTables in that I'm not sure that your edit makes anything better. If anything, it makes the question "not constructive" because you're now asking for recommendations. As there is only one PEP 249 (to my knowledge) Python package to connect to Oracle it also makes it kind of pointless.

The answer, while giving a good, quick, overview of how to connect to Oracle doesn't actually provide any explanation of what is happening, or more importantly why. You also ignore some of the more important parts of a database-interface, namely bind variables and SQL injection. In any case, no matter the quality of the answer, an answer should not be used as a reason to keep a question open.

My own, personal, feeling is that this question should be, and remain, closed. I do not think it should be deleted. It's a helpful question and will be of use to future visitors but it is not a good question and I do not think we should be indicating to new users that a question, so lacking in details, is acceptable.

I also agree with Bart's comment that your edit has effectively invalidated the other answers (though I don't think this one should be around at all). In such a case it's best to keep the question as is and ensure that any edits made keep all answers understandable in the context of the question.

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Interesting... I didn't realize that I'm also on the all-time list for Oracle and cx_Oracle. Thanks for that information! The piece of information you're missing (IMHO) is that you're so close to the problem you don't realize that there's no intuitive or logical way to go from "python + oracle" to "cx_Oracle". One can argue that it's easily googlable, but as Joel was fond of pointing out, it should be the case that SO will be the top match for programming questions. –  Mark Harrison Feb 1 '13 at 22:06
That's not the way I meant it. To my knowledge I'm the only (overly) avid meta user who's on that list; I feel an affinity with these subjects and care about how those tags are maintained so would like to speak out when I get the chance. I don't disagree with your comment and stated that I think the question should remain. I just don't think it's a great example to newer users of the type of question that is currently deemed acceptable. –  ben is uǝq backwards Feb 1 '13 at 22:10
And unfortunately I think there's a lot of deleting of closed questions. In fact, that's why I brought this up when I did -- there were some delete votes active. You should count on the fact that if this question is closed it will quickly be deleted, and I feel that will make the internet a tiny bit worse than it was before. –  Mark Harrison Feb 1 '13 at 22:12
That's easily sorted @Mark. I've just favourited it and will keep an eye out. If it gets deleted then I can raise a fuss and ask that it get undeleted (and vote that way) and request the historical lock. –  ben is uǝq backwards Feb 1 '13 at 22:14
Regarding the other answers being inappropriate, or the edit making them inappropriate... they were all done before the comment system was put into place. Most of them would have been quite good commentary (the instantclient connect string syntax being an excellent example). Downvote them, edit them, or delete them as you must, but it seems odd to me to use that as a rationale for a legitimate question. –  Mark Harrison Feb 1 '13 at 22:15
Thanks for the offer to watch over the question. It's tiring to safeguard old material. Not to put too fine a point on things, but I'm in the top 1/3 percent of SO contributors, have been around since before SO was even a site, and feel I've got a good understanding of what makes a useful contribution. And in this case, the simple understanding of Python+Oracle=cx_Oracle is a fine answer. –  Mark Harrison Feb 1 '13 at 22:24
Oh please don't try to pull rank here. You're a wonderful contributor, no doubt, but that just unnecessary. And the major issue here is that you're looking at it from the point of view of the answer. Which is a big issue with a lot of self-answered questions. The answer is just fine, the content can stay (I would never vote to delete it, even if I could) but the question (which is what was evaluated) is poor. It was before and it still is now. –  Bart Feb 2 '13 at 13:29
Bart, you would never vote to delete it, but there were votes to delete it the first time it was closed, which is why I asked for people to review it. Thankfully that review found that "closed as not a question" was inappropriate and it was undeleted. Now it's been "closed as not constructive" which seems equally inappropriate. –  Mark Harrison Feb 3 '13 at 8:04
And regarding the question, I fail to see how it is poor. If you were requested to do some oracle work in python, your first question regarding that would be "how do i access oracle from python?". If it were a poor question it would not have received the number of upvotes it has received. –  Mark Harrison Feb 3 '13 at 8:07
And regarding the pulling of rank... nothing of the sort, merely establishing my bona fides on this topic. Especially since I was informed that I'm a top contributor on both tags! –  Mark Harrison Feb 3 '13 at 8:09
And as for the "closed as not constructive": "We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or specific expertise"; all three of these apply to my answer, and regarding "this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion"; this has not happened in 3.5 years, so this conclusion is factually incorrect. You seem to be a logical fellow, you should be able to verify both of these claims easily enough, or justify otherwise. –  Mark Harrison Feb 3 '13 at 8:16
@MarkHarrison If you want to reply to me, please add an @ in front of my name. Then I'll get notified. As for my views on what you've just written, I don't think I should make that a comment. I might make it an answer at some point, but part of Ben's and LittleBobbyTables' answers already say it. So there might not be much point. –  Bart Feb 3 '13 at 21:00
@MarkHarrison If you were worried about the question being deleted, you should have requested a historical lock, not a reopening. The threat of impending deletion is not in itself a complete argument for reopening a question. –  Asad Feb 19 '13 at 21:22
@benisuǝqbackwards, it's been deleted, would you be so kind as to raise a fuss... –  Mark Harrison Feb 21 '13 at 11:19
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Personally, I think that's actually a subtle, yet substantial edit.

Before, you were asking

"How do I get started?"

Now, you're asking

"Is there a PEP 249 (Python Database API) compliant package to do so?"

You've not only invalidated most of the other answers (since you're now asking for package/module suggestions), but now that you're asking for suggestions, I feel it can be closed as "Not constructive", unless there's only a single package that does what you're looking for.

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It also makes it too localized, (all shopping/suggestion questions are too localized as well as not constructive) as new products will come up over time, making the question overly specific to a given time period. –  Servy Feb 1 '13 at 19:21
No, the original question still stands, and is the title of the question, namely "How do I access Oracle from Python?" –  Mark Harrison Feb 2 '13 at 0:06
Servy, it is not localized at all. There exists exactly one python package for doing this. As far as "not constructive", it baffles me when someone such as yourself (who seems to work in neither environment) take it upon yourself to override the many thousands of people who apparently do find it constructive. –  Mark Harrison Feb 2 '13 at 0:08
@MarkHarrison I'm not sure how you've arrived at the conclusion that thousands of people find the question constructive. Are you assuming that simply because thousands of people have visited the page (many undoubtedly finding it through a search engine) all of them find it constructive? We have a pretty specific definition of constructive for SO. –  Asad Feb 19 '13 at 21:16
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