I already came across questions to which many people "knew" the answer. Usually it gets many upvotes and downvotes, many answers and even more comments. It gets voted to be closed and re-opened again. Sometimes it survives sometimes it doesn't.
It's understandable that it gets voted to be closed and deleted when it's a duplicate or something, but what if it's not? What if it's just a question that some people find easy to answer and some people consider a good question?
Take for example today's hot question. From my point of view it's obviously not constructive and I would never ask a question like this. But as you can see there are many people upvoting it.
Why is that happening? Is it not clear what questions should be asked here? And why am I here? Because I am kind of used to the fact that everything I am looking for can be found on SO and usually Google's top results are questions on SO.
But today I was trying to look at programming in C. And when I had to choose a compiler I realized I know nothing about C compilers. So I used Google. I was surprised there was nothing on SO. And I had to find the answer elsewhere. So I did, but after that I thought it would be nice try to ask this question on SO.
So I first checked the FAQ to see if it's ok to ask a question like this on SO.
- a specific programming problem
- software tools commonly used by programmers
- practical, answerable problems that are unique to the programming profession
Yes, Yes, Yes... I was sure that it was ok to ask a question like this on SO. So I spent quite a lot of time composing that question and choosing the right words. I was trying to be as specific as possible. Like I said I knew nothing about it, so it wasn't easy. And I know that for many people it's not a real problem. But after all of that I was quite satisfied with the result of my work.
When it was done and posted, I couldn't believe my eyes. That question had over a hundred views within seconds. It had many upvotes and answers, but not the answers I was looking for. I was expecting more. Not something like "Each compiler is different". There were also some interesting facts mentioned. For example: "Usually you work with more compilers". I did not know that :] There were many comments on my question, some of them supportive some of them offensive! I was shocked. There were comments on those answers disagreeing and everything was happening really fast. My questions usually don't get attention at all.
Like I said, some people were supportive and some really offensive. After three minutes the question was closed and deleted.
I was trying to create a good question. I was hoping it could (maybe) become a Community wiki. Try to understand: the question wasn't "What compiler should I use?" But answers might some day help people to choose.
After all I wasn't looking for the answer just for me.
My question is; Why do so many people on Stack Overflow disagree on what should and should not be asked on Stack Overflow?