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I randomly stumbled upon this post yesterday, which apparently was closed by a moderator. It was closed for "not being a real question".

I didn't understand why this particular post was singled out, it seemed fairly normal, with decent code formatting and even some output examples. So I assumed that there was some mistake and flagged for moderator attention:

"Why was this closed by a moderator? I really don't see why the question is "not a real question".

The reply I got from the flag was:

"declined - Code dumps with "fix my code" are not considered real questions. "What's wrong with my code" is an overly broad question."

Huh!? There are millions upon millions of such questions on this site. I'd say that asking "what's wrong with my code" is exactly the reason that the site even exists. Has there been some radical change in the very core purpose of Stack Overflow or its moderation policies that I'm not aware of?

Apparently plenty of other users agreed with me since the post has been re-opened since then, and in its current form it needs no further attention.

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The post was edited. There really wasn't a question, per se, at first. It is better now. –  Andrew Barber Mar 6 '13 at 8:09
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"There are millions upon millions of such questions on this site"..that argument is flawed. There is no saying if some will be far better than this one. And there are many questions out there which perhaps should be closed as well, but somehow escaped attention. –  Bart Mar 6 '13 at 8:18

2 Answers 2

In General (regarding "not a real question")

I routinely vote to close questions that show little or no effort on the part of the OP (what they have tried so far, etc) as "not a real question". And I think this aligns pretty well with general community sentiment.

This specific question

The original form of the question was just the OPs code, their output, and what they wanted their output to be, and the question "What is wrong with my code?". That shows no effort to debug / narrow down the problem at all as far as I can tell.

This type of question just comes across as "Debug this for me!", which is not what the site is for. This site is for answering questions about specific problems. It's not a code-writing service, or a replacement for a debugger.

So I agree with the closure.


"Apparently plenty of other users agreed with me since the post has been re-opened since then..." - For the record, that's just five other users.

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My point is, if we hold such a high standard so that this somewhat reasonable question should be closed because of no effort by the poster, then there are so many worse questions that should be closed as well. As one example, a lot that is currently posted under the Android tag is ten times less clear, with ten times less effort, in barely readable English that other users must decipher before any attempt to answer can be done. If we don't even close such crap questions but put effort into salvaging them, then I don't see why far higher quality questions would be randomly singled out. –  Lundin Mar 6 '13 at 8:51
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They are not randomly singled out. The have come to the attention of users. (Keep in mind, the moderator might have acted on flags) We can't see everything. If there is crap that needs closing, by all means vote or flag accordingly. –  Bart Mar 6 '13 at 8:54
    
@Lundin I can't really add anything to Bart's comment (here, and on your question). The existence of such counter examples just indicates that the system isn't perfect, and bad questions slip by. That doesn't mean we should just give up on closing questions. –  jadarnel27 Mar 6 '13 at 9:01
    
@Bart I heartily agree, and I would say that mods closing questions are almost exclusively doing so in response to a flag they agreed with. –  jadarnel27 Mar 6 '13 at 9:02

"Why was this closed by a moderator? I really don't see why the question is "not a real question".

I would close it as too localized , because the original post was just fix my code please request. Such questions tend not to help future visitors.

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