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Many months ago I asked a question that was closed almost immediately. Since then it has had many views and has even earned me the "famous question" gold badge. There are comments on the question about people thinking it is ridiculous that the question is closed.

I would like the MODs to consider reopening the question so the answer can be appended and other answers can be added. The question is the second hit on Google when people search for MyIsam vs InnoDB, and as such I think it could be an important resource for people looking for an answer. But right now it has one answer that is fairly short and cannot be updated. Any help would be appreciated.

The question was initially closed because, at the time, I was new to Stack Overflow and poorly worded the question in a condescending tone. I have since edited the question and have learned the ways of asking a proper question on the site. I don't think the information should be suppressed just because I accidentally acted like jerk in the original wording of my question.

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Meta is the right place. Note that downvotes here have their own meaning. –  Oded Apr 26 '13 at 12:21
    
@Oded Thank you for the link, I was initially confused at the downvote. –  Scott Apr 26 '13 at 12:23
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I saw that question in the delete queue; good thing I came here first; I don't want to get yelled at again for deleting something being discussed on Meta. –  LittleBobbyTables Apr 26 '13 at 13:02
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To be honest, I am little more upset now that the comments on the original question were deleted while this thread and delete/reopen question is being considered. The comments provided part of my argument for reopening, there was a highly rated comment that was upset that the question was closed and was critical to the initial(not caused by this thread, but initial posting) criticism/closing of the question. To be clear, I am not complaining about the request for deletion of the question, but the rather harsh deletion of the comments while the question still exists. –  Scott Apr 26 '13 at 13:09
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@Scott That commenter can then express his support in this Meta question. The comments are really not the place for it. At least not for a great length of time. –  Bart Apr 26 '13 at 13:15
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Just because the question has a lot of views doesn't mean that the viewers were satisfied with what they saw. Forty-one upvotes out of ten thousand views seems poor to me. –  Josh Caswell Apr 26 '13 at 17:54
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The second question that Jocelyn has linked seems to have the information that you're seeking. It also makes the point that this is indeed right on the borderline, if not over it, of the "not constructive -- list of things" type question. There's lots of information in the answers there that's lacking in your single answer, and that answer itself says that a better comparison would require more specificity in the question. I believe this should remain closed. –  Josh Caswell Apr 26 '13 at 18:02
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@Scott: -1: For slapping a bounty on your question to protect it from closing. Bad form. –  Nicol Bolas Apr 27 '13 at 8:52

3 Answers 3

This is not a suitable question for Stack Overflow - apart from being a Gorilla vs. Shark question, it is generally overly broad.

If it were more focused, in particular in regards to the actual requirement you have, it may have been a good one.

This explains why I believe it will not be reopened.

Now, the problem is that you have brought much attention to the question, now that you have posted it on Meta. This means that it is likely to get deleted as well.

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Oh, the irony of asking and it getting deleted. Let me make a counter argument on why I do not believe it is Gorilla vs Shark. MyISAM and InnoDB are the two most commonly used db engines in Mysql and as such are in the same specific category of programming. Many people (as evidenced by the view count), need to make this decision on every db/table created in MySQL. Knowing the difference is important to everybody that uses a specific database back-end and makes this a real question that does not fit Gorilla vs Shark. –  Scott Apr 26 '13 at 12:31
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@Scott - The counter argument is that it is Gorilla vs. Shark: There is no qualification as to what criteria to use for comparison. It is a general "which is better" without any yardstick for measurement, without any requirements that will tell those who would answer which would be better for that requirement (and explain why). –  Oded Apr 26 '13 at 12:33
    
On a side note, did all the comments on the question get deleted? Seems a bit harsh... –  Scott Apr 26 '13 at 12:39
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@Scott - Looks like. Wasn't me, but non of those comments was constructive to the question or had anything to do with it. In general, comments should be there to clarify things about the question/answer. –  Oded Apr 26 '13 at 12:44
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It shouldn't be deleted. It still has useful content on it. –  djechlin Apr 26 '13 at 13:50
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@djechlin - So, you maintain that questions that are not suitable to Stack Overflow shouldn't be deleted if they contain useful content? –  Oded Apr 26 '13 at 14:14
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I think comparison question, with the context of asking for design goal - what is the problem that the tool is designed to solve (and therefore answer the question which one is better in which context), is good question. –  nhahtdh Apr 26 '13 at 14:40
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Actually I think this is somewhat reasonably narrow, however, there are several near dupes of this question.. why not combine answers instead? –  Jeff Atwood Apr 28 '13 at 2:16

Since the question was reopened and closed again, let me take a moment to defend it and lay out why I believe it should be reopened as a legitimate question.

The main complaint is that it violates Gorilla vs. Shark. I do not believe this to be the case. Gorilla vs Shark lists 4 points about why this type of question is bad and violates the spirit of Stackoverflow. I agree with all the points listed and believe that my question does not fall victim to any of the 4 points listed.

Nobody needs to know the answer to this question

This question does need an answer. Knowing the difference between a MyISAM table and a InnoDB table is important. There are many differences between the two that a database developer does need to know. If foreign key constraints are a priority for your design, MyISAM is a bad choice. I only know this because of the answer. There are other differences that I know very little about, and would like further explanation, such as, row locking vs table locking. This is very important information to have when designing a database structure in MySQL, a widely used database back-end program.

It's not nearly specific enough

The question is very specific, it gets to heart of a database structure and two specific engines used in a specific database program. MySQL has its own engines, its own language (although based on SQL) and therefore has its own idiosyncrasies. This question is specific to only two of these engines, more open ended would be to ask what Engines are offered and what are the differences. This question only asks about the two most commonly used engines, one that was the default engine for years.

It is difficult to learn from these questions

This question is not difficult to learn from. A proper answer of the questions will explain the database engines and what they do (foreign key constraints, table locking vs row locking, others that i don't know about because the question can't currently be answered). I learned about foreign key constraints from the short answer that has been given. There is more to learn about the engines that is not opinion based, but it is fact based. This is impossible to learn by only reading the equivalent of case studies in the current stack overflow question database.

It drives away experts

I do not see why a serious MySQL expert would shy away from answering this question because it is based in fact, is poorly documented (my opinion) and many experts should be happy to show of their knowledge of the two most widely used database engines. This is an honest-to-goodness question that I face everyday in my work environment and I need to be able to make more well informed decisions. I don't think any MySQL expert would be appalled to see this question.

This is the criteria that is set forth in the FAQ on stack overflow and my question does not fall into the trap of Gorilla vs Shark. In my opinion it is more important to teach people how to fish rather than just giving them a fish. This is an example of that. I do not see why I should be asked to come on stackoverflow every time I need to design a database or table to ask specifically about that instance. However, if the difference between the two engines could be explained to me by an expert, than I can make informed decisions in the workplace without having to come to stackoverflow each time.

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just from looking at your explanation here it looks like you asked a very open ended question. foreign key constraints, table locking, row locking, etc? Any time you can list off that many huge topics, your question is too broad, and should have been asked as more specific sub questions... StackOverflow isn't a tutorial site in other words... –  KyleM Apr 26 '13 at 17:44
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That being said, I upvoted your original post because I think you are entitled to your opinion and I think this is a valid question. I think it's stupid to downvote someone who is expressing their thoughts on a subject just because you may disagree with them. –  KyleM Apr 26 '13 at 17:45
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@Kyle that's how Meta is supposed to work, though. A downvote is used to express disagreement with the OP's opinion, rather than as a judgement of the post's quality. –  Pëkka Apr 27 '13 at 9:45

This question does need an answer. Knowing the difference between a MyISAM table and a InnoDB table is important. There are many differences between the two that a database developer does need to know. If foreign key constraints are a priority for your design, MyISAM is a bad choice. I only know this because of the answer. There are other differences that I know very little about, and would like further explanation, such as, row locking vs table locking. This is very important information to have when designing a database structure in MySQL, a widely used database back-end program.

If that's the case, if you have a specific list of things you need from your database... then you don't need this answer at all. All you need is a data sheet of what each DB backend provides; then you match it with your needs.

So no, the question doesn't need an answer in the general case. You can look that information up yourself.

And if you don't know if you need row locking or table locking (or even what they mean), then you clearly don't need an answer.

The problem is that your question ought to be "given this list of needs, which DB backend serves my purposes?" Of course, such a question would therefore be too localized.

The question is very specific, it gets to heart of a database structure and two specific engines used in a specific database program. MySQL has its own engines, its own language (although based on SQL) and therefore has its own idiosyncrasies. This question is specific to only two of these engines, more open ended would be to ask what Engines are offered and what are the differences. This question only asks about the two most commonly used engines, one that was the default engine for years.

That doesn't make it specific. All it asks is to compare and contrast the two. It doesn't say what the comparison criteria should be or anything of the kind.

This question is not difficult to learn from. A proper answer of the questions will explain the database engines and what they do (foreign key constraints, table locking vs row locking, others that i don't know about because the question can't currently be answered). I learned about foreign key constraints from the short answer that has been given. There is more to learn about the engines that is not opinion based, but it is fact based. This is impossible to learn by only reading the equivalent of case studies in the current stack overflow question database.

Allow me to restate the point: it is difficult to learn the answer from them.

You learned about foreign key constraints. Good for you. But do they represent all of the differences between them? If you don't know what all of the differences are, how can you know if any particular answer has provided sufficient information to actually answer your compairson? And without sufficient information, how can you say that the answer actually answers your question?

A biased or unfinished comparison is worse than no comparison at all. It passes misinformation around. It makes you think that you actually know the answer, even though there is more information that you don't know, because the answerer(s) didn't tell you.

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