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I had asked for benchmarks of certain type of software, and my question was closed and deleted. The same happened to a few similar questions asking for benchmarks.

Could anyone explain what's wrong with this type of questions?

UPD downvote, don't explain. This becomes a standard behavior nowadays.

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Could you give us a link to your question, or perhaps a short description of it? "benchmarks of certain type of software" is extremely vague. –  Yannis Jun 21 '13 at 6:32
    
I was asking for performance comparison of the most common regular expression engines. –  user626528 Jun 21 '13 at 6:38
    
Ah, then I see why the question was closed. Stack Overflow is focused on specific actual & practical programming questions. –  Yannis Jun 21 '13 at 6:40
    
@Yannis, why it's "unspecific"? or it's not "practical"? –  user626528 Jun 21 '13 at 6:49
    
What's the specific problem you are trying to solve? Pick an engine? To do what with it? What data will you be working with? What research have you already done, which engines have you disqualified and why? –  Yannis Jun 21 '13 at 6:51
    
I'm trying to pick an engine. To parse data with it. Standard data being parsed with regex - numbers, names, emails. –  user626528 Jun 21 '13 at 6:58
    
Did you include all that in your question? –  Yannis Jun 21 '13 at 6:58
    
@Yannis, it would add no information at all. Everyone who knows what are regular expressions knows what they are used for. –  user626528 Jun 21 '13 at 7:01
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"downvote, don't explain. This becomes a standard behavior nowadays." Yeah well upvoting without explaining has been a standard forever. –  BoltClock's a Unicorn Jun 21 '13 at 7:16
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@user160319: That sort of mindset is what gets questions like this closed, like it or not. –  BoltClock's a Unicorn Jun 21 '13 at 7:17
    
@BoltClock's a Unicorn, I always was sure that SO encourages people to explain their disagreement to improve quality of future answers. Am I wrong? –  user626528 Jun 21 '13 at 7:24
    
@BoltClock's a Unicorn, what's wrong with my "mindset"? –  user626528 Jun 21 '13 at 7:25
    
You say you're asking for benchmarks...but are you? Aren't you really trying to ask a recommendation question? –  Bart Jun 21 '13 at 7:27
    
@Bart, obviously I'm trying to choose an engine. But I do need to lookup all possible performance comparisons to do this. –  user626528 Jun 21 '13 at 7:30
    
@user160319 Then I fear you don't have a question for SO. The name escapes me, but there is another site where such questions might be a better fit...someone? –  Bart Jun 21 '13 at 7:31
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2 Answers

Because there are so many variables when it comes to technology, benchmarks alone are extremely inconclusive unless tailored to very, very specific setups.

Either you have an extremely specific situation that isn't widely applicable, or you have a widely applicable situation that is too generic for benchmarks to even be viable. Neither of these makes for good questions on our site.

And that's just one reason. I'm sure there are more.

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What exactly variables can be important for this particular question - regex engines? –  user626528 Jun 21 '13 at 7:24
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Firstly benchmarking questions that take the form, "Which of these two things are fastest" are almost always closed, this is because only you can tell. Environmental factors make up such a huge part of code execution that there is no way for another party to objectively benchmark what would be fastest on your machine.

Furthermore, if the code is already written then it's something that the person asking can do themselves. Asking someone else to do it is fairly lazy and is pretty localized. There's no guarantees that what other people do will be relevant to others. It may, in fact, be incorrect for others, which is not a good outcome.

It doesn't seem like this is what you were asking. You commented:

I was asking for performance comparison of the most common regular expression engines

This is, firstly, a recommendation question, see the blog post Q&A is Hard, Let’s Go Shopping!. What defines "most common", did you define it? Next, "performance" needs to be defined, did you mean:

  • Speed of execution. In batch? Individually?
  • Accuracy?
  • Amount of resources used?
  • Many others

Lastly, it doesn't take into account any of my first points. Even assuming someone works out what the most common regular expression engines are, then decides what performance means the results may be completely wrong for your environment.

In essence, this is a recommendation question, which, under the new system of close reason, will be off topic.

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Ughm. However, programmers sometimes do need to ask some "recommendation questions". Where this can be asked? –  user626528 Jun 21 '13 at 7:39
    
Of course they do @user160319, however, Stack Overflow isn't here to answer them. It's here to help people get quick and good solutions to their specific coding problems. Not to provide a general resource for all programming questions. There are plenty of other sites on the internet that could help. –  ben is uǝq backwards Jun 21 '13 at 7:44
    
actually I'd prefer to have a general resource for all programming questions, rather a bunch of sites with subtle distinctions making me spend hours trying to figure out where I can ask. –  user626528 Jun 21 '13 at 9:01
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