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I needed to find a good Perl module to do HTML parsing. The good thing about Perl is the CPAN (module library) with gazillions of modules to do everything, the bad thing is that it's hard to find the right module.

So I though, let's ask Stack Overflow: “What is a good Modern Perl way to parse HTML documents?”

I quickly got one great answer and several good comments. I would have gotten at least one more good answer, but then the question was put on hold because it's “subjective”, and it couldn't be added anymore. In spite of protests, it was then closed and later deleted.

I've got the answers that I needed, but now other people will be deprived of this useful information. Is it really so important to stick to the rules that this question had to be removed? Yes, it's subjective. By definition. I want people's opinions about what module I should use, after all. The question got 8 plus-votes and 2 minus-votes, so others thought it was useful too.

The URL was , but I think it only works when logged in as me.

Do I need to start looking for another site to ask such questions? If so, too bad, I really liked Stack Overflow until now.

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marked as duplicate by gnat, Martijn Pieters, Danny Beckett, kiamlaluno, Doorknob Jul 21 '13 at 1:37

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

There are many things that are useful or even a necessity of life. Not all of those are suitable to the Stack Exchange question and answer format however. Don't confuse popularity or use to you with being a good fit for the format. – Martijn Pieters Jul 20 '13 at 22:57
But why wasn't this question suitable for Stack Overflow? I got great answers and comments - before the question was put on hold. – mscha Jul 20 '13 at 22:59
It was opinion based. I put it on hold on the 8th, and gave you until the 14th to fix it, and you didn't. – Andrew Barber Jul 20 '13 at 23:06
For the "why", see What exactly is a recommendation question?... for the "but did it have to be deleted part", bloody wars have been fought over that question. – Pëkka Jul 20 '13 at 23:07
I agree with the close, but it did have useful information in it; for that reason, perhaps it shouldn't have been deleted. – icktoofay Jul 20 '13 at 23:07
@icktoofay I'm not entirely opposed to un deleting if there is a lot of consensus, or if another mod thinks it should. But right now, I'm "ehh". – Andrew Barber Jul 20 '13 at 23:11
A good question is not which only benefit you and others but it must be according to rules. – Androider Jul 20 '13 at 23:13
... say the rules. – Pëkka Jul 20 '13 at 23:14
I didn't fix it because I couldn't fix it. I wanted people to suggest good modules, and if that's opinion-based, then I don't know how to fix it. – mscha Jul 20 '13 at 23:35
@mscha To directly answer your question. Yes, the rules are indeed so important that a useful question has to be deleted. It isn't the first time, and it definitely won't be the last. Of course nobody likes to deal with such PR. But SO has gone through a very long history that made it so anal about certain things like this. – Mysticial Jul 20 '13 at 23:38
"Do I need to start looking for another site to ask such questions?" Yes. – Jack Maney Jul 20 '13 at 23:52
If you want to ask subjective questions, then unfortunately this is not the site for you. – Doorknob Jul 21 '13 at 0:53

Yes, those need to be deleted. If your question had been asked back in 2008 and the hot Perl module for parsing HTML had been upvoted to 300 points back then, would newer modules ever have a chance of rising up to the top? No. You would have found that old question in your Google search and it would have recommended everyone's favorite module from back in 2008. Not terribly useful, and definitely not making the Internet better.

Do I need to start looking for another site to ask such questions? If so, too bad, I really liked Stack Overflow until now.

Yes, I highly recommend Slant. That doesn't mean you can't continue to use Stack Overflow for its intended purpose.

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Quickly! Somebody should go through all StackOverflow questions and delete at least half of them, since they'll all be out of date in 5 years! – mscha Jul 21 '13 at 0:02
@mscha No they won't. If a question has one demonstrably correct answer, it's much less likely to be out of date in 5 years. It's also much easier for a newer, better answer to be recognized. Compare that to a question that has 30 answers (because everyone has an opinion). New answers won't even be noticed. – Bill the Lizard Jul 21 '13 at 0:06
@mscha in addition to Bill's response, questions that show how to accomplish something are in-valuable regardless of date. It can show the concepts on how to do something that can be adapted to more technologies. A link to a 5 year old tool doesn't teach me anything except 5 years ago, this was a pretty good tool. – psubsee2003 Jul 21 '13 at 0:13
Bill, slightly OT, and just curiosity: is there any connection between either you or SE and Slant, or were/are the Slant originators SO members? It seems like it's directly intended to fill the "subjective questions gap" on SE, although maybe that's just because the only times I've looked at it were coming from Meta. – Josh Caswell Jul 21 '13 at 0:15
@JoshCaswell There's no connection between me and Slant. Even though I'm not an SE employee, I'm pretty comfortable saying that there's no connection between SE and Slant either, since I think we'd know by now if there was. They're pretty transparent. (Also, I don't know anyone from the Slant team other than telling them in a comment on Hacker News that I'm glad they made Slant, since it fills a big gap here. I've never seen any of them on SO.) – Bill the Lizard Jul 21 '13 at 0:17
Gotcha. Didn't mean that to sound like "are you astroturfing"; I hope it didn't come off that way. I just wonder whether Slant was in response to SE or a completely independent inspiration. – Josh Caswell Jul 21 '13 at 0:22
@JoshCaswell Nah, that's ok. I think I've mentioned them on here a few times now, so it's understandable if it's starting to look suspicious. ;) – Bill the Lizard Jul 21 '13 at 0:24
Slant would make a terrific migration target at Programmers – gnat Jul 21 '13 at 8:59

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