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Before the changes to "close vote" options, we used to have "not constructive," which I think would cover this case.

What option should we use now when a question includes a piece of code and asks for a specific explanation of how it works? There doesn't seem to be an appropriate option for closing such a question. Are these kinds of questions perhaps acceptable now?

The question I just looked at that led me to wonder this is How can functions be called as an argument for a function?

The problem that I personally have with this question is that it is not very helpful for other visitors (which is something we used to care about): nobody else will have that exact same code, and with such a poor title and description it would be unlikely anyone would stumble across this post while searching for a valid answer to their problem.

share|improve this question
Yes, it needs editing to improve the title and description. That would be a more "constructive" use of your time than would closing this question. – Cody Gray Aug 9 '13 at 13:54
@CodyGray: I see your point. But personally I am against rewording peoples questions. I wouldn't like it done to me. Rewording a title is fine, if it's done properly though – musefan Aug 9 '13 at 14:01
You should get over that. Content here is collaboratively edited for quality control purposes. If a post can be improved by rewording it, it should be reworded. If that is unacceptable to you, this may not be the site for you. I am literally amazed at all the people recently who are opposed to editing. – Cody Gray Aug 9 '13 at 14:03
That's a pretty high selector for the olden "Too localized" close reason. Which was removed so everybody now just falls back to the "Off topic + minimal understanding" reason. If you want to type your own reason then you can, just 30 seconds of your life that you'll never get back. – Uphill Luge Aug 9 '13 at 14:11
@CodyGray: Perhaps that was true back in your day. But with such a huge amount of questions that come in each day, it is clear that SO cannot maintain the concept of a single, collaborative question for each specific problem. There are so many duplicates that just get left there, when I believe the original intentions was to merge such instances (that is my understanding, I may be wrong) – musefan Aug 9 '13 at 14:12
I am not ready to give up on the whole concept of the site just because it got big and one or two people can't do everything. But if everyone else is giving up, I guess I will indeed be fighting a losing battle. Sad, really. Your solution turns SO into yet another noisy, hard to read forum + voting. Merging wasn't really the intention across the board for all duplicate questions. (Some selected questions are still merged.) Duplicates serve as a "pointer" to the master question, useful for people who might use different permutations of search terms or happen across it another way. – Cody Gray Aug 9 '13 at 14:19
@musefan Lots of posts get closed as duplicates every single day. Lots and lots. Not all, I agree, but if you notice posts that are duplicates just flag them for closure, rather than just saying they aren't closed. Also, I fail to see how that's relevant to this question. Oh, and merging dups is a bit uncommon; usually the "best" one is left open and the rest are just closed as a duplicate, unless they have answers so valuable merging is worthwhile. – Servy Aug 9 '13 at 14:19
Nothing in this case. The guy has a very clear and answerable question. "[H]ow a function can be called as an argument for a function[?]", which is about javascript syntax. Check my edit which clarifies this. – Won't Aug 9 '13 at 14:25
@CodyGray: I haven't proposed a solution. I came here with a question looking for clarification on what to do, and it was you guys that implied I was trying to make SO something it isn't. I thought Meta was more a place for constructive discussion, rather than hostile flat-out disagreement – musefan Aug 9 '13 at 14:36
up vote 12 down vote accepted

I fail to see how such a question would be "not constructive" at all. You have specified a specific question. If it was not specific, and just dumped some code and said, "What does this do?" or "explain this." or something else along those lines that isn't specific, then the question would be "too broad" (or perhaps "unclear what you're asking"). If the question is specific about what it's asking to be explained in the code sample then it seems like a good question that shouldn't be closed at all.

To your point saying that you don't think it would be helpful to future visitors, and that such a question also wouldn't be "not constructive": that general idea would make it "too localized". That reason has also been removed, primarily due to significant mis-use. Personally, I reject the premise that such questions are "too localized". Sure, a non-specific, "here's all my code, explain it" is too localized, but a targeted code snippet with a specific question generally isn't. The majority of such questions that I personally see tend to revolve around general programming concepts that will be applicable to others. They may not see that exact code, but they'll have some code that is similar enough for the information to be useful.

share|improve this answer
OK, maybe "not constructive" was wrong... "too localised" would have worked though. The example question I linked does not ask a specific question. "explain this code" is not specific, although it is clear what they are asking. Also, I don't see how this is of use to anybody else. Which is something SO used to care about – musefan Aug 9 '13 at 13:50
@musefan As I have said, that's not a specific question. You mentioned that the question was specific. For such a non-specific question it is "too broad" simply because trying to explain everything is way, way too much for the scope of an SO question. – Servy Aug 9 '13 at 13:51
OK, so to be clear: What is your opinion on the question I linked? Should it be closed? (if so, what option) or should it stay? – musefan Aug 9 '13 at 13:53
@musefan I don't see why it should be closed at all. It's asking why you're able to pass a function as an argument to a method. He could have asked that without showing code, but he (correctly) included an example of the type of situation he was curious about. I can think of lots of people who might be interested in an explanation of why you can pass a function as an argument to a method in javascript. The only real problem I have with the question, as indicated by the comments, was that the OP didn't do much research on his own; this information is widely available because it is so useful. – Servy Aug 9 '13 at 13:55
Right, the fact somebody doesn't understand a specific programming language feature that is cleared stated in the question doesn't make the question not constructive, or too localized. That question is not even asking for opinions, since passing a function as parameter of another function is a language feature. – kiamlaluno Aug 9 '13 at 14:15
I admit that I didn't see the the specific part about passing functions as parameters to being with. But you guys are kidding yourselves to think this question (in it's current state) will ever help a future visitor. And if it gets rewording to be more useful, then it will need to be closed as a duplicate anyway – musefan Aug 9 '13 at 14:20
@musefan So you think that nobody, ever, for the rest of time, will ever be curious as to why you can pass a function as an argument to a method in JavaScript? Seriously? The only problem with the question, as it stands, is that the information to answer it is so widely accessible, because this question is both so commonly asked, and also so useful to know the answer to, that solutions are all over the place. That makes the question indeed of low quality and usefulness (thus its low score) but certainly not too localized. – Servy Aug 9 '13 at 14:25
@Servy: That isn't what I said. I said that that specific question (post) will not help any future visitor. I agree plenty of people would be interested in knowing the answer, but none of them will end up at this question during their search – musefan Aug 9 '13 at 14:28
And why wouldn't any of them end up there? It's a duplicate, probably, assuming you can find another question asking about passing functions as argument in javascript. Note that duplicate questions aren't deleted, they're just closed. That would be the only appropriate close reason for this question. If you feel that it's not useful (like most of the other readers) then you are free to downvote, as several others have, for it's lack of research. – Servy Aug 9 '13 at 14:31
@Servy: I was wondering if close for duplication was still visible to the wider audience. So that is useful to know. But how would somebody find this question. Can't imaging many people will google "Exaplin this code".. thought it has been edited now. I'll go look for that duplicate ;-) – musefan Aug 9 '13 at 14:38
@musefan They'd most likely find the question through information indexed in the answer, rather than the question, assuming the question gets a good answer. If it doesn't get an answer (although in this case it already has) then yes, it would be rather hard to find due to lack of good searchable keywords. – Servy Aug 9 '13 at 14:39

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