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This question currently has some re-open and delete votes on it: What static analysis tools are available for C#?. There is some debate between users in the comments about whether the question should be re-opened or deleted. I'm posting this question to formally begin that debate on Meta, per the conventions defined at Community-led deletionism: a protocol for sanity.

Currently at 40k+ views, with 176 upvotes on the question and 168 upvotes on the very detailed, accepted top-answer, it's definitely a popular question that contains useful information. However, being a question that asks for software recommendations, it's definitely not a good fit according to Stack Overflow's current question guidelines:

Questions asking us to recommend or find a tool, library or favorite off-site resource are off-topic for Stack Overflow as they tend to attract opinionated answers and spam. Instead, describe the problem and what has been done so far to solve it.

In addition, you could make the argument that the question provides a bad example for other users: if this question isn't deleted, why is it not okay to post more questions asking for software recommendations on Stack Overflow? Jeff makes a similar argument in The Trouble With Popularity. Though he makes his points in reference to popular "fun" posts, I think what he argues could be applied to any off-topic question as well:

Broken windows. Every ‘fun’ post users see is an open invitation for them to participate in the fun by adding their own fun question or answer. The stuff spreads like kudzu! Pretty soon the entire site is overrun with nothing but that kind of fun. And even if you grandfather a few in, you’ll enjoy neverending requests asking why their fun question or answer has to be removed, while this one over here is allowed to remain.

This question was already closed as off-topic because it's a software recommendation question. I think it should be clear that it's a waste of everyone's time and energy to re-open it, because it will likely soon be re-closed again. So, the question now becomes, should the question be deleted, or "locked" for historical preservation?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

This question should most certainly remain closed, as it directly violates current site rules. As for what to do beyond that...

Deleting questions like this comes with the problem of breaking links from other web sites and such that may link there. That's one of the reasons why the "historical" lock exists.

This one, because of its popularity, and presuming the answer is not obsolete, and is useful, seems to me like a good candidate for a historical lock. However, I am not familiar with C#, and I do not know if that list (now 6 years old) is still useful.

For questions that are this old, the fact is that even if they wouldn't fly as a new question, we have them, and now we have to find a way to deal with them that minimizes the damage (e.g. if the answers are still correct, a historical lock has minimal fallout, whereas if it's obsolete or generally useless then it's probably better to delete it and sacrifice a few broken links here and there in order to remove potentially misleading information).

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Let's suppose the answer is obsolete, for the sake of argument. All posts are timestamped, with both a creation and modification date-time. Shouldn't those be sufficient to indicate to readers that what they're reading may no longer apply? Why would it still be necessary to delete the answer entirely? –  Cupcake Apr 12 at 8:15
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@Cupcake It should be sufficient but it's not. Ever seen one of those low quality answers (e.g. somebody asking the OP for further information, for example) pop up in the review queue for a question that is 5 years old? Unfortunately people aren't as careful as you'd like them to be about that kind of thing. –  Jason C Apr 12 at 8:18
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The fact that this question has attracted 2 reopen votes (as of this writing) is exactly what a historical lock is for. I don't think deletion is necessary for the reasons you mentioned, but I certainly think locking is the proper action now. –  psubsee2003 Apr 12 at 10:26
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It seems like the issue has been resolved; as of the time of this writing, the question has been locked and the lock reason given is "this is a collaborative effort". A very good resolution, in my opinion. –  Jason C Apr 12 at 17:20
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I hardly see anything useful in that post that I couldn't archive searching by myself. Most (if not all) answers are one-liners with a very shallow description of what the tool do. This is what I see:

  • Link/Name - Description
  • Link/Name - Description
  • Link/Name - Description
  • Link/Name - Description
  • Link/Name - Description

Such list is hardly valuable kind of answer since I will find that information in the description of the software itself. So, the argument that the answers are helpful lost validity at that point, now the question.

The question upfront begs for list of answers "What tools are there available for static analysis against C# code?" also, there isn't a clear objective that OP tries to archive. It also ask for related but not the same kind of software in the same question:

  • static analysis against C# code
  • tools for testing code for multithreading deadlocks
  • tools for testing code for multithreading race conditions
  • tools for testing code for etc.

And then, top it off with "Real-life opinions about tools you've used are appreciated." which should have saved some answers, but nobody followed.

If you rephrase the question into a defined set of characteristics you are looking and a defined goal, it's possible that that question finds home in Software Recommendations, but in it's current shape, it hardly fits with the SE model.

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