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This awesome question with 114 upvotes and interesting answers was closed as a duplicate of an old dead question with 16 upvotes and no interesting answers.

But the questions are not the same: the old question says (bold face added):

This is not intended to be a wishlist of features, only items that have been discussed as possibly being implemented in the next version.

The new question says:

What features do you want to see in .NET 5?

The first is asking for rumours out of Redmond, the second is a wishlist.

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Both of those questions are better suited for a site/medium dedicated to discussion; closing as a duplicate was probably partially done both as a sop and alternate outlet to those reopening whose only programming resource is SO. – Gnome May 30 '10 at 10:02
Hmm, is there some new link mangling in place for comments? I thought I linked directly to my answer on the second link, which has the relevant "only resource" bit. (I'm probably just going senile...) – Gnome May 30 '10 at 10:36
@The Cat: I agree that "closing as a duplicate" is hardly ever used to close duplicates. The site is literally flooded with duplicates. But most duplicate closings go to highly active questions with more than 4 distractors – Andomar May 30 '10 at 10:57
That's not what I said (or not what I meant, at least), and I see many more low-volume questions closed as duplicates than high-volume ones. (But it's not something I try to watch or anything like that.) @and – Gnome May 30 '10 at 11:40
I'd vote to close it as subjective, argumentative, or peanut butter fluff. – Rosinante May 30 '10 at 22:52
There are 11 answers and over 1K views on that older question! For a normal SO question, that's pretty damn good... Of course, these are discussion questions, so lumping them in with boring crap like "What C++ 0x features are in VS2010?" or "How can I declare a function that accepts a lambda?" is pointless - the former are PHPBB-fodder that someone felt it necessary to inflict on SO, while the latter are actual, answerable, questions. The fact that you felt it necessary to disparage the older question in addition to noting the differences between them says a lot about why they should be killed – Shog9 May 31 '10 at 0:46
Both closed now. SO is not a gossip site. Read the blogs from the C# team if you want to know what they're doing. – devinb May 31 '10 at 8:27
up vote 0 down vote accepted

I was asking myself the same question... it's definitely not a duplicate. And it also happens to be the most interesting discussion I've seen on SO in weeks ! Why close that kind of question ? Sure, some might say it's subjective, and it probably is... but how does it do any harm to the site or its users ? It's interesting, people have fun reading the answers, and it gives an idea of what developers are looking for in a language today. If you're not interested, just don't read it...

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The critical word here is discussion. – Rosinante May 30 '10 at 22:55
Stack Overflow is not a discussion forum. It's a Q & A site. Subtle difference, but necessary. – George Stocker May 31 '10 at 1:52
OK, assuming you're right... where can I find an interesting discussion about future C# features ? I couldn't find anything interesting on Google. – Thomas Levesque May 31 '10 at 16:32
Great question. You may want to build a site geared towards that. Unfortunately by trying to use Stack Overflow for cross-purposes, we dilute what it's really supposed to be. – George Stocker Jun 1 '10 at 14:02
SO is the best place I can think of to discuss this kind of things, because it has a huge audience, and a great deal of excellent developers visit it daily. If I built my own site, it would probably never get the same level of attention as SO... Well, anyway, I thought my opinion was shared by a majority of members (given the popularity of the offending question), but I was obviously wrong, so I admit my defeat ;) – Thomas Levesque Jun 2 '10 at 22:39

Basically, ...

would the average programmer agree that s/he learned something from this?

... is the acid test we use in grey area situations like this.

I'm inclined to say in this specific example, it does teach, so it should be allowed.

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Really? It invites unsupported opinion, as likely to be from idiots as from anyone else, as to what Microsoft should do. It's instant flame-bait in this regard. What does an average programmer learn from someone else's opinion about what or what should not be added to C# two years from now? – Rosinante May 30 '10 at 22:54
What does the average programmer learn from a wish list of features that most likely won't be implemented? I'm really curious as to what the educational value of this fluff is. The almost-identical C# 4 version certainly didn't teach me anything useful. – Aarobot May 31 '10 at 0:40
@Rosinthe, @Aarobot: Have you actually read the answers? I learned a lot of how people handle current rough edges of C# – Andomar May 31 '10 at 5:33
@Andomar: The fact that you can learn (even specifically about programming) doesn't give license to post anything. Spam teaches you about a tool which might be exactly what you're looking for: not valid. Duplicates teach you about something discussed before: not valid. Subjective teaches you about a hell of a lot of different viewpoints: not valid. Very localized questions may teach you something interesting that you'll never use: not valid. Basically there is a distinction between useful and interesting. SO is for things that are useful. – devinb May 31 '10 at 8:31
@Andomar: If the question title was "How do you handle the current rough edges of C#?", then that might be important. The fact that a question with little usefulness happened to unintentionally produce some information in a different area does not make it a useful question - especially when the same information could be found in numerous other questions. And since there are no "epiphany" answers like Eric Lippert's answer to the FP question, there's little to justify keeping it alive. – Aarobot May 31 '10 at 13:49

Sometimes I wonder if people ask the discussion questions on Stack Overflow that they would otherwise ask on Slashdot, Reddit, or Hacker News just because Stack Overflow has a better user interface and badge/reputation mechanism.

These types of questions do not belong on Stack Overflow. Maybe if they didn't detract from the useful questions, but if you're spending votes on these questions, you're not spending them on the tough questions that deserve them.

Splitting hairs about the duplicate part is the wrong question; the right question is, do discussion questions belong on Stack Overflow?

The answer is a resounding No.

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It is a duplicate, but of an even earlier question: Most wanted feature for C# 4.0?

Why? Because:

  • Aside from the version, the question is literally identical to the previous one;

  • The old one might as well be closed/locked as "Too Localized", since C# 4 is already out. But it could easily be edited to be for C# 5 without loss of context. In fact, it could be edited to be for any arbitrary future version of C# and the question would still make sense, as long as people edit their answers accordingly if/when a feature is actually implemented.

  • Most of the answers to the new question are identical to answers in the old question!

Regardless, if you disagree on that point, the new question is still hardly an awesome question. It's barely a question at all - to me it's just noise.

The speculation (rumours) question can actually be answered with facts, scarce as they are right now. The new question is soliciting opinions, and to no particular end. It's just another discussion question with zero educational value and everybody throwing in their two cents (and upvoting/voting to reopen in order to keep the question alive so that they can keep the badges they earn).

If this question were an isolated incident I would probably have just let it slide. But there have been so many of these kinds of questions coming up lately, we're already seeing and will continue to see a cascade effect where eventually every question that's even remotely related to software is fair game.

Choose your close reason; almost all of them apply. It's NARQ because it's really a poll, not an answerable question. It's S&A because there are no facts in support of (or against) any answer. It's an exact duplicate of a much older question with the version number changed, and very nearly a duplicate of a newer one that was worded better. In a way, it's even off-topic, because none of the features exist (and most probably never will, or won't for some time), and therefore aren't really relevant to programming in C#.

So, maybe as a dupe it references the wrong original question. Or maybe it was even inappropriately closed as a duplicate. The fact of the matter is, it needs to stay closed, otherwise it's going to become another poster-child for bikeshed questions (the same question can be recycled for all versions of all products).

Let's just leave it alone. Please.

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"zero educational value"? If you learned nothing from the answers, I guess you're more of a C# guru than I am – Andomar May 31 '10 at 5:39
@Andomar: Nothing in that question actually has anything to do with C#. It's a list of nonexistent features, most of which will never exist. If by "guru" you mean "don't care about what a bunch of people on the internet think is important for the new version of a product that's barely even started development yet", then I guess I am a "guru." – Aarobot May 31 '10 at 13:41

No. They aren't duplicates.

Neither are they good questions.

At least three people didn't have the guts to select "Not a real question" when voting to close...

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