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Okay, so I made a question about the absence of gotos in javascript:

It got closed because it "wasn't a real question". So, I reposted it and emphasized my two questions:

This one got closed for being an exact duplicate of the previous one. Clearly the discussion should only be continued in one of the two questions, but the first one was already closed yet some folks used the fact that it existed as an excuse to close the second one. ONE of them should not be closed, not BOTH.

Can someone help me out here and explain what's going on?

EDIT: Some folks have locked my second question again for being a duplicate question. I don't get it. So, now I've had the original question deleted just to get it over with. (It wasn't doing anyone any good anyway.) Could anyone unlock my question again now that it is no longer a duplicate?

Thank you.

share|improve this question
When a question is closed, and you feel it's because of the wording, the correct way is to edit the question to make it better, and maybe to flag it to get reopened. Don't post a duplicate. – Gnoupi Jul 6 '10 at 22:18
@Gnou you can flag for reopening? Do mods really step into the community process like that so directly? – Earlz Jul 6 '10 at 22:20
How do I flag to get it reopened and in the current circumstances what do you advocate? – Anonymous Person Jul 6 '10 at 22:23
@Earlz - true, take my comment on the conditional, this is valid for Super User, I don't know for Stack Overflow, with the higher volume. – Gnoupi Jul 6 '10 at 22:28
@Earlz, @Gnoupi: I've done it before. If the reasons that the question was closed are completely removed, I see no reason not to give it another chance. I do have a strict personal policy of only doing this once for a given question though. If the community overrides me and closes it again, I'll stay out of it. – Bill the Lizard Jul 7 '10 at 1:20
Well, I hope your question gets re-opened because there is a way to do GOTO in JavaScript and I have your answer :) – Brian Jul 7 '10 at 13:15

If your goal is to get it answered and have it stay open, edit your question to remove the rant.

If your goal is to rant and have your question closed, then keep it as-is.

Here's my suggested edit:

How do I achieve the 'goto' construct in JavaScript?


do {
    for (j=0; j<entries.length; j++) {
    if (entries[j]==tempEntry) break myGoto
} while (false)
share|improve this answer
Where's the rant? Sure, the original was kinda rant-y, but my repost, to my eyes, wasn't. – Anonymous Person Jul 6 '10 at 22:35
See your writing, specifically the tag, cruft; "Thanks to the lack of Gotos"; and "Why the heck couldn't I just get a Goto to get this done normally?" – George Stocker Jul 6 '10 at 23:00
@Ano: The repost was a repost, and therefore a duplicate. We try to only have one incarnation of each question around. Also reposting can easily be perceived as a reaction like "If you close my question I just post it again!!!", which people don't like. Improving the original question and voting to reopen it would usually be the accepted way of going about it. – sth Jul 6 '10 at 23:03

I think you're basically correct:

  • Your first post was closed as more of a rant than a question, which is ok. The closing process is "subjective-by-design" (a new tag proposal!) - it's up to high rep-users and the community at large to determine when questions are not helpful / appropriate.
  • Since your second question's only crime appears to be overlap with a question that essentially was deemed non-existant, it probably should be allowed. It was still a little editorial, but I did see two clear questions, which is why I suspect it wasn't closed for being a fake question.

(At a minimum, the reason the second question was closed seems unfair. If it's also deemed to be "not a real question, okay- see my subjective-by-design point above. But if it is a real quesiton, then it seems like it can't be appropriate to delete it for being exactly the same as one that wasn't.)

share|improve this answer
There is no "user can't find edit button" close reason... – Shog9 Jul 7 '10 at 18:13
Shog, what is that supposed to mean? – Anonymous Person Jul 7 '10 at 22:50
@shog9 means, this user should have fixed his original post through editing rather than reposting yet more stufff. – Jeff Atwood Jul 9 '10 at 10:51

In General

Questions can, and sometimes should be closed as exact duplicates of other closed questions. This is because if the first one was closed as invalid for some reason, then the duplicate question would usually have the same flaws.

As mentioned a few times, the best response to getting a question closed would be.

  1. Edit to dramatically improve the question.
  2. If there is no movement after a few hours (minimum), take it to meta.
  3. If there is no movement from meta, it might be possible to create a unique question using what you have learned, so as to not offend the sometimes delicate sensibilities of the SO community.

Note about step 3: DO NOT recreate your original question. It has already been closed, and your new question should be marked as a duplicate. The best solution would be to look at your problem from a new angle, and post that as your question to StackOverflow.

In Your Case

Two things repeatedly got in your way. The editorial commentary which other people considered to be a rant, but you considered to be context: this is usually frowned upon. If your question is technical but unorthodox, you should explain why you have the limitations you have, but you don't need to give them information about everything you are doing unless the comments ask for further information.

NEVER include anything aggressive or even something people could perceive as aggressive (if you can help it). The community tends to react very harshly to anything like that. Is this desired behaviour? Certainly not, but it exists and you should be aware of it.

Linking back to your original post was unhelpful, because it made it very clear that you had simply posted the same question twice. As I mentioned earlier, duplicates are very much frowned up on StackOverflow, because there are more than enough accidental duplicates, so purposeful duplicates seem maliciously wasteful of people's time.

Another item which interfered was that you mingled two very distinct questions into one. "Why doesn't javascript have goto" and "How should I refactor my code".
Question 1 amounts to "I wish I had a goto" which falls under "rant/subjective" and shouldn't be on SO. Question 2 is more valid, and that is where you should have restricted your focus.

You had an actual technical issue, and the context doesn't really matter, so it doesn't matter that javascript doesn't have goto it only matters what you are trying to accomplish. If you focus on that, you'll have much more success.

share|improve this answer

Your question was barely detectable under a thick layer of editorial commentary.

Consider this alternative wording, amongst many others:

I'm accustomed to using gotos in some cases to get readable code for exceptional flow of control. Javascript has no goto, and everything I thought of looks baroque. What is a clean way to express this flow without goto?

If you pose that question, you might get a few snarky comments, and for all I know there's a perfectly fine duplicate that someone will dig up, but you won't be closed the way you were today.

Your second question was just as rant-y as your first:

Pretty simple. My code now has FSMs and crud like this in order to get a goto-like construct thanks to the lack of gotos.

Thus the dup. When you post one that just asks the question without blogging your opinions about the language, it probably won't be closed.


Slightly chagrined by a comment from the OP, I want to emphasize that my purpose here is to channel my observations about the community's standards in the clearest possible terms. This is my best effort to clearly explain the community's 'thought' process in closing these questions. As one of the close voters, I'm certainly in the loop on this occasion for this question, but please don't mistake my Oracle of Delphi act here.

share|improve this answer
My questions were explicitly pointed out in the "closed duplicate." Yes, I am pointing out the circumstances that motivated me to ask the question and my opinions on the matter - I find them relevant. What's the problem? – Anonymous Person Jul 6 '10 at 22:21
You find your circumstances and opinions relevant. 5 of us found them rants. You have now learned how the community standards of work. It's your choice what to do with this information. You can adapt to the local mores, or you can have your questions closed. What you can't do is change the mores by force of will. – Rosinante Jul 6 '10 at 22:37
Rosinante, if you could avoid the heavy-handed, authoritarian tone of voice, I'd appreciate it. Anyway, edited the post again. How is this? – Anonymous Person Jul 6 '10 at 22:52
@Anonymous: It's hard to hear that you are wrong but what he is trying to point out is that your original question was quite rant-y and it could have been described much more succinctly. – Brian Jul 7 '10 at 13:33
No, I don't mind blunt criticism. To the contrary, I very, very freely encourage it. I do mind when people criticize in a way that makes it sound like I don't matter and I should either bow down to their wishes or leave. When it's worded like that, like Rosinante did in the above comment, yes, I find it somewhat difficult to tolerate. I freely acknowledge the original was rant-y. I've also been trying to reword it since to be less rant-y without having to remove content. At this stage, however, it seems like the main issue is the "duplicate question" mess which shouldn't apply anymore. – Anonymous Person Jul 7 '10 at 23:04
@Ano You mistake my attempt to paint reality in very clear terms with an attempt to browbeat you. This isn't about me, even though I happen to have been voter this time. The community is swift and merciless on this sort of thing, for better or for worse -- in a sense, censorious and authoritarian, yes. – Rosinante Jul 8 '10 at 12:07
@Anonymous: Tone is hard to convey. But, like Rosinante said, SO is meant to create the best programming resource. If the questions or answers are poor, then they will be pummeled to death by downvoting and closing. – Brian Jul 8 '10 at 16:45

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