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StackOverflow should be a place for both experts and those who are just getting into programming.

I am a self-taught programmer and I can attest for the fact that the most difficult thing about teaching yourself anything is knowing where to start and where to look.

This question was closed on StackOverflow as "not a real question" by a large number of user admins.

That's just wrong. The question looks and sounds genuine - an earnest beginner asking a community of programmers for some advice on where to start - and the question was closed.

I'm not sure if there's any way to combat this or if the community feels like this is even a problem, but I thought it should be brought up. It wasn't like this in the beginning when only a few users had admin rights.

Edit: Also, I should add: The fact that there are reputation points involved means that, to some extent (maybe a large extent?), StackOverflow is an incentive based community. If I feel that responding to question is worth the points I could potentially get out of it, I will answer it. If I don't feel it's worth the effort, I won't answer.

This is how a free-market system works. I'm not sure how much we need moderators to close questions. We should let the community decide whether a question is worth answering, not a select few individuals.

Edit 2: On the number of rep points needed to have the ability to close a question, Colin Mackay suggests that "[m]aybe the bar has to be set a little higher[...]? ... Some people are more trigger happy than others. So as the 1227 people currently able to close questions grows so do the number of trigger happy ones."

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closed as off-topic by Martijn Pieters, ProgramFOX, ɥʇǝS, Shadow Wizard, rene Aug 29 at 21:18

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "This question pertains only to a specific site in the Stack Exchange Network. Questions on Meta Stack Exchange should pertain to our network or software that drives it as a whole, within the guidelines defined in the help center. You should ask this question on the meta site where your concern originated." – Martijn Pieters, ProgramFOX, ɥʇǝS, Shadow Wizard, rene
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

    
I agree with you, some of the answers were pretty good as well. –  neu242 Jul 19 '09 at 18:26

6 Answers 6

I want to write a program that fundamentally changes human existance.

Where should I start?

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For you to even make that comparison implies that you'll never understand why it makes no sense. –  Tyler Jul 19 '09 at 23:52
    
Hurf. Durf. –  Won't Jul 20 '09 at 12:47

I didn't just vote to close it; I did a bit of editing first - the original title had all of the question text in it.

Maybe we should change the text of "not a real question" to be "not an answerable question, too broad, or not specific enough". The question here was (paraphrased), "what should I do (tutorial to read) next to write a Windows application".

The only real answer to that question is, "It depends". What kind of Windows Application? How could we guide this person when he's given us no idea where he wants to go?

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2  
We could begin by guiding. For starters, when I was beginning to learn to write Windows apps I didn't knew there where different kinds of apps. How could he/she know what to ask? –  Wilhelm Jul 20 '09 at 2:39
    
Did you read what I wrote? I ssaid, "how could we guide this person when he's fiven us no idea where he want to go". BTW, how did you lear there were different kinds of program? And, was it important that you learned that in one day? –  John Saunders Jul 20 '09 at 2:52
    
@John Saunders "was it important that you learned that in one day?" Why do you feel it's important that information such as this be acquired slowly? –  Tyler Jul 20 '09 at 3:42
    
Nobody learns that fast. On the other hand, many people copy and paste that fast. There's a difference between the two. –  John Saunders Jul 20 '09 at 14:39

I'm going to have to take objection with you...

This question was closed on StackOverflow as "not a real question" by a large number of user admins.

The question was not closed by any admin/moderator; just regular users.

I'm not sure how much we need moderators to close questions. We should let the community decide whether a question is worth answering, not a select few individuals.

Which is exactly what happened. No "select few individual" has had any involvement in that thread.

Maybe I'm missing your definition of "admin"... anybody with a rep over 3k can vote to close. At the time of writing that is the first 35 pages of users, plus another 2 = 1227 users. Not exactly what I call the "select few".

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3  
Maybe the bar has to be set a little higher then? As the community grows so will the numbers with sufficient Rep to perform these actions. Some people are more trigger happy than others. So as the 1227 people currently able to close questions grows so do the number of trigger happy ones. Now, maybe the question was right to be shut down, but I've felt some didn't deserve it. Or that the explanation given, as I've brought up elsewhere, was inappropriate. –  Colin Mackay Jul 19 '09 at 21:40
    
They can vote to close it; it still takes 5 votes... –  Marc Gravell Jul 19 '09 at 22:06
1  
@Marc: I think his point being that as their numbers increase it'll become more and more common for 5 of them to hit the trigger on the same question too. –  jerryjvl Jul 19 '09 at 23:46

I don't think it's a good question. But it's hot here, really hot, and i'm tired. So i down-voted and voted to re-open: it's programming-related, after all...

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I would say that in the case of that particular question it might have become detailed enough by adding a sentence suggesting a specific, simple problem to solve:

For instance, if I wanted to make an application with displaying a window with the text "Hello world!", how would I do that using C?

What happens here is that the question becomes a lot more specific; we create clear borders, which makes is a lot easier to provide useful answers.

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From the FAQ:

Programming questions, of course! As long as your question is:

  • detailed and specific
  • written clearly and simply
  • of interest to at least one other programmer somewhere

... it is welcome here. No question is too trivial or too "newbie". Oh yes, and it should be about programming. You know, with a computer.

Does "How do I write a Windows application" sound "detailed and specific" to you? We want to help you, but you need to get yourself to a point that you can ask a more detailed question as to what you want to do. The answer to your question could literally be a whole book's length.

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5  
That's the title. The question, I believe, is specific enough and if it isn't, you don't have to devote the time to answer it. You can just pass over it and let someone else give it a shot. Just because it isn't specific enough for you (and I use 'you' here in a general way), I don't think affords you the right to close the question. Just because you wouldn't answer it does not mean someone else won't. –  Tyler Jul 19 '09 at 18:21
    
@Tyler: the text you see in the question used to be the title. I edited the current title. It would have been closed instantly if I hadn't fixed the title. –  John Saunders Jul 19 '09 at 19:43
2  
@John Saunders Yeah I saw that. That was 1) nice of you and 2) a highly appropriate use of an admin privilege –  Tyler Jul 19 '09 at 20:05

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