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I just ran across this question on SO, and was completely thrown for a loop. I wanted to upvote it, downvote it, and close it all at the same time.

It isn't truly a question - the poster is stating that he'd like to see a solution for something that he feels is missing in the .Net framework, and he's started a feature request over on Microsoft Connect. He's sort of asked the question of "why isn't it in there already", but it's clear the intent is to drum up action on his issue.

How do you respond to this? Is it ok and I'm just reading too much into it? Or is this abuse of the site (borderline or clear-cut?)

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

How to respond? Well, I can't see any question there - it is just a big statement of fact (this functionality is missing, I have requested it, ...). In the side bar (when asking a question), it states the following:

Is your question about programming?

We prefer questions that can be answered, not just discussed.

Provide details. Write clearly and simply.

If your question is about this website, ask it on meta instead.

Maybe he should re-phrase it so that it is a question (something along the lines of, "why isn't this feature already present?"), and that seems to be the way the top answer reads it.

As for using SO to drum up support, I reckon that if he asks his question (why isn't ...) and then posts as an answer a link to his feature request, this can be helpful. SO is a community for developers, and as such is a great place to point out things that might help other devs (and to drum up support for things that they may need in the future).

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What I would do (and just did in this case) is ask the author to state it as a question. If the purpose of the question is just to advertise his post on another site, I'd consider it spam. But since this is a new question from a new user, it's better to be polite--he probably doesn't fully understand the etiquette here yet.

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Vote to close (not a real question), and post a comment explaining why. There are places to post petitions, but SO is not one of them.

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SO should be a fine place to post 'Programming' Petitions.

We should be anti-apathy, and do our part to make the programming sphere better.

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Flame bait much? – Brad Gilbert Jul 20 '09 at 4:49
I love how you wiki'd this – Ian Elliott Jul 20 '09 at 4:49
I've learned my lesson before. – Lance Roberts Jul 20 '09 at 5:14
@Brad, No just answering his question, but I knew others wouldn't like it. – Lance Roberts Jul 20 '09 at 5:15
@Lance, that's basically rep-gaming. Where you have something to say, but you aren't willing to accept the consequences of it. – devinb Jul 20 '09 at 12:55
@devinb, maybe it's anti-rep-gaming, but mostly I'm glad that I can CW my answers when I know I have a minority opinion. CW gives me a way to express opinions others disagree with, otherwise everyone would be afraid of posting contrary opinions. – Lance Roberts Jul 20 '09 at 15:07

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