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I posted this question and really tried to frame it in terms of specific questions and answers, but it has been closed. I mentioned in a comment as well that I keep seeing comments on SO about jQuery having problems, but without detail.

I read the FAQ on asking a subjective question and it says 'Great subjective questions have a constructive, fair, and impartial tone.' I've tried to keep to that, with a question that says 'I like jQuery, I use it, but I recognise that it might have some bad bits. What are they? What can I do about them?'.

I also tried asking for specific answers to 'What functions don't work properly? Are there workarounds?', rather than a generic 'Is jQuery a good framework?'.

So how could this question be asked in such a way that it wouldn't be closed? Does it belong on a different StackExchange site? I read the FAQ on, and that seems to have exactly the same criteria so logically would have been closed there as well.

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Not entirely sure why that wasn't moved to Programmers - it doesn't mean it would stay open there, but at least it would be considered on the correct merits. – NickC Apr 30 '11 at 2:07
Not true Renesis. It doesn't meet the requirements as of right now. Not to my eyes anyways. SEE THEIR FAQ ~~ All subjective questions are expected to be constructive. How do we define that? Constructive subjective questions … ~~ inspire answers that explain “why” and “how”. ~~ tend to have long, not short, answers. ~~ have a constructive, fair, and impartial tone. ~~ invite sharing experiences over opinions. ~~ insist that opinion be backed up with facts and references. ~~ are more than just mindless social fun. – jcolebrand Apr 30 '11 at 2:11
@Renesis no, as explained in Please stop using Programmers.SE as your toilet bowl and just general common-sense consensus, questions vaguely resembling on-topic questions that are bad shouldn't be migrated: they should just be closed. This question isn't constructive on Programmers.SE either. – user149432 Apr 30 '11 at 2:14
@Mark - You are misconstruing my intention. I'm obviously well aware of what's on-topic at Programmers. And regarding moving garbage, you are preaching to the choir. The point is, it's not immediately apparent to SO users (or to me, and I'm a long time member of Programmers) whether this question is on-topic or not. If it's "subjective" and it's not a "garbage" question, then it should be moved to Programmers and considered there. – NickC Apr 30 '11 at 2:24
@Renesis The question is obviously not constructive and was rightly closed on Stack Overflow without migration. If you want to call such a question a "garbage" question, that's fine: I was trying to be a little more tactful in this instance by calling it "bad". – user149432 Apr 30 '11 at 2:26
@Mark As a member of Programmers, even if I would vote to close there it doesn't necessarily mean it should be closed on SO. I'm just one voice, and I view this question as a gray question. Again, it's not obvious therefore I'd rather the appropriate audience consider its merits. – NickC Apr 30 '11 at 2:29
@Renesis there's no point in migrating it knowing it'll be closed on the destination site. It's a broken window. – user149432 Apr 30 '11 at 2:31
@Renesis ~ In this case, the appropriate audience did, one of our community coord's closed it, yeah? – jcolebrand Apr 30 '11 at 2:32
up vote 5 down vote accepted

What are jQuery's biggest problems[?]

Biggest problems to whom? My biggest problem isn't the same as person X's biggest problem. Heck, person X's biggest problem is a feature in my book. Death to person X for thinking Y is a problem: he doesn't get jQuery at all. What a jerk. RAGE.

I read this diatribe but thought it missed the point[.]

If you read Good Subjective, Bad Subjective, it explains the criteria of "fair and impartial tone" in detail (emphasis mine):

The best subjective questions avoid the all too seductive route of ranting and flamebait. They set the right tone of constructive learning and collaboration from the very outset, by emphasizing that we’re all here to learn from each other, even if we have different viewpoints or beliefs about the right way to handle what are inherently subjective decisions. We’re not here to fight each other; that’s an enormous waste of everyone’s time. There is always more than one right way.

Dismissing someone else's work as a "diatribe" that "misses the point" isn't setting the tone of constructive learning and collaboration from the very outset.

From the comments on your question, you can see I'm having a hard time teasing out a good question from you've asked. If you removed the offending bits I've pointed out, what are we left with? A list of everything potentially problematic with jQuery and workarounds for each? That's not constructive either.

The questions on Stack Exchange that work the best are the ones that ask for help with specific problems you're actually facing:

  • "I'm having trouble with X feature in jQuery, how can I work around it?"
  • "What can I do to improve Y in jQuery?"
  • "How would I go about working jQuery into my project Z?"

These are questions that can command great answers that approach the problems contained therein from different perspectives. These types of writeboarding-esque questions are welcomed on Programmers.SE.

So my advice to you is to forget about asking general questions to get as much information as possible into one area so you can sift through it later. Go through your project, figure out the exact problems you're having, and ask about those.

If they're about code, ask them on Stack Overflow. If they're more conceptual, ask them on Programmers.SE.

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The question at hand appears to be of the form "I'm going to be using jQuery; what features will I likely have trouble with and how can I work around them?" -- which means that it should be on-topic on either SO or P.SE (I think SO). Even if it is worded unfortunately (English isn't OP's first language), it seems like a minute or two of editing could solve the problems that you mention. – Gabe Apr 30 '11 at 4:04
@Gabe That's exactly the type question that isn't constructive. It's not solving a practical problem: it's generating a list of stuff. How do I know what parts of jQuery are you going to have trouble with? Is the question really going to list all the ways you might have trouble with jQuery? Asking "I'm having trouble with X in jQuery, help" is the constructive version of the question asked. – user149432 Apr 30 '11 at 4:09
We may have a different definition of "constructive", but I believe I disagree. To me it seems a lot more useful to know how to stay out of trouble in the first place than it is to know how to get out of trouble once you're in it. Wouldn't you prefer to know all possible side-effects of a drug before you take it, rather than only how to deal with the side-effects once it's too late to avoid them? – Gabe Apr 30 '11 at 4:21
@Gabe But that doesn't make it a fit for a Q&A site. If I were going to learn C#, I'd want to know everything I need to know about it before starting a big project with it. But asking "What are all the things I need to know about C#?" isn't going to be answerable on Stack Overflow or Programmers.SE. However, "I'm learning C#, how do I do X?" where X is something very specific is. The difference is the amount of effort you put into making the question focused and relevant to those answering it. – user149432 Apr 30 '11 at 4:25
To go back to my drug analogy, you're right that "What are all the things I need to know about drug X" or "What are the side-effects of drugs?" aren't easily answerable. However, "What are the side-effects of drug X?" is definitely answerable and extremely useful. My belief is that the question at hand falls into (or could be made to) the latter category rather than the two former ones. – Gabe Apr 30 '11 at 4:33
@Gabe I don't think this question fits the mold of "What are the side effects of drug X?" For one, the drug question is an immutable list: there might be 40 known side-effects. It's not going to matter who answers it. But the jQuery question, like hidden features questions, is never going to be completely answerable because the "most important challenges" or "bad bits" or "features I'm going to have trouble with" are nebulously defined mutable lists. Additionally, by virtue of not having spent any time with jQuery to focus the question, the asker is not in a position to accept any answer. – user149432 Apr 30 '11 at 4:38
@Gabe even if it did fit that mold, what value is Stack Overflow adding to the question? It's a content farm question: if there were 10 things every person is going to have trouble with in jQuery, it's documented elsewhere. It's probably on for all I know. The value in Q&A is in answering specific questions that aren't easily Googled. – user149432 Apr 30 '11 at 4:40
New side-effects are reported for old drugs all the time, but that doesn't stop drug companies from posting lists of them. And the term "side-effect" is itself somewhat nebulous (how do you tell the difference between a side-effect and something that just happened after you took the drug?). Besides, it is the general nature of questions on SE sites that the asker is not in a position to competently determine a "right" answer. I don't understand why SO should only have questions that it can "add value" to. Being documented elsewhere is not a reason to close a question, for example. – Gabe Apr 30 '11 at 4:50
Thanks for your advice, I edited the question and it was reopened. – Blowski May 1 '11 at 16:43

The problem is this is not where the SO site wants to head in the future, even if questions like this were acceptable once upon a time. It's kind of a bad thing in that this is a legitimate question, but let me ask you, how long is it a legitimate question for? If you start putting stuff on there it will eventually get fixed by that community, or be obsoleted as computers no longer support IE6 or IE5.5. So there's some question of "is this a useful question". We, as a community, don't think so (because I agree with the ones who closed that question). Does this mean it's an invalid question? No. Is it invalid for SO? Yes.

Having said all that, I don't know that there is a site on the SE system that is open to that particular question. It's just not a USEFUL question (but as always I'm open to being convinced!!!). So I encourage you to start with questions that can be objectively answered about the framework.

What pitfalls will I encounter with language/framework XYZ?

Is just too open ended.

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This is an interesting point, an angle I hadn't thought of. Isn't so much of the content on SO related to how things work in a single point in time, though? I.E. "How do I animate a fade-in on a box in HTML?" may be answered completely differently 2 years from now. – NickC Apr 30 '11 at 2:31
@Renesis ~ Ah, but those have a longer life expectancy than this question. And if we can just get people to answer how and why as opposed to just "fiddle this bit of twiddle code" then we can build a site that's about the process of being a better programmer. – jcolebrand Apr 30 '11 at 2:33
@drachenstern Absolutely. Though, that could be applied to pitfalls of language/framework, as well - there are myriad questions in that vein open (as they should be) in Programmers right now (even since "the great redisciplining"). – NickC Apr 30 '11 at 2:35
@renesis if you see such questions active on Programmers.SE, vote to close them or flag them for review. There are a lot of artifacts from the Great Redisciplining that were left alone because it's a hassle to have to go through hundreds of questions when they aren't active anyway. – user149432 Apr 30 '11 at 2:48
@Mark Here's a very popular recent one (not a leftover artifact) that in my opinion is worse than the OPs question…. – NickC Apr 30 '11 at 2:51
@Mark Also to clarify why I don't flag these - the GQ/BQ guidelines are themselves subjective, so to some degree I have to let participation by the community (and even moderators) guide my interpretation of the guidelines. Clearly the community (including moderators) approves of the question I linked, and a flag would probably be pointless. – NickC Apr 30 '11 at 2:52
Couldn't this be addressed simply by naming the version of jQuery that the OP is using and giving a few more details about his project? – Gabe Apr 30 '11 at 4:06
@Gabe no, because if you were gonna identify bugs in jQuery it would be better to post them on their bugtracker, and if you were gonna list things that jQuery did not do, well that's been done in many places on the web. – jcolebrand May 1 '11 at 19:15
@drach: The question at hand is about identifying neither bugs nor missing features. As an example, if the question were "What pitfalls should I watch out for when making my first DB-backed web site?", an answer would be "Always validate input server-side, use parameterized queries whenever possible, and watch out for SQL injection scenarios." -- those don't describe bugs or missing features. – Gabe May 1 '11 at 20:07
@gabe ~ Apparently you don't understand. Bugs are pitfalls. Bugs are not the only pitfalls. The rest of the pitfalls would be things like "always validate input server-side, use parameterized queries whenever possible, and watch out for SQL injection scenarios" ... which I already identified should be found in a blog, not on SO. – jcolebrand May 1 '11 at 20:19
@drach: Apparently I don't understand. I can see which it should be found on a blog, but not why it should not be on SO. Are you saying that anything that should be found on a blog is off-topic for SO? Or is the blog aspect unrelated to SO? – Gabe May 2 '11 at 0:42
I'm saying a blog post is NOT a Q&A post. I'm not saying the information can't be here, but there's not really a question about "what are the obvious pitfalls to avoid in basic javascript programming" because they will all be point of view and subjective. Javascript is one of THE most expressive languages we have to date, especially given how broadly able it is to be used. So we really can't say that there's a limit here or a limit there, except for things like type comparison, value comparison, etc. I'm trying to focus on the Q&A aspect of it. – jcolebrand May 2 '11 at 1:33

It's also worth pointing out that this question is not only too subjective and not constructive, but even if it were a good subjective question, you are asking it on the wrong site. Stack Overflow is for questions that are about a specific programming problem that you face.

From the Stack Overflow FAQ:

Stack Overflow is for professional and enthusiast programmers, people who write code because they love it. We feel the best Stack Overflow questions have a bit of source code in them, but if your question generally covers …

  • a specific programming problem
  • a software algorithm
  • software tools commonly used by programmers
  • matters that are unique to the programming profession

_ then you’re in the right place to ask your question!

With that said, Programmers SE, the site for does allow subjective questions, but only if they meet the Six Guidelines for Good Subjective Questions as described by Mark Trapp. In this case, your question would be closed on Programmers SE as well.

From the Programmers SE FAQ

All subjective questions are expected to be constructive. How do we define that? Constructive subjective questions …

  • inspire answers that explain “why” and “how”.
  • tend to have long, not short, answers.
  • have a constructive, fair, and impartial tone.
  • invite sharing experiences over opinions.
  • insist that opinion be backed up with facts and references.
  • are more than just mindless social fun.

Questions that do not meet enough of these six guidelines will be closed as "not constructive." Please see the Good Subjective, Bad Subjective blog post for more details and examples.

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