I have this issue: I've been asked to develop a c# with DB with a "magnetic card", Where to start?

But the thing is how should I ask a generic where to start if any where to start question would be closed acused of being too broad.

How could not be broad if you don't know about the subject?

3 Answers 3


If a question cannot reasonably be given a concise answer, you could always go to the relevant chat room to ask for broader guidance instead. Then post questions as individual issues arise.

  • I agree with shane here that what OP needs is just a touch of guidance. Feel free to hit us up on chat.meta at the tavern on the meta.
    – jcolebrand
    Jul 27, 2011 at 16:43

I wrote a quick query Where To Start Questions in Data.StackExchange.com that contain the strings "Where" and "Start" in the title.

I expected a large number of closed questions with the closed reason of "Not A Real Question". Instead I found only about 7% of them have a closed date and many included Migrated and duplicate questions. The ones that did get closed as not a question tended to be much more open ended than your question


Where do I start with a Java project that carries out menial Windows tasks?

Where to start for a web application?

Where should i start from in ORACLE

I also looked at the body of these questions looking for patterns that suggested a good vs bad "where do I start" question but couldn't find any.

Initially my estimation based on the available data is that either you got unlucky or there is a new effort to close "Where to Start" questions, however it turns out that it was neither and that it was unrelated to the "Where to Start-ness" of your question.

ChrisF explained in a comment to my Answer and in a comment on your question that you simply were asking too much in a single question.

  • 5
    My issue with the question in question was that there were in fact four questions in one. Had the OP just asked the first question on his list then I wouldn't have voted to close.
    – ChrisF Mod
    Jul 27, 2011 at 16:40
  • @ChrisF I guess I should have read the comments :) I'll update my answer. Jul 27, 2011 at 16:42

The assumption that is made with all of the StackExchange family of sites is that some legwork can be done by the user (askers and answerers). Many of the questions that are too broad tend to be ones that - with 5 minutes of googling - could be narrowed down enough that they can be answered concisely and constructively.

Such as with your question that you have linked. Within roughly 2 minutes of Googling the clauses "API magnetic card reader", "API card reader", "Card reader programming", etc, I got thrown a menagerie of articles that could be scanned through and read, hopefully narrowing the information enough in my mind to give a concise answer.

From what I know, the StackExchange websites aren't meant to take all of the legwork the questioner should be doing and offloading it to the answerers, that's why "Where should I start" questions get closed regularly.

ADDENDUM: Also, looking further at the singleton answer that you recieved. When someone is fishing for more information, and/or most of the comments on the OP are comments about needing more specifics or a pruned idea, it's a good show that you might need to narrow the question down further. Again it isn't that "Where should I start" questions aren't good questions, they just aren't suited for the system that StackExchange has set up, and they tend to fall outside of the good question stylings that they have in place in the "user agreement".

  • 1
    Perhaps some answerers know about what I'm looking for from first hand. Some things are also particular of the question like what to ask the client who asks for the card reader development.
    – apacay
    Jul 27, 2011 at 17:01

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