Please read twice before downvoting or closing or banning or executing me or anything ;-). Thanks in advance.

I think a certain software product has some specific obvious bad traits (they are kinda characteristics of that certain line of products). There are many who agree with me. I imagined an opportunity here and wanted to ask for insights as why this is happening, how to prevent it from happening to my own products and generally hear some engineering opinions from my esteemed peers here on SE.

My first attempts to ask it on SO was encountered by, to my opinion of course, rather emotional and unnecessarily harsh responses. Few dear members cited portions of Q&A - no need to say totally open to all sort of interpretations - as the reason why my question is not suitable, and I got closed (along with few by-products such as my questions being called "rant" by someone trying to teach me netiquette).

I did the RTFM and tried to see my options here but I got truly horrified by the way Meta has responded to those like me, trying to figure out why their questions are being closed and how to proceed. I felt disappointed.

As the final desperate act of trying to be a good member of this community which I hold high in value, I humbly present my problem here:

I think "X" is slow, bloated and somewhat buggy, I believe there are reasons for that. Engineering reasons, and ways to avoid them. I believe it would be a constructive discussion. I believe there are people with valuable insights about it. I don't want to offend anyone but I am lost here !

How exactly should I ask this here to avoid it being called a "rant", "subjective", "ambiguous" or offending someone (especially those with the ability to close my question)?

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    It sounds like a good question, but probably not a good question for Stack Overflow. Pretty much any discussion question is out-of-bounds there, regardless of how constructive it may be. – Pops Aug 2 '11 at 19:35
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    "How can I improve X's performance?" – user102937 Aug 2 '11 at 19:39
  • @popular Thanks for the advice. Where exactly I should ask these kinda questions? – Ashkan Kh. Nazary Aug 2 '11 at 19:55
  • @Robert Thanks for the suggestion but as you may see from my question, I am not looking for ways to improve the performance. There are many of them here and all over the net with pretty nice hints in them but I'm interested in knowing why there are problems and how to avoid them rather than remedy them after they reached the users. – Ashkan Kh. Nazary Aug 2 '11 at 19:57
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    The difference being, my proposed question is actually answerable, without appearing to be a rant. – user102937 Aug 2 '11 at 19:58
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    A valid answer to your rant would be, "get a faster computer." – user7116 Aug 2 '11 at 20:10
  • @popular Would you please give me your comments about my respond to Siva's answer ? Thanks. – Ashkan Kh. Nazary Aug 2 '11 at 20:15
  • I'm afraid I don't know of a good site that your question would be suitable on. – Pops Aug 2 '11 at 20:16
  • @Robert You are asking something else – Ashkan Kh. Nazary Aug 2 '11 at 20:24
  • Because your original question is not suitable here. Part of Stack Overflow's value is the quality of the material posted is typically higher than most traditional forums, because we are stricter about what can be asked here. See stackoverflow.com/faq and stackoverflow.com/questions/how-to-ask for more information about this. – user102937 Aug 2 '11 at 20:27
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    Dear ashy_32bit, please read each answer and your response to it twice and try to objectively determine if what you really want is a method to make your question acceptable to stack overflow, because it seems you've rejected every suggestion for ways you could approach the same problem in a way that would be acceptable on the network. Are you sure you are willing to change your position, or are you merely ranting about stack overflow's exclusive nature? – Pollyanna Aug 4 '11 at 15:08
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    I'm honestly unsure what it is you are after here. You say you want 'options' for improving your question yet you turn down any and all 'options' for improvement that you are offered. Do you just want to complain about our 'attitude' here or are you actually looking for help in asking a good question and then getting answers for it? – Rob Moir Aug 4 '11 at 17:04

While I did not see how you worded your original question, my first thought is that it doesnt belong on here because it is not a programming question (it is only tangentially related). I would instead recommend that you post your question on programmers.stackexchange.com. It seems like it would fare much better there, as they deal with more of the "meta" issues of programming whereas stackoverflow deals with actual programming code

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    This depends highly on what the question actually is. The question not being about code isn't the only criterion that must be met for it to be accepted on Programmers. – Adam Lear Aug 2 '11 at 19:38
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    @Anna Lear, indeed so. I recommended going to programmers.stackexchange because ashy_32bit said the original question was looking for input on software design, architecture, and best-practices. – Moses Aug 2 '11 at 19:42
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    +1 for Anna Lear for highlighting a very important point – Ashkan Kh. Nazary Aug 2 '11 at 20:19
  • +1 because you got the essence of my question. I'm asking an engineering question on the wrong place. – Ashkan Kh. Nazary Aug 2 '11 at 20:20

I think "X" is slow, bloated and somewhat buggy, I believe there are reasons for that. Engineering reasons, and ways to avoid them. I believe it would be a constructive discussion.

(Emphasis mine.) Unfortunately, your desire for a constructive discussion is part of the problem. Stack Overflow isn't about discussions, it's about answers. If you can phrase your question in a way that will generate concrete answers to a problem, please feel free to do so. Otherwise, you'll probably have to turn to a forum or blog elsewhere. You might even want to try Stack Overflow chat! From the FAQ (again, emphasis mine):

What can we chat about?

This site is an extension of Stack Overflow, so discussion should more or less revolve around the same topics you'd find at Stack Overflow — but in an interactive, less strictly Q&A focused way. Do have fun, but please keep it professional and always be respectful of your fellow community members.

Please understand that questions are not necessarily closed because no one on Stack Overflow finds them interesting. Quite the contrary! From what I can tell, many of the most popular questions have historically been rather subjective, and are now preceded by the following text.

This question exists because it has historical significance, but it is not considered a good, on-topic question for this site, so please do not use it as evidence that you can ask similar questions here.

More info: https://stackoverflow.com/faq

There has been a shift in culture on Stack Overflow from "constructive discussions" to a strict question-to-answer format. Programmers was partially created as a response to that shift, as a place to ask more general programming-related questions, but even there I imagine that many "discussions" will be closed by the moderators.

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  • I'm afraid the community has developer an unjust attitude towards words such as "discussion", "mine", "my", "opinion" and the like. They are mere word after all. Their meanings are contextual. What I'm looking for is indeed "answers" but I would assume unless someone has delved deeply into the code, reviewed the process, tried all the contributing factors etc etc ... then their answers are logically considered "opinions", hence the word "discussion". I assure you I'm looking for answers ;-) – Ashkan Kh. Nazary Aug 2 '11 at 20:12
  • I guess you could try asking one question at a time with more detail and quantitative measurements. For example: how slow is slow? What computer is the program running on? Have you compared performance on different machines? And so on. – Chris Frederick Aug 2 '11 at 20:16
  • I agree with Chris, @ashy. Is there some specific part of this answer or your response that you wanted me to comment on? – Pops Aug 2 '11 at 20:32
  • @Chris, no Chris. Thanks for your attention :-) – Ashkan Kh. Nazary Aug 2 '11 at 20:39

My suggestion would be this. Instead of generalizing about the software 'x' on the whole. Take an issue in specific and describe the issue that you encountered in a particular scenario when dealing with the software 'x'. Add the steps that you had tried to overcome the scenario and the outcome of the steps (probably failure, that is why you are asking other's opinion). This will help others to point you in the right direction like how to actually solve the issue or may be there is another software 'y' that could do a better job.

If you add details about one specific issue, I don't think that would be considered subjective. If you say the whole software is buggy, then that might be subjective. Narrowing down the topic to a specific issue might lead to good answers. You might end up learning a thing or two.

Ranting and generalizing an issue don't work. That's just my opinion, by the way.

EDIT 1: (In response to your comment)

I understand what you mean. I still wouldn't phrase the question so that is conceived by others being too generalized. Pick the most the obvious pain point in the production. If the product is too buggy, you can certainly find one. Coin your question around that major point. What you might call as buggy could be because you are doing it the incorrect way, I am just saying for example. I answer questions mainly on SSIS (Microsoft's product), if some one complains that it is too buddy, I can't provide any solution. It doesn't give me a problem to work with. It is too general a topic. I can ask the person whether they have the system set up with enough hard ware to support the process. or whether they have utilized the right task to implement their process.

However, if they say that the Execute SQL Task (it is a task in SSIS) isn't handling a particular scenario while dealing with certain provider, then they are to the point of what the issue is. Now, I have a predefined area to deal with and I can answer the user's question.

If you say, software 'X' is horrible, then it s a rant because what is horrible to you may not be to others. If you say the process 'abc' in software 'x' doesn't work under scenario '123', now you are talking... That makes more sense.

You are not offending anyone and most likely your question will not be closed as subjective. Pick one issue even if you have 100 issues with the software 'x'. NOTE: I have given SSIS only as an example because that's more familiar to me.

I hope that makes sense.

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  • I totally agree with you provided that 'X' is suffering from few niche problems that are not easy to reproduce or are very specific in nature, that which we call "bugs", yet when 'X' is generally slow, generally bloated or is buggy in way more than few areas then you would naturally assume that perhaps something is wrong with the design, architecture, methodology or the underlying technologies. This is what I'm asking. The question is indeed about that overall and general characteristics of 'X' that one can observe all over it. It's a feeling of something being wrong with it. – Ashkan Kh. Nazary Aug 2 '11 at 20:07
  • @Popular My mistake, I meant my respond to Chris's answer about some words making something a discussion. I believe putting "discussion" into a post should not make it unsuitable for asking here. Thanks anyways :) – Ashkan Kh. Nazary Aug 2 '11 at 20:30

Looking at the question under discussion, I'd say that you have some perfectly good questions available to ask:

  • How to retain responsiveness in a multi-threaded application as both the feature set and the working data set scale up?
  • How to insure that a UI behavior (code completion) retains consistent timing and feel as the data it needs to work against increases in size?
  • How to insure that background tasks like syntax coloring are responsive in the user's field of view as the size of the data set grows?

You'll note that none of these require you to bag on any other product in particular, and each will elicit specific programming recommendations.

So formulate and ask these questions and the results can be fed into your design processes.

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  • Thanks for supporting my question(s) ;-) I perfectly understand you and I think I could have definitely asked it in better (more technically oriented) ways yet what catches my attention is that no one seems to pay attention that I'm particularity interested in a certain line of products with the same (undesirable?) characteristics in all of them. I would appreciate good answers to the questions you propose for reasons other than why I asked the original question. How do I say "Why X (and nothing else) has that *-ness in ALL OVER it (and not this or this or this parts)"? – Ashkan Kh. Nazary Aug 2 '11 at 20:53
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    You have misunderstood. I don't support your question. I was trying to help you learn how to get answers from Stack Overflow. As long as your focus is on "All these products suck" you are ranting. – dmckee --- ex-moderator kitten Aug 2 '11 at 21:21
  • Despite all my tries, it seems I'm incapable of stating what is it exactly I'm looking for, perhaps someone who is less bounded with their idea of "correct ways of asking something here", "bagging about " and "ranting" would get it, yet I appreciate your education. – Ashkan Kh. Nazary Aug 2 '11 at 21:28

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