This has happened more than once to me now where I have noticed mods going back and closing questions that are rather old. In this specific example, it's quite baffling. Why close this question? I typed what I wanted in Google, this question came up and thoroughly informed me of an answer. Exactly how is that bad for SO?

It seems like application of rules for the sake of the rules rather than for the sake of the community.

Is there any value to closing old questions purely because they don't agree with the FAQ?

Best .NET build tool


It was originally closed as "non constructive". Because, well, it is:

What is the best build tool for .net? [...] Do people prefer msbuild ?

So we've got two questions here: what is the single best build tool for anything and everything involving .NET, and do "people" prefer msbuild? Those certainly seem to fall squarely within the dreary bounds of,

This question is not a good fit to our Q&A format. We expect answers to generally involve facts, references, or specific expertise; this question will likely solicit opinion, debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. See the FAQ.

However, I've re-opened it... And re-closed it. Because there's another question that I feel hits the same topic in a much more productive fashion, and I'd like to redirect folks looking for "the best .NET build tool" to it:

NAnt or MSBuild, which one to choose and when?

The scope of this question is clearly defined: it's not asking for everyone's favorite build tool, it's asking for a blow-by-blow comparison of the top two. And it recognizes right off the bat that there is likely a role for both of them, and instead of asking which one is "best" instead focuses on determining where they shine.

If you compare the answers, I think you'll find the results speak for themselves. Believe it or not, most of the stuff in the FAQ isn't just clever puns and drunken ramblings - it's stuff that we've learned over time, advise on what works.

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    In addition, these shopping questions are too localized, as within a year the list will be different, and practically useless to anyone searching for such a tool. – user1228 Dec 7 '11 at 14:37
  • Well, I don't think either NAnt or MSBuild are going anywhere any time soon, but yeah this is another problem with just asking "give me a list of anything that fits into this broad category of tool". – Shog9 Dec 7 '11 at 15:34
  • The "here's a better question" point stands a lot better than "non-constuctive". Closing three year old questions with no activity because it's soliciting opinion, debate, and arguments.... well, three years of no activity argues against it doing any of those. Also the answer is +20 upvotes and 0 downvotes... not a lot of petty arguing there either. "Short lived"? Well let's just delete the whole site. If the question was posted yesterday, sure I'd agree with your statement. But I'm curious which part of your experience told you that closing three year old questions just works – Russell Steen Dec 22 '11 at 14:56
  • And as far as improving the site goes... the fact that it was what came up in my search even though you closed it very clearly demonstrates that it did not improve the site, because I never saw the question you say is "better". Google took me straight to the closed question. – Russell Steen Dec 22 '11 at 15:02
  • @Russell: that's why I much prefer closing questions as duplicates when possible - they can still serve a purpose, as signposts, leading searchers in the right direction. See: blog.stackoverflow.com/2009/05/linking-duplicate-questions – Shog9 Dec 22 '11 at 16:12

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