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The "not constructive" close message reads as follows:

"Not constructive" close message

I'd like to propose a wording change that I feel better explains what Stack Overflow is not:

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. Alternatively, it is not a question about a programming language, but a request for mentoring/debugging assistance, and as such would be better suited to a forum or chatroom. See the FAQ.


Edit

The reason for this?

Some "requests for mentoring" (i.e. "can you help me figure this out please?", and then iterative questions in comments to solve various code problems one at a time) can be quite well-written, and some contributors tend to get very rude when such a post receives closevotes/downvotes ("why won't you HELP? This is a site for HELPing").

In fact, in my view, this is not a site for helping at all, but a Q&A about programming. That the answers will help people is — albeit by design — a side-effect of that categorisation. By this I mean that we don't just throw its format away when we might be able to HELP someone some other way.

"Not constructive", "too localised" and "not a real question" can at times be a near match to reasons the system offers us to close the questions; I reckon "not constructive" is the best match to questions that are not questions (and, no, "can you help me?" and "plz help" do not count as questions about programming languages), but its description doesn't really match this rationale at present.

An argument against this might be "well, if it doesn't say that, then your view on SO is wrong". However, I don't think that it is, and from what I've seen I'm far from alone.

It's time to take SO back. It's a Q&A site and I'm sick of having to explain this to people who are looking for an IRC channel to take them through an iterative process of debugging, tutoring and explanation. That is not what this site is for.

Perhaps making this clearer will help. At the very least, it means I won't have to write out explanations like this any more...

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In all honesty, both not constructive and not a real question close reasons—as they are worded now—are both applicable (emphasis mine):

not constructive

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.

not a real question

It's difficult to tell what is being asked here. This question is ambiguous, vague, incomplete, overly broad, or rhetorical and cannot be reasonably answered in its current form. See the FAQ.

The FAQ link is key: close reasons are not meant to enumerate everything that's wrong with the question, but to give a general idea of why the question was closed with a link to the FAQ, where it's explained in better detail. In this particular case, under What kind of questions should I not ask here?

Your questions should be reasonably scoped. If you can imagine an entire book that answers your question, you’re asking too much.

So I don't think it's necessary to add another line to the not constructive close reason just to call out a specific type of overly broad question that can't be answered in the Stack Exchange Q&A format: it's already covered.

I don't agree that it's not enforced, but I admit Stack Overflow is a very active place and perhaps you're seeing a lot more than me, or others. The problem then is that perhaps it's not as enforced as much as you would like: changing the close reason isn't going to fix that.

Instead, I think the most effective way to effect change in community moderation is to lead by example: down-vote, vote to close, point out the issue on meta, and in the really egregious cases, flag for moderator review.

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    You're not wrong; I'd just like to see it worded more thoroughly because I almost always get asked "why is this not constructive? :(" Many newcomers seem unable to parse the messages the way that you have in your answer, even though I agree that a strict analysis indicates they do cover the rules. Commented Jan 10, 2012 at 14:43

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