The old question How to make Python warn about bad practice and likely mistakes? was recently closed, reopened, closed, reopened, closed, deleted and undeleted in one minute, so I suppose the moderator didn't know what to do.

Why would it not be constructive? There are some alternative answers, but the question is definitely involving facts.

Here is a link to the timeline of the question: https://stackoverflow.com/posts/6629277/timeline

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    I don't know python, but looking at the answer, the fact that it got different answers means that it falls underneath a "polling" type question. Generally there should only be one answer. Apr 9, 2012 at 11:27
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    @man - there is more than one way to skin a cat. There very possibly might be multiple methods available to achieve the same results.
    – Lix
    Apr 9, 2012 at 11:27
  • I suppose a good answer would be along the lines of the first comment: "pylint pyflakes pychecker", listing the alternatives.
    – user157130
    Apr 9, 2012 at 11:28
  • I don't know why it took so many actions, but it was part of the tag cleanup. As for "Not constructive", it's a poll-type question. Apr 9, 2012 at 11:29
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    First close reason was wrong. No idea why he closed twice as not constructive though, maybe misclicking a button.. Apr 9, 2012 at 11:36
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    The question could be answered objectively, with great examples .. but that's not the kind of answers the question received. I'm not opposed to re-opening it if you guys want to help us prune / improve the answers a bit. It does look like the moderator who did it wasn't quite sure (and not really a Python person), I'd imagine that the quality of the answers is what made him decide to go ahead and close it.
    – Tim Post
    Apr 9, 2012 at 11:44
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    @Lix hmm, maybe. Like I said, I don't know python, so I can't judge. It looked like polling Apr 9, 2012 at 11:48
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    I think it was unfair closing this Qn.This is what happens when the rule book is followed to the core and Qns aren't scanned on their individual merit Apr 9, 2012 at 12:01
  • Official explanation below
    – casperOne
    Apr 9, 2012 at 13:51
  • @PavanManjunath You've not shown that the question actually has merit. Where is it?
    – casperOne
    Apr 9, 2012 at 14:13

1 Answer 1


I was the moderator who closed it.

It starts out with this meta post:


Which really derives from this post:

How come discussion tag made its way into SO?

Namely, after wiping the , there were a number of crappy tags that I came across which need cleaning up. Two of these tags are and (both of which were on this question).

So revision two was about removing those tags as part of the cleanup.

However, another aspect of the cleanup is to clean up the questions themselves, not just remove the tags.

In looking at the question, I first closed it as "Not A Real Question" because it looked to be asking "how do I" without showing any research effort.

However, looking further, I realized that it was really asking for a list of things (and on top of that, a list of recommendations), both of which we don't do on Stack Overflow.

So there was a reopening to apply the "Not Constructive" close reason to the question. The second one was an accidental click while trying to delete, so I had to re-close the question.

This question, being of such poor quality as well as nine months old with only 190 views (indicating that it really wasn't of value to a great number of people) really has no place on Stack Overflow, hence the reason for the delete (and let's be frank, the answers here are really crappy in terms of what we'd like on Stack Overflow).

However, it seemed to me that there might be some value to this (even though all evidence indicates that there's none), so I undeleted it. That might change at a later date.

  • "Can spammers please answer my question?"
    – user1228
    Apr 9, 2012 at 13:59
  • Nice. Totally as an aside: don't moderators ever want to document such things even when nobody publicly asks about it? (Running into that close-reopen-close-reopen-close-delete-undelete would make me wonder too, though I'd never ask about it.)
    – Arjan
    Apr 9, 2012 at 14:22
  • @Arjan Well, we should use the edit suggestions, but we can't place them on close reasons, and then we'd end up making an edit just to document, or a comment, both of which are kind of "eh" uses for those features. More often than not, the close reasons and deletions stand on their own. I'm not against such a mechanism, but we don't currently have it and using the other ones is really using those mechanisms in ways they weren't meant to be used.
    – casperOne
    Apr 9, 2012 at 14:29
  • Serious question: there are 2 re-open votes on this question. I thought questions closed by a mod couldn't be re-opened. Apr 9, 2012 at 14:30
  • @AdamRackis How the hell did you earn your rep on meta? My God man. =P
    – casperOne
    Apr 9, 2012 at 14:31
  • @AdamRackis Yes, they can be opened, if they couldn't be, people would be in a tizzy over it. It's a check-and-balance measure.
    – casperOne
    Apr 9, 2012 at 14:32
  • @Adam, just in case it helps: things deleted by a moderator cannot be undeleted by others. Sorry about that... ;-)
    – Arjan
    Apr 9, 2012 at 14:34
  • Ahh - deleted, that's what I was thinking. Thanks! And @casper, I earn my rep by whoring bounty questions from un-suspecting providers... Apr 9, 2012 at 14:38

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