So I posted a question on stackoverflow last night about whether an appropriate database tool existed which met my needs, and not only was it quickly downvoted and then closed, but none of the people who did so left a comment whatsoever as to why they wanted it closed, or why they think it was a sloppily wrote low quality question.

From what I understand my question was closed because it was a question that invited opinion and discussion, but I personally don't believe my question elicits that.

I still need an answer to the question, however obviously it's been closed, so I was wondering if anyone here could help me understand how to write a better version of the same question in order to get it not closed.

2 Answers 2


You can.

From "Good subjective, bad subjective":

Great subjective questions inspire answers that explain “why” and “how”. The best subjective questions invite explanation. If you’re asking for a product recommendation of some kind, you want answers to contain detailed information about the features and how they can be used, and why you might want to choose one over the other. “How?” and “Why?” has more lasting value than a bunch of product-feature bullet points or a giant enumerated list, no matter how extensive. In contrast, the bad subjective questions let answerers get away with hit-and-run answers that maybe provide a name and a link — but fail to provide any sort of adequate explanation, context, or background.

Essentially, your question should have been

Given my requirements, how should I evaluate existing libraries in order to assure that I choose the best one?

instead of

Is there an existing database library which caters for my needs, and if so, what is it?

That said, it probably wouldn't get reopened. The thing is, you pretty much already know your requirements, so as long as you can express them in terms of features that a library supports, you have your own answer. Getting from one to the other isn't on topic for StackOverflow either, so that path is also out.


You can't. Stack Overflow is not a place to ask "Can you find something that matches these needs?" type questions. It basically invites users to post whatever they want.

These types of questions are equivalent to the "identify this" type questions that had huge debates on other Stack Exchange sites. You're just describing what you want and hoping someone can come up with it. The only difference here is that your description can match many different things.

  • That's true, but I would have thought that the needs were so specific that it specifically prevented users from posting whatever they wanted, for example, what makes my question so different from: stackoverflow.com/questions/4863349/… which received no down or close votes? Apr 13, 2012 at 8:20
  • Also why did you edit my post to get rid of the thank you? It's just common courtesy :p Apr 13, 2012 at 8:21
  • 4
    @AndrewDunn: Should 'Hi', 'thanks,' taglines, and salutations be removed from posts? -- As for that post, it may have just slipped through the cracks. As you go further back in the timeline, you'll find more and more posts that don't follow the rules. The rules change. The best way to start cleaning your room is to not pile more junk on top of the stuff that's already there. :)
    – animuson StaffMod
    Apr 13, 2012 at 8:21
  • Wow, never would have thought a simple thank you would be so controversial :S It's a shame stackoverflow has become so focused on being a good website rather than on providing answers to questions. Just my 2 cents. Apr 13, 2012 at 8:33
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    @AndrewDunn, the SE network is focussed on providing good answers to good questions. One of the ways that the founders and devs define good is that a question or answer should not encourage discussion, because the site is emphatically not a discussion forum. It may very well be that questions or answers that are considered good in a wider context get downvoted or closed, but that's because they are more suited to a forum than a pure Q&A site and don't fit within the definition of an appropriate question here.
    – RivieraKid
    Apr 13, 2012 at 9:46

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