Is there a good reason why this question got deleted?

At first sight it seems a little provocative and has probably little use, but:

  • it is a programming question
  • it can be answered (several valid answers were given)

I could understand that it gets closed (little practical use?), but deleted? Also note that it has 4 reopen votes.


3 Answers 3


Just for those who can't see deleted posts, here's the question.

Hello World in Java without semicolons

I've seen that it's possible to write "Hello World" without any semicolons in C, but I've heard that it is not so easy to do in Java, as System.out.println() does not return an integer that can be evaluated like printf().

Does anyone have any ideas how you might write a "Hello World" program in Java with no semicolons?

As you can see, this is an exceedingly contrived question. As such, it goes against the guideline in the FAQ that says:

You should only ask practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face.

Since it was deleted by the community (and not by a single moderator vote), and I happen to agree with that action, I'm reluctant to intervene.

  • 2
    I would agree. It's one of those "Oh, that's quite fun."-type questions which might enjoy some popularity (perhaps explaining the reopen votes) but which are ultimately not really appropriate.
    – Bart
    May 22, 2012 at 18:53
  • 2
    @Bart Yeah, it might be a fun puzzle to hack on for a bit, but I doubt it has any lasting value. I can't really see how you'd even be able to actually use anything you learn from it. Unless your job security relies on obfuscation... ;) May 22, 2012 at 18:57
  • Not to mention that a Google search actually reveals this exact puzzle has been discussed to death elsewhere.
    – Bart
    May 22, 2012 at 18:58

I was one of the persons that voted to delete it. Here was my reasoning.

The first line in the FAQ's What kind of questions should I not ask here? is:

You should only ask practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face. Chatty, open-ended questions diminish the usefulness of our site and push other questions off the front page.

This question was chatty, would solicit opinion about whether it was it was "cheating" or a real answer (as was already happening in the comments).

I doubt it was based on an "actual problems that you face", either.

  • I think it got real answers but I also agree that it was probably not an "actual problem that you face", unless the interview-questions tag was missing.
    – assylias
    May 22, 2012 at 19:20

That's more of a Code Golf question as it's contrived, not practical. Contrived stuff is okay there if it fits their guidelines, though this doesn't seem very fun for a code golf IMO.

Consider posting on Code Golf, I'm fairly sure that matches their guidelines but I'm not a regular user of the site. Just make sure you meet their criteria in the FAQ before posting challenges.

  • I did not ask that specific question and I know the answer so I don't really care. Just trying to get a better understanding of the etiquette as I thought the question deserved to be closed but probably not to be deleted.
    – assylias
    May 22, 2012 at 19:01
  • 1
    @assylias ah, I wasn't sure since I can't see the deleted post, just the transcript in Bill's answer
    – Ben Brocka
    May 22, 2012 at 19:04
  • 3
    Well, it may not even belong on Code Golf. There's no objective winning criterion, and really only one or two possible answers...
    – Ry-
    May 22, 2012 at 23:10
  • @minitech true, hadn't thought of that. It seemed too "boring" for code golf but I couldn't quite explain why, I guess that'd be it, it's hardly a competition.
    – Ben Brocka
    May 22, 2012 at 23:57

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