Are yes or no questions useful on Stack Overflow?

Not all yes/no questions are easy to answer.

One such example of a non-closed Yes-No constructive question: Should this work?
The OP is asking if it should work -- Yes or No,
but yet the answer turns in a completely different direction.

A second example of a closed constructive question: https://stackoverflow.com/q/9056156/561731
The OP was curious as to why the browser showed no output, and the answer clearly explained why.
That one should not have been closed, because it seemed very constructive based on the answers given.

Wow this one is a yes no question, but under the flag of meta discussion

  • 1
    Any meaningful examples you could share? Jun 15, 2012 at 16:07
  • @MartijnPieters not that the moment, but I am sure they exist in some manner.
    – Naftali
    Jun 15, 2012 at 16:08
  • Since this is a Meta discussion, it's okay to make it CW from the start, right?
    – Pekka
    Jun 15, 2012 at 16:11
  • @Pekka Of course ^_^
    – Naftali
    Jun 15, 2012 at 16:12
  • 1
    Either way, I don't really see how this is constructive without some real world examples or a real world problem that needs solving. I guess the only answer that can be given is "it depends"
    – Pekka
    Jun 15, 2012 at 16:12
  • @Pekka I am trying to find constructive examples, it is harder than it seems....
    – Naftali
    Jun 15, 2012 at 16:13
  • @Pekka Found an example!
    – Naftali
    Jun 15, 2012 at 16:15
  • Okay, but I still don't get what the point of this question is. That example clearly got an useful answer, so there is no real issue here, is there?
    – Pekka
    Jun 15, 2012 at 16:18
  • @Pekka one sec, I found an example of a Closed constructive question.
    – Naftali
    Jun 15, 2012 at 16:18
  • @Pekka I added it.
    – Naftali
    Jun 15, 2012 at 16:19
  • But that question is closed because it is too localized. Not because it is a yes/no question.
    – Pekka
    Jun 15, 2012 at 16:20
  • @Pekka hmmm that seems like it is so, but I am just right now going through closed questions with the would "Should" in the title to find examples.
    – Naftali
    Jun 15, 2012 at 16:21
  • I think its clear that the fact that a question imposes a dichotomy is not a valid basis for closure. Perhaps "Is editing Yes/No questions so that they're not" is a more interesting question Jun 15, 2012 at 16:25
  • @SomeHelpfulCommenter not all Yes-No Questions get real yes-no answers -- is what I am saying.
    – Naftali
    Jun 15, 2012 at 16:26
  • 5
    Imagine if we closed this question because it's a yes/no question. Jun 15, 2012 at 16:42

1 Answer 1


I say no. Let me give an example:

Is It Safe to use std::copy on a string?

Hi, I was wondering, can I use std::copy like this?

   const char *input = "Hello World";
   std::string copyTo;
   std::copy(input, input + strlen(input), copyTo.begin());

That is a perfectly legitimate Yes/No question, with one correct answer (No). While the question may be able to be reworded to a fashion that is easier to read (e.g. How To Copy a string in C++), that doesn't make the current question invalid.

My general philosophy is when in doubt, edit to fix, don't vote to close.

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