This question was closed a few minutes after being asked (and about a minute after I answered it) by a moderator. The moderator left a rather brusque comment before closing the question. I had posted an answer, but nobody other than the moderator had commented before the question was closed; this was a unilateral action on the part of the moderator.

It was closed as being "not a real question", but it was very clear (to me) what the question was. I (and another commenter) believe the comment reveals that the moderator was out of his depth regarding the subject matter. Sure, the question was not well researched, but it was (in my view) clearly from a novice and I think there should be some leeway here. Furthermore, it was flat-out wrong, in my view, for the moderator to impugn the motives of the OP.

  • I think it was a false positive, voted to reopen. What APK and ProGuard are is clear enough in the Android Domain, so I don't think advertising is the case. I suspect it will be reopened soon, seeing the current votes btw? – Nanne Jul 6 '12 at 6:54
  • The question was also almost criminally mis-tagged. With the proguard tag for additional context, the question is much more clear... while still also being very much NARQ. – Charles Jul 6 '12 at 7:06

The question is extremely broad. Entire tutorials and documentation have likely been written on the subject of ProGuard, preventing decompilation, and possibly even using it to prevent decompilation of an APK.

On Stack Overflow, the community generally expects askers to show signs that they've done their own research on the topic, such as explaining what he/she tried. What did he/she look at so far? Where is the person stuck?

Instead, this question is asking for a full length guide on the subject, and that just isn't what Stack Overflow is about. Stack Overflow is for questions about a real, actual problem that you're facing, where you're stuck on a specific problem or concept.

The moderator who closed this question recognized that this question falls under the criteria for "Not a real question" and he took action, as appropriate.

If you believe the question could be salvaged, check out the FAQ, and work with the asker to make edits to it to bring it up to speed. For instance, you could start by asking the asker to include the things I've mentioned above.

Keep in mind that closing is sometimes just a temporary state where the question is put on hold while the asker has time to fix the problems. Most people don't fix their questions though, but occasionally some do get turned into great questions.

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    I think this is a hypercritical over-reading of the original post. It was simply a beginner asking "How do I enable ProGuard in my project?" Yes, it was naive, poorly worded and tagged, and showed little research effort. But OP is clearly a novice and I'd like to see a little leeway granted in these cases. I also think that, as a matter of principle, moderators should let the community do its job. There was no reason for swift, unilateral action by a moderator here (accompanied by a snarky comment about adverisers), and that's what led me to posting about it here on meta. – Ted Hopp Jul 6 '12 at 7:21
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    @TedHopp - Just to cut RobertHarvey some slack, he may have been acting on a flag. Any user with 15 reputation or higher can flag a post as Not a real question. I'm not sure if we can see the flag or not since it's probably been resolved. Still, I wonder if the asker tried reading the documentation? Being a beginner at programming doesn't make you an illiterate, and if you don't include what you tried, we have to assume the answer is that you've tried nothing. ;) – jmort253 Jul 6 '12 at 7:25
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    @TedHopp: Being a beginner doesn't stop you from reading the documentation and trying something before asking a question. He knows the right keywords, did he at least type them into Google before asking? If he did - he should clarify that and explain why it didn't help, will likely get his question reopened. "I am too busy to read documentation" isn't a valid excuse. – Wladimir Palant Jul 6 '12 at 7:30
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    I'm not sure why someone would flag the question rather than posting a comment and/or downvoting it. There wasn't anything offensive about it (unless you agree with Charles that poor tagging is a criminal offense. :)) I see that the question has not only been reopened, it has now been closed again, this time by a more democratic process. Poor OP -- he's asked 4 questions and 3 of them have been closed. He's probably not feeling the love right now. – Ted Hopp Jul 6 '12 at 7:35
  • @TedHopp - The most important thing for the op is he got a good answer from you, so the closure is really just a signpost at this point to let others know how they should ask. In general though, I think it's good to leave comments asking for clarification if I think something is vague. Some new users do respond to feedback. Still, closed questions are just temporary states, and we should definitely remind new users that it doesn't have to be a bad thing, thanks to the editing mechanisms. – jmort253 Jul 6 '12 at 8:00
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    @TedHopp: Can you explain to me why it is better if 5 people close the post instead of a moderator? I mean, that guy is a moderator for a reason and knows the rules very well. Also, without the moderators there'd be much more crap floating around. And Flags do cover a very wide area of possibilities, not only offensive content. – Time Traveling Bobby Jul 6 '12 at 8:13
  • @UristMcBobby - For the question itself, you're right that closed is closed. But there's another aspect to this: due process. The moderator, on his own and based on what all evidence indicates to be a misreading of the question, closed it. At least five people felt it should be reopened, suggesting that there was room for disagreement. (It's interesting that among the five people who voted to close it again, none seem to be strongly active in the areas now tagged by the question; I wonder how many of those votes were inspired by this discussion on meta and not the question itself.) – Ted Hopp Jul 8 '12 at 2:03
  • @UristMcBobby - I would also add that the possibility of a flag is just "going 'round the mulberry bush". For a flag to be actionable, there must be something about the question worthy of flag. What about this question was flaggable? This just brings us back to where the discussion started. – Ted Hopp Jul 8 '12 at 2:05

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