The old question Should a function have only one return statement? has been closed as Not Constructive, and it has been deleted.

Let's examine that - is it really not constructive? Well, yes and no:

  • Yes, because it solicits opinion, debate and/or extended answers
  • No, it is constructive because:
    • voting over time has produced clear and definitive answers
    • there are sources quoted, i.e. here, here and here, and I found these before I had even scrolled half way down the first page
    • the very same question continues to be asked, which means this question can be considered canonical and all duplicates can be pointed to it

This request to reopen and preserve the above question was prompted by the recently posted question Is it good practice use more that one RETURN statement in a method?, which was closed as a duplicate of Why is it good practice to return at the end of a method, which itself was closed as Not Constructive when instead it could have been closed as a duplicate of Should a function have only one return statement?.... if only that wasn't deleted.

So, in summary:

  • can we please reopen or undelete this question and do what we need to do to mark it as canonical
  • if it is reopened, we can remove the fluff or low ranking answers as necessary

Should the original question that I propose be canonicalised be re-deleted, this means we should also be deleting all the other later duplicates of that question. Then (in an ideal world) we should also have a method of letting new users know that question is black listed and any version of it that they ask will be deleted.

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    I agree with closure of this question but not with deletion. Initially open-ended questions were acceptable on Stack Overflow, some of which contain a wealth of information and should not be deleted. – Aziz Shaikh Oct 2 '12 at 7:27
  • @AzizShaikh That is a good point, I've edited accordingly. – slugster Oct 2 '12 at 7:29
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    Now that it is reopened, is this question a candidate for locking? – psubsee2003 Oct 2 '12 at 16:48
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    Why are older non-constructive questions so much better than newer non-constructive questions?! – Bo Persson Oct 2 '12 at 17:29
  • @BoPersson Due to the weight of the number of votes, and the different viewpoints offered by the old question in this case. – slugster Oct 2 '12 at 19:49
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    @Aziz: "Initially open-ended questions were acceptable on Stack Overflow, some of which contain a wealth of information and should not be deleted." But this question does not contain a wealth of information. It was a stupid poll question then, and it's a stupid poll question now. We should close and delete it because it's a bad question who's answers don't provide any actual enlightenment to the reader. – Nicol Bolas Oct 2 '12 at 20:16
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    @BoPersson Back in the day such questions were considered acceptable, so the active and knowledgeable SO users answered them with the best answers they could. Now, those users know the questions will be closed/deleted so they don't bother. The only people answering them are the newer, less experienced (and often less knowledgeable) users. – Servy Oct 2 '12 at 20:39
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    Back in the day no one bothered to use their close or delete votes, and by way of traction, anything with +10 is now considered the butter cream that needs to stick around because because @bop – random Oct 2 '12 at 21:42

I'm against deletion of useful content. However, notice the key word there: "useful" content.

There is nothing useful about this question or its answers. It is nothing more than the community weighing in about what it thinks good conventions are. It provides no insight beyond, "This is what a bunch of people here think."

This question is crap and the answers to it are crap. It provides no useful information, unless you consider the popularity of answers to constitute "useful information". It's a garbage question which should be tossed away.

We should not keep a crap question with crap answers around just to use as a pointer for duplicates of said crap question. If people continue to ask it, then we will continue to throw it away. Just as we do for every "Which tech should I use" question that gets repeatedly asked.

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    I see your point of view, but the problem is that the question continues to be asked, and there are copies lying around that are not being thrown away. What you are saying is tantamount to having a black listed question, but the trouble is all those new users who don't know the answer and don't know the question is effectively black listed - it's better to point them to one preserved question. – slugster Oct 2 '12 at 21:07
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    @slugster As to the existing questions, you can always point them out and they tend to get closed fairly quick. As to new users knowing that the question shouldn't be asked, if they read the FAQ they will see that it's not a question that should be asked, if not, they're the type of person likely to post it even if it would be a duplicate. – Servy Oct 2 '12 at 21:15
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    @slugster: "there are copies lying around that are not being thrown away" Then fix that problem. Where's the thread asking for them to be closed and deleted? And it's not black-listing a specific question; every question of this type is not allowed. – Nicol Bolas Oct 2 '12 at 21:16
  • Waitaminnit. Aren't you the guy that was arguing here for preservation of this kind of content? Weren't you the one that was saying you don't trust the system to accurately identify bad content, and remove it? Are you saying that the system did correctly identify this one as crap? – user102937 Oct 3 '12 at 15:48
  • @Robert: There's a difference between "I don't trust the system to always get it right" and "I don't believe the system ever gets it right." This is not a hard distinction to make; even a blind squirrel finds a nut every now and then. Accuracy means hitting the target without collateral damage; I think the current system hits the target but has too fratricide. I don't believe in the preservation of everything; as I said in my first paragraph, what matters is the merit of the question and its answers. This question and the answers it created have no merit. Thus it should go away. – Nicol Bolas Oct 3 '12 at 16:49

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