This is a strange situation on someone's question that I answered. I couldn't find a similar question on Meta.

The question was tagged "C#" because it was asking about how do something in Cache Object Script that you can also do in C#, and gave some C# code to illustrate. It was tagged "intersystems-cache" as well, and specifically asked how to write the code in Cache (which is admittedly an abysmally stupid and confusing name for a language, but the OP isn't responsible for that).

The question (predictably I suppose) got a few downvotes because it appeared to some people as a deeply confused question about C#, even though there was enough information in the question to figure out that it was not, so in all probability the downvotes were a mistake.

My main concern is that perfectly valid questions (including this one) about the "Cache" language will get deleted due to downvoting by C# programmers that misunderstand the questions, since C# developers probably outnumber Cache developers at least 100 to 1 in the world at large, and at least 1000 to 1 on this site.

Is there anything that can be done about this?

  • 2
    He gets -1 for attitude from me. It also appears to be an extremely trivial question that would be easily answered by reading the docs.
    – Brad Mace
    Oct 5 '12 at 17:17
  • 2
    @BradMace - The docs are pretty hard to find and read. A -1 for attitude? Really? What does that say about your own attitude?
    – psr
    Oct 5 '12 at 17:33
  • 1
    Hm, I think downvoting someone for failing to write the language's name correctly in their question isn't really unjustified, especially when the language is Caché ObjectScript and they write "cache" instead. I wouldn't mind if they had written "cache objectscript", or something similar, but with just "cache" the question was extremely confusing and I'd probably downvote it as well. Note, however, that although @BradMace downvoted "for attitude", he also edited and improved the question, which imho is great (attitude wise).
    – yannis
    Oct 5 '12 at 17:42
  • 6
    @psr Comments like If you want to know what it is RTFM and I also expect C# folks to have a decent level of reading comprehension. is probably not the right level of snark for a person asking for help Oct 5 '12 at 17:43
  • @YannisRizos - Fair enough all around.
    – psr
    Oct 5 '12 at 17:46
  • @SomeHelpfulCommenter - Well, yes. But it's also actually a helpful question for others because it is surprisingly hard to find in the documentation.
    – psr
    Oct 5 '12 at 17:47

My main concern is that perfectly valid questions (including this one) about the "Cache" language will get deleted due to downvoting by C# **programmers that misunderstand the questions [empahsis added]

Just because a question is valid doesn't make it good question. A question is bad if the first tag on the question is easily misunderstood by that audience.

So why is there a misunderstanding?

  • Unpopular tag with a confusing name -- You already mention that Cache Object Script can be confused with Caching so you start off in bad place. The OP should know this but makes the minimal effort (tags only) to point this out.

  • Bad title -- "How to call base class constructor" is a bad title. It probably should have been what was in the body "What is Caché Object Script's equivalent code to this C# code". Its important to point out that you added that and that it originally had "What is cache's equivalent code to this c# code?"

  • Inappropriate response to comments by the OP -- When someone asks for clarification, and the response is "I think the question is pretty straightforward" this demonstrates that the OP isn't going to address any deficiencies with the question. While this doesn't inherently mean that the question is bad, it does mean that the person who is in the best position to fix any problems is unwilling to. This is a compelling reason to stay away from a question like this. Thus a downvote makes sense.

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Is there anything that can be done about this?

  • Recognize that there is going to be confusion and take measures to explain the difference in the beginning.

  • Make sure you have good titles. In this case the word, "equivalent" should appear in the title. This will also help people who use that keyword in google to find this question.

  • Respond appropriately to comments that ask for clarifications. Telling people that are potentially going to help you to RTFM or that you expect better reading comprehension is not doing anyone any good.


In addition to the good suggestions about how to ask a better question, it might be advisable for people voting on questions (up/down or close/open) that see one or more tags that they don't know the meaning of to consider whether they are truly qualified to render an opinion in the form of a vote, prior to voting.

Doing otherwise risks crushing small and obscure SO sub-communities with votes that more informed community members would not make.

And yes, I admit that I don't remember to read the tags 100% of the time myself, and that certainly much of the burden falls on those asking questions.

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