I had a valid post downvoted by some people here jumping to conclusions in what might be an attempt to gain reputation or something, but I asked a question on StackOverflow about converting a string to an array. There were a bunch of people with very good answers to this valid question. However: my example contained "NL" and "DE"... Country codes of two countries not in the US, but the point was to convert a strong to an array. The fact that "NL" and "DE" were in the string had NOTHING to do with the question.

It was closed for being too location-specific. Check the question here, there are two countries in the example, but they have nothing to do with the problem and therefor this question is NOT only valid in a small geological area. Unless I'm in the only country in the world where strings are sometimes converted to arrays.

I'm just a bit frustrated a good question gets downvoted by some people that CLEARLY didn't read the question, hurting my reputation and hiding good answers to a valid problem that could occur ANYWHERE in the world. So... is there anything that can be done to reinstate this question?

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    Side point: I don't see any downvotes on that question.
    – Mysticial
    Oct 30, 2012 at 2:56
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    "too localized" is not the same as "only valid in one location". More likely in this case it meant "it doesn't look like anyone else will have this specific problem" Oct 30, 2012 at 2:58
  • reason the topic was closed: "This question is unlikely to help any future visitors; it is only relevant to a small geographic area, a specific moment in time, or an extraordinarily narrow situation that is not generally applicable to the worldwide audience of the internet." The example uses two countries the Netherlands and Germany, but this example can be used for any country out there... In fact, for any string. I use the same answers on this question to make an array of keywords from a string
    – patrick
    Oct 30, 2012 at 3:13
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    @patrick You're getting hung up on the geographic location part of too localized. That's not the only reason a question can be too localized. Don't get hung up on the location part. It would have been closed no matter what two letters you used in the code -- country locations or not! Oct 30, 2012 at 3:17
  • @patrick - Do you know what the meaning of the word "or" is in the context of "a small geographic area, a specific moment in time, or an extraordinarily narrow situation that is not generally applicable to the worldwide audience of the internet"? I'm not being facetious. After reading your question, I'm honestly not sure if you realize what "or" means--as a word or as a logical connective.
    – user164207
    Oct 30, 2012 at 5:23
  • @Jack, I read people's constructive comments here which made me realise what the fuss was about, so I'm glad I posted this. But NOR does my question concern a small geographic area, NOR does it work in a specific moment in time, NOR is it applicable in extraordinarily narrow situations. Please don't patronize people, I can't imagine that's good for any community
    – patrick
    Oct 30, 2012 at 15:58
  • @patrick - "NOR is it applicable in extraordinarily narrow situations." First of all, again, please stop screaming. Second, at least five people with 3,000 or more reputation disagreed with you. Full stop.
    – user164207
    Oct 30, 2012 at 16:14
  • @JackManey, so if five people with 3,000 or more reputation say something's wrong it must be true? That's stupid! Did you even read the comments before you answered or are you trying to kiss up to people with higher reps? I'm still using the answers in that post today for my admanager which is now pretty fool proof when people enter lists of countries in any way ("US,UK,NL" or "US UK NL", doesn't matter anymore), so I still see the question as very valid and the replies are very useful
    – patrick
    Jun 5, 2013 at 9:53

2 Answers 2


Your question was closed as 'too localized' because as written, it only applied to your code and your specific situation.

One of the (many) things that differentiates Stack Overflow from other sites (and from those icky things called forums) is that every question on this site should be useful to future visitors. If they're not, they should be closed as too localized.

Your question did not meet that standard, and thus was closed.

I don't agree with the closing, because I think the question could have been salvaged. Remember, though, the first person who should be making sure the question is in good shape is the person asking it. In this case, you.

Admittedly, your question had a few things wrong with it, all of which on their own would not have caused the question to be closed, but all together they become a little much to bear.

For instance:

Your closing sentence was,

"So, basically any 2 letter word"

You didn't take the care and effort to formulate the ending of your question. It's just sitting there. That can cause people to say, "If he's not going to put effort into his question, why should it stay open?"

Second, you didn't show your effort in the question. Your question had a plzsendtehcodez feeling to it, and the community doesn't like those one bit.

When you were asked what you had tried, you never put it into the question. Clarifying points should always be added to the question. Comments are a bad medium for most things -- and clarifications are one of those things.

Finally, you lost your temper in the comments:

Closed as too localized?? Only because the examples are "NL" and "DE" instead of "US" and "CA"... The problem still remains the same, converting a string to an array. I think this topic can be very useful to people and DOES NOT need to closed!

And again:

@NikiC, Marc B, tereškom, Lucifer, Claus Jørgensen, closing this doesn't make sense! This question has NO localized content. It has NOTHING to do with any geographic area! This is a question about converting a string to an array, nothing more, nothing less. It might be good for your reputation to downvote valid questions, but people will miss out on good answers to serious, NON LOCALIZED questions!

All caps and exclamation points aren't generally signs that you're a happy-go-lucky guy. Rather, they tend to point towards someone who is none-too-happy about their situation. I get that, but it doesn't endear others to see things your way.

I've edited your question to give it a chance to stay re-opened. If it gets closed again, there's not much I can do.

In the future, your best bet is to take great care in asking questions. The more care you take in asking them, the more likely people will answer them with that same level of care.

  • lost temper? I'm not aware of such a thing, where did I lose my temper?
    – patrick
    Oct 30, 2012 at 3:22
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    @patrick I'll edit my answer to include your comments that indicated that. Oct 30, 2012 at 3:23
  • I appreciate your edit, though I think it makes the question too "plzsendtehcodez" now... It pushes towards a REGEXP solution, which is what I thought would be the best way to get to the answer as well, but one guy came with a solution that didn't require REGEXP...
    – patrick
    Oct 30, 2012 at 3:25
  • @patrick You did ask to use preg_match, I kept that in there. If your original post had said, "I don't care how you do it, just do it" then I would have kept that in there. Oct 30, 2012 at 3:26
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    @patrick How does my edit make it seem like plzsendtehcodez? There's a general question there, there's research, effort, and a clearly defined end state. Oct 30, 2012 at 3:27
  • granted, that's true.
    – patrick
    Oct 30, 2012 at 3:28
  • @patrick - "lost temper? I'm not aware of such a thing, where did I lose my temper?" Screaming is generally a sign of losing one's temper.
    – user164207
    Oct 30, 2012 at 5:25
  • Screaming usually involves things like all caps (which I won't even emulate here). Was he upset? Yes. Lost temper? Honestly, I don't see it. Providing an example with two-letter code is helpful to see how it works.
    – Lizz
    Oct 30, 2012 at 6:25
  • @Lizz - "Screaming usually involves things like all caps". Yes. Yes, it does.
    – user164207
    Oct 30, 2012 at 16:15

Here's how the "too localized" close reason reads.

This question is unlikely to help any future visitors; it is only relevant to a small geographic area, a specific moment in time, or an extraordinarily narrow situation that is not generally applicable to the worldwide audience of the internet. For help making this question more broadly applicable, see the FAQ.

Emphasis mine.

"Too localized" can mean that the question is focused on a small geographical region. In my experience, though, that applies to a really small proportion of questions closed with that reason. It's much more commonly applied to questions that ask for a solution to a narrowly defined problem. Something that probably won't help a future visitor, as the close reason describes.

It's cool if an answer to your question helps you, but that's not the main reason the question exists. Stack Overflow wants to gather answers that'll help future visitors. We want questions and answers to have life.

In your case, you've asked for a specific regular expression. The expression would work for your input, but not generally for anyone else's. That is a common case for application of the "too localized" close reason, and that's why five* Stack Overflow users voted to close. It would have helped (as I write in the comments below) if you had described the general requirements for your expression, in addition to your sample input and output.

* Well, three, really - two others might have voted to close for a different reason, but I doubt it.

  • This question is about converting ANY string of words to an array. I use the same REGEXP to make a list of keywords into an array. It is NOT only useful in extraordinarily narrow situations... converting user entered strings to something you can store in a database is not specific. ANY example in ANY tutorial is specific, but it will teach you how things work. The readers task is to apply the given answers to his own specific problem, isn't that how ANY tutorial works??
    – patrick
    Oct 30, 2012 at 3:20
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    If you had framed your question in that way, that you were looking for a general solution, then your question might not have been closed. The last sentence of George's edit to your question ("The regex should only match two letter country codes, everything else should be ignored") does help here. Oct 30, 2012 at 3:23
  • True... I still think it's unfortunate that people don't look past the way a question is asked though. Converting a string to an array is what my question was and it's what the answers were about. It can help a lot of people with the same problem. I still do not think it's a specific problem at all.
    – patrick
    Oct 30, 2012 at 3:27
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    @patrick, that is a problem indeed. People can easily tell you "your question is too localized", but not many can tell you how to fix it. So as someone who asks questions, one way you can combat this is to just ask in the comments, "What do you suggest I do to fix the question so it's not too localized?". Your reaction was... understandable... but as a question-asker, you can disarm the naysayers and instead reach out to those who would be willing to help. ;) Good luck!
    – jmort253
    Oct 30, 2012 at 3:53

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