I asked Where do I find conceptual documentation for Windows Runtime? which was fairly quickly closed a "not constructive". Despite my pleas in comments as soon as the first close votes appeared, nobody explained to me what was nonconstructive about it. Now I'm confused.

I suppose those who voted to close did so because they thought my question was just a badly disguised rant. (If anybody can see a different motivation for closing, please do inform me). But since I do want an answer -- an actual answer going you should RTFM [here](http://bla.bla/bla), not just validation of my frustrations -- can someone help me with how to ask the question in a way that won't get it closed.

The rant-sounding parts of the question was an honest attempt to avoid misunderstandings. There was an earlier question by someone else which got an easy to answer that is not actually helpful to me, and so I explained why it is not helpful, in the hope of preventing that misunderstanding and cluing the reader in to what it is I need.

I also put in a long series of deperrately-phrased example questions that I would like the documentation I'm trying to find to answer. That's because, since I'm looking for resources to help fill my ignorance, I need to describe how I'm ignorance to the reader so he can know what I want -- and simply providing a comprehensive example of my ignorance seemed like a good way to describe it.

It's true enough that what I ultimately want to know is something one could "write an entire book about" -- but I was closed as "unconstructive", not NARQ. And it's clear to me that somebody at Microsoft must have written that book already, somewhere, because there are actual people out there writing WinRT apps, and the documentation I've found so far would not in itself have enabled them to do so. Perhaps (even hopefully) it's a set of web pages rather than a book, but I need to know where it is. Something like this comprehensive introduction to COM, just with "WinRT" instead of "COM".

Or is everybody out there simply fumbling in the dark without documentation, doing what seems to work in practice, despite not having any way to know whether its working is part of the contract or just an incidental feature of the implementation they're testing with? Raymond Chen will have their heads.

What do I do now?

  • 4
    Attempts to provide answers to these specific questions without telling me what I should have read to learn them myself WILL be downvoted Threatening answerers with downvotes wasn't really such a good idea. And it's clear to me that somebody at Microsoft must have written that book already Hm, even after somebody affiliated with Microsoft told you that they don't know of any better in-depth resources that would answer your question?
    – yannis
    Nov 4 '12 at 13:50
  • @YannisRizos: Can you suggest another formulation that will ward off "here r the codez" type answers? People who actually read the question will not be at risk, of course. Nov 4 '12 at 13:52
  • @YannisRizos: "even after somebody affiliated with Microsoft told you that they don't know of any better in-depth resources that would answer your question?" That was after I asked my question, not before. And why is that a reason that SO should not contain an answer explaining that the documentation really doesn't exist. Nov 4 '12 at 13:54
  • Yes, the comment appeared after you asked your SO question, but the quote I'm using is from your MSO question, which, of course, came after the comment. Anyway, that's not really important...
    – yannis
    Nov 4 '12 at 13:54
  • @Yannis: The quote from my MSO question was in defence of my original decision to ask the SO question, when I didn't yet know that I would get that comment. Nov 4 '12 at 13:57
  • Hm, I never said it should be closed. Questions that are little more than requests for external resources are typically considered not constructive, but I'm not so sure about yours. It's highly unlikely that it will turn into an unmaintainable list of links, or that people will just post/upvote their favourites.
    – yannis
    Nov 4 '12 at 14:00
  • Conceptual overview of server-side SSL in Java is open, and it's very similar to the Windows Runtime one. I get that non answers are irritating, but you got to learn from yourself here, I have no idea why people voted to close the question, but I strongly suspect your tone had something to do with it. As I've already mentioned, requests for resources are typically considered NC, but your question is far from a typical "give me the books" question...
    – yannis
    Nov 4 '12 at 14:21
  • 1
    @YannisRizos Was open. We can't possibly answer the question (or any question of the form) "Which documentation should I start by reading to get a working understanding of how to do this?" It's not constructive for us to tell him what's best for him, let alone what is best for everyone.
    – casperOne
    Nov 4 '12 at 15:38
  • @casperOne Hm, the way I read it, he's looking for specs, not "the best" documentation. Not sure though, the question is a bit of a mess.
    – yannis
    Nov 4 '12 at 15:51
  • @casperOne: As Yannis says, I'm not looking for "the best" documentation -- I'm looking for the actual specs. I have a hard time understanding how it is "a mess", though -- I spend a lot of time and very many words trying to explain exactly what my question is. Nov 4 '12 at 15:54
  • Would the downvoters here mind explaining themselves? Is it wrong to want to ask a question in a way that won't be downvoted? Is it wrong to know where I can find the specs of a fairly popular and hyped API (when Google can't find them for me?) What am I doing wrong here? Nov 4 '12 at 15:58
  • @casperOne: Unfortunately your closing of the SSL question came too late to prevent the prompt, helpful and fully satisfying answer I already got for it. Did you forget to delete that answer? Otherwise there doesn't seem to be much point. Nov 4 '12 at 16:00
  • @HenningMakholm a) voting is anonymous, comments asking for reasons for voting are noise and are to be removed (and refrained from in the future) b) voting on meta is different c) if the purpose of this post is more about ranting and less about trying to understand why these kinds of questions aren't a good fit for the site (as evidenced by the tone and content of your last comment directed at me), we can close this post as not constructive, as our energy would be better spent elsewhere.
    – casperOne
    Nov 4 '12 at 16:29
  • @casperOne: Believe me, I truly want to find out where I can learn to use these APIs properly. I'm sorry if this wish comes across as ranting. Is it so bad to want to RTFM instead of having people send me the codez each time I need to do any little thing? Nov 4 '12 at 16:34
  • @Henning: It's not bad to want to read documentation. It's bad to ask for it on Stack Overflow. It's bad to want to ask for it on Stack Overflow (that's the downvotes you're getting here, by suggesting that you should be allowed to ask for it). We do not allow questions asking for documentation. They are not constructive and are therefore closed as such. Nov 5 '12 at 4:16

The first paragraph of your question was clear:

I'm trying to learn enough about Windows Runtime to make a recommendation about what it would entail for my employer to port our existing applications to it. I'm having trouble finding documentation that provides a technical overview of how the API works.

Things went downhill from there. This is how it reads, in order:

  1. A somewhat protracted soliloquy that vents more than telling us where you looked or why you looked there.
  2. A threat to down vote any answer you receive on certain conditions:

    These are examples only. Attempts to provide answers to these specific questions without telling me what I should have read to learn them myself WILL be downvoted

  3. The most bizarre multiple choice question I have ever seen

You are asking a single question in hopes of receiving an answer that points you to some piece of documentation detailing what's involved in porting any program to Windows? Beyond the tl;dr factor, I can't find anything in the question that described what your program actually is or does.

It looks like you're interested in asynchronous I/O (I can't be sure). You could try asking a more specific question?

Something like:

I have a program written for (os) which we want to port to Windows. My main concern in porting is (async I/O?) because I can't find concrete documentation that explains (doubt). Here is a generic sample of code, what steps would I need to take to port it?

That should be constructive enough for SO if you word it carefully. Keep in mind, we exist to help you with specific problems that you can illustrate with code. We don't have the capacity to maintain a pure list of links to other sites.

It looks like you're interested in specific areas of the documentation you want, but it's really hard to tell from your question.

  • No, I'm not asking for "documentation detailing what's involved in porting any program to Windows". I'm asking for documentation of how the Windows Runtime APIs are suppsed to be used. Once I have that documentation, I'll figure out how to do the porting myself. API documentation should not depend on what our program is or does. It should describe what the API does and what the contract it offers is. Nov 4 '12 at 15:45
  • Your suggested "more specific question" is not what I want an answer to. I don't want people to send me the codez, I want to know where the API spec I'm writing for is. Nov 4 '12 at 15:49
  • (And it seems like I've failed to convey that I'm speaking about Windows Runtime specifically (aka "Windows 8-Style Apps", "Windows Store Apps" or "Metro" depending on who you talk to), rather than "porting to Windows" in general. Our code already exists in a version for ordinary Win32. Can you recommend a way to make that clearer?). Nov 4 '12 at 15:50
  • 5
    The threat to downvote is a real show stopper for me, I immediately don't give a crap if the OP gets help or not. The tone you take is a big factor in how well your question is received.
    – user159834
    Nov 4 '12 at 17:54

If there was a specific place with all this documentation, you and Google would surely already know that. If there is not, how can we answer your question with a correct answer?

Everyone would have to list their favorite sites, and there's where it turns non-constructive.

The only authoritative answer would be if a person with inside information were to tell you that there is nothing to read, ever.

  • Well, how many different sites can there be, for people to choose favorites among? It's not as if there are multiple different API specs out there such that which one to read is a matter of choice or opinion, is it? Nov 4 '12 at 18:01
  • The point is rather that if there is a master site, we would all know about that, including Google. And the question wouldn't be necessary. This is a catch-22 situation.
    – Bo Persson
    Nov 4 '12 at 18:05
  • Oh well. I'll just have to ask a zillion individual questions and follow up to each useful-sounding answer with "where did you learn that?"... Nov 4 '12 at 18:28
  • 2
    @HenningMakholm And by doing that .. aren't you basically helping to collect all of these answers in one place? I don't see what's bad about that. The only answer to your current question would likely be a list of nine books to read, and a dozen sites to visit ... all while links rot over time. We have tried entertaining questions like that in the past to less than desirable ends. I'm sorry, but the type of question you originally asked is just not a good fit for us. We're not being jerks, we've just spent the last four years learning what does and doesn't work.
    – Tim Post
    Nov 5 '12 at 1:09

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