I see questions like How can I make a redirect page in jQuery/JavaScript?. This is an old question that has got more than 1000 up-votes now.

But what would happened if the same question was asked now?

  • comment: What have you tried? Show code you are trying.
  • downvote
  • downvote
  • Closed by bla,blb,blc,bld,ble

What we are supposed to do with this kind of question which does not show any efforts by the OP?

Should we leave a poor question alone only because it has a good answer?

  • It's extremely old and the OP hasn't come back in more than a year... Commented Dec 31, 2012 at 15:20
  • @BoltClock'saUnicorn so you mean question like this which are old is ok ? Commented Dec 31, 2012 at 15:21
  • 11
    The question isn't "not constructive". It's of low quality, but it doesn't meet any criteria for being closed. At most it should be downvoted if you feel it is a poor quality question (to which I'd agree, it is). If other people felt it was of high quality and upvoted, that's their right.
    – Servy
    Commented Dec 31, 2012 at 15:57
  • 4
    @Servy My upvotes for questions like that are because they're helpful, not because of their question quality (although personally for simple questions like that, I prefer a short to-the-point question, and not a wall-of-text containing everything the OP has tried).
    – Rachel
    Commented Dec 31, 2012 at 16:14
  • 4
    Despite being not that great a question by today's standards, its title is extremely concise and it has extremely clear answers. A simple google search for redirection in javascript is almost certain to turn it up high in the list (in fact 'redirect in jquery' finds it as the first result for me), so it is actually of great value to Stack Overflow for driving traffic. Commented Dec 31, 2012 at 16:14
  • 1
    @Rachel The information is already readily available. Simply googling the question title would have resulted in an answer. (It's hard to prove, since Google results will be much different now, but I'm confident that the information was easy enough to come by then.) Such "general reference" material doesn't need to be on SO. It's still a debatable issue if it should be a valid reason for closing, but at the very least it's not a high quality question.
    – Servy
    Commented Dec 31, 2012 at 16:18
  • 17
    @Servy I disagree there. I love "general reference" material on StackOverflow, as its a huge help when I'm working with a language I'm not very familiar with. When I'm searching for a solution on Google, SO links are always the first I click on because I know the answers are all reviewed by a large community of programmers, and the best answers will be at the very top of the page. I have no problem with short, concise questions written like this for basic problems, providing there is no existing question on SO that already contains that information. These questions make SO better, not worse.
    – Rachel
    Commented Dec 31, 2012 at 16:24
  • @Rachel That's not an argument for saying that it's a high quality question, it's an argument for not closing the question. I'm not saying the question should be closed, I'm saying it's of low quality as it demonstrates virtually no effort.
    – Servy
    Commented Dec 31, 2012 at 16:30
  • 1
    That question is in the top 20 on Stack Overflow with respect to view rate (views per time unit) over the entire lifetime of a question, and it is probably the reason for the many upvotes. It gets about 350 views per day. I have a SEDE query to display the highest view rate question. Commented Dec 31, 2012 at 18:59
  • 3
    This question (and its underlying subject) was talked about at length on the podcast. Commented Jan 10, 2013 at 20:46

5 Answers 5


I think there are two different questions of note:

1. Is this question, or more pointedly, its answers, helping or hurting users of the internet?

And it's pretty clearly helping. It contains both, "if you HAD to do it the way you asked, here's how," and "actually, you shouldn't do it that way at all. You should just do this".

2. Does this question type undermine the site by alienating the experts we really care about?

This one's closer to an issue, but I wouldn't sweat it too hard, because the primary problem here seems to be the lack of effort in the question. (No "what I tried", initial thoughts, etc.) But that problem is usually related to an effort asymmetry issue, where an asker is requesting our community do a lot more work to answer than they did to ask, and in this case, the answers didn't take too much effort, either.

While I agree that this question and its responses both have more upvotes that is really ideal, I think that's more of a bike shed problem than anything else.

At the end of the day, this post is probably helping people. And that's good.

  • 3
    "But that problem is usually related to an effort asymmetry issue, where an asker is requesting our community do a lot more work to answer than they did to ask, and in this case, the answers didn't take too much effort, either." I wish I could upvote you more than once for this line in your 2nd point, because I think that sums up the difference between the linked question, and the ones that need to include what the OP has tried to be considered a good question for SE.
    – Rachel
    Commented Dec 31, 2012 at 16:52

Whoa, whoa, whoa... "Not Constructive"? Seriously?

Are you referring to,

As it currently stands, this question is not a good fit for our Q&A format. We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or specific expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. If you feel that this question can be improved and possibly reopened, see the FAQ for guidance.

The only not-constructive part of that question was the request for an answer in jQuery, and thankfully most of the answerers ignored that. It's a simple question with an objective answer; a bit of context wouldn't hurt, but I doubt it would help much either.

I'm starting to seriously miss "Subjective & Argumentative".

  • I think people get confused because of the lack of "general reference" as a close reason. Currently we (mis)use NARQ for the same purposes (question too basic or shows no research effort).
    – user200500
    Commented Dec 31, 2012 at 16:12
  • 7
    I'd have to say, this is a pretty good example of why there's no General Reference close reason.
    – Shog9
    Commented Dec 31, 2012 at 16:15
  • @Asad exactly ... i am confused ...i even thought to mention that .. Commented Dec 31, 2012 at 16:29
  • 3
    @Null: the problem with completely disallowing questions that can be answered elsewhere is that... Well, there tends to be a lot of poor information or outright misinformation floating around, and while you would hope that the "canonical" sources are kept up-to-date (nevermind the confusion created by, say, MSDN not agreeing with MDN not agreeing with w3.org) merely identifying a canonical source can be troublesome when you're asking a question that doesn't match up perfectly with an API description. Contrast the various answers posted there...
    – Shog9
    Commented Dec 31, 2012 at 16:36
  • 1
    @Shog9 I prefer 'Not a good fit' as opposed to 'not constructive'. Someone mentioned that on meta as a possible improvement in verbiage. I have to agree, especially with as much trouble as 'Not Constructive' causes. This question today would deserve a downvote for no research, but not closing. Commented Dec 31, 2012 at 16:47
  • 1
    @GeorgeStocker I asked a question like that a while back. I still think it should be changed, even though I got more downvotes than upvotes on my proposal. Change the “Not Constructive” close reason to some variation of “not a good fit for SE” so it matches its description?
    – Rachel
    Commented Dec 31, 2012 at 16:54
  • 2
    @Rachel: I can't stand the "not constructive" phrasing either. Most of the hundreds of flags we get with that close reason are based on a complete misunderstanding of what it truly means (i.e. it really is more off-topic or NARQ than NC). Commented Jan 1, 2013 at 7:57

How is that particular question not constructive? It could have been worded better, but it asks a relevant question and has relevant answers.

If you are unsure how to handle the question then do nothing. In any case that question will require a lot of votes to close it due to its high number of up votes. If it were asked today the most likely response would be a comment along the lines of What have you tried?.

  • The number of votes to close doesn't escalate, only the number to delete (capped by 10 max). Commented Jan 21, 2013 at 14:43

Back in the old days, questions like this were more accepted, but the community has matured beyond that point. For old posts there are three options:

  • Ignore, if nobody complains, nothing has to be done, but it is a bit to late for that now.
  • Delete, this takes either moderator intervention or a lot of delete voters. Hard but not impossible.
  • Historical lock, this requires moderator intervention. It freezes the post but it is kept as an example of our primitive history.

Regardless of that, I think 1000 votes are a bit over the top.

By the way, I have seen worse old questions with lots of upvotes.

  • 7
    I don't think I would delete it, despite the disproportional number of votes. The top answer is pretty good.
    – user200500
    Commented Dec 31, 2012 at 15:31
  • 1
    Correct, Historical lock is more appropritate. Commented Dec 31, 2012 at 15:32
  • 5
    1,000 votes for half a million views isn't actually that far out of line. Contrast with the typical "reddited" question.
    – Shog9
    Commented Dec 31, 2012 at 15:47

The real value of posts like this one is that they are, literally, frequently asked questions (just take a look at the list of linked questions for the example question above if you don't believe me), and thus serve as useful targets for closing any duplicates of them that get regularly re-asked.

In particular, note that, if this question were closed (or, worse yet, deleted), we'd suddenly have literally dozens of duplicate questions linking to a question which is itself closed.

Ideally, such questions should be edited to clean them up and to make them clearly focused on the core of the issue. In this particular case, the question already is quite clean and focused; the only major complaint seems to be that it's short, but that shouldn't be seen as a problem in itself, if there question still provides enough information to clearly specify the problem.

The one detail that, arguably, could be removed would be the mention of jQuery, since the solution of the problem really has nothing to do with it. (It's a minor case of an X/Y problem; the OP thought jQuery would be the right tool for the job, so they asked about it, even though what they actually needed is just plain JavaScript.) However, if you look at the linked questions, a lot of them also mention jQuery, so it looks like even this particular mistake is common enough that having the word "jQuery" mentioned prominently in the question title is probably useful.

In short, IMO, this is not a poor question. It wasn't that when it was asked, and it still isn't — the only reason a question like it should be closed, if asked today, is that it'd be a duplicate. Furthermore, having this question on SO fulfills a very useful function as a target for closing any new duplicates of it.

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