The following question is asking about two ways to solve a problem:

Which approach is more reliable to detect a mobile browser:

a) UA sniffing

b) Jquery´s width()

It seems to me a lot of users here mindlessly vote to close such questions without reading them.

Do you think this question is not answerable from someone with experience? Or do you think it's open ended like "should i buy mac or oc lol". It looks like this question is suitable for Q&A. Or am I wrong?

This question is like if I were to ask what performs better for writing text, text() or html(). Rephrasing it in "How do i write text in JS with high performance" might lead to answers not related to the true question.

  • 2
    That kind of a question is likely to create debate and discussion about which is the better and more reliable approach. So, I'd say it's iffy. Still, there are re-open votes, so obviously part of the community thinks it's valid.
    – J. Steen
    Jan 19, 2013 at 15:40
  • 4
    You can also be a little less aggressively defensive in your comments. If the community thinks it should be reopened, we will reopen it. No need to snark at people.
    – J. Steen
    Jan 19, 2013 at 15:41
  • you dont see me commenting and closing questions in JAVA or C++ where i know nothing about the subject. Jan 19, 2013 at 15:43
  • 2
    What, if anything, does that have to do with being snarky?
    – J. Steen
    Jan 19, 2013 at 15:44
  • @user1721135 I know hardly anything about the subject you mention either, but I can easily see its not that great a fit in its current form for the Q&A. Your argument falls flat there.
    – Bart
    Jan 19, 2013 at 15:45
  • care to elaborate? Do you think this question is not answerable from someone with experiance? Or do you think its open ended like "should i buy mac or oc lol". If you know nothing about it how can you even judge it. Jan 19, 2013 at 15:46
  • 1
    The form of the question matters here, which is easily distinguishable without having in-depth knowledge of the subject. It's not the most terrible of questions. Certainly not. But you're inviting answers of the form "Option A works fine for me". "I use option B and never had a problem with it". Etc. You're providing answers and have people choose from them. A rephrasing might be all you need.
    – Bart
    Jan 19, 2013 at 15:49
  • This question is like if i ask what performs better for writing text text() or html(). This doesnt mean its a vote thing. Rephrasing it in "How do i write text in JS with high performance" Might lead to anwsers not related to the true question. Jan 19, 2013 at 15:51
  • 1
    It is a vote. Acceptable answers in that case would be "text" or "html". And those questions are often seen as "not constructive" and closed as such. Your latter rephrasing is less likely to suffer a similar fate. It's up to you to phrase it clearly enough to avoid off-topic answers.
    – Bart
    Jan 19, 2013 at 15:54

2 Answers 2


The question's topic might certainly be suitable for the site. The phrasing of it isn't really. It's essentially a poll. And those are seen as not-constructive and often closed as such. Even though your question has been reopened, I would address this aspect. It might very well be closed again if you don't.

Why a poll? You're providing us with two answers to choose from. Option A or option B. And we'll end up essentially voting on those. I realize that to you this might seem a very reasonable question. You've done your homework, have experience with both alternatives and need some clarification on either option. But this form is not ideal for a Q&A. And as annoying as that may sound, form matters.

Often it requires little more than a small rephrasing. State what you're trying to achieve, state what you've tried and how those options fall short. Then ask how you can address that. Don't essentially tell us what that answer must be. Let us come up with an answer.

The answer might still very well be "Approach A is excellent in a scenario like this, because..." but it's no longer a poll and much more suitable for the site.

  • my original phrasing was more open, stating what i want to achieve essentially. After it was closed i simplified it. I think something like this should be a valid question. How would you ask for example what performs better echo or print in php? Jan 19, 2013 at 16:03
  • 1
    @user1721135: don't ask that, benchmark.
    – Mat
    Jan 19, 2013 at 16:04
  • 1
    I wouldn't ask that question at all in that form. Approach it from another angle. How about performance testing that yourself and if you can't come up with conclusive results, ask about the validity of your test.
    – Bart
    Jan 19, 2013 at 16:04

I think it's a good question, but to avoid short answers of "this one" or "that one", it might be phrased to ask for advantages and disadvantages of one over the other. That's what you're after anyway.

  • "That one"
    – Bart
    Jan 19, 2013 at 16:09
  • I accept your answer.
    – xpda
    Jan 19, 2013 at 16:10

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