Regarding Stack Overflow question https://stackoverflow.com/questions/16472714/what-features-does-jquery-provide-that-arent-available-natively-in-the-browsers (now deleted):

I guess I'm a little curious about this one, as this question could fall on either side.

Either, assuming good faith, this question is honestly asking what the benefit of using jQuery is.

Or, it's an invitation to debate. I say that because the OP seems to have already made up his mind about what the answer should be.

If the question was asked in good faith, it would still be an awkward fit for Stack Overflow, for reasons stated in the FAQ:

  • Your questions should be reasonably scoped. If you can imagine an entire book that answers your question, you’re asking too much.

  • If your motivation for asking the question is “I would like to participate in a discussion about ______”, then you should not be asking here.

  • To prevent your question from being flagged and possibly removed, avoid asking subjective questions where …

    • every answer is equally valid: “What’s your favorite ______?”
    • your answer is provided along with the question, and you expect more answers: “I use ______ for ______, what do you use?”
    • there is no actual problem to be solved: “I’m curious if other people feel like I do.”
    • we are being asked an open-ended, hypothetical question: “What if ______ happened?”
    • it is a rant disguised as a question: “______ sucks, am I right?”

It looks like this question was flagged for closure as stated in the comments:

5 Voted to close as not constructive, SO is not really the right place for this "question". – bažmegakapa May 9 at 23:19

So, why wasn't it closed?

  • Can't be closed at the moment, there's a bounty on it. May 13, 2013 at 15:44
  • 5
    @TinSoldiersAndNixonsComin' It can be revoked by a mod and then closed. Also note the question has already been closed and reopened once.
    – Servy
    May 13, 2013 at 15:45
  • Questions with bounties can't be closed: http://meta.stackexchange.com/q/16065/178187.
    – Pablo
    May 13, 2013 at 15:47
  • 3
    It had been closed, but was reopened later on.
    – Bart
    May 13, 2013 at 15:49
  • 5
    I'm surprised that a 3-year, 15K+ member (who has been active on Meta) would think that would be an appropriate question for the site. Or maybe they just didn't care. May 13, 2013 at 15:55
  • 1
    @LBT You mean you didn't know that question standards only apply to users with <10k rep?
    – Servy
    May 13, 2013 at 15:58
  • 1
    A re-open vote already? I wonder who that could be . . . May 13, 2013 at 16:02
  • 3
    This question has to be the best case ever of meta just destroying a question's chance at survival. Good job, guys! May 13, 2013 at 16:07
  • 2
    +1 for "the OP seems to have already made up his mind". This is not a real question.
    – Christophe
    May 13, 2013 at 16:15
  • "A re-open vote already? I wonder who that could be" ... wasn't me, I "spent" my reopen vote the first time around. Maybe it was someone who actually read the question? May 13, 2013 at 18:24
  • 1
    What a shame, it had 4 reopen votes and got mod-deleted so can't be undeleted or reopened now by the community. "Community" moderation at its finest...
    – Rachel
    May 14, 2013 at 17:10
  • 1
    @Rachel You say that, but this is community moderation. The community has set the standards that they feel should be used for questions, and there is no doubt that this particular question (as it stands) is in violation of those guidelines. Some people simply feel that it should be reopened anyway. On top of that (based on the voting of this question) significantly more people feel that it should be closed than opened, but because it's so popularized enough people still want it reopened to get it reopened. Rather than have it constantly toggle, a mod acted on the community consensus.
    – Servy
    May 14, 2013 at 19:48
  • @Rachel did you see the whole history? As it turns out, sometimes the Community is not so smart (no pun intended)
    – Christophe
    May 15, 2013 at 16:08

4 Answers 4


It was closed by 5 community users, and re-opened by 5 other community users. So it was closed.

Closure is meant to be temporary: either it will lead to deletion, or the question will be fixed and it will lead to re-opening.

In this case, I think this question should be closed, for the following reasons:

  • It's a list of X question: Any answer is equally valid. So long as that answer lists something that isn't natively available to a browser, it's "in". That means you could have dozens of equally valid answers. Which answer should be accepted at that point?

  • It's a question that elicits extended discussion, as the author so eloquently shows us: Note the many edits and addendums and comments.

I also cleaned up comments on the question (of the two following varieties):

  • Meta Discussion
  • Discussion around answers and extended discussion on answers and JQuery philosophy
  • It would appear that this question could still be closed, again. Is anyone attempting to get it closed again?
    – apaul
    May 13, 2013 at 15:53
  • Ah I see, had to refresh the browser... quick work
    – apaul
    May 13, 2013 at 15:54
  • Does "You should totally drop that and use jQuery" qualify as "jQuery philosophy"?
    – apaul
    May 13, 2013 at 15:58
  • @apaul34208 That's just noise. May 13, 2013 at 15:59
  • Sorry, my sense of humor gets the best of me at times. I'll try not to do that in the future.
    – apaul
    May 13, 2013 at 16:00
  • @apaul34208 It was funny, no doubt. But If I'm deleting things that aren't appropriate, then that would have to fall in that category as well. Don't feel bad if your comment gets deleted; it's not a reflection on you. If I had my way, all comments would be deleted after a few days. They detract from the post and make it harder to find the information a user is looking for. May 13, 2013 at 16:01
  • At times, with the murkier questions, crucial information about the authors intent can be found in the comments. I'm not sure if auto deletion would be a good idea. Obviously that information should be edited into the question, but I would worry about the info being lost before a good edit took place.
    – apaul
    May 13, 2013 at 16:07
  • @apaul34208 One of the reasons I advocate auto-deletion is so that the authors will have an impetus to edit it into the question. May 13, 2013 at 16:12
  • 1
    I guess I see your point, but many users of SO aren't really that savvy. More than once I've had to explain to new users that they could edit their question. It seems that auto deletion may leave some questions unanswerable. We would likely end up with a lot of tumble weeds, rolling along the dusty plain unanswered and unwanted... (single tear for the tumble weeds)
    – apaul
    May 13, 2013 at 16:20
  • 1
    @apaul34208 I'm all about a non-modal blurb that states that comments are auto-deleted. I certainly would expect for people to be warned somehow. May 13, 2013 at 16:21
  • Uh oh, extended discussion warning... I'm guessing you've already made a feature request. Can you post a link?
    – apaul
    May 13, 2013 at 16:23
  • @apaul34208 here: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/180082/… May 13, 2013 at 16:53
  • "It's a list of X question: Any answer is equally valid. So long as that answer lists something that isn't natively available to a browser, it's "in". That means you could have dozens of equally valid answers. Which answer should be accepted at that point?" Not dozens. One or two. Maybe three. Is that too many things to list? Keep in mind I was asking for non-trivial features, which I specifically quantified in the part of the question you deleted. May 13, 2013 at 17:30

Forget Not Constructive (which has been addressed adequately by others), this question isn't even answerable.

jQuery is just a JavaScript library. By definition, whatever jQuery does can be done in JavaScript. It's just a matter of how hard it is to do so.

Most of the selector stuff jQuery does can be done with querySelectorAll(). Does that count as "native JavaScript"? .each() can be managed with a for loop. Is that "native JavaScript"? How about the native cross-browser way of doing $.get()? Is that "native JavaScript"?

Where do we draw the line of "native JavaScript"? 1 line of code? 2 lines of code? 20 lines of code?

Defining a boundary doesn't help, it won't be the One True Boundary, and that would make it localised. In the end, the only way to answer this in a useful way is to list all features of jQuery, sorted by LOC. That's too broad.

The question is vague, so, list question or not, it gets a NARQ.

  • "JQuery is just a JS library. By definition, whatever JQuery does can be done in JavaScript. It's just a matter of how hard it is to do so." As I explained numerous times in the question, I wanted to know which non-trivial features it added. That's an important distinction. What you're saying here is like saying "PHP is written in C, so it's the same thing, just use C." How ridiculous. May 13, 2013 at 17:26
  • I also added a note detailing a specific boundary between trivial and non-trivial features (4 LOC at 80 characters per line) to avoid any subjectivity. I was only asking about non-trivial features, not trivial ones. My goal was to learn about the non-trivial features of the library. Apparently it is a very short list, I didn't think listing them should be a problem. May 13, 2013 at 17:29
  • 2
    @TheCommunity I didn't think listing them should be a problem. But it is, because lists of things aren't appropriate for SO questions, regardless of the size of the list.
    – Servy
    May 13, 2013 at 17:30
  • 1
    @Servy, listing two or three features in one answer is not appropriate? Are you sure? I thought the reason list questions were out of scope had more to do with never-ending lists or lists of "dozens of things," as George Stocker indicates in his answer May 13, 2013 at 17:33
  • 2
    @TheCommunity Large lists questions are worse, but that's not the only problem. The issue remains, if there are a whole bunch of answers each representing one aspect how do people vote? What do those votes mean? Then there is the issue of locality. Such a question will get out of date rather quickly. What about a year from now? New features may be added to JQuery, requiring updates, and browsers will change, thus potentially resulting in items needing to be removed. The post will need a significant amount of maintenance to stay correct, and this site just isn't designed to provide it..
    – Servy
    May 13, 2013 at 17:36
  • @Servy, well then, don't think of it as a list. Think of it as one single answer, detailing the non-trivial features of the library, all at once. Otherwise, we can call any answer on the site that discusses more than one aspect of one thing a "list." May 13, 2013 at 17:41
  • @TheCommunity Putting the list into an answer doesn't change that it's still a list. Again, that list will need to be maintained. Maintaining lists requires a lot of work, and the design of the site generally results in them just getting out of date and thus being wrong, rather than being fixed.
    – Servy
    May 13, 2013 at 17:43
  • @Servy why does it require work? I'm only asking about a specific version of the library; the "list" will never change. May 13, 2013 at 17:44
  • @TheCommunity Even if you specify a version of the library, the browsers used will change, thus changing the list.
    – Servy
    May 13, 2013 at 17:48
  • @Servy, the question specifically applies only to the browsers supported by that version of the library, and no others. May 13, 2013 at 17:50
  • In fact, in light of this conversation we're having here and the last three paragraphs of this "answer," I'm starting to doubt that you guys actually read the question. That's fine, I didn't write the question for Meta, I wrote it for SO. If you're going to vote on it, close vote and reopen it, and so on, at least read it first so I don't need to rehash it all here. May 13, 2013 at 17:52
  • @community sorry, I forgot to explain why drawing a line isn't enough. See my note on the One True Boundary. I did read the question, I stopped once I reached the huge "answer" embedded in it. May 14, 2013 at 0:25
  • What Servy says aboit versions is right. Having such a question about a library that gets outdated has little use now and no use later. May 14, 2013 at 0:27
  • I've asked this on Quora: quora.com/JavaScript/… May 14, 2013 at 4:59
  • 1
    @Peter - what gives with adding links to Wikipedia all the time? May 14, 2013 at 19:38

Bountied questions can only be closed by mods (see the 'What happens if a bounty question is closed, or deleted?') section, who can remove and refund the bounty giver for their reputation.

That question should have been closed (and, apparently was closed, then re-opened), but my guess is that it was a tumbleweed until it was bountied, and snuck through the system (as it is such a long post, many people will TL;DR out of it).

There's nothing we as a community can do (unfortunately) unless a moderator comes and removes the bounty. It begs an interesting question though - should a certain number of users be able to close a question & refund the bounty?

  • The question was closed, and then reopened, and then bountied. Yes, a mod can remove the bounty and close it. The point of a meta question such as this is to debate if they should do that. Also note the number of comments and answers to the question; clearly not a tumbleweed kind of question.
    – Servy
    May 13, 2013 at 15:50
  • Of course they shouldn't do it. It defeats the purpose of having a self-governing system. As I understand it, they only have the ability to do this so people can't bounty-lock things. The question had no active close votes (and 2 net upvotes) when I applied the bounty, before Meta got dragged into it. May 13, 2013 at 18:02
  • @TheCommunity you have to look at it from the other perspective - if a user posts an absolutely terrible, localized tumbleweed question, then bounties it, then it just stays (and gains view) unless a moderator intervenes like in this case. I'm not saying your question was bad, just not relevant to SO. May 13, 2013 at 18:05
  • @RichardJ.RossIII, clearly it was relevant enough to the users of SO to generate a good bit of interest. It certainly wasn't a tumbleweed question, and as it applies to a fairly large audience, it wasn't localized either. I don't think that really applies here. May 13, 2013 at 18:08
  • @TheCommunity questions should have a clear definitive answer, and that question does not. May 13, 2013 at 18:10
  • @RichardJ.RossIII, I disagree. The answer goes something like "promises, XHR, and possibly event handlers" with an explanation for each. Of course I can't provide the answer myself since I'm no jQuery guru. May 13, 2013 at 18:11
  • 1
    @TheCommunity but when you consider jQuery is javascript, there is absolutely nothing that jquery does that javascript can't! Your question isn't clear enough on what 'native' means in this context. May 13, 2013 at 18:12
  • Yeah it is. Read it again, it's very clear. May 13, 2013 at 18:14

Either, assuming good faith, this question is honestly asking what the benefit of using jQuery is.

Yeah, that's what it was asking, as stated numerous times in plain English in the question itself. I even explained in the question that the point of it was not to bash jQuery or imply that it was not useful. I wanted to know what the advantages of jQuery were. Turns out there weren't any clear benefits.

In response to Christophe's comment:

Of course I already had a vague opinion about jQuery (how could I not as much as the name gets tossed around on SO), and it happened to not be a positive one. That doesn't mean I had "made up my mind" or was disinclined to change my opinion, and has nothing to do with the validity of the question. I still needed to evaluate the library for a project; the goal of the question was to find out which features I needed to evaluate, and which ones were there for "historical reasons." The fanboyish reaction to the question suggested that people have an emotional interest in the product rather than a rational one, and the latest update to the question reflects how that affected my decision.

I guess I have a different perspective on this than many people here, somehow. I've personally never found the library to be useful, and have managed to get along just fine without it. I've also seen junior developers create pretty nasty things with it that would actually be much simpler in plain old JavaScript, and work just as well (better, really). So, I figured there were some advanced features that the jQ bigshots knew about and I didn't, and I wanted to find out what those were so I could evaluate them.

Turns out several people reacted as if (to borrow from Jaydle's recent question here) I had declared that they were aboard the Titanic and it was sinking. To me, this is a cue that people are simply looking to preserve the appearance of usefulness of a tool that they've sank a lot of time and effort into, and when they were unable to do that by pointing out actual useful things, they did it by attempting to bury the question. I took this as a red flag; an indicator that the library was, in fact, less useful than its user base makes it out to be. The sad thing is, it may still be useful in practical ways, but scenarios like we have here on Meta will make it difficult to find out via the SE network.

I will try to reword the question so that it is clear that it obeys all of SE and SO's rules, and resurrect it in the next few days.

  • 2
    this answer is just a confirmation that the "question" was subjective and the author had already made up his mind.
    – Christophe
    May 13, 2013 at 19:03
  • 1
    You seem to be under the impression that the question has been closed because you are not a JQuery fanboy. That is a false assumption. The question would be closed for exactly the same reasons were it's bias clearly be in favor of JQuery. It's closed due to its inherent violation of the site's guidelines with respect to localization, subjectivity, etc.
    – Servy
    May 13, 2013 at 20:23
  • @Servy, I see. I have a copy, I'll fix it up to adhere to the guidelines and post it again. May 13, 2013 at 20:25
  • 1
    @TheCommunity Just edit the existing question; don't repost it. It's also not a good sign when you're rolling back the edits of a mod FYI.
    – Servy
    May 13, 2013 at 20:26
  • @Servy, check the mod's note on that edit, apparently he didn't read what he was editing. The part he edited out was not an answer. He also edited out material that contained specific parameters for what was and was not to be considered "trivial," which apparently confused answerers here (see the "how many lines of code" part of Manishearth's answer). The existing question is deleted and that cannot be reversed AFAIK; I see no reason to edit it. I will make a new, similar question. May 13, 2013 at 20:29
  • 2
    @TheCommunity No, I just blindly edit things. It's easier that way. May 13, 2013 at 20:30
  • @TheCommunity A few sections of what was deleted possibly should have been re-added, but the majority of what was deleted shouldn't have been. Much of it belonged in an answer to the question. Had you rolled it back and then subsequently edited out what wasn't really a part of the question that would have been fine, but you didn't.
    – Servy
    May 13, 2013 at 20:31
  • @TheCommunity It's a bad idea to repost the same question. Improve the question, but if you post a new question that's essentially the same question, you won't have to worry about moderators deleting it because the community will do that. May 13, 2013 at 20:31
  • 1
    @TheCommunity Questions can be undeleted if a mod deems that to be the appropriate course of action. If you have edited the question such that you have addressed all of the problems discusses here and feel that the question once again conforms to all of the site's guidelines then you can flag it and request that it be undeleted.
    – Servy
    May 13, 2013 at 20:33
  • @Servy: "A few sections of what was deleted possibly should have been re-added, but the majority of what was deleted shouldn't have been." ... I assume you meant "shouldn't have been re-added," not "shouldn't have been deleted." What's the appropriate way to respond to parts of an answer, if not by quoting it in the question? May 13, 2013 at 20:37
  • 2
    @TheCommunity If you need clarification on an answer, ask for it in the answer's comments. If you are giving clarification on an answer, do it in the answer's comments. If you want to make an update based on points raised in answers, then do that -- but summarily quoting an answer and then replying to it in your question breaks up the entire format and is really hard to follow. May 13, 2013 at 20:40
  • @TheCommunity Through comments, or chat. If you are going to add sufficient information it may even belong in another answer.
    – Servy
    May 13, 2013 at 20:40
  • @TheCommunity If you improve the question to meet the points I listed in my answer, then flag it for undeletion and I'll give it a serious look (if not me, then another mod will). May 13, 2013 at 20:41
  • Alright, that's interesting, I was under the impression that comments were mostly discouraged, and that it would be better as part of the question rather than a series of comments, which would probably be difficult to read (especially with quotes in them, and code). May 13, 2013 at 20:42
  • 1
    @GeorgeStocker, I have a pretty good idea of how to make it not a list question, while keeping it basically exactly the same. This seems more like a political maneuver than anything, but I'll do it if it will help you take the question seriously. I'm not so sure about not eliciting extended discussion, clearly it's a controversial subject and people want to "discuss" it rather than answering it. Believe me, I would have loved to avoid chatter and just get a straight answer, but it's difficult given the culture surrounding that particular technology. I'll see what I can do. May 13, 2013 at 20:47

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