The question: Travelling by bus

The comment above the close reason:

I voted to close not because the asker didn't know what he was asking, but because the question is a lightning rod for lunatic speculation about algorithms and complexity.

Surely this cannot be a valid reason to close?

  • 33
    I vote for Lightning Rod for Lunatic Speculation to be included as a Close Vote option
    – brasofilo
    Jul 9, 2013 at 5:52

1 Answer 1


Well, there's already a canned close reason that fits Lunatic Speculation:

too broad There are either too many possible answers, or good answers would be too long for this format. Please add details to narrow the answer set or to isolate an issue that can be answered in a few paragraphs.

The way that you find out whether or not these "edge" questions are on-topic is you watch the answers that come in. In this case, the answers are all generally of interest to programmers, and they generally stay on point. The death knell for a question like this is when you see idle, off-topic conversations break out, or multiple link-only answers, or people trying to paint the bikeshed.

That said, it is rare that I look at the answers when evaluating a question. Questions should stand on their own merit. Overall, I'd say that the one you linked is pretty good; it's well-written, shows prior research, and isn't merely a request for external resources or idle speculation.

  • I didn't think the question was too broad. It's not completely off-base, either, but it's an algorithm puzzle rather than a programming question. It is ambiguous and easy to misread, though. I normally answer, or at least leave alone, questions like this, but most of the answers at the time I voted were so bad that the question was nonetheless clearly not constructive. Again, this is not because the question is too broad, but because it sounds simple and invites too much, as I put it, "lunatic speculation."
    – tmyklebu
    Jul 9, 2013 at 16:38
  • Thank you Robert. It is very heartening to hear your thoughts.
    – agks mehx
    Jul 9, 2013 at 17:18

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