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I had answered someone who asked a very lazy question (-5 votes, link below) that had a real-value answer (+9 votes) and due to three users deleting the question I lost all of those reputation points - that's not the main issue. Reputation points aside it was a frequently asked question by folks who were inexperienced or new to the Apple Developer Portal as navigating to the beta content within that portal isn't always inherently obvious out of the gate.

With that being said as a semi-new user I'm having trouble comprehending why a question (lazy or not) that has a real-value answer that is helping people with the same question would still be closed. From a community based on sharing & learning that seems counter intuitive to me.

Closed Question (for those with access)

EDIT: My last post on this just to prove how short-sighted the bureaucrats can be on this site. Googling "download xcode 5" reveals that the deleted question I'm complaining about is the 4th hit. Way to drive that site traffic Stack moderators!

Try it yourself

marked as duplicate by gnat, hims056, Hugo Dozois, ʞunɥdɐpɐɥd, Aza Dec 17 '13 at 15:08

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

  • Because it was a bad question. Also, deleted by Abizern, Anoop Vaidya, marc_s 1 hour ago – Doorknob Jul 12 '13 at 17:36
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    "Where to find [external resource]" questions are off-topic, and I aggressively close them. We prefer that the site stay focused on actual programming problems. – Robert Harvey Jul 12 '13 at 17:37
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    @RobertHarvey If you scroll down you'll find there's a box where you can post that – Michael Mrozek Jul 12 '13 at 17:41
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    @MichaelMrozek: You mean you want me to post an actual answer and explain myself? – Robert Harvey Jul 12 '13 at 17:44
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    Googling "download xcode 5" gets me to the right page. Are we really adding value by inserting ourselves into the middle of that workflow? – Bill the Lizard Jul 12 '13 at 17:50
  • @Bill - what's your magic link to get you directly to the beta section of the developer portal? Please post it for future knowledge. – Dan Jul 12 '13 at 17:57
  • @BilltheLizard - please provide the link that gets users directly to the beta section of the Apple Dev Portal. I would love to be able to help people out with that. – Dan Jul 12 '13 at 18:15
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    Downvote away, people. Yet another instance where a valid question is asked and people try to kiss up to moderators for a varying opinion. – Dan Jul 12 '13 at 18:29
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    Or we may, you know, simply disagree with you. – Frédéric Hamidi Jul 12 '13 at 18:41
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    Driving site traffic isn't a goal of mine. Making the internet better is. – Bill the Lizard Jul 12 '13 at 19:09
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    @BilltheLizard - fair enough. When you click on the now dead link the Stack 404 recommends doing a Google search and provides a link to do so. Clicking the embedded link provides, you guessed it, this question & answer at the very top. Rinse, repeat. Also - still waiting for your aforementioned link from an hour ago. – Dan Jul 12 '13 at 19:12
  • I didn't mention a link an hour ago. – Bill the Lizard Jul 12 '13 at 19:13
  • @BilltheLizard "Googling 'download xcode 5' gets me to the right page."... it actually doesn't. That was the entire point of the question the guy asked. – Dan Jul 12 '13 at 19:14
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    @D80Buckeye I'm pretty sure Jeff is saying "Don't delete duplicate questions when both question have answers, instead flag them for moderator attention so the answers can be merged to the older question." That doesn't have anything to do with what you're asking about here. – WendiKidd Jul 12 '13 at 21:56
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    Regarding your actual question: if someone posted a question "where to find cute pictures of cats" and it got an answer, that might also become the top google search result for the phrase "where to find cute pictures of cats" but it still wouldn't be on topic for stackoverflow. – WendiKidd Jul 12 '13 at 21:59
10

With all due respect to Robert, I think calling this a "tool rec" question is bogus. It's clearly something different. That said, is it good?

I have kinda mixed feelings regarding these sorts of questions. If you google "jstl", you'll actually find the SO tag wiki ranked highly in the results. Why? Because it describes how to download and install it in a detailed but concise format, so it gets linked to all over the place. Seems pretty damn useful to me. OTOH, threatening to outrank the official download page for a major operating system's dev tool borders on google spam - not sure that's actually helpful, particularly long-term as the official page gets updated with new releases.

Regardless, the fact remains: the question was closed for several weeks and then deleted, as heavily-downvoted closed questions often are. How can you avoid this after investing time and effort into an answer? Well... If possible, edit it right away to address any concerns raised in the comments, fix grammar, etc. If you have the reputation, vote to re-open it! If you don't, and feel it was wrongly closed, then raise the matter for discussion here (tag it ).

  • Ok... THAT was an answer with substance that was applicable to the situation. To clarify, it wasn't my question but I had the helpful answer. If I had the reputation to edit the original question to make it more "friendly" I would have. – Dan Jul 12 '13 at 22:24
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    You can still suggest edits. It's not as quick & powerful as full edit rights, but... Something to look forward to. – Shog9 Jul 12 '13 at 22:29
17

Value comes in many forms.

The value of the Stack Exchange platform is that it has a singular focus: collect a knowledge-base of useful answers to useful questions in a specific topic area. "Where to find [external resource]" questions run counter to that goal, so much so that they now have their own specific close reason:

Questions asking us to recommend or find* a tool, library or favorite off-site resource are off-topic for Stack Overflow as they tend to attract opinionated answers and spam. Instead, describe the problem and what has been done so far to solve it.

When we evaluate a question for closure, we evaluate the question only, not the answers it receives. Ideally, deletion voters consider the value of both the question and the answers before casting their delete vote. In this particular case, it would seem that the community did not find sufficient value in either the question or its answers for the post to escape deletion.

*recent change.

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    Your answer and policy quote don't apply to the question that was even asked & subsequently deleted. There was no "can you recommend", the question was "where can I find XCode beta?". Essentially what you've invoked is a policy that says "if you're too stupid to find the tool to program in the language you want we don't want your question." Got it. – Dan Jul 12 '13 at 17:49
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    The fact remains that we want the site to be a repository for programming problems and answers, not a substitute for Google, or asking the vendor where they put their stuff. Your intelligence level has nothing to do with that. – Robert Harvey Jul 12 '13 at 17:51
  • Regarding my answer - why don't you go view it for yourself before making an invalid assumption. – Dan Jul 12 '13 at 17:51
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    Already did. . . – Robert Harvey Jul 12 '13 at 17:51
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    "the community did not find sufficient value" This is not entirely accurate... 3 people found the answer useless, and deleted it, and 9 people found it useful and upvoted it. – user000001 Jul 12 '13 at 17:53
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    @user000001: See here if you really believe that votes are a reliable indicator of value. – Robert Harvey Jul 12 '13 at 17:55
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    @RobertHarvey That post is epic :) – user000001 Jul 12 '13 at 17:56
  • @RobertHarvey using your criteria shouldn't that answer be deleted, popular or not? – Dan Jul 12 '13 at 18:21
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    @D80Buckeye: It's not off-topic, despite its humorous character. – Robert Harvey Jul 12 '13 at 18:35
  • @user000001 thanks for the vote of confidence but the Google results I posted speak for themselves IMHO. – Dan Jul 12 '13 at 18:51
  • @D80Buckeye Yea I had my own answer deleted too, so I know the feeling, but there is not much you can do about it (until you reach 10K rep). So just keep on answering questions (preferably on topic ones) and you will get back the rep you lost in no time... – user000001 Jul 12 '13 at 19:00
  • @user000001 No where above do you see me complain about losing rep, nor will you see me complain about it - that's not my beef. I could care less about some superficial ranking system to be frank. What I do care about is being part of a useful & collaborative environment that helps each other - what happened here is contrary to that effort. – Dan Jul 12 '13 at 19:03

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