48

The new wording would be:

Questions concerning problems with code you've written must describe the specific problem and include valid code in the question to reproduce it. See SSCCE.org for guidance."

[Emphasis mine]

This is intended to target those questions that use one of the many alternatives to jsFiddle that are now available. The intent is to codify the requirement to put the code in the question itself, and not in an external page, in the actual close reason.

Rather than change the close reason unilaterally, we're asking for input from the community.

  • Can't you change the close reasons by yourself? – Cody Guldner Jul 17 '13 at 21:30
  • One would presume he's asking for input from the community... ;) – Joe Jul 17 '13 at 21:32
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    @CodyGuldner: I can, with the help of another mod, but the guidance of that dialog says to ask the community first, and the dialog itself scares me. It has the word "deactivate" in it, and I don't want to break the interwebz. If this idea gets traction, I'll ask a community coordinator to make the change. – Robert Harvey Jul 17 '13 at 21:33
  • @CodyGuldner Mods can make new entries, they can't edit existing ones – Michael Mrozek Jul 17 '13 at 21:42
  • You get a +1 on the question because you use a code block. Also for your comment "and the dialog itself scares me. It has the word "deactivate" in it, and I don't want to break the interwebz". – Ryan Jul 17 '13 at 21:43
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    Gee, thanks. I've worked hard at getting my formatting right. Actually that's a quote block, not a code block. – Robert Harvey Jul 17 '13 at 21:44
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    I think it would be unreasonable to disagree with this request. We want people to put their code in the question and this doesn't seem to make the sentence more difficult to parse. Go for it... (or someone else). This seemed pathetic as a CW answer so... – ben is uǝq backwards Jul 17 '13 at 21:44
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    With a bit of luck, this might also help reduce a pet peeve of mine - people dumping walls of code in the comments. – Mac Jul 17 '13 at 22:16
  • @Mac I doubt it. Most often this seems to be done by users that don't even realize they can edit their question. Once the question is put on hold there is a larger dialog advising them to "edit the question", but before that point I don't think there's anything pointing out that they need to edit rather than comment. – p.s.w.g Jul 17 '13 at 22:23
  • Wouldn't the right thing to do with questions containing jsFiddle-type link be copy-pasting the code from the link to the question, instead of closing the question? – Old Checkmark Jul 18 '13 at 1:40
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    @doubleDown: When someone pastes code here, they license their contribution to the community under the CC:Wiki license, providing a certain level of safety to the community. The code so posted on other sites could have any license at all, including licenses that confer ownership of all contributions to the other site. Also, I just don't think we should have to; I ask people to do it themselves and they usually don't. In some cases I've actually had OPs roll back my edit. So no, I don't think so. Close first, reopen if they comply. – Robert Harvey Jul 18 '13 at 4:34
  • @OldCheckmark: That's essentially stealing. – Lightness Races in Orbit Jul 25 '13 at 12:28
  • @LightnessRacesinOrbit, I know :( – Old Checkmark Jul 25 '13 at 12:29
5

Final version:

Questions concerning problems with code you've written must describe the specific problem — and include valid code to reproduce it — in the question itself. See SSCCE.org for guidance.


I'm on board with this change in general, but I think the wording needs a bit of work.

"include valid code in the question to reproduce it" sounds rather clunky to me and complicates what "it" might be referring to. The sentence is still understandable overall, but it's now harder to parse.

How about something like

Questions concerning problems with code you've written must describe the specific problem and include valid code to reproduce it in the question. See SSCCE.org for guidance.

or

Questions concerning problems with code you've written must describe the specific problem and include valid code to reproduce it in the question itself. See SSCCE.org for guidance.

or

Questions concerning problems with code you've written must describe the specific problem and include valid code to reproduce it in the question's body. See SSCCE.org for guidance.

instead?

  • The second one looks OK. The third one contains a technical term: "body", and the first one has a dangling modifier. :) Actually the second one is also a dangling modifier, but I think the word "itself" rescues it. – Robert Harvey Aug 1 '13 at 19:07
  • I also like the second. – Madara Uchiha Aug 1 '13 at 19:24
  • Put a comma after "to reproduce it," and I think the second version is golden. – Robert Harvey Aug 1 '13 at 19:49
  • @RobertHarvey Pretty sure a comma makes zero sense there. – Adam Lear Aug 1 '13 at 19:59
  • [shrug] . . . . – Robert Harvey Aug 1 '13 at 20:00
  • If I'm being too English-y here feel free to tell me to go away :) But the second one implies that the reproducing must be done in the question itself. It must (1) describe the specific problem and (2) include valid code to (reproduce it in the question itself). There's syntactical ambiguity here, it could be interpreted either way, but that's the default parsing my brain goes toward. Obviously that is impossible, but if we're attempting to be as clear as possible that's maybe not the point? – WendiKidd Aug 1 '13 at 20:07
  • @RobertHarvey You're maybe not too far off—change it to an em dash and add another: "...must describe the specific problem — and include valid code which reproduces it — in the question itself." Now we're saying that "describing the specific problem" and "providing valid code that reproduces said problem" must both be done "in the question itself". Syntactically unambiguous, and I think maybe what you were going for with the comma? – WendiKidd Aug 1 '13 at 20:11
  • @WendiKidd Oh hey, the em dash sounds good. – Adam Lear Aug 1 '13 at 20:55
  • @AnnaLear :) Yay, glad I could help! – WendiKidd Aug 1 '13 at 20:57
3

I think this is a great idea. You'd think it would be common sense, but it still helps to have it spelled out (especially since not everyone does apparently understand this intuitively).

You might slightly tweak the wording to make it explicitly clear. Perhaps it should read in the text of the question? I can just see someone reading it as you've written it and saying "But I did put the code in the question, there's a link right there!" Then again maybe I'm overcomplicating things.

Either way, I think the change is a great idea. Hopefully it will help people learn more easily from their mistakes :)

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