I saw this question that was closed as "too broad" where the OP asks for how to replicate a big complex animation (the shredder animation in Passbook for iOS).

I did that myself about a year ago and got quite far before I lost interest in it (screenshot below). Should I vote to open a bad question just because I may have some code that would help or would the answer be to bad that it wouldn't be a good answer for anyone else (200-ish LOC)?

My question is mainly about this particular question but I think the question "is an answer to a bad question useful to other people" can be interesting for other similar situations as well.

how far I got

  • 7
    Could you please put that on GitHub or something and include a link in the comments? It might end up helping someone who is using Google to avoid reinventing the wheel.
    – user200500
    Commented Aug 15, 2013 at 20:26
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    Would it be possible to edit the question to make it a good question? Commented Aug 15, 2013 at 20:26
  • 3
    If you have a good answer you want to share consider either fixing the existing question to be good enough to be worth reopening, making a new question good enough for the site, that you can then answer, or finding some other place, besides SO (i.e. a blog of yours), to post your content, if it doesn't fit into our Q/A model.
    – Servy
    Commented Aug 15, 2013 at 20:27
  • 1
    I decided to leave the question closed and a link to the code on GitHub in a comment. Commented Aug 15, 2013 at 20:57

2 Answers 2


Short answer: If a question is not a good fit for this site, it should stay closed, even if someone has a good answer.

Long answer: If we let people answer questions which are not a good fit for the site, then we lose the purpose of defining question criteria. In other words, by letting people answer bad questions, we encourage people to ask bad questions, thereby making our definitions of good and bad entirely meaningless. This, in turn, decreases the overall quality of the site.

While I/we appreciate that you have a good answer, the question is, unfortunately, not a good fit for the site.


It depends why it was closed. If it's offtopic - not about programming, for example then no you should not. The value of the site is that things are on topic. If it was a duplicate, you should go and answer the duplicate. If it was too broad (what is X, how do I get started in Y), lots of people could contribute answers towards that but it should stay closed.

If it was "unclear what you're asking" but you actually find it quite clear, you could comment to discover if your guess is right, and then if you get confirmation that it is, either you or the OP could edit the question and after it was reopened you could answer. (No comment privileges? Perhaps a suggested edit to the question clarifying it to match your guess, but tread carefully there.)

Your case was correctly closed as too broad, but the OP might not object if you edited it to a smaller subset of the question. Say, "are there open source implementations of Shredder I could use to learn how to do it myself?". And you just happen to have an answer for that. You need to be careful, because library recommendations are offtopic as are book and course recommendations, but I think you could come up with a good wording and then provide an appropriate answer.

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