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I just failed a reopen audit for C# Arrays - Using them to store game level in which the OP has a working solution, suspects that there may be better ways to achieve the goal, and asks, at the end:

The thing I'm not sure about is how efficient this is, having an array for each piece of information doesn't seem that memory efficient.

Is the idea I have a good solution, or is there a better way I haven't thought about?

Any advice would be great! Thanks

The review was presented as one that had been closed (though it actually hadn't been closed), and the audit expected me to reopen: "This was an audit, designed to see if you were paying attention. You didn't pass. There are no major problems with this question. You should click Reopen, or make minor corrections via Edit and Reopen."

Unless there's a single solution to this sort of thing, isn't this too broad? There are lots of possible answers, and which is best would depend on the usage patterns in the OP's application, and other factors. Since it's a question about efficiency, I don't think that it's primarily opinion based, since any solutions could, at least in principle, be compared.

Might this be more appropriate on, e.g., Code Review or Programmers?

  • I don't think it belongs on either of the other Stack Exchange sites you mention, but I had a similar experience with what I think is an even worse question (and coincidentally, also the second review audit I've ever failed, both in the same review session, and both the same day as yours). – Ken White Sep 6 '13 at 2:23
  • @KenWhite This was actually my second in two days; I mentioned the other one yesterday. There aren't nearly as many items in the reopen queue, so the bad audits really stick out. – Joshua Taylor Sep 6 '13 at 2:27
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There is no code to review, so it will be a bad fit for Code Review. It may be a better fit for programmers but that site tends to lean towards language agnostic.

This question has many issues in my opinion. Being too broad could be one of them since it really leaves the door open for any implementation other than the one shown. It is also hard to tell what the OP is asking, because the question is phrased in such a vague manner. On top of both of those reasons is a lack of understanding for this current approach, which hits an off topic reason.

Overall it is not a good fit for stackoverflow. It at least shows some attempt, so I think that rules out off topic. I think it is more broad than unclear so I would agree with your assertion that this question is indeed too broad.

  • I was thinking Programmers because even though the original question is based on C# arrays, the question really would fit in any language that supports two dimensional arrays: "I need to keep track of counts for something that can be indexed by two integral values; is using a two dimensional array of integers the most efficient way to do it?" You're right though, that it would require a bit of reworking to get it to that state. – Joshua Taylor Sep 5 '13 at 18:06
  • "Better way" would seem to run afoul of "Don't ask... Questions that are primarily opinion-based". Whether or not it belongs on another site is beside the point, though... this is clearly a poor candidate for the audit. – JDB Sep 5 '13 at 20:53
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The question isn't a great candidate for the audit review because, in my opinion, it's not "easy" (and audit reviews are supposed to be easy).

An algorithm selects questions for the audit, not a human. These kinds of questions are bound to turn up every once in a while. But don't worry - as long as you aren't failing them often, there will be no negative impact.

That said, it's about a software algorithm, it's practical and the OP is specifically looking to improve memory efficiency which is, in my opinion, an answerable question with a narrow scope. I do not think it's off-topic.

  • Well, this is the second in two days that I've failed and about which users here on meta have said "this isn't a good audit question". How much oftener need they appear before I should worry about any negative impact? (I'm not actually that worried about negative impact, but it would be nice if the algorithm could be improved somehow.) – Joshua Taylor Sep 5 '13 at 21:27
  • The problem here is "failing too often". I failed two reviews (one I thought was a pretty poor question, but decided to just accept) and the one I linked in the comment to the original question here (which is not even a question - it's a blog post with a request for additions in the answer). Two failures in as many minutes (one questionable, one not even close IMO) is "often". What's the impact of "two invalid failures every two minutes of review time"? – Ken White Sep 6 '13 at 2:31
  • @KenWhite - If you keep failing audits and you get banned, contact a mod or the SO team and ask for a review - but I don't think you are in any danger of that. The exact algorithm hasn't been published to my knowledge, but everyone knows the audits are imperfect so no one is taking a few failed audits too seriously. – JDB Sep 6 '13 at 4:41
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Posting a solution and then asking if it's any good is a yes/no question, and those tend to be pretty boring, especially when the answer is yes. I see no reason to re-open such a question, unless the intention is to re-close it soon afterward with a different close reason (say, primarily opinion-based instead of too broad). It's hard to argue that a question whose only possible answers are yes and no is too broad.

A better way to present a question like that is to describe the problem in the question, and then provide the known working solution as an answer. There's no need to solicit other answers because that's implicit in every question ever posted to Stack Overflow. There's no need to ask whether the solution is any good, either, because that's implicit for every answer ever posted.

However, none of that can be fixed merely by opening or closing the question. It's something only the original asker can fix. You could fix it yourself, but that would essentially involve you sniping the asker's solution as your own because you can't post the answer portion in someone else's name. On the other hand, posting the solution portion as an answer can't be done while it's closed anyway, so perhaps re-opening is the right thing to do in this case.

Regardless, I conclude that the question was a poor candidate for auditing in the first place. Better luck next time.

  • Except for duplicates, you should not reopen a question just so you can close it with a different reason. Also, boring is not a close reason and is not a valid reason to keep a question closed. You absolutely can move an OP's answer out of the question and into an answer. Just attribute the answer to the OP and mark the post as "community wiki", then leave a comment (on the question) offering to delete the answer if the OP wants to post it him/herself. But that would be inappropriate here because the OP is asking for other solutions. – JDB Sep 5 '13 at 21:18
  • Do note that as an audit, the question wasn't actually closed. The action that you're proposing (and that I also took), i.e., to "leave closed" since there was "no reason to re-open such a question" failed the audit. However, I don't think this should be characterized as a yes/no question, because while the answer to "Is the idea I have a good solution" is yes or no (and could be primarily opinion based), the "or is there a better way I haven't thought about" implies that each no should be accompanied by an answer, and there could be just as many good answers as users posting them. – Joshua Taylor Sep 5 '13 at 21:33

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