It seems no matter how hard I try to get a question re-opened: Even going so far as to change the focus of the entire question, and re-writing the entire thing, it will likely remained closed.

Consider this question: https://stackoverflow.com/questions/18640625/processing-a-video-on-a-webserver

It remains closed because it's apparently too vague to answer -- but it's been completely re-written since it was put "on hold", and that doesn't appear to have altered people's reactions to it at all. I feel it's now completely clear what's being asked, but I do wonder if SO is the right venue for it. (If that latter is the case -- why isn't a more appropriate SE site recommended?)

I love the idea of questions being put "on hold" as opposed to outright closed -- but it seems the reality is that it's next to impossible to take a question "off hold" :-/

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    The question is simply off-topic for Stack Overflow - it is overly generic (not specific enough). Closed questions that are edited go into the reopen queue - if they have become good, on-topic questions then they will be reopened.
    – Oded
    Commented Sep 6, 2013 at 12:35
  • Hi Oded, I guess I don't see how it's too generic. The original question was, definitely, but this new version seems very specific. Commented Sep 6, 2013 at 12:38
  • You are just asking for advice... should I try A or B. It's not really a good fit most anywhere in SE. As it is written now, it almost seems like a borderline shopping question and borderline Gorilla vs Shark. Commented Sep 6, 2013 at 12:39
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    No, it isn't specific. It isn't a specific code issue, as required on Stack Overflow.
    – Oded
    Commented Sep 6, 2013 at 12:39
  • I wonder how I could re-word the question to get the advice I need? Commented Sep 6, 2013 at 12:39
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    @DjangoReinhardt You're asking about web server performance. That has (almost) nothing to do with programming, that's the problem. There's no code there or no problem with code described. That question couldn't be re-worded for SO because it's not the type of question that would ever be appropriate for SO.
    – Mansfield
    Commented Sep 6, 2013 at 12:40
  • @Mansfield I can see that. Which means it's off topic, not that it's too vague to answer. Commented Sep 6, 2013 at 12:40
  • @DjangoReinhardt You really can't, unfortunately. Commented Sep 6, 2013 at 12:40
  • @DjangoReinhardt In that case the hold reason is wrong - but it should still be on hold :)
    – Mansfield
    Commented Sep 6, 2013 at 12:41
  • @Mansfield That's kind of my point: It doesn't appear to be being re-evaluated properly. Maybe it's a fault in the way the "re-open" system works. Commented Sep 6, 2013 at 12:43
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    @DjangoReinhardt the only way the close/on-hold reason can be changed is for the question to be reopened and reclosed. That is a limitation of the system unfortunately. It is far easier for a mod to do it. Commented Sep 6, 2013 at 12:44
  • @psubsee2003 Yeah, given how the new "on hold" system is designed to make users feel that their question can be re-evaluated, and not just disregarded, I wonder if that's a problem or not. Commented Sep 6, 2013 at 12:46
  • @DjangoReinhardt Not one that's easily fixed. Sure I could re-open and close it for the 'right' reason, but then you lose all the re-open votes. In this particular case, both close reasons applied, but you had an extra bug-a-boo: Even if it had been reopened from the "unclear what you're asking" close reason, you'd still risk it being closed (sorry, put 'on hold') because it's off topic for Stack Overflow. Commented Sep 6, 2013 at 12:49
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    @GeorgeStocker Again, from a user POV, that's kind of my point: The question is not "too vague" (although it may be): even if it was incredibly specific, it would still be off-topic. I see this as an issue for users, as it's not clear what's happening to your question. I actually began to wonder if my editing it was having any effect at all :-/ Commented Sep 6, 2013 at 12:51

1 Answer 1


As Oded says in his comment, this is too open-ended to answer definitively.

That doesn't mean it's a bad question, just that it's not a good fit for Stack Overflow and our format.

There are other places to get advice on the internet, Stack Overflow isn't meant to be a catch all for programming advice.

There's Ask Slashdot, Ask Hacker News, Slant.co, and probably others.

As far as whether this question is 'off topic' or 'too open ended', it's both. Open-ended because we're not the place you ask for advice -- we're the place where you get answers to specific problems.

Off topic because this doesn't seem to be a programming problem, it seems to be a systems design issue, and even more than that, it doesn't have any of the criteria a Stack Exchange site would need for it to have to be answered. We need metrics, we need what your capabilities currently are, we need what you've tried, we need what your constraints are.

Unfortunately, even if you were to provide all that information, we'd also need for the question to be useful to future visitors, and it's not clear this question would be.


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