Update 1: this question is not a duplicate - the Python question happened to be locked, but my question is about closing in general and not historical locks. Here is another example that was closed: https://stackoverflow.com/questions/91445/best-ide-for-ruby-on-rails

Update 2: I see that the Ruby question has been deleted because I mentioned it. Deleting the evidence does not make this question a duplicate. Here's another example: https://stackoverflow.com/questions/419207/which-is-the-best-ide-for-scala-development

I'm genuinely curious. I want to know which Python IDEs are popular and come highly recommended. I understand that there is not a single correct answer to this question, but it's still a valid (and very popular) question.

What IDE to use for Python?

Closing the question prevents anyone else from answering, but it still appears in search results and does not prevent additional comments. So to state this another way, how does preventing people from answering a question, while still keeping it visible, improve Stack Overflow?

closed as off-topic by ale, Ward, James, CRABOLO, tchrist Jul 26 '15 at 0:51

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "This question pertains only to a specific site in the Stack Exchange Network. Questions on Meta Stack Exchange should pertain to our network or software that drives it as a whole, within the guidelines defined in the help center. You should ask this question on the meta site where your concern originated." – ale, Ward, James, CRABOLO, tchrist
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    Mainly because leaving such questions visible but answerable helps teaching users the questions they should not ask. This should not result in a "broken windows" effect because the questions are clearly marked as closed. – Frédéric Hamidi Sep 26 '13 at 7:42
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    On hold/closing is officially on the route to deletion, but it may be edited to be improved. – Richard Tingle Sep 26 '13 at 7:43
  • Although the example I gave has a historical lock, my question is about closed polling questions in general, not historical locks specifically. – Jon Sep 26 '13 at 8:01
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    I recommend slant.co for all your tool recommendation needs. – George Stocker Sep 26 '13 at 15:59
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    You can always just ask the polling/recommendation question if you find none existing which are new enough, and hope that it gets an answer before it is put on hold, or a comment even after it is closed, so you get the answer you want... Of course this is not very nice, being directly against the rules, so you have to ask yourself, do you want to get the answer you need or at least some pointers to the right direction, or do you want to spend hours googling, downloading and trying different alternatives ;) – hyde Oct 4 '13 at 6:02
  • Reopening this will only lead to it being closed as a dupe of another question; like The fourth place: Polling, Recommendations and subjective-ish stuff – Martijn Pieters Oct 4 '13 at 6:39
  • And noone is trying to 'cover the evidence'. We try to keep Stack Overflow focused, including cleaning up posts that add no value whatsoever. – Martijn Pieters Oct 4 '13 at 6:39
  • improve Stack Overflow? No way. There are people here who this SO is perfect AS IS. They won't change it . I read the question ant anyone who know the Pythons Basics, knows it is not a duplicate. – S Nash Oct 4 '13 at 14:14
  • @Martijn Pieters : No you are not. blindly defending Stack flaws does not make it better! – S Nash Oct 4 '13 at 14:15

The given question is locked with the reason:

This question exists because it has historical significance, but it is not considered a good, on-topic question for this site

So the question is not on-topic as it's a tools recommendation question. It is visible because it is not deleted. The reason behind not deleting such questions is that people found it helpful. So future users can also see the question and get some help from it. But since it is off-topic we can not allow new answers at all.

  • If the question is not on-topic here, that begs the question, where is it on-topic? meta.stackexchange.com/questions/8401/… doesn't seem to give a satisfactory answer (since the best results for the python IDE question is on stackoverflow). – Jon Sep 26 '13 at 8:03
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    @Jon - Tools recommendation questions are off-topic entirely on Stack Exchange. – hims056 Sep 26 '13 at 8:10
  • I realise what's considered on-topic is not decided by votes, but >1000 people thought that question was good/useful. It's frustrating that stackoverflow gives the best results for a particular question, it's one of the highest voted questions on the site, but is closed. Not only that, but you can't even ask where you should ask such a question (meta questions about it get downvoted). – Jon Sep 26 '13 at 8:24
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    @Jon This is the price we have to pay for maintaining a high quality site - sure, some questions/answers that are technically useful, but don't subscribe to the SE format, will inevitably be closed/removed - but the criteria for on/off-topic has been pretty well tested over the years, and I suppose it's felt that the current 'rules' yield the best all-round results. – Clive Sep 26 '13 at 8:45
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    @Jon Regarding the "where to ask it"...with the best will in the world, SE's mission isn't to find everyone an answer to their specific question - the mission is to create high quality Q+A sites. Who's to say there is a place where you can ask such questions, and why would it be SE's job to direct you there? – Clive Sep 26 '13 at 8:46
  • @Jon - I think the reason behind downvote is your last paragraph which criticise the current SE closing feature. And people just disagree with that. – hims056 Sep 26 '13 at 8:50
  • @Clive: "well tested" implies that such questions used to be allowed, then something bad happened, and now they're not allowed. What was the bad thing that happened? How would leaving that question open lower the quality of stackoverflow? – Jon Sep 26 '13 at 10:06
  • @Jon To the best of my knowledge no single thing happened to trigger this; the rules have evolved organically over the years, through extensive discussion in the meta site. It has been argued (quite successfully and at length - I shan't reproduce here) that the format of such questions aren't compatible with SE's mission to be a repository of high quality questions and answers. Polling questions are nearly always opinion-based, by their very nature, and they attract spam. Leaving them open would send the signal that it's ok to ask wholly subjective questions, which (IMO at least) it's not – Clive Sep 26 '13 at 10:17
  • @Clive, you implied the question could be useful. hims056 said it was helpful. The question received 1044 upvotes, 1185 favorites and only 11 downvotes. It's difficult to find an alternative website with such high quality answers to that question. IMO allowing questions with those features would improve SO and SE, and questions should need a higher percentage of downvotes before closing. But the moderators disagree, so I'll leave it at that. – Jon Sep 26 '13 at 10:40
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    @Jon Useful != on-topic, that's the important thing to understand here. It would be useful for me to know how to generically port Ruby to C# (stupid example but you get my point), but my wish to know that, and how useful it is to me, doesn't make the question on-topic. Even if 10000 people also want to know the same thing, that still doesn't mean the question can skirt around the pre-defined scope of the site. I agree with your sentiment, that having somewhere to ask these questions would be great; but I disagree that it should be within the Stack Exchange network – Clive Sep 26 '13 at 10:49
  • @Clive: What's on-topic is decided by a vocal minority. Why shouldn't the community decide what's on-topic by voting for or against? If it's good enough to decide which questions and answers are good, why isn't it good enough to decide which questions are on-topic? – Jon Oct 4 '13 at 4:46
  • @Jon - Because 90% of all community feedback is crap. You are right, Stack Exchange is an exceptionally high-quality sort of place, but most of us would agree that the reason it's an exceptionally high-quality place is because of the very rules you are suggesting we abolish. – JDB Oct 4 '13 at 4:59
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    Even if most of us don't agree on that, though, the people who pay the bills and spend their vacations remoting in to deal with down servers have every right to make the rules. As has been said a million times over - if you don't like the rules, there's nothing preventing you from leaving. – JDB Oct 4 '13 at 5:01
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    @Jon - As already said you multiple times tools recommendations questions are not on topic on Stack Overflow. Stack Overflow is for programming related issues not for where to program. But if you really want a SE site where you can ask such questions, you probably need to look at this. – hims056 Oct 4 '13 at 5:07

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