I believe that this audit is a bad audit. (hm, for some reason it now says someone else reviewed and passed it, but I failed. maybe because I typed this question before pressing "I understand," so it got passed on to someone else. anyway,) The question text was:

I have a sequence of 0s and 1s in this manner:

xx <- c(0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 0, 
                    0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0, 1)

And I want to select the 0s and the first 1s.

The results should be:

ans <- c(0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0, 0, 1)

What's the fastest way? in R

I clicked "close" so I could vote to close as "must demonstrate a minimal understanding," but then the audit message slapped me.

I know the criteria for an audit, but I just want to know: is this one correct? Should have I selected "Leave Open," and why? Or is it just another bad audit?

  • What was the question the audit asked you? – user102937 Oct 3 '13 at 2:34
  • @RobertHarvey stackoverflow.com/q/18920849/1223693 – Doorknob Oct 3 '13 at 2:34
  • No, no. The audit. What did the audit ask? – user102937 Oct 3 '13 at 2:35
  • @RobertHarvey You mean the fail message? The usual "STOP! Look and listen" one – Doorknob Oct 3 '13 at 2:35
  • "Should this question be closed as ...." ? – user102937 Oct 3 '13 at 2:36
  • 2
    @RobertHarvey Ah, it said "primarily opinion based," but I wanted to close for a different reason anyway so I clicked Close. – Doorknob Oct 3 '13 at 2:36
  • Worth noting: according to the timeline for the question, it never attracted a close vote, and there are no downvotes on the question. The other reviewer chose "Leave Open." – user102937 Oct 3 '13 at 3:12
  • I'm sure I'd fail. Or skip it. I don't really know R. – Makoto Oct 3 '13 at 5:17
  • 1
    @RobertHarvey "no downvotes" -- it's not so anymore ("human factor" was brought into it) – gnat Oct 3 '13 at 7:55
  • 2
    Guideline: "Questions you haven't tried to find an answer for (show your work!)" This question doesn't show any of that and should indeed be downvoted and closed. – Michael Oct 3 '13 at 8:54
  • 1
    @gnat: Pretty sure that the upvotes weren't the result of bots. – user102937 Oct 3 '13 at 12:48
  • @RobertHarvey so what? – gnat Oct 3 '13 at 12:49
  • @gnat: So 7 people thought the question was good enough to upvote it, and none of the 139 who viewed it felt the need to vote to close or flag. Are you saying they're all wrong? – user102937 Oct 3 '13 at 12:52
  • @RobertHarvey how many of these 7 / 139 thought it was also good for review-audits? "Test items in review queues that are designed to help new reviewers hone their moderation skills, while nudging more experienced users that don't seem to be paying close attention to what they're reviewing." Are you saying all of them thought so? – gnat Oct 3 '13 at 12:56
  • @gnat: It's not reasonable to expect voters to consider how their vote might affect some obscure algorithm in the SE software. – user102937 Oct 3 '13 at 13:26

While it's true that the vast majority of questions that I close under "Questions asking for code must demonstrate a minimal understanding of the problem," or "Problems with code must include a description of code that reproduces the problem and a description of the problem," those are not the real reasons why I actually close such questions.

Questions looking for code, or questions looking for a solution to a problem, aren't the real difficulties we have with the front page of SO. Rather, it's the vague, under-specified, unanswerable questions with atrocious spelling and grammar, copy/pastes of homework assignments, and so forth. The Eternal September, in other words. The new close reasons work so well because those questions are almost always absent the elements that we now require.

Here's the catch. Occasionally, someone posts a question who clearly understands what he is doing, states the problem clearly and succinctly, and asks a question that is definitively answerable and not an obvious duplicate. It's not a highly-obscure problem, nor is it something that requires a lengthy explanation to answer. But the OP has not posted his half-assed, broken code with the question.

Why would we close such questions? Isn't the point of Stack Overflow to serve as a repository for problems and solutions that are broadly applicable to programmers? Isn't it true that these kinds of questions, even though they might violate the letter of the law, certainly don't violate its spirit? Aren't these the kinds of questions that we want to see here? The kind that will attract genuinely good answers instead of attempting to fix broken code?

The question you have to ask yourself when you encounter a question like this during an audit, is this: Does the question actively harm the site if it remains here? I think the answer in this particular audit is clear.

  • Ah, thanks very much for the clarification. I initially disagreed with the whole "embrace the non-Googlers" thing, but now I see your point. – Doorknob Oct 3 '13 at 2:52
  • 4
    Isn't this a plain and simple "gimme dah codez" question? Aren't those always off topic? – Adam Rackis Oct 3 '13 at 2:52
  • @AdamRackis I guess not.. unfortunately it seems as though many questions are like that - from what I have seen lately anyways.. – Josh Crozier Oct 3 '13 at 2:54
  • @AdamRackis: Have a look at my icanhazcodez question here: stackoverflow.com/q/11660127 – user102937 Oct 3 '13 at 2:55
  • @Robert - you'll be happy to know I had already upvoted that question :) – Adam Rackis Oct 3 '13 at 2:56
  • @Doorknob: In any case, that the audit asked you if the question should be closed as "Primarily Opinion-Based," was a clue that something was amiss. – user102937 Oct 3 '13 at 2:56
  • 1
    I'm looking forward to a user actually stating (un-ironically), "gimme dah codez." – Jamal Oct 3 '13 at 2:58
  • @Jamal: Nobody's actually said that in a question to my knowledge, but they have said "you can email the codes to my.email@address". – user102937 Oct 3 '13 at 3:00
  • @RobertHarvey: I hate that, too. Clearly an indication that the user has not the basic idea what this website is for. It's like we're seen as a code hotline or something. – Jamal Oct 3 '13 at 3:03

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