Last week I asked this question, but quite fast it got a few negative votes and two close votes both of which "primarily opinion based". I couldn't see why the question was opinion based according to someone, but I edited the body so that there should be nothing related to personal opinions in it. Still I keep getting close votes and what is most frustrating they still say my question is primarily opinion based. I see nothing wrong with my question now and there is no way in which it can be opinion based. Any advice on how I can improve it?

Also the first edits I did removed a bit that was important to me - if the given feature is not part of c++1y then when is it planned as part of the standard, so I believe the change I performed somehow removed part of what I am interested in. Any ideas how to ask for the info I seek?

  • I think this was marked as primarily opinion-based because the question's audience is actually the C++ standard bodies. Everyone else is reduced to speculation, and speculative answers can arguably qualify as "primarily opinion-based". Commented Oct 7, 2013 at 8:05
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    You are asking about future standard, right? So now all anybody can do is guess, with various levels of probability. Once the standard is sealed, accepted, published and final, your question will be answerable with anything more than a opinion-based guess.
    – Mołot
    Commented Oct 7, 2013 at 8:07
  • By the way - "I asked"? It's asked by Ivaylo Strandjev not izomorphius. I feel confused.
    – Mołot
    Commented Oct 7, 2013 at 8:08
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    @Mołot you know different stack accounts for the same user can have different display names, right?
    – AakashM
    Commented Oct 7, 2013 at 8:12
  • @AakashM Actually I didn't. Thanks.
    – Mołot
    Commented Oct 7, 2013 at 8:14

2 Answers 2


What we see here is close-voters taking a shortcut. It took me 5 minutes to write up the custom close-reason because I needed to verify my claims. Voting to close as "primarily opinion based" would have been the easy way out, because that's what it is.

Even if there would be plans to include it, that doesn't mean that is going to be included. Additionally that can change within a day on a whim1. So even if you get an answer it could be outdated very fast, rendering it useless.

1: Not knowing the committee/organization that produces this standard, assuming default process.

  • Any ideas on how to ask the question in a better way? Commented Oct 7, 2013 at 9:08
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    @izomorphius no, at least not that would be on topic for Stack Overflow. No one can say for certain whether a specific feature will be included in a future release of a language. Only the standards body can tell you this with any kind of authority. So it is just not a good fit. Maybe in chat, you'll find people willing to speculate. Commented Oct 7, 2013 at 9:16
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    @izomorphius one other issue (with it's on-topicness for SO) is it doesn't appear to be a specific programming problem. So rather than asking if such and such a feature exists or when, you might want to ask a question about the ultimate problem that leaves you needing a BigInteger. Someone might have an acceptable workaround that you can use. Commented Oct 7, 2013 at 9:51
  • In my experience it is extremely common for close-voters to take shortcuts, thus rendering their votes useless and harmful to stackexchange sites. (A lie is worse than the absence of truth!)
    – iconoclast
    Commented Jul 6, 2015 at 15:03

Unfortunately, Stack Overflow is not a place for every possible programming question on the planet. We have a very narrow focus aimed at specific programming problems that can be answered without wild speculation. (For a complete list of what you can ask and what you can't, you should review the Help Center).

While it does seem to meet one of the criteria in the on-topic list, "practical, answerable problems that are unique to software development", the answerable part is the tough one because it isn't truly answerable except by someone involved in setting the standards.

Additionally, what makes it off topic is something from the "what you can't ask" list.

You should only ask practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face. Chatty, open-ended questions diminish the usefulness of our site and push other questions off the front page.

Here, "answerable" means the same as above, plus it isn't really a question about a problem you are facing. You actually appear to be asking asking about a specific solution that you think answers a problem you are facing. That is a common problem in many SO questions.

So one way to make this question on-topic is to flip it around. Don't ask about biginteger and when it will be released, but rather ask the question about what drove you to seek out biginteger as the solution. You might find a better workaround or even a better solution in a different direction than the one you are currently using. And as a plus, if biginteger is on the C++ radar, a response about it might actually be an acceptable answer as well.

Another alternative is Stack Overflow Chat. Topics there are a little more open-ended and can be on-topic for more speculative questions, so you might be able to get a response to your biginteger question.

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