I asked this question: Why do I only need to loop 23 times to draw 24 rectangles?

Others asked for a test case. I made and provided it. I read the rules of SO and I believe that my question follows the community guidelines, however whole bunch of people for some reason put it on hold. Why? My code might be not compact, but it compiles, runs and I've seen questions with more lines of code. I am asking a precise question and not a recommendation. Moreover, there is no specific comment on how my question is irrelevant, so I am just left there wondering.

What's wrong?

  • Hmm...It's not showing up as closed for me...
    – Bagavatu
    Jan 1 '14 at 0:47
  • @Bagavatu, it's already re-opened (after Shog simplified it a bit).
    – Ben Lee
    Jan 1 '14 at 0:48
  • 5
    Sometimes I wonder if "Leave Open" votes should cancel out close ones in the review queues: stackoverflow.com/review/close/3685719 Jan 1 '14 at 2:01
  • @BradLarson this is actually a good idea, was it suggested? Jan 1 '14 at 2:37
  • @BradLarson I think they do cancel out "keep closed" review votes, but not actual close votes.
    – yannis
    Jan 1 '14 at 2:37
  • 4
    Hi. Do you understand why the things Shog did made it a much better question? (Namely the much shorter example, clear title and so on) Is the issue resolved? Jan 1 '14 at 2:38
  • 4
    Wow. I actually did not expect it to be resolved that quickly and positively considering my previous experience here. You just prevented one user from leaving. I was googling alternatives to this website already. Now I know exactly how I should have gone about asking the question and have more understanding of the extent of precision I should put into it. If Shog would somehow answer here I would accept his answer to close this post. Thanks a lot for explanation by action. Jan 1 '14 at 3:59
  • 1
    Sorry, I'm just dropping in periodically while baking, so I kinda left this unfinished earlier. See answer for details.
    – Shog9
    Jan 1 '14 at 5:12
  • @9Shogsa-Shogging so you're baking at work, or working from home? ;) Jan 1 '14 at 8:04

At first, your question was missing key details. That's the primary reason for it being closed - without a clear picture of what was being done, the question was impossible to answer.

In your defense, you did go back and add that information (your example code) prior to the question being closed - but by then, it had already attracted several votes; in effect, the bar for closing was lower than it would've been initially.

At this point, several other factors entered the picture:

  • Your title was not very descriptive: writing good titles is hard, but they are probably the single most influential part of your post! Note how I edited your titles on both the main site and here on Meta to attempt to capture the essence of the question, condensed down into a line or two - strive to do the same yourself in the future.

  • You went from almost no code to a 74-line listing! You did appear to put some effort into reducing your listing down to a manageable length, but there was still a lot of irrelevant stuff in that listing. The goal should always be to write the smallest possible program that still reproduces the bug you're trying to fix: in this case, that's a single panel and a render method. I actually edited this down more than I should've (and then restored part of it) and realistically you would've needed to be as strict as I was - but keep in mind, the less code you include (while still providing enough to reproduce the bug), the faster others will be able to read it and the more likely you are to get an effective answer.

  • Your code was poorly formatted. This may seem like a very small thing, but again: you're trying to remove as many barriers as possible between potential readers and an understanding of your post. So make your indentation consistent (and minimal - I usually stick with 2 or three-space indents to reduce horizontal scrolling), use whitespace judiciously to separate distinct areas of your program, and include comments to point out key sections.

None of these was damning on its own, but combined with one another and the fact that the post wasn't originally complete meant that it really wasn't an appealing question when it came up for review.

In the future, strive to put your best foot forward when asking questions, and I think you'll have a much easier time of it.

  • 4
    I think that actually should be somewhere on the page of the help center, so every person doesn't have to go through this investigation. SSCCE does not particulary describe this as well as help center pages here stackoverflow.com/help/asking Jan 1 '14 at 6:15
  • 1
    One of the main problems about whatever would be posted in the help pages is that people don't go checking those things until after it is too late, and most of the time, not even then. If someone wrote "Hi! So you want to write a good Stack Overflow question, here's how to do it", people would still be here asking why their question was closed. Might not be you, but most would still be. Jan 3 '14 at 23:29
  • 1
    But to be honest, I agree 100%. On that link, there are 12 topics linked. Of those 12, 3 topics are somewhat positive, the rest deal with negative responses. The positive ones, "What topics", "What are tags", and "How do I ask a good question", should be right on top. In my opinion, the very first topic on that list should be: How to ensure a good chance of someone providing a good answer to my question? or something to that effect. It's a bit too focused on everything that can go wrong. The one about asking a good question goes some of the distance, but not far enough. Jan 3 '14 at 23:33
  • meta.stackexchange.com/questions/214955/… @user3081519
    – Shog9
    Jan 4 '14 at 22:18

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