I am having a difficult time deciding how to deal with questions like these with the new close options.

Example question: Move element to X left when click button

I have read through the related topics and @Shog9's reasoning behind the close vote changes. For the most part they make sense.

So, my question is, given these new parameters, how am I to answer/respond to the above-linked question?

The OP's question is reasonably clear, and for the sake of argument here, let's assume it's completely clear. They would like code to move through their table elements when not all are visible. They tagged the question CSS and jQuery, so it seems the OP wants a jQuery answer. However, the OP provides no jQuery code, no pseudo code, no "this is what I tried" explanation.

Clearly, the question has been down-voted. Great. But will this question provide any benefit to future Stack Overflow visitors? Does it answer a specific technical or programming problem?

In the end I see this as a "I want a pony!" question. The OP wants something, but has not made any effort to help his own situation, other that copy-pasting some code which isn't really explaining a problem so much as providing a fill-in-the-blank form. We could provide a very thorough answer, with a number of options for the asker, but we are not a consulting firm, and we are not a "free programming" resource.

I feel that really we just need a close reason something like:

Please make an attempt to solve the problem yourself before asking a question on Stack Overflow. Your question may be asking others to make a significant effort or to provide excessive amounts of original code. If you do not know where to begin, Stack Overflow may not be the appropriate forum for your question. Please to advantage of the many freely available programming and language tutorials available online.

Probably not the best, but that is the gist of what I am getting at. We also do not want a close reason like this to become a crutch to say "This person is obviously not a genius like myself, so they should go get a degree and come back".


Some additional interesting details:

  • An answer was given, providing all of the code the OP needed
  • The OP accepted this answer, replying "Thank you very much for this. It wasn't nice to see so many negative comments :)"
  • Another answer was given, providing the OP what they really needed - pointers to jQuery help documents.
  • The OP replied, "I still can't understand javascript and jQuery. Can you show me an example ? Thanks..!"

This just goes to show that the OP didn't want to learn, they wanted to take. OK, that may be too harsh, I often learn from examples better than from docs, but it seems that if the OP doesn't know jQuery or JavaScript, they aren't going to learn it from a single question on SO.

In the end, the OP got what they wanted, and another user got +15 rep, so was any behavior discouraged here?

  • Not sure where I read it, but an interesting point of view is that it is clear what the OP wants, but not at all what is being asked. In that sense requirement dump questions are unclear. – Palec Feb 23 '14 at 3:55

Out of the current options, I would go with too broad

There are either too many possible answers, or good answers would be too long for this format. Please add details to narrow the answer set or to isolate an issue that can be answered in a few paragraphs.

To really give the answer that the questioner wants, the answer would have to explain HTML, CSS, Javascript, jQuery, et cetera, and that is way too much.

See this answer for why I say that: Are code questions without an attempt now on topic

  • 2
    "How do I write [program]?" is definitely not a specific enough question for SO and therefore too broad. But I think the description of the close reason could be improved. It shouldn't focus so much on potential answers but include that the question might be vague and not focused enough on a reasonably sized problem. – sth Jan 10 '14 at 19:08
  • I agree, especially considering the "good answers would be too long for this format". And yet it was closed with all votes for "Unclear what you're asking", including yours and mine. – Jeff B Jan 10 '14 at 19:34
  • That's a quirk of the close reason system -- it gives the majority reason for everybody. Or maybe the moderator's vote overrules all other votes, so shog9's reason wins? – Kevin Panko Jan 10 '14 at 21:22
  • 1
    I think it is also a unclear what you're asking situation, but the question asked by @JeffB said the "question is reasonably clear" so I gave the benefit of the doubt. – Kevin Panko Jan 10 '14 at 21:24

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