Especially with "minimal understanding" and "show what you've tried" and such taken away, people are floundering looking for a close reason for questions they believe to be awful, lazy, and of no value to anyone else. When specific examples are given I generally feel they count as Unclear What You're Asking because gimmetehcodez or debugmetehcodes is (counterintuitively) unclear.
In these cases someone is guaranteed to say "it couldn't be clearer! They want to know how to change the code so that it does what they want!" (Or they want to know what the output would be if they ran it, or whaever.) I feel that the real question is actually not "how should my code be changed so that it works?" but one of these:
- what is a debugger? How do I use it?
- if my program doesn't give the right output, how can I fix it?
- what is a function?
- what is scope?
and so on. The reason I can't help these people is I have no idea what their underlying problem is.
This isn't always a matter of bad writing. Someone in c++ who is asking about
if (x=1) always doing the if-thing even when x was 2 before the
if, I know what their underlying problem is no matter how poorly they write the question, and I can help them if I feel like it. But when someone pastes in a complete C program and says "what is the output if this runs?" how in heaven can that question be clear? I mean, why are you asking us? Why not just run the darn thing? Do you mean that you did and the output confused you and you want to us to clear up the confusion? Or do you honestly not know how to run it so you want someone to run it for you so you can paste the answer in to some homework assignment? Or you tried to run it but because you made some trivial mistake it's not running, so really what you would love is if we helped with that, but you'll settle for someone telling you the output. Or what? It's totally unclear.
But then we argue that no, the OP clearly asked "What is the output?" that's clear, and you're a bad person to try to say otherwise. So, can we call Unclear What You're Asking something else?
- Missing Required Information?
- Not Answerable?
- No Generally Applicable Question?
Some of these I know are reminding people of NARQ and TL and I don't want to go there. I want to figure out the underlying concept behind "answering your literal question is of no value, or you have no literal question, and I can't find anything to answer that would ever be useful to anyone else. Can we work together to make this question into something others would care about too?"
Am I alone in this?
I am suddenly reminded of the ur-NARQ:
Why is there a car parked outside my house?
Clear, well written, and the OP might even be able to accept (or decline accepting) an answer. But unanswerable. Nobody here even knows where your house is, or whose car it is, or why it is there. We can't answer it. "What is the output of this program?" is like that. Whatever the real question is, we can't answer. And if for by some wild fluke we did, nobody else would ever benefit from it. But a question like the one that made Eric Lippert explain about hotel room drawers and such - that has lasting value. Some of these debugmetehcodez questions might have value if they were rewritten just enough to trigger a good explanation of scope, functions, debugging, or how to try stuff yourself. That's what I want this close reason to encourage. Come on, asker!, I want it to say, we can turn this into something the community can answer!
Exhibit A: Why is this question on hold?