When is null useful? has been closed as primarily opinion-based, and I can't understand why. Look at the first answer:

For example, if you have a model where you aim to produce little or no garbage, Optional is not an option and null produces no garbage.

This is a perfectly factual and helpful answer, and doesn't seem opinion-based at all. I don't really understand why this is not a valid question. Can I get an explanation so I can improve my questions in future?

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    Is that the only thing null could be used for? There are a lot more possibilities that that. For example you might null out data that is no longer correct and then lazy load it on next use. There are also a lot of stylistic usages Feb 9, 2014 at 22:04
  • @RichardTingle that would more make it too broad?
    – rene
    Feb 9, 2014 at 22:14
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    @rene I'm sitting on the fence between those two anyway; i probably would have voted too broad. However the use of null can often be stylistic which is opinion based Feb 9, 2014 at 22:16
  • @RichardTingle Yeah, yeah. And all best-practices are primarily opinion based.
    – bjb568
    Feb 9, 2014 at 22:16
  • But are there any other use-cases when it's useful or when it's the best option? <-- Primarily opinion-based. That being too broad is also primarily opinion-based. Feb 9, 2014 at 22:17
  • If the question would use some real-life examples to narrow the discussion it might end up as better suited for codereview.se
    – rene
    Feb 9, 2014 at 22:20
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    @bjb568 Even best practice is pretty controversial. I've seen people defend the multiline-braceless-if to death Feb 9, 2014 at 22:25
  • @piotrek, It is a valid question, but somewhat broad and "beginnerish". Unfortunately you will find folks in this forum that would rather chastise you than simply ignore a question they think is is too basic to be answered.
    – James Hall
    Feb 9, 2014 at 22:36
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    Also why are people down voting this; when unsure about something asking on meta us exactly the right thing to do Feb 9, 2014 at 22:42
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    @JamesHall: Writing a brief, but informative answer to a well-thought-out, specific question is one thing. Writing a book to try and cover every possible eventuality in a question that demands multiple answers for completeness is quite another.
    – user102937
    Feb 9, 2014 at 22:58
  • That's a good question @RichardTingle.
    – James Hall
    Feb 9, 2014 at 23:47
  • @Richard Yeah, yeah. And whether or not to want to have SQL injection is primarily opinion based.
    – bjb568
    Feb 10, 2014 at 1:24
  • @RobertHarvey, good point, context means everything. I mentioned that I thought the question was too broad, but according to piotrek the post was closed for being primarily opinion-based. Depending on the context there are definite answers. Any answers would have inherently helped form a better question, but now we will never know.
    – James Hall
    Feb 11, 2014 at 15:07
  • @James Hall the question is not closed. someone who edited my question on meta said it's closed. currently it's put on hold
    – piotrek
    Feb 11, 2014 at 19:49
  • @piotrek, Understand, but because it is on "hold" no further answers can be added. correct?
    – James Hall
    Feb 12, 2014 at 2:14

1 Answer 1


Questions that ask for a "list of things" are frequently closed by the community, because they cannot be definitively answered.

  • ...but this can be definitively answered.
    – James Hall
    Feb 9, 2014 at 23:42
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    @JamesHall: As a trusted member of the community, can you know that ahead of time, without having prior knowledge of the problem domain?
    – user102937
    Feb 9, 2014 at 23:43
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    @James I can think of a few; nulling out things that don't go out of scope for ages but are large, nulling out no longer accurate information then lazy loading in next access. As a return to signal an error (bad practice), as a return to indicate nothing found. But that's just what I can think of. I bet that list isn't exhaustive Feb 9, 2014 at 23:51

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