I was once surfing the net when I encountered this:

Link here

Simply put, how can you, future moderators ensure that all questions are treated fairly and will leave questioners satisfied with SO's Q and A system?

Isn't this in the election questions section? If so, how can I move it there? Thank you people!

Don't hate on me people. I posted this only for discussion. While it's true that not everyone will see this as something "worth" discussing, we can't deny the fact that it happens.


  • Umm... did you mean to post this on the moderator election q&a? – Doorknob Feb 17 '14 at 4:00
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    Can't please everyone. – Aaron Bertrand Feb 17 '14 at 4:00
  • Who told you that life is fair? Haven't you ever heard: All are equal but some are more so. – devnull Feb 17 '14 at 4:02
  • @Doorknob, actually, I do. How do I do that? Thank you! – witherwind Feb 17 '14 at 4:04
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    Who cares? Some ignoramus on some poxy freebie subdomain site decides to rant about Stack because their feelings were hurt from their question being closed. What do they want, the site to be allowed to be filled with any old tosh? The internet is full of blogs and whatnot slagging off Stack, as well as people praising it. Their freedom of speech is permitted only to allow us a laugh! – James Feb 17 '14 at 4:05
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    Hopefully by closing questions like the example given in that blog post. – Bill the Lizard Feb 17 '14 at 4:05
  • @AaronBertrand, it wasn't my opinion anyway, but I agree with you. However, there are really instances when vague questions are often deleted or downvoted when there are constraints why it happened (e.g. language) – witherwind Feb 17 '14 at 4:05
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    @witherwind You should be prepared to present multiple examples of these. Just saying it has happened seems kind of hand-wavy to me. – Aaron Bertrand Feb 17 '14 at 4:09
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    It isn't "just" happened. It happens all the time. – witherwind Feb 17 '14 at 4:10
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    This question appears to be off-topic because it is about some random blogger being irritated. – michaelb958--GoFundMonica Feb 17 '14 at 7:26
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    @BilltheLizard, as you know, the policy is not to delete questions with good answers. – Lance Roberts Feb 17 '14 at 8:13
  • @LanceRoberts :facepalm: you got me...dammit – James Feb 17 '14 at 17:05
  • Sorry for the incorrect link, here's the correct policy link. – Lance Roberts Feb 20 '14 at 16:23

There is a little bit of truth in the criticisms. Sometimes moderations is heavy-handed maybe. Questions can be downvoting to oblivion very fast. New users might be somewhat roughly treated by comments, quick closures, etc

And that's a struggle. Because it's always a balancing act. But Stack is certainly doing well.

You could also argue that being over-aggressive is better than the opposite. Anyway a user can come back later and repost.

But we need to fix specific stuff. Blanket criticism is not too helpful


This is silly. Why should all questions be treated fairly? Some people ask really good questions. Others ask questions that are absolute crap, are unclear, don't demonstrate any effort in solving the problem themselves, and - more and more as time goes on - demonstrate an utter lack of effort in searching for previous questions that already answer their question.

Let's not urge future moderators to turn us into Yahoo answers, okay?

  • Hey, that's not me. But I get your point. I know a lot of people who were offended by such crude treatment, especially new users. – witherwind Feb 17 '14 at 4:09
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    @witherwind: Not to put too fine a point on this, but new users often get offended only once. While the veterans here are not especially easy to offend, they do get hit with these poorly executed, vague, underspecified questions on a regular basis. Nobody every thinks to apologize to them, though. – user102937 Feb 17 '14 at 4:13
  • @RobertHarvey, I have to agree with you. But still, what will happen if SO will just be full of veterans because new users (especially ones who ask because they badly needed help) will be repelled from visiting the site? – witherwind Feb 17 '14 at 4:15
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    Yeah, when I first arrived I admit I strayed to the side of thinking that moderation is "heavy handed". Questions closed for no real good reason, not a real dupe, etc, and seemingly poor reasons. But having frequented the site a bit more, I completely see why these things are closed. If they weren't, it wouldn't be as good. Noobs and noob questions are welcome, but most times they've been asked before and the new question offers no additional requirements to the dupe(s). Mostly, it's a case of laziness and they just ask away without putting a bit of effort in and resolving it themselves. – James Feb 17 '14 at 4:17
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    @witherwind at the moment, it seems to be doing just fine. It had 40 million unique visitors a month when I last checked, and some 6 million questions. – Pekka supports GoFundMonica Feb 17 '14 at 4:18
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    @witherwind Some new users - the ones with the thinnest skin - will leave without giving the site another chance. Most won't, though, as evidenced by the site's increasing popularity. The alternative, of course, if you allow it to become Yahoo answers, at which point all the veterans will leave. So who is left to answer all the newbies' questions? A bunch of other newbies? Well, they might be able to ask crappy questions, and they might not get great answers, but at least nobody's feelings will be hurt. shrug – Aaron Bertrand Feb 17 '14 at 4:18
  • Being newbie in SO doesn't necessarily mean you are a newbie in the field. But then again, I have to agree with you. Thank you people! – witherwind Feb 17 '14 at 4:19
  • @AaronBertrand, I would think that you mean "treated equally" not "treated fairly". Do you really thing we should be unfair to any question? – Lance Roberts Feb 17 '14 at 16:41
  • @Lance I was merely using the OP's words. – Aaron Bertrand Feb 17 '14 at 16:42

The page you've linked gives a perfect example of moderators doing their job to eliminate bad impressions from StackOverflow:

3 brothers have to transfer 9 boxes from one place to another.
These boxes weigh 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 11, 14 kilos.
Every brother takes 3 boxes.
So, how to make a program that would count the most optimal way to take boxes?

The blog author compains about that question being closed as

It’s difficult to tell what is being asked here. This question is ambiguous, vague, incomplete, overly broad, or rhetorical and cannot be reasonably answered in its current form

That's the perfect description of what is wrong with that question. Is it a question at all? Taking it literarilly, yes, it asks

how to make a program that would count the most optimal way to take boxes?

so the possible (and correct answer) is: using IDE and keybord. Which is for sure not what the author expects. And what the author expects?

  • posting complete code (gimmedekodez)?
  • a complete discrete optimization theory?
  • an assurance that brute force is OK for such small datasets?
  • an answer to the riddle?

The author is frustrated because he was denied his reputation points for writing an assignment for someone else. He didn't get it, that reputation on SO should be given for sharing knowledge, and not for solving someone's assignments. That's all about it.

  • Great answer. Some of it is funny but so true. :) – Sufian Apr 20 '15 at 9:32

The one thing that is definitely being done wrong is too much deletion. Your link led me to this question that had a 117-vote answer. We shouldn't be deleting questions with good answers. Period.

And in fact, people were asked long ago not to delete questions with good answers, but the new generation has decided they no longer need that paradigm.

It's even worse when moderators unilaterally delete posts, since then the community can't bring them back.

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