Stack overflow treads a fine line between two goals: one is to provide help for programmers who have a specific problem, and the other is to provide a useful, high quality and highly findable resources for programmers. (Please note I'm not saying these are the only goals, just the two I am discussing)

In order to facilitate the latter goal, the former must be compromised to an extent: vague or subjective questions are voted down and often closed. Unlike a forum where almost any question is accepted, but the overall quality and findability is very poor. Forums are basically where expert information goes to die.

Wouldn't it benefit the site to add a short countdown (1-3 days) before a closed question is actually closed?

This way the asker gets a chance for his question to be answered and a chance to reform (or community-wiki) his question into something useful for the site.

It is certainly not clear to new users that closed questions can be reopened, or how this can be achieved.


When a question no longer applies, is severely out of date that it's not even worth the trouble of updating, or just isn't "needed" any more, there's a close reason of:

no longer relevant

Even then, the answers to a question would/may speak to the truth or principles that last longer than the question's own half-life that it would be richly wanted on SOFU.

Just deleting them serves to hamper the call to make the trilogy the go to site on programming/sys admin/computer questions.

  • You have a good point, perhaps I should reformulate my idea. The closed/open system seems to have its merits: each stage is flexible and reversible. However I feel many users lose out when their question is suddenly closed.
    – peterjwest
    Oct 16 '09 at 9:02
  • 1
    They should ask better questions, then they won't be closed. Oct 17 '09 at 4:06

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