This evening I was contacted by a community member who felt my moderator-activity was too frequent. This is following the closing/migrating of several questions. Being a new moderator, I'd like to submit myself to the community for just a moment and invite any and all criticism to better understand what is expected of me from the community.

Unfortunately, only 10k+ users will be able to view the recently-closed page: https://stackoverflow.com/tools/recently-closed

For those of you who do not have access to the tools page, here are some recent items that I've participated in:

  1. Clarification on Google Reader Tags
    Closed as not programming related by Jonathan Sampson ♦
    Reopened following further details from OP

  2. Do you program when you’re drunk?
    Closed as subjective and argumentative by Jonathan Sampson ♦

  3. registering as iPhone developer
    Closed as not programming related by Jonathan Sampson ♦

  4. Cheapest hosting that comes with smartfox
    Closed as not programming related by Jonathan Sampson ♦

  5. What free blogging services allow completely custom CSS?
    Closed as not programming related by Jonathan Sampson ♦

  6. What language makes a strong developer these days?
    Closed as subjective and argumentative by bmargulies, cletus, Chacha102, Jonathan Sampson ♦

  7. Preventing Gmail from Automatically Adding Contacts
    Closed as belongs on superuser.com by Jonathan Sampson ♦

  8. What’s the best site to sell (possibly) used software?
    Closed as not programming related by skaffman, Neil Butterworth, Chris Jester-Young, Jonathan Sampson ♦

  9. Removing a non empty directory programmatically in C or C++
    Closed as exact duplicate by Neil Butterworth, bk1e, Jonathan Sampson ♦

  10. Which edition of Windows 7 is most suitable for software developers?
    Closed as exact duplicate by APC, jleedev, Jonathan Sampson ♦

10k+ users can continue on their own through the history. I'll close this question with a statement from the response email back to the community member:

Being a new Moderator, I do sincerely appreciate the accountability provided by the community...It is this type of feedback that will ultimately improve Stack Overflow, and I think we're all united in that effort.

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    Actually, I'd started to wonder if you and Gumbo were ever going to use your newfound powers. I guess this answers it. :) – mmyers Feb 14 '10 at 7:03
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    The closes all look perfectly legit to me. The only thing that doesn't look right to me in general is that when a question is vague, and the community closes down a question using five votes, the asker can see the close votes trickling in, and re-word the question - a chance he doesn't have when a moderator closes it. So it might be an idea to give questions that are too vague but have the potential of being a real question, some warning first. I don't know, just a thought. – Pekka Feb 14 '10 at 11:29
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    +1 @Jonathan: sometimes coming forward and asking for community advice on your actions can be very difficult to do. This action on your part is very respectable and puts you in an approachable light. Moderators, in general, are easily assumed to be mean and intolerable. So far, I can say the complete opposite about any of the moderators I have communicated with, directly or indirectly, on SO and M.SO. – IAbstract Feb 15 '10 at 0:05
  • @dboarman: I appreciate the kind words. I figured it this way, if my behavior is off-key with what the community expects, I can either invite the scrutiny now, or be called out by the community later. So far I've learned a great deal from you all in this question. – Sampson Feb 15 '10 at 0:39
  • Stepping in as a volunteer moderator is not much different than getting your first management position - sans monetary compensation. I admire anyone willing to take on the stresses moderator duties will undoubtedly impose. I am happy being a contributing peon. – IAbstract Feb 15 '10 at 1:11
  • From what I've seen (esp. on SO, don't pay much attention to meta) you've not made any serious mistakes, but I do notice it's rare (or seems to be) for other SO moderators to close a question single-handedly, which would, at the very least, prevent misinterpretation as in meta.stackexchange.com/questions/42636. – Gnome Mar 19 '10 at 4:46
  • @Jonathan, noting the input given below, one time when it is good for a moderator to close is when a question is too niche to attract enough of the community, and it goes by a day or so without the community closing it. – Lance Roberts May 27 '10 at 23:24
  • @Jonathan, you could look at the two flags I put on these questions: stackoverflow.com/questions/2905168/… and stackoverflow.com/questions/2852285/…. – Lance Roberts May 27 '10 at 23:27
  • @Lance I'm sorry I didn't see this comment sooner. I've merged the two posts in question. Thank you. – Sampson May 28 '10 at 4:52
  • I don't understand why you felt compelled to edit every single one of my posts and remove the link to my blog. I post the link because there aren't many active blogs about ClickOnce, and if someone's asking a question about it, they could find something helpful on my blog. There's nothing in it for me, I make no money off of it, I'm just trying to be helpful because I have expertise in this niche technology. – RobinDotNet May 30 '10 at 17:10
  • @Jonathan: I was checking out Robin's posts, and maybe it would be helpful if you posted a comment to the answer with the link to meta explaining why. – Alan May 30 '10 at 17:17
  • @RobinDotNet: He didn't remove your blog link, he removed your signature per meta.stackexchange.com/questions/28416/…. Links to blogs (especially specific articles in blogs) as part of a comprehensive answer is okay. meta.stackexchange.com/questions/20531 – Alan May 30 '10 at 17:20
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    Woah, 52 upvotes on a system with 180,000+ users constitutes some sort of democratic vote for a policy change? This really needs to be made an official policy and publicly documented before it can be enforced. Stackoverflow makes money on the posts people freely give it. There needs to be some leeway here. – Peter Ritchie May 30 '10 at 17:31

15 Answers 15


In my opinion, moderators should only do what the rest of the community cannot.

Stack Overflow does not need a moderator to close down somewhat-questionable questions. Dozens of 3000+ reputation users already rapidly vote to close down questions. Let the community make those decisions.

On the other hand, plenty of things can't be done by non-moderators. We need you to look for suspicious voting patterns. We need you to be a neutral arbiter. We need you to use the tools that you have, and that we don't.

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    +1 @Chip: using tools that only mods have and being a neutral arbiter are probably the 2 most prominent duties that the moderator should focus on. – IAbstract Feb 14 '10 at 23:56
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    On the gripping hand, moderators are also users in the community. Casting the 5th close vote, for example, is acting exactly as if they are a normal user. – Gnome Mar 19 '10 at 4:51
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    This was a more reasonable answer in the past, when mods were appointed, than it is today. See my answer from a couple days ago for more. – Pops Feb 11 '11 at 18:49
  • Moderators are also allowed to ask questions, I hope. – gerrit Dec 10 '12 at 16:31

Now I haven't looked at every question, but glancing at the titles, I would say you are probably correct. The only thing I would suggest is maybe wait a little while before closing a question. I would bet that the community is going to close it for you. Even though you agree with the community and can do it, by letting the community handle the situation itself it removes you from being the bad guy. What you have to remember is that a lot of people like the fact that the community regulates what questions there are on the site etc. etc. Being a moderator, you have the ability to drastically affect how the site functions, and even though you could be correct in closing each question.

  1. Some people will disagree with you (however off base they might be)
  2. Everyone glancing through the question will immediately examine (for a second or two even if they agree with you) whether or not you made the right decision. That being said, it may be better to let smaller problems take care of themselves, so when you need to you can handle larger issues without facing so much scrutiny.
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    This is very close to what my advice would be. Let the community handle as much they can. Questions that need to be closed are closed quickly most of the time by sufficient numbers of 3k SO users. – Troggy Feb 14 '10 at 16:38
  • Sounds good. I suppose in my zeal to start cleaning up, I forgot about the primary method of quality-control, the community. – Sampson Feb 14 '10 at 17:26
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    I agree, moderators should focus first on the activities that are not open to 10k users, like merging duplicates, investigating flagged posts and fraudulent voting activity. – Ether Feb 14 '10 at 17:33
  • Good point, @Ether. – Sampson Feb 14 '10 at 18:13

These all look reasonable to me. If you're sure something needs closed immediately, like in the case of "Do you program when you’re drunk?", then don't hesitate. That's one of the reasons moderators are here, to act a little more quickly than the community can in cases where it's clearly needed.

If I'm unsure, I usually wait to see what the community thinks. We are here to enforce community standards, not our own. If a question is borderline, I don't feel right about slamming it closed with my one mod vote. If 4 other people agree with me, I don't feel too bad about casting the last vote to close. If other people disagree, they can still reverse my decision by voting to reopen.


As others have said already, it might be better to let the community have first crack at some of the cleanup that the community can do, like flagging questions for close, and instead focus on the things that 10k users cannot do or do not have enough information to do effectively, like:

  • merging duplicate questions into one
  • investigating suspicious voting activity
  • issuing warnings to users who repeatedly post useless, vague, or plagiarizing posts
  • performing reputation recalcs on users who have just had a number of posts deleted
  • mass re-tagging, and blacklisting new inappropriate tags
  • 2
    Great advice. Remember that you're not a janitor like the rest of us anymore. We'll take care of the little stuff - we need you behind the scenes. – Michael Petrotta Feb 14 '10 at 18:26
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    The rep system handles some stuff, but a lot of users don't care about rep, and it's really frustrating to see users post garbage over and over again. Sometimes it's users, not questions, that are the problem. We can't take care of that; you can. – Michael Petrotta Feb 14 '10 at 18:27

Johnathan, I have one suggestion. After you posted this question, you closed (rightly) this question ("How to make a Javascript Comments Script?"). It looks a bit abrupt, and triggered the OP to ask two identical questions, both of which were closed. When a diamond moderator closes a question, particularly as the only closer, it looks better if he posts a quick comment justifying the closure. "This question is far too vague. You'll get a better response if you..."

  • Thank you Michael. Do you feel the close-reasons themselves do not serve as sufficient explanations for why the close took place? – Sampson Feb 14 '10 at 8:23
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    @Johnathan: Well, often, yes. Sometimes, you get a feeling that a little more help is needed. "Exact duplicate" is clear. "Not a question" can be problematic. In the referenced post, I think the OP would have been able to pose a real question, if only he was steered appropriately. – Michael Petrotta Feb 14 '10 at 8:28
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    I hesitate to suggest this, though, because you'll be able to do a lot less moderating if you have to justify everything. – Michael Petrotta Feb 14 '10 at 8:29
  • I think your point is very clear. I will try to do this more often. A specific response may be more helpful than a generic subtext to a close-reason. – Sampson Feb 14 '10 at 8:31

You're doing fine, and I, for one, welcome our new stackoverlords.

With great power comes great complaining, so develop a thick skin and you'll be fine.

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    With a reference to both the Simpsons and Spiderman responding to Sampson (alliteration FTW) you definitely deserve an upvote - +1 – Sampson Mar 4 '10 at 5:18

Most of those seem like legit closes. The Google Reader one sounds like the guy was using the API and wondering about the behavior of the labels so that one might be acceptable, but the rest were definitely duplicates, subjective, or off-topic.

  • @Kyle: I think you're right about the Google Reader question. Unfortunately it was too vague. The OP has added a comment that confirmed your suspicion, and the question is now reopened. – Sampson Feb 14 '10 at 7:30
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    @Jonathan I would say if it's a newbie, or somebody is obviously not a native english speaker and struggling with words, it's nice to leave a comment if you have the time. The automated message already says it all, but it still is just an automated message. A personal note is much nicer. My 2 cents. – Pekka Feb 14 '10 at 11:25

#2 doesn't strike me as particularly argumentative. "Not a real question" would probably have been more descriptive. Not a big deal though.

This Eclipse question was migrated to SU. Yeah, it's not strictly a programming question, but questions about tools primarily used for programming have been generally accepted on SO - note the hundreds of existing Eclipse questions on SO vs. the 45 now available on SU.

  • Getting drunk is the surest way for me to become argumentative, so I understand the reasoning behind #2. :) I agree that IDE questions should probably stay here. Yes, they're questions about using software, not writing it, but there are a lot more people here on SO that are likely to be able to answer them. – Bill the Lizard Feb 14 '10 at 15:29
  • With regards to eclipse, this was based off of Atwood's migration of a question regarding preserving wild-cards during a regex replace in Notepad++: stackoverflow.com/questions/2257406/… - I can see how this type of question may cause an even large-than-normal divide over whether it should stay or go. – Sampson Feb 14 '10 at 16:19

Some META-SOpedians thought I was a bit hard on the moderators in another question, so just to make my position clear, here's my two cents on this question:

  1. With the original question wording, it was probably the right call. Community would have most likely closed it anyway.

  2. Clearly off-topic. OK for moderator to close.

  3. Using the word, "Developer" doesn't mean it's programming related. This one is clearly not; the OP should be talking to Apple. OK for moderator to close.

  4. Clearly off-topic. OK for moderator to close.

  5. CSS mentioned, let the community decide.

  6. Had consensus from other community members already; OK for moderator to close.

  7. Clearly a SuperUser question. No community consensus needed.

  8. Even the OP knew this question didn't belong on SO.

  9. Duplicate questions can be very contentious. At least you had partial consensus.

  10. Same as 9.

You're doing a great job. Keep up the good work.


Here's one, don't go around asking new users to change their DisplayName for no reason.

Welcome to Stack Overflow, @asdf. Can I interest you in changing your name? :) – Jonathan Sampson ♦ Mar 11 at 3:24

What about asdf is so offensive or so in your face that a user should not be allowed to keep that as their DisplayName should they so wish?

As a moderator, you telling new users that they can't have one name without notice of any unseen and unwritten guidelines that they're breaking creates a bad atmosphere.

And yes, flagged the comment as offensive.

(And now that that comment no longer exists means it's been flagged by other users who thought similarly (noise or spam possibly too) or you've tried to cover your tracks.)

Moderator duties involve what now?

The wording is vague and does not help a new member understand why they're being asked to change their name. If it's a community building message, it's certainly not clear as to how or why.

And when did it become the moderator's duties to go around chasing new users to choose an even more unique DisplayName than one they've chosen and/or identify with?

Emoticons are no substitute for being clear.

Intent vs clarity

If you're not clear or upfront, hiding behind an emoticon only shows you know you're being neither.

Comment: That's subjective, and assumes a new user knows what the diamond means. Furthermore, it assumes the user can't understand English. Demands are demands on Stack Overflow. Requests are requests. – Jonathan Sampson♦ 8 hours ago

You ask them to change their name. Why? No reason given. When they see your DisplayName followed by a diamond, they might be inclined to click on it since other users don't have a diamond. And see that you're a moderator.

Their first post and a moderator is asking them to already change their name. But yet, there is no reason why this request is being made, other than... well, they have to fill in the blank here.

  • 4
    There are 22 people on SO with the name "asdf". Note that the moderator didn't require that they change their name (they would have simply changed it and emailed them about it) so it really doesn't violate any rules. The suggestion was merely to avoid future confusion, especially for a 'name' which is commonly used for throwaway accounts. – Pollyanna Mar 18 '10 at 15:55
  • @Pollyanna: try "eric"... (catb.org/esr/ecsl) – Shog9 Mar 18 '10 at 15:58
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    @Shog9 - yes, and Matt is also common. I'm sure there are people who really do prefer to use "asdf" as their online identity, but most people who use it are merely creating one-time-use accounts (compare the reps of the erics and matts against the reps of the asdfs). By encouraging them to change to a normal user name, one is actually encouraging them to stick around for longer than this one time use. – Pollyanna Mar 18 '10 at 16:02
  • In other words, it is a community building message. The wording used was a query, not a demand, though the suggestion is implied. – Pollyanna Mar 18 '10 at 16:03
  • @Pollyanna: I don't follow your logic; sounds like you want to treat a symptom. "I notice that folks with pneumonia tend to cough - if we load them up with DXM, we can cure pneumonia!" (or to twist my original example, naming your kid Eric will cause him to become a Unix hacker) – Shog9 Mar 18 '10 at 16:06
  • @Shog9 - I must be particularly dense today - I don't understand your comment at all! Sorry. All I'm saying is, 1) asdf is very common, so one might want to differentiate themselves somehow 2) The moderator didn't force asdf to change his/her name, merely suggested it, 3) asdf is often used for one-time throwaway accounts, so encouraging a user to change to a more permanent name may grow the community if they chose it simply as a throwaway name. – Pollyanna Mar 18 '10 at 16:22
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    @Pollyanna: Ok, I'll explain my analogy then... Folks with pneumonia tend to cough because their bodies are trying to expel phlegm - the coughing is a symptom, and in most cases is actually a helpful reflex. DXM (dextromethorphan) suppresses this reflex, and is not usually a good treatment for pneumonia as it can lead to the person essentially suffocating. Treating symptom without understanding cause == BAD. If you want folks with no interest in SO to stick around SO, then get them interested in SO - don't try to lock them in or brow-beat them into acting like they do. – Shog9 Mar 18 '10 at 16:32
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    @random: Is this a real objection? I'm not allowed to encourage users to pick less-ambiguous names? Note, as Pollyanna said, this was a request, not a demand. Don't confuse the two. – Sampson Mar 18 '10 at 16:47
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    How is a new user supposed to understand your intent when you leave out why you're asking them to change their name? Who is it ambiguous to? Never said you demanded they change. Just that you don't even hint to them why you're asking. Shouldn't a moderator be at least helpful? @jon – random Mar 18 '10 at 16:55
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    @jon: a moderator "recommending" something might feel like a mobster offering you "protection" to a new comer. (I'm not calling you a mobster, it's just an example, please don't sidetrack the discussion.) – perbert Mar 18 '10 at 16:57
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    @jon How about it has no positive contribution, only negative when you look at the position of authority? When you have a position of authority, requests appear as demands. – perbert Mar 18 '10 at 17:07
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    When you make the new user guess and scratch as to what and why and leave them only with an emoticon, no, you're not being helpful. Reread the post, you don't make clear your request at all. @jon – random Mar 18 '10 at 17:18
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    Why would you take this objection seriously? It's calling you out for being a bad example and not sucking on your heels. @jon – random Mar 19 '10 at 0:37
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    my opinion: this is a tiny bit naggy, and it's only something I would do if the user name was particularly weird. – Jeff Atwood Mar 19 '10 at 2:03
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    I really can't help but to chuckle over this entire post. Was it a bit naggy, possibly. Does it deserve all this attention? I don't think so. Had I told him "Change your name, 'asdf' is unacceptable," then you guys would have a bit more footing. But unless the name is offensive, I would be stepping out of line to demand it be changed - there's no confusion over that. – Sampson Mar 19 '10 at 3:43

I would argue #5 could be kept open and moderation there crowdsourced. Otherwise, I agree.

  • 1
    That one is borderline. My usual rule of thumb is to ask myself if the question can best be answered by programmers, or if some other group might know the answer just as well. "Bloggers in general" is a much bigger group than programmers, but the CSS angle of the question brings it back a little closer to SO. I think the question would probably be better asked on doctype.com. – Bill the Lizard Feb 14 '10 at 17:46
  • @Bill: I'm not certain one way or the other - it could be opened, it could be closed. I think it's really on the edge. – Paul Nathan Feb 14 '10 at 20:42
  • FWIW, if I'd happened to see that, I would've voted to close. – David Thornley Mar 4 '10 at 15:21

I disagree with closing Using the word "you" in an user manual

Given that closing it is questionable (e.g., I question it), then perhaps you as a moderator shouldn't vote to close it (because as moderator your 'vote' takes effect immediately), and instead you should let the community vote (or not) to close it.

In summary, close it if you're quite certain (or if and only if 4 other people have already voted to close it and you agree with them), but otherwise abstain.

Edit: I see that Bill's answer at Moderator Accountability Request already said what I said.

  • Chris, I understand the weight my votes carry and as such I do try to use them wisely. I appreciate the feedback. – Sampson May 28 '10 at 4:49

While I support the closures I am curious about this locked question.


The question was closed at some point and for whatever reason, reopened and then locked. So it can't be commented upon, closed, answered, etc.

What's the point of it? It's an extremely borderline question that seems to have dipped into the realms of 'Not SO' so why lock it and prevent it being closed again and/or deleted?

I'm happy to see a good reason but at the moment I can't understand why it's in the state it is.

  • Was closed six times then reopened six times within its entire lifespan, but some were clustered at the end. Probably had deletion votes when locked (but it was never deleted nor undeleted). 100 seems to be a magic number for "enough answers, lock" on older questions, that is already at 358---it's unreasonable to ask someone to read them all to not post a duplicate, and it's nearly impossible to clean up duplicates. Questions with that many votes are supposed to have enough interest that we don't want to delete them out right, but we don't want them to grow more answers. – Gnome Jun 3 '10 at 14:39
  • And all of that is in spite of the confusion over what the question means: jargon you created vs jargon you heard. – Gnome Jun 3 '10 at 14:43
  • Jimmy has the highest voted comment currently on SO, even counting all the old (but also likely locked) questions. – Gnome Jun 3 '10 at 14:45
  • @bchappell It's not uncommon for monstrous questions like this to see a lock-down after they've been sufficiently filled. 500 votes, and nearly 400 answers is pretty beefy. – Sampson Jun 4 '10 at 5:25
  • I also disagree with locking this. Sure, it's a bit off-topic, but was extremely popular and a lot of fun. I don't see how accumulating more answers and votes would have been a bad thing. I can see that logic for a question where someone's actually trying to gain knowledge (and too many answers means too much to wade through), but this was just for fun. I like that the SO community stays on topic, but an occasional bit of fun in a great thread like this doesn't jeopardize the serious nature of the site at all. – Jase Dec 6 '10 at 17:02
  • @Jase : SO stays on topic? LOL Obviously on a different SO to me. – Lazarus Dec 14 '10 at 11:28

You locked this question: Hidden Features of C#?, but I feel I have a new answer to add that hasn't been added already. What do you suggest I do?

  • Sorry, but I have to ask... Have you read through all 303 answers? Are you certain your answer isn't buried somewhere in there already? – gnostradamus Sep 21 '10 at 15:05
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    My suggestion is not to concern yourself with it. We don't want people adding new answers to these questions, even if they are original. That's why they're locked. These questions have historical value, but every time some monolithic poll question gets bumped to the front page, it takes attention away from a real question from somebody who's actually trying to get work done. – Aarobot Sep 21 '10 at 15:11
  • @gnostradamus: No, but it's impossible to search the entire question because of the paging. But it's not mentioned in the edited question itself, which lists all the answers that were relevant to the question at all. So therefore, I think I have an original answer here. – Dave Van den Eynde Sep 27 '10 at 9:58
  • @Aarobot I think that's wrong. Fix the algorithm that puts questions on the front page, and don't piss people off who're trying to add value to the community. – Dave Van den Eynde Sep 27 '10 at 9:59
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    @Dave: Well, now you understand why monstrous list questions like that are frowned upon and why that one is locked: because searching it is a nightmare and constantly having to edit the question to include the answers defeats the Q&A format (i.e. a separate post for a question and each answer). It's likely that it was locked because answers kept getting edited into the question (where they don't really belong), constantly bumping the post to the top of the active list. Locking helps prevent exactly what you want to do: posting an answer without knowing for sure if it's been posted already. – gnostradamus Sep 27 '10 at 14:08
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    @Dave: Whatever dubious "value" you or anyone else associates with these opinion polls is long past its sell-by date. You want to add value to the community? Help people with real problems by answering the hard questions. And if you think you've discovered something so very important that it warrants a post on Stack Overflow, then start your own self-answer question and stake your reputation on how important the rest of the community thinks it really is. If you can't come up with a real question that would make use of your pet feature, it's probably not that important. – Aarobot Sep 27 '10 at 14:56
  • @Aarobot no, it doesn't warrant its own question. There is a question that this is an answer to. If I were to start a new question that is essentially the same, it would be closed as a dupe and rightfully so. Besides, who are you to decide what is or what isn't a valid answer for that question? Isn't that left to the community by voting the answer up or down? I find your attitude lacking in faith. – Dave Van den Eynde Sep 27 '10 at 16:16
  • @Dave: Actually, there isn't a question, there's just a poll, which has been recognized as a poll and thus unproductive, and subsequently locked. The age and number of upvotes on those questions is the only reason they're allowed to continue existing at all. If you cannot come up with serious question about your feature that isn't a dupe, then it doesn't warrant a post. Stack Overflow is a Q&A site. If you like polls, might I suggest programmers.stackexchange.com instead? – Aarobot Sep 27 '10 at 16:21
  • Yes there is. The question is: what are hidden features of C# and it serves a purpose. That purpose is to serve the newcomers to C# to find overlooked features that they could find useful. Stack Overflow isn't a forum, it's also a place where one can spend time and learn. Besides, this is all moot, since I found the answer on page 7 or so and gave it an upvote. I can't help it if everyone feels they should answer the same thing about the coalesence operator or drag the whole .NET Framework in there when there are genuine "hidden" parts in C# that people might find interesting to know about. – Dave Van den Eynde Sep 27 '10 at 16:30

why is this hidden-features-of-javascript locked ?

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    311 votes and 106 answers - I don't see how adding any more answers (or indeed votes) will help this question. – ChrisF Feb 11 '11 at 12:57
  • i was planning on adding something i recently saw in a presentation from SenchaCon 2010... it's a wiki, so why not let it expand ? – Belun Feb 11 '11 at 13:13
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    "Hidden Features" isn't really the type of questions that Stack Overflow operates best with. The power of Stack Overflow is that you can find a problem, and a solution quickly - this isn't the nature of "What hidden features does X have?" Those questions will inevitably grow to be very large, and difficult to maintain. In short, there's no "right" answer to the question. – Sampson Feb 11 '11 at 14:21
  • @Jonathan Sampson that's why it's a wiki, imo, to be edited by many and used as refference material by others. being able to lock a community article is like a paradox, it shouldn't happen. locking a wiki is like saying "sorry, guys. SO made a mistake in his API by leting you have a community wiki". you're litteraly canceling out a SO feature. – Belun Feb 11 '11 at 15:36
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    I understand your point, but the wiki feature of Stack Overflow is best used in maintaining quality in a short list of answers, not hundreds. If a question has hundreds of answers, it's likely a great example of what not to ask on Stack Overflow. Again, SO shines its brightest when there are clear-cut answers to programming problems. – Sampson Feb 11 '11 at 15:53

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