I find the reason to close my question disturbing and annoying. For two reasons. It was closed by a single person and because it's "too localized"!?

So if it were a generic treeview, it would have been OK but because I had a specific treeview (msdn library), it's too localized?

Plus I thought it takes like 5 people to a agree on closing a question or is it the more points one has, the more "veto power" one gains? (something I disagree in principle)

Can someone explain to me what would the harm be if the question were left opened and I accepted an answer? It can still benefit some people.

  • You are correct in thinking that it takes 5 to close a question, except for the diamond mods(meta.stackoverflow.com/about) they have an all-powerful vote. Johnathan is a diamond mod on SO.
    – heavyd
    Mar 3, 2010 at 17:19
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    I have the same issue with my question on SuperUser (superuser.com/questions/14100/…). I asked for help with something—that certainly would apply to others—and it was closed for being “too localized”. Even if it were, so what? There’s no rule that says we can’t ask for help with our own (related) problems. If that were the case, then I couldn’t ask anything at all since most of my questions tend to be niche and esoteric. Besides, where the heck would I have to go to ask them then? What good would SE* be then?
    – Synetech
    Mar 3, 2010 at 17:44
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    @Tony - it's opened again (though I voted to close as too localized, so it might become closed again eventually). You should accept the answer now before it's closed again, since that seemed to be one of your worries...
    – Pollyanna
    Mar 3, 2010 at 19:07
  • @Synetech, I think there is such "rule": meta.stackexchange.com/questions/5018/describing-close-reasons (And while quickly browsing your specific question I see a lot of details on your current setup and the things you don't want. Not sure if they are relevant to the question, but it surely makes it look quite localized to me.)
    – Arjan
    Mar 3, 2010 at 19:19
  • "Too Localized" is very subjective. The FAQ mentions geographic reasons as the main reason. There's an answer but I need some time to try it before I accept it. The question got closed too quickly. Some people are too trigger happy with the Close option. Mar 3, 2010 at 20:28
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    And, yes, if you'd asked about generic treeviews I don't think anybody would have considered it too localized, although even less programmer-specific. Mar 3, 2010 at 21:36
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    Voting to close as no longer relevant (too localized now) as it is now properly closed
    – juan
    Mar 3, 2010 at 23:40
  • It was properly closed before too ;)
    – Sampson
    Mar 4, 2010 at 2:09
  • @jon, properly as "through the proper democratic channel this question was demanding", I agreed with you. It's re-opened though
    – juan
    Mar 4, 2010 at 12:59
  • @Arjan van Bentem, I did refer to that page in my comment below. Like I said, it is the only one of those reasons in that list that is absurd. As for my requirements, they are hardly unique, and even if they were, again so what? Where exactly should I ask the question? I thought the SE sites were a place where people could get exact answers to exact questions.
    – Synetech
    Mar 4, 2010 at 13:01

3 Answers 3


I don't think it was a particularly good question, though I'll argue that "too localized" doesn't apply - it's a specific situation, but so are many programming questions. MSDN certainly isn't local!

"Not programming-related" might have been a better choice, as you weren't really asking a programming question...

...Then again, much of MSDN can certainly be considered a programming tool, and questions regarding those are usually allowed. Including past questions regarding tools that work with MSDN.

In the end, it's a bit of a gray area. And therefore one that moderators should refrain from jumping into votes-a-blazin'.

Personally, I'm voting to re-open purely because a good, programming-related answer was posted to it prior to closing, and that is enough to salvage even a bad question.

  • If I had the time, I can list 100's of still opened questions that are not directly programming questions. The MSDN library interests programmers only. The answer to my question involved a pure programming solution. Not every question has to be a bullseye targetted programming question. Mar 3, 2010 at 20:14
  • As I said, it's a gray area. There are plenty of questions on SO about vim or Visual Studio that could be asked with only minor modifications about Word or Photoshop... but since programming is a primary use for the former and not the latter, the former are allowed while the latter are not.
    – Shog9
    Mar 3, 2010 at 20:50
  • @Tony_Henrich: And the still opened questions that are not directly programming questions are controversial. Many 3K+ people would like them closed. Mar 3, 2010 at 21:34
  • @Tony_Henrich: tu quoque is an illogical form of argumentation. The fact that bad questions are being asked everyday does not legitimize your bad question. Many people get away with murder every year, does that mean it's alright to go around killin'? :) If I come across the bad questions that you mentioned, I will likely handle them in much the same way I did yours.
    – Sampson
    Mar 4, 2010 at 13:59
  • @Shog9 & @Jonathan Sampson: The question got an 8 rating answer. Obviously quite a few people found it beneficial. Since closing a question does not make it go away, what benefit do you get from closing it other than saving a few bytes on SO's HD from future answers. The question is still readable and searchable. Really.. the rationale some people take is not very convincing. The high probably of a question getting an answer through pure programming should be enough to make it worthwhile. Enough said. Mar 12, 2010 at 6:04
  • @Tony_Henrich: Now I'm all sad 'cause you didn't read all the way through my answer before commenting...
    – Shog9
    Mar 12, 2010 at 14:30
  • @Shog9: Your comment was after the fact... about reopening the question. Mine is about thinking about a good enough rationale before closing a question Mar 17, 2010 at 6:14
  • @Tony: you're splitting hairs. I didn't close the question, nor did I see it prior to it being closed. My rationale for re-opening is equivalent to my rationale for keeping it open.
    – Shog9
    Mar 17, 2010 at 14:45


I closed the question for the reason you referenced - too localized. You're asking how to manipulate a particular UI element on a particular website. This is more a super-user type of question than a programming question.

If you wanted this to be a programming question you would have asked how to traverse the DOM triggering clicks or altering element-styles on targeted items. Instead, you said:

...Looking for a Javascript script, plugin, tool, hack or whatever can do it.

That, to me, doesn't sound like you're interested in programming, but rather finding a useful doo-dad that can manipulate the DOM for you to make browsing a specific website easier.

Users are allowed to reopen, and I suspect that is what would happen if you made your question programming-related, and not so much a super-user question. In fact, if your question were modified to be programming-related, I'd even vote to reopen :)

Jonathan Sampson

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    except website related questions are not welcome on SU either Mar 3, 2010 at 17:39
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    @Rich: This is more of a "is there a browser tool that lets me manipulate webpages" question, which is superuser related.
    – Sampson
    Mar 3, 2010 at 17:40
  • @Jonathan: it's not "webpages" though, it's a specific site. If anything, the rationale you've provided here applies more to SuperUser than to SO, since SU explicitly disallows such questions in their FAQ.
    – Shog9
    Mar 3, 2010 at 17:45
  • @Shog9: I agree that the question should not be about one particular webpage. It should be generalized, as I attempted to do in my suggestion above.
    – Sampson
    Mar 3, 2010 at 17:45
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    You make a good secondary point. This is, at best, a PLZSENDMETEHCODEZ question.
    – Pollyanna
    Mar 3, 2010 at 18:03
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    I thought signing your posts is discouraged? Mar 3, 2010 at 18:05
  • @Koper There, updated ;)
    – Sampson
    Mar 3, 2010 at 18:06
  • So is it wrong for someone to ask for a JQuery plugin, a control or anything that does all the work without the programmers needing to know all the details? My question mentioned 'msdn library', 'javascript' 'treeview'. It doesn't sound like a superuser question to me! Mar 3, 2010 at 20:28
  • @Tony: In some cases, it can be wrong to ask for a plugin. The fact that your question mentioned a couple words doesn't inherently place it in a particular category. You asked a superuser-style question (how do I make my browser do stuff to make browsing easier).
    – Sampson
    Mar 3, 2010 at 21:21
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    @Jonathan: I have noticed that, since the moderator elections occured, some moderators have been making use of their new moderator powers by unilaterally closing questions. While I certainly assert the right for moderators to do so, I am of the opinion that, unless a question is an especially egregious case of system abuse (i.e. obvious spam), that it should be left to the community to cast its own votes, and decide for itself whether a question gets closed or not.
    – user102937
    Mar 3, 2010 at 22:44
  • @Robert: Moderators are part of the community...
    – RSolberg
    Mar 3, 2010 at 22:48
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    @Chester: I don't think you understand how the closing system works. A close vote by a moderator does not carry the same weight as close votes by other users in the community. It carries a much larger weight
    – user102937
    Mar 3, 2010 at 22:56
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    @Robert: so be it, but its not abuse...
    – RSolberg
    Mar 4, 2010 at 1:47
  • @Jonathan - Wouldn't it be more appropriate to migrate the question to SuperUser then, instead of closing the question? "Too Localized" in the FAQ refers to language issues... not specificity ones.
    – Nick
    Mar 5, 2010 at 19:33

The site has a very, very narrow focus already, but there are problems that have a significantly finer focus.

They only apply to one person, one time, one place, and have no general application.

Yes, if you re-wrote your question so the answers would have to apply to all trees on the internet, then it would certainly be worth opening.

But you are essentially asking for help with a single website for a problem that it is unlikely anyone will ever want solved except for you.

Please consider editing your question with one or both of the following suggestions:

  • Make it apply to many different websites
  • Re-phrase the question so it's obvious that this is a common problem many people are seeking a solution to (Perhaps explain why this technique is or should be very useful - ie, what are other programmers going to gain by reading your question and the subsequent answers?)

Then note in a comment to this question that you've updated it, and ask if people with powers to re-open can review it for you.

  • 3
    They only apply to one person, one time, one place, and have no general application. So what? Re-phrase the question so it's obvious that this is a common problem many people are seeking a solution to (Perhaps explain why this technique is or should be very useful - ie, what are other programmers going to gain by reading your question and the subsequent answers?) Why? I see nothing in the FAQs about only being allowed to ask questions that everybody in the world would want to ask. In fact, the only point in …describing-close-reasons… that is absurd is the too localized one.
    – Synetech
    Mar 3, 2010 at 17:37
  • @Synetech - What : if we allowed every single question it would actually make it harder to search for questions relevant to a given problem. You have to cut down on the noise to be able to find the signal. Why : Not everything is in the single page FAQ, and it shouldn't be. Please search meta.stackoverflow with the tag faq for additional information and official site policy.
    – Pollyanna
    Mar 3, 2010 at 18:06
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    In that case StackOverflow shouldn't invite to do it so: "Q.What kind of questions can I ask here? A. Programming questions as long they are of interest of at least one other programmer somewhere" I think Too localized contradicts in principle StackOverflow it self. meta.stackexchange.com/questions/40663/…
    – OscarRyz
    Mar 3, 2010 at 18:47
  • My question could be considered as "Hey.. I never thought of that. I can read all the topics of MSDN like a book". Yes my question was specific. I didn't want answers which didn't work with the msdn library. Maybe Microsoft is using some weird treeview which needs a specific solution. I am hoping to find a solution from a person that had the EXACT issue. I didn't want to spend time hacking my own. Mar 3, 2010 at 20:20
  • @Tony - which is too localized. The reason for the close, and the language behind that close reason is clear. If you don't agree with it, start a new feature request to get rid of it, or limit it and stage a discussion around "Too Localized".
    – Pollyanna
    Mar 3, 2010 at 20:29
  • @Pollyanna - What : if we allowed every single question it would actually make it harder to search for questions relevant to a given problem. You have to cut down on the noise to be able to find the signal. Um, that’s what the search and tag functions are for. If you are merely perusing the unfiltered list of questions to find something to answer, then there is no reason to worry about “noise” since you would have no particular goal in mind anyway.
    – Synetech
    Mar 4, 2010 at 12:58
  • @Syn - If the question doesn't belong, it's noise. It doesn't matter if I have no goal - I shouldn't have to wade through noise to find the signal.
    – Pollyanna
    Mar 4, 2010 at 14:57
  • @Polly - Again, what determines if a question doesn’t belong? The rules keep changing as to which SE site a question belongs, which shouldn’t be the user’s problem; the mods should migrate as required. As for “wading”, what wading? Again, that’s what the tags and search are for.
    – Synetech
    Mar 5, 2010 at 18:11

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