Consider What is a white screen?

It was closed merely because the voters were not familiar with the term. It is sad to see people jumping to conclusions like that.

Is not knowing the answer a good enough reason to close?

  • 6
    I would vote to close that, for total lack of context. Apr 16, 2010 at 7:32
  • 3
    Why are you accusing the closers of not knowing it? What is your evidence?
    – juan
    Apr 17, 2010 at 2:19

6 Answers 6


That question would have been much improved if it were to give an example of where the term "white screen" was seen to be used. I could ask a question "What is a purple screen?" and be similarly indignant about the question being closed, even though I just made up the term "purple screen".

What does purple screen mean? I just never heard of this term in programming before. Is it some kind of error that makes your screen go totally purple? Something like blue screen, but it's purple? Thanks!!

  • 3
    But he didn't make it up. If someone asked what a "blue screen" meant no one would close the question.
    – HeavyWave
    Apr 16, 2010 at 2:46
  • 11
    @HeavyWave: how do you know he didn't make it up? there's no context that indicates otherwise. when "white screen could be a mispronunciation of widescreen" appears to be a perfectly valid answer to the question as written, you know the question has problems.. Apr 16, 2010 at 2:58
  • 2
    "Something like blue screen, but it's white" IS enough context. Yeah, and C# could be a mispronunciation of C++ if you don't know what C# is.
    – HeavyWave
    Apr 16, 2010 at 3:03
  • 9
    @HeavyWave: i'm a C coder and musician and i still don't think C# is a programming language. C# is the same as Db. Apr 16, 2010 at 4:53
  • People! We need some mud in here!
    – Ivo Flipse
    Apr 16, 2010 at 5:21

I feel quite strongly that Stack Overflow should not be a site where every question gets answered.

I'd hope rather that SO continues to be a site where every good question gets answered.

Some key parts of asking a good question are both doing some prior research, and also painting a full picture for the answering audience.

  • Regarding the first point - research: The top link in google for the search term "white screen" is the wikipedia article on White Screen of Death.

  • The second point - context: even a tiny bit of detail on where the term was heard, who mentioned it, would have made a better question.

The question asked seems like it was a prime candidate for not a real question closing, and the fact that the community closed it is a good thing for the site I think.

Heck, I can provide a very accurate answer for "How is babby formed?" with pictures and references to medical journals, but should I?

  • 1
    You have a valid point, however I would never have learnt about many googalable things if not for stackoverflow. How do you google something that you don't know exists?
    – HeavyWave
    Apr 16, 2010 at 3:53
  • 4
    @HeavyWave - there are many examples of questions where the person asking the question didn't know the term to google, yet asked a good question that attracted good answers. Lots of questions about CTEs in SQL server for example. I think the key thing is that a combination of research and context (and clarity) makes for a good question. Without that, answers will often just be a stab in the dark - such as here with the "did you mean widescreen?" questions.
    – David Hall
    Apr 16, 2010 at 3:58

Not a real question:

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

And an earlier comment answered your later comment:

It's difficult to provide an answer without more context. In general, as others have said, it's a screen that is all white. If you want a more specific or in-depth answer, however, you'll need to tell us a bit more. – Michael E

(Emphasis mine.)


I have---from time to time---had to defend perfectly reasonable questions from close attempts by people who didn't have the context to understand that the questions was both programming related and relevant (example What Happens When Stack and Heap Collide where some users seemed to think this problem was either 1) impossible or 2) strictly a thing of the past).

That is a feature of community moderation. As with all crowd sourcing there will be mistakes (and not all will be corrected).

But this kind of problem is also an indication that the question might be less than well stated. In this case the question was particularly bad, and even the edited version is not good. For pity's sake say something about the context in which you heard the phrase, man!

It was a perfectly legitimate close even though the questions should probably be reopened and then remain that way.

It is also a reason why I take extra care about close votes outside topics I know reasonably well.


If the asker had included a link or more of a description about what exactly a white screen is then it probably wouldn't have been closed.

Granted it's an obscure term, however that doesn't mean we all should google it before making a judgement. Asking about a blue screen is not a valid comparison. You're comparing obscure (How do I do advanced math in LISP) with common (Create a PHP class).

  • How would he know when he is asking what it means? "Something like blue screen" is more than enough context, considering the answer.
    – HeavyWave
    Apr 16, 2010 at 2:52
  • "What is .Net (C#, LISP, bug, feature, tier etc.)?" are perfectly valid questions. Being on stackoveflow provides enough context to link them to programming.
    – HeavyWave
    Apr 16, 2010 at 2:55
  • 2
    @HeavyWave: "Programming" is a huge field. A link to "programming" is not a useful reference. Apr 16, 2010 at 5:28

The question even has an accepted answer. It should be re-opened.

  • 13
    Accepting an answer doesn't validate a question.
    – random
    Apr 16, 2010 at 2:49
  • 2
    @random Not on its own, but it's not like it was a BS answer. That a reasonable answer could be given, and accepted, which denotes the answer's relevance, means that meaning was exchanged and could be gotten at. If we want to say the question could be improved, that's not to say it isn't real. The whole point of having editable questions is to have them improved.
    – user141160
    Apr 16, 2010 at 8:14

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