I can see that there're 3 users who voted to close Most common Software Development mistakes.

I asked in comments to specify any reason, but it's useless.

I read here what reasons can be for closing a question.

From What is a "closed", “on hold”, or "duplicate" question?

1) not subjective
2) not offtopic
3) not duplicate
4) not subjective
5) belongs to SO, because it's programming process related.

So why to vote for close without even specifying a reason? Is it right?


It's not rhetorical or subjective. It tells about mistakes while developing a software. It will help me and others who marked it as favorite to avoid this kind of problems.

  • you're right, but you would close it anyway. I just wanted to know the reason. – hgulyan Jun 3 '10 at 13:27
  • It is my downvote. And the OP is saying that it is NOT acceptable that the closers are able to do so without a reason. Except that this premise is not, in fact, the case. Hence, a downvote. – devinb Jun 3 '10 at 13:32
  • I note that the question, as it exists, is a bit of a ramble on personal experiences, and then, in bold, a question marginally relevant to what went before, and not really suitable for this site. I'd vote to close this. However, I would leave a comment explaining why. – David Thornley Jun 3 '10 at 13:40
  • I rarely kneejerk :p but I often downvote. I also disagree with the premise that close voters must add an explicit comment in addition to their close-vote. – devinb Jun 3 '10 at 13:41
  • @hguylan, I haven't voted on your question but I would say that the question is subjective. One programmer's common mistakes may not be those of another. That makes it clearly subjective. If you want to improve your coding from this kind of experience take a look at Code Complete (cc2e.com), blogs, etc. where you can pick and choose the subjective experiences you want to learn from. – Lazarus Jun 3 '10 at 14:27
  • @bchappell, please, read my question in So. I wrote, that I've read a lot of stuff and code complete also, so I would like to hear so's opinion and experiences. Why are you against of that? Almost 25 people upvoted it and 10 marked it as favorite. It means question is useful for them. You could share your experience too, instead of just being against. I'm not against of closing or locking. I just don't want it to be deleted. I want to save it for me and for others. – hgulyan Jun 3 '10 at 18:33
  • @The Cat, Mr. Cat, I'm not here for the reputation. Maybe in So it means something for me, but meta isn't for rep. downvote it upvote it. do what you want, just answer my questions. That's the only thing that matters. – hgulyan Jun 3 '10 at 18:35
  • @The Cat: I appear to have been unclear. I was referring to what I'd do with the question on SO, not the one here. – David Thornley Jun 3 '10 at 20:12
  • @David: That makes a lot more sense. ;) Sorry about that. – Gnome Jun 5 '10 at 13:48

Regarding "Is it right to vote for closing without any explanation" as a general case instead of the specific question at hand...

It is courteous to provide a reason for closing, though when it is for duplication you can skimp out because there's an automatic comment anyway. This is especially true when the user has insufficient reputation to view the close vote counts. Not only will that user be unable to see what system reasons have been cast, but the user may be completely oblivious to the fact that there is any voting to close happening.

That said, as nice as courtesy is, it is never a requirement. Strongly recommended and I often wish it occurred more often, but never needed and should not be forced. This is the same kind of courtesy involved in explaining downvotes.

So, it is right to vote for closing without any explanation. It may not be nice or courteous, but it is a valid action. It can seem harsher than downvoting without explanation, but at the same time, a vote-to-close will traditionally have a system reason attached, which is an implicit explanation even if invisible to some.

  • I will often close vote without downvoting. Some questions should be closed with prejudice, and some without. I don't necessarily see the close vote as harsher, especially for duplicates. – Gnome Jun 3 '10 at 13:11
  • 2
    @TheCat I don't see any point to linking a downvote with a close vote - it is a wasted downvote if the question ends up deleted, and if I don't think it should be deleted then I probably wouldn't be downvoting anyway. As for harshness, you are right, I meant to say "it can seem harsher" and not "it's certainly harsher". To the recipient of a close vote, it can feel like a big "REJECTED" stamp to the face, even if it isn't necessarily. – Grace Note Jun 3 '10 at 13:15
  • I consider it polite to point to a duplicate using a comment, since otherwise the dupe won't be shown until the question is closed. – David Thornley Jun 3 '10 at 13:36
  • @David If you vote to close a question as a duplicate and no one has yet posted a comment with a link to that question, then a comment is automatically generated in your name stating "possible duplicate of". – Grace Note Jun 3 '10 at 13:39
  • Thanks - I hadn't noticed that. – David Thornley Jun 3 '10 at 14:00

StackOverflow is a question designed for programming problems with specific answers.

The following are not allowed on SO, no matter how "programming related" they may be.

  • Subjective questions
  • Poll questions
  • Opinion questions
  • Discussion questions

The trouble with those type of questions it that there is no correct answer. As it says on the "Ask A Question" page

How to Ask

Is your question about programming?

We prefer questions that can be answered, not just discussed.

Discussion is often interesting, but it requires debate, and that is the kind of things which there are many (many) forums that serve that need. StackOverflow is meant to fill the need related to having a tough (unsolvable by the OP) question, and allowing other users to use their experience to help you with it. StackOverflow is not (And was never meant) to be a forum for programmers to post just anything.

As for the reason to close, if you click on the "close (3)" link, it will pop up a dialog that shows what the close reasons that were selected were. This can be considered the "reason" why they voted to close.

  • Do you see any debate or discussion? Everyone just mentioned their common mistake. No discussion. – hgulyan Jun 3 '10 at 13:02
  • "StackOverflow is a question designed for programming problems with specific answers." and because of that we don't have topics like "Hidden Features of..." or "Favorite programmer cartoon" or "Best programmer joke" or "I’m graduating with a Computer Science degree but I don’t feel like I know how to program". Really, if you want to clean SO up go ahead and do it well enough but don't just shoot down individual questions. – Baelnorn Jun 3 '10 at 13:16
  • @Baelnorn: The powers that be have decreed those (old) questions shall stay---in a locked state. I would vote to close them in an ideal world, but I agree locking is a better compromise than constantly battering back and forth. – Gnome Jun 3 '10 at 13:29
  • 3
    @Baelnorn, the only way we CAN clean up SO is one question at a time. And if you'll notice, I quoted the information that you are supposed to adhere to before asking ANY question. – devinb Jun 3 '10 at 13:33

Have you seen the revision history for the question that inspired you? It was quite controversial, being opened and closed repeatedly. Some may not feel the need to repeat what they've already said there. Most of that applies to your question (on both sides of the issue).

I voted to close because you have a discussion question. You can tell because there's no real problem to solve; you're trying to tell a story and only phrased it as a question to get it posted on the site (this is sometimes okay, but not for discussion questions). Used as a question, that's rhetorical, since the point of the question is to be heard, rather than receive an answer.

"Most common" is subjective, even if the actual mistakes aren't.

It's open-ended because it is asking for new stories from others: that's the only kind of answer that can be reasonably given. Anyone can always add their unique story and "answer" the question, even if that is essentially duplicated in an existing answer.

  • but it's not a duplicate. It's a different question. – hgulyan Jun 3 '10 at 12:52
  • I don't mean to say it's a duplicate (and none of the 5 voted that way), but it has things in common with the other question: rhetorical, subjective, open-ended. – Gnome Jun 3 '10 at 12:53
  • Check update in my question. – hgulyan Jun 3 '10 at 12:56
  • What is wrong with a question, that is to ask for common mistakes to help others to avoid them? How can that kind of question be more specific, if you just don't know what kind of mistakes you should avoid? – hgulyan Jun 3 '10 at 13:09
  • @hgulyan: Some questions just don't fit SO's Q&A model. Instead of trying to force them and getting a poor fit, ask them in better places. The "discussion" link in my answer points to a Meta question addressing where to ask discussion questions. – Gnome Jun 3 '10 at 13:13
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    @hgulyan, it's an obvious duplicate, look at the Related links to the right. – Lance Roberts Jun 3 '10 at 20:58
  • @Lance Roberts, You're obviously wrong. – hgulyan Jun 9 '10 at 10:06
  • @hgulyan, I guess you didn't explore the HUGE LIST of related links to the right. I can't compensate for the lack of effort that you wish to put in. – Lance Roberts Jun 9 '10 at 15:00
  • @Lance Roberts, It seems very hard for you and others to understand the simple difference between mistakes in syntax and software development process, which is much more than just handling errors and exceptions. I can't find other words to describe it in understandable way for you. It seems that you'll keep repeating the same wrong thing. – hgulyan Jun 10 '10 at 11:17
  • @Lance Roberts, What are we talking about? Question on meta or in SO? If on meta, it is possible duplicate and you can close it, if SO, read above. – hgulyan Jun 10 '10 at 11:19

The reason is built into the close feature. In this case it's "Not a real question".

Personally, I think your question is too vague, and is already covered by existing questions, like this one (thanks, Gortok).

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