Clearly, not everyone is Legendary or Epic on StackOverflow. Yet.
So, in an effort to reduce the learning curve for the masses:


What are some of the nuanced, less obvious reasons why questions commonly get closed on SO?

This week, while trying to fix something at work, I asked this question on SO and not only was it closed but my response to it was later deleted!

So, I visited meta and read several posts including:

None of these helped clarify why more than 5 people agreed that my question needed to be closed.

Overall, I don't really mind it being closed--I've found the answer. However, I do want to understand why. In the big picture, I see there is clearly a culture on SO surrounding asking questions properly and closing questions and if I don't fully understand that culture, there are lots of others in the same boat.

So what are some of the common mistakes a new or intermediate user might make when asking a question on SO that would lead to their question being closed? Put the obvious mistakes aside and there are still tons of others that aren't "officially" documented anywhere. Let's start getting those in the open so everyone can understand and make SO better.

I now understand that my question was migrated. Even though it relates to programming serial devices, it was definitely a better fit for ServerFault.

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    I'm not sure if this is unclear or not, but your question was closed because it was moved to one of the sister sites, Server Fault, as it's not a programming question, and makes more sense there than on SO. Your answer was deleted because all answers are deleted when a question is migrated; the answer is still present on the SF version – Michael Mrozek Jul 15 '10 at 5:36
  • @Michael: Thanks. Wow. My brain completely ignored that now obvious banner in the middle, explaining that my question was migrated. My mind automatically assumed it was an ad! lol. In hindsight, it's crystal clear but before your response, my eyes completely ignored it! That's hilarious (yet sad that the internet has trained/forced us to ignore stuff like that) – gMale Jul 15 '10 at 5:38
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    I think you see it now, but just in case you missed it, your answer was migrated too instead of deleted. (And you should incorporate your update into the migrated answer and re-delete the SO answer. You probably need to get your SO and (new) SF accounts merged first.) – Gnome Jul 15 '10 at 5:43
  • @Gnome: thanks. I'm working on doing just that. I'm curious though: what's the value of re-deleting the SO answer? That definitely classifies as a SO "nuance" of question closing that I don't yet grasp... if someone with the same question stumbles on that page, I would like them to have the answer as quickly and easily as possible. – gMale Jul 15 '10 at 6:03
  • The SO post will maintain the link to the SF question, and you want only one location for updates, comments, additional answers, etc. This is why the migration script copies all answers and then deletes them from the source site. – Gnome Jul 15 '10 at 6:15

It was migrated to Server Fault cause your question fits there much better. Stack Overflow is for programming questions not "all questions that a programmer can legitimately come up with"

You still get points on Server Fault for it, its not that its a bad question, just that it does not belong.

From the FAQ

  • a specific programming problem
  • a software algorithm
  • software tools commonly used by programmers
  • matters that are unique to the programming profession

None of these are true for a question about RPM usage.

  • thanks. Originally, I thought maybe my answer was deleted because I mentioned "Experts Exchange." I despise EE and I'm very glad SO negates their existence but I thought deletion was a little harsh. lol – gMale Jul 15 '10 at 6:00
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    This is my first experience "being migrated." The migration notice looked a lot like the in-content ads typically found in blogs. So my mind ignored it completely, as if it didn't exist. – gMale Jul 15 '10 at 6:00

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