I asked a question on SO and I have a pretty good idea that very similar questions had been asked on the SO platform (and they are still open), but not with the specifications I came with. Then, just because I annoyed one of the high-profile kind of member, he closed the question. Is it a fair move? Should we tolerate this behavior because SO is running autopilot with the agenda: high scorer is free to twist anyone? Or should we expect some openness in this platform?

[Again, there is number of 'unclosed' similar questions on this subject available on SO] The question is about Cloud and VPS and my intent is to seek knowledge about which one to choose for high-performance hosting and why would people go for Cloud if they already have option of specifically->VPS (in which there is a virtual machine which "can be extendable on demand" as well). Whereas on cloud such as Windows Azure (for which MS has clearly stated that even the customer is European and the data is hosted in outside US, the patriot act shall be applied), we have almost the same set of opportunities while risking the privacy. Having said that, why would someone choose Cloud when VPS technology exists?

After a few hours, it appeared that someone didn't like my question (or he is, in some way, fanatical about that patriotic act) and he knocked it off...just like that! Naturally, people tend to agree with the credible entity, but isn't it inhumane?

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    Your conclusion is wrong. Nobody is out there hunting you. – Shadow The Vaccinated Wizard Jul 14 '11 at 7:19
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    so was it really nessecary to edit your question full of Loeum Ipsum? Not cool. – tombull89 Jul 14 '11 at 7:48
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    Vandalising your posts is only going to increase the likelihood of them being down-voted. – ChrisF Jul 14 '11 at 7:51
  • Then you don't have any idea what happened here. – abm Jul 14 '11 at 7:52
  • @abm: It seems more like you have no idea how the StackExchange system works...but if you're ready to listen, we're ready to tell you. – Time Traveling Bobby Jul 14 '11 at 7:54
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    It could even be closed, instead, as off-topic, or be migrated to ServerFault (our sysadmin site). Then it could have been closed there as a shopping reccomendation. – tombull89 Jul 14 '11 at 7:55
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    Yes, downvoting is "cool". But vandalizing your own posts is never cool. Flag them for deletion by a moderator if you must. – Cody Gray Jul 14 '11 at 8:06

Then, just because I annoyed one of the high-profile kind of member, he closed the question. Is it a fair move? Should we tolerate this behavior because SO is running autopilot with the agenda: high scorer is free to twist anyone? Or should we expect some openness in this platform?

This is not possible. Closing a question requires five (5) different users to agree with the decision to close and cast close votes of their own. There is no way that a single user, regardless of reputation, can close your question single-handedly.

However, moderators (that have been elected by the community) can close a question. These users' names appear with a diamond after them (♦) and serve much the same purpose as moderators in any other community. In the case of your most recently closed question, Bill the Lizard ♦ closed it as "not constructive". (In another case, 5 different community members agreed that it was off topic and closed it.)

I agree with that decision. Check out the close description that appears along with the closed bar:

This question is not a good fit to our Q&A format. We expect answers to generally involve facts, references, or specific expertise; this question will likely solicit opinion, debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion.

That sounds like it fits your question pretty well. You're asking for a comparison between cloud and VPS hosting services and a specific recommendation for your purposes. That's not really a good fit for our Q&A format. Questions like that are often to solicit opinions (rather than facts), and devolve into a subjective, extended discussion.

I also don't think this question is on topic for Stack Overflow. Web hosting is only tangentially related to programming, which is what this site is explicitly about. The question could have been rightfully closed as "off topic". Consider it closed for that reason instead, if you prefer.

And just because you can find other similar questions that haven't yet been closed does not provide sufficient evidence that your question is valid for this site. All questions must be evaluated independently based on their own merits. It's always a possibility that those other questions are ones that should have been closed in the first place, but have simply been missed.

But if you really think that your question has been closed unfairly (whether by the community or by a single moderator), you've done the right thing: Post a question here on Meta protesting the decision.
If the community agrees that your question was closed incorrectly, then users with close vote privileges can cast votes to re-open the question, and/or a moderator can re-open the question immediately.

In this case, it's very unlikely that the community is going to agree with you. As I mentioned above, this close decision was completely valid and fair. It was not based on your offending another user, but rather on the content and nature of the question itself.

However, do note for future instances that it is far more productive to take a neutral tone when protesting a question closer. Accusing specific users of unfairly targeting you or your contributions is a pretty serious accusation, particularly when you have no basis for it. Comparing actions taken by the members of the community to the PATRIOT Act is very likely to offend, and that's quite counterproductive for you.

  • I don't think he was comparing user's actions to the PATRIOT Act; his original question remarked that "cloud services" could protect you from it, so he was suggesting that anyone who didn't approve of his question must approve of the PATRIOT act. – Jeremy Jul 14 '11 at 7:20
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    @JeremyBanks: That's certainly not how I interpreted it. The rest of the post reads like a rant against the unfairness and inhumanity of this site, so my interpretation seems quite natural. Either way you interpret it, though, it's non sequitur and thus counterproductive. – Cody Gray Jul 14 '11 at 7:23

To answer the question in your title: if you think a question is closed unfairly, the correct thing to do is to post here, as you have done.

I don't think your question was closed unfairly. You're asking for a comparison between VPSs and "the cloud". With any comparison you're running the risk of being too subjective for this site. This case is particularly bad because "the cloud" is such a vague term that it's almost meaningless; by many definitions VPSs are part of "the cloud".

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    Alternatively: vote to re-open (assuming high enough rep). – Joachim Sauer Jul 14 '11 at 7:05
  • @Joachim - as far as I know, OP can always vote to re-open his own question. – Shadow The Vaccinated Wizard Jul 14 '11 at 7:18
  • Yes, you can vote to re-open your own question (reference), but that's not going to get you very far. 4 more votes will still be required. And you can only do this once, just like everyone else. – Cody Gray Jul 14 '11 at 7:40

Then how Cloud is better than Dedicated and/or VPS hosting and why would someone prefer to go for cloud service like Windows Azure, in which they don't even have data privacy?

Anytime you are asking if something is better than something else, you have opened the door for any and all opinions, which causes the question to be subjective. At that point, there is not one definitive answer, but an infinite number of opinions.

As the closing reason itself says:

We expect answers to generally involve facts, references, or specific expertise; this question will likely solicit opinion, debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion.

(my emphasis added).

  • What is the difference between two? If I am going to market which one should I buy? See similar post: stackoverflow.com/questions/5803949/saas-vs-cloud-computing and there are lot of similar questions never get unclosed! – abm Jul 14 '11 at 7:02
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    @abm: the question you linked asked "what is the difference" and not "which one is better". That's a big difference. (Edit: and no: asking "what is the difference" and hoping to get an answer to "which one is better" is not a constructive approach). – Joachim Sauer Jul 14 '11 at 7:04
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    Buying recommendations are not on topic for any of the Stack Exchange sites. I am not sure why that question didn't get closed, but there are nuances there, I think it's more vague, but all of these things are up to who is reading the question and voting on it/flagging it. Perhaps it didn't get the requisite number of close votes (which used to decay away over time in certain conditions). – jonsca Jul 14 '11 at 7:05
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    @abm the question you link is asking what the difference between X and Y are; that's easy to answer objectively. Your question is an example of bad subjective in that it's asking for an opinion or value judgement. This may seem subtle at first, but it is an important distinction. The blog post I linked should help you understand the limited cases in which a subjective question can be a good fit for SO. – HedgeMage Jul 14 '11 at 7:08
  • @all, thank you for suggestions and a negative vote for my closed post – abm Jul 14 '11 at 7:14
  • Les enfant terrible.. damm – abm Jul 14 '11 at 7:31

The "question" was closed as non-constructive, but there are few more reason why it should have been closed anyway:

  • it's more rant than a question;
  • it's off-topic on SO, it would be on-topic on Webmasters.SE, and on few other sites would be more on-topic than on SO (SF, WebApps.SE, Security.SE);
  • it's factually wrong, suggesting that the Cloud is SaaS, while it's actually PaaS/IaaS.

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