In Calculating Julian dates, the author asks a question that doesn't make sense:

Refactor this code so that I don't have to insert the parameters any time I need to use one of the functions.


What I would like to do in main() is to be able to use calc_juliandate() without having to call it and pass its attributes each and every time I need it in another function, as in dates_diff(). Any suggestions about coding style or implementing this?

I can't understand the refactoring request, nor can others, as the question has attracted several votes to close for being "not clear what you are asking".

It would be not quite right to close the question, since there are obvious problems with the code (as pointed out in answers from @tomdemuyt and myself). I would say that there is a good question here, and the author probably knows that the code needs improvement but is not expert enough to put the question in the right words.

What's an appropriate course of action?

  • Try to squeeze in an answer before the question gets closed?
  • Let the question get closed, then hope that someone (the OP or another user) reworks it, then wait for it to get reopened?
  • Short-circuit the close-rework-reopen process and just fix the question for the OP (by stripping out the specific refactoring request)?
  • Write a comment pleading for lenience from those who might vote to close?
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Good questions being poorly asked has been a hallmark of people needing help since the beginning of helping people. It's why so many of us developers are called analysts, because our business users are so bad at telling us what they need or want. Personally, I expect questions to be bad, and cherish the ones that actually convey their intent clearly and accurately. \$\endgroup\$
    – corsiKa
    Jan 17, 2014 at 16:54

1 Answer 1


This could be a tough one. That close reason could indicate that the closers themselves do not understand the question, but someone else probably still can. That person may proceed to post an answer, or inform the reviewers in the comments, or both.

This is probably where Code Review is different on closures. In cases where the code is suitable for review, regardless of background information (such as in this question), answers can still work. However, it may still be best to know exactly what the OP wants, at least so that visitors can see if the answers are taking a particular direction.

For this question, I think the answers should stay. They do help improve the code, which is what matters. If the OP later clarifies the question, the existing answers can still reflect on that, or new ones can be added. In the meantime, let it get closed if it comes to that, and perhaps the OP will respond. If not, then it may end up staying closed.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I think your "may still be best" isn't authoritative enough. It is always best to know what OP wants, especially since they may be going about it all wrong. \$\endgroup\$
    – corsiKa
    Jan 17, 2014 at 16:55

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