I feel that this topic is ambiguous at the current time, and I would like some clarification. When I see a question that is obviously, or at least appears to be off-topic based on how it is worded, my usual reaction is this:

  1. Downvote;

  2. Vote to close;

  3. When applicable, offer a comment that may help the OP either make their question on-topic;

  4. If OP edits question to make on-topic, then revoke my VTC and often my DV.

However, this answer threw me for a loop, specifically: (emphasis mine)

If you then find that the code doesn't support unicode, that's a nice point to state in an answer. But the asker's original input domain didn't contain unicode. Just "normal" strings. If the asker had mentioned they did support unicode and it was obvious they didn't then it would be viable for closure (but more likely; we'd edit it so it's no longer making the claim, then review it anyway).

I don't want this to sound more controversial than needed, but I feel that the burden of making the question on-topic should be on the OP rather than the question being coerced into being on-topic, effectively changing the meaning of the original question.

I'm OK if everyone else is OK with this, but I would like input from the community and from mods as to whether this would be a good practice for this site.

PS: I'm not asking about changing the code, that has already been adressed.

  • 6
    \$\begingroup\$ I'm more on the "leave open" side of the fence. New users don't necessarily know the entire CR rulebook, and when the code is interesting and reviewable, I believe OP can get much more than they ask for - e.g. a recent question posted code and asked how usable the API is. We don't do usability reviews, but by pointing the OP towards rewording to on-topicness with comments, we'll make more happy customers. I'd rather let the OP edit themselves though. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 1, 2014 at 16:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ Tangentially related: meta.codereview.stackexchange.com/q/2329/41243 \$\endgroup\$
    – RubberDuck
    Commented Oct 1, 2014 at 19:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ This question deals with editing the code, but is closely related. Http://meta.codereview.stackexchange.com/questions/2300/… \$\endgroup\$
    – RubberDuck
    Commented Oct 2, 2014 at 2:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ I really approve that if the alternative would be downvoting or vote to close.. The op can modify back the question. \$\endgroup\$
    – Revious
    Commented Oct 15, 2014 at 10:53

1 Answer 1


Leave open. Nearly always. (*) If the OP claims, it supports Unicode and it doesn't... it's a bug w.r.t. their claims, but it doesn't mean it's a bug w.r.t. the specification. Maybe the claim was just too bold.

If the Unicode support was the main point of the question, this would change the situation.

The point of a real CR is to get feedback and to get it soon. Closing is not helpful in speeding it up. Obviously broken code should be refused and so questions "how can I fix it?" which belong on SO. But when the OP simply make an invalid claim or if they add a notice like "it works only for square boards", then IMHO a meaningful CR can still be done.

(*) That's actually my general opinion on the whole SO. Unless it's really broken, let it pass. I'm not trying to interpret the written rules, that's just how I think this site can be most useful. Closing and deleting are valid and necessary actions, I just feel closing is overused.


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