An old question that was posted 3 years ago was put "on-hold" as off-topic.

I have not been an active participant on Code Review (I received a notification thanks to a down-vote a couple of days ago), but I am still interested to know what the problem was with this question:

Reduce length of condition

When I check the Asking Guidelines I see that the question must match the following criteria:

If you are looking for feedback on a specific working piece of code from your project in the following areas…

  • Best practices and design pattern usage
  • Security issues
  • Performance
  • Correctness in unanticipated cases

then you are in the right place!

And I admit that I do not see exactly any of these criteria my question would match (possibly "best practices").

But when I check the criteria for what type of questions not to post, I do not see that my question falls into any of these categories either:

However, if your question is not about a particular piece of code and instead is a generally applicable question about…

  • Best practices in general (that is, it's okay to ask "Does this code follow common best practices?", but not "What is the best practice regarding X?")
  • Tools, improving, or conducting code reviews
  • How to add a feature to or solve a problem with your code
  • Trouble-shooting, debugging, or understanding code snippets
  • Higher-level architecture and design of software systems

I understand that the "off-topic" criteria list is not intended to be exhaustive, however I do feel the question falls closer to the on-topic criteria, than the off-topic.

I received an accepted solution at the time, so I am not arguing to have the question re-opened - I am more interested in learning what specifically was off-topic about the question.


1 Answer 1


When the question was posted, your question was probably perfectly on-topic. However, as sites grow and evolve, their scope and requirements for on-topic questions change.

In this case, it is primarily the placemark-holder // do something that trigged the closing of the question.

It is more explained in the meta question Why is hypothetical example code off-topic for Code Review?

There is also the list of our "magic" on-topic questions, I have highlighted the question to which I believe your question is a "No".

  • Is code included directly in my question? (See Make sure you include your code in your question below.)
  • Am I an owner or maintainer of the code?
  • Is it actual code from a project rather than pseudo-code or example code?
  • Do I want the code to be good code? (i.e. not code-golfing, obfuscation, or similar)
  • To the best of my knowledge, does the code work as intended?
  • Do I want feedback about any or all facets of the code?
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Isn't a historical lock more appropriate? Just a thought. \$\endgroup\$
    – rolfl
    Oct 26, 2015 at 19:41
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @rolfl I think closing as off-topic is a better option in this case. The lock text in the mod UI says: (emphasis mine) Posts should only be locked when something seriously bad is happening. A locked post cannot be changed in any way or voted on, and if the locked post is a question, no new answers can be added. . I don't consider this "seriously bad". \$\endgroup\$ Oct 26, 2015 at 19:48
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Additionally, the note about historical significance says: (again, emphasis mine) This question exists because it has historical significance, but it is not considered a good, on-topic question for this site, so please do not use it as evidence that you can ask similar questions here. This question and its answers are frozen and cannot be changed. More info: help center. I don't believe this question has that much "historical significance" and I don't think anything can be gained by freezing the question and its answers. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 26, 2015 at 19:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks. One last question before I accept your answer. The code was actually from a project and was used in production at that time. What would be the correct way to indicate //do something? The code there was not relevant to the question and I do not see what value it would have brought to include it. Or am I missing the point, and this is a type of question that would be better asked in a different stackexchange community? \$\endgroup\$ Oct 26, 2015 at 21:12
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @MyHeadHurts The best way is to show the real, actual, code. While it might not be relevant to the question you directly want an answer to, you might learn something from other reviews you get as well. There is a lot of unexpected value that can appear from including such code. A reviewer might understand your context and realize that what you really should do is something completely different, for example. Including real, actual, code avoids the well-known "X-Y problem" where you mention Y, but the problem is really X. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 26, 2015 at 21:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SimonForsberg - I understand :) Thanks for taking the time to answer both my main question and my follow up question. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 26, 2015 at 21:24

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