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The question Python: My program is unable to perform addition correctly which asked for an explanation as to why the code was buggy was closed as off-topic; I don't know about the last two close voters, but the first three used the close reason

Code not implemented or not working as intended: Code Review is a community where programmers peer-review your working code to address issues such as security, maintainability, performance, and scalability. We require that the code be working correctly, to the best of the author's knowledge, before proceeding with a review.

The question was subsequently reopened by a diamond mod who also edited out the question as to why the code was buggy.

It's true in one sense that the code wasn't (very) buggy: it didn't follow numerical analysis best practice, but the bigger problem was in the author's understanding. It's also true that a case could be made for using the alternative close reason

Authorship of code: Since Code Review is a community where programmers improve their skills through peer review, we require that the code be posted by an author or maintainer of the code, that the code be embedded directly, and that the poster know why the code is written the way it is.

since the linked explanation includes the statement

We also expect you to understand how your code works. If you are seeking an explanation of how your code works, then we will treat the question as if someone else wrote it.


If this question is on topic, why do neither of these close reasons apply? What's the general principle which can be applied to other similar questions?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Isn't this pretty much a duplicate of this question? Also given that diamonds hammer other grey things whenever they feel like, it comes down to when our overlords don't agree with us common folk. \$\endgroup\$ – Peilonrayz Mar 25 at 9:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ I looked for other questions about it but overlooked that one. There is overlap, but I think that the differences in emphasis and focus make them different questions. \$\endgroup\$ – Peter Taylor Mar 25 at 9:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ I didn't find quite enough laxness in punctuation in the pre-Vogel612 question to insist it read … is my code, buddy? \$\endgroup\$ – greybeard Mar 27 at 5:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ @greybeard, I have no idea what you mean. Can you rephrase? FWIW, I'm convinced that buddy was a typo for buggy. \$\endgroup\$ – Peter Taylor Mar 27 at 6:49
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Further background:

The first four users didn't find the question in the review-queue. The question was at a score of 0 when I got to it (4th), and the answer existed when I chose to VTC.

It has also been closed again with all votes being Code not working as intended.


Authorship of code isn't a valid close reason as it's not asking 'how it works', they're asking 'how to make it work'.

Code not implemented or not working as intended is the correct close reason.

  1. The broken reason is the same as code not working as intended, only the wording changed. 1 2 3
  2. My trowel shovel analogy can be used here:
    They tried, and failed, to make a shovel and instead made a trowel with an extendable handle.
    They come on here asking how to make the trowel into a shovel.

    Some people think we should let them off as they unknowingly made what they wanted.
    Other people think we shouldn't allow questions asking to change the functionality of the code. (Not asking for a Code Review)

  3. Looking at the link in the Code not working as intended reason we see:

    If your question contains something like:

    • ... runs ...but it gives the wrong answer...

    This can easily be matched to:

    When the user inputs 10, the digits returned are 2.7182815255731922 which is not correct.

  4. The only question in the post is asking how to fix the code.

    Can someone explain why my code does not produce the correct result?

    This is not asking for a Code Review.

The question has now had 10 close votes. And my answer to a similar question saying it's off-topic is at +9/-1. And so it seems the consensus is that it's off-topic.


What's the general principle which can be applied to other similar questions?

I've tried to keep the explanations above to be general principles.

However if they weren't generic enough. Then if you can answer yes to any of the following it's probably off-topic.

  • Is the question not asking for a Code Review?
  • Does the OP say it's not working?
  • Is the code not working the way the question says it should?
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