# Dispute over whether a question is on-topic

For those who can see deleted posts, the original post can be found here: https://codegolf.stackexchange.com/q/135438/68942

Essentially, OP gives a piece of code that doesn't work because it's using i = i++ to increment which doesn't work.

There is a bit of a dispute about whether or not this question is on-topic. It begins with "Solve this code", which phrases it like a . However, it appears to look more like a question where OP is asking for help as to why the code isn't working.

At the same time, this question is similar and an opinion has been expressed that these two questions are either both on-topic or both off-topic because they are a similar class of .

As it stands, the question has +0/-8 and has been deleted very quickly. What does the community think of this question? Undelete+reopen, or leave it closed?

• Why didn't anyone wait for the OP to respond? – Poke Jul 24 '17 at 19:07
• Even though they are slightly similar, the intent behind them is clearly very different. One of them is I have something for you to try and figure out for run as a riddle and the other one is Please debug my code for me. Obviously there is a drastic difference between the two – DJMcMayhem Jul 24 '17 at 19:07
• "it appears to look more like" is a rather subjective evaluation. I personally disagree. It seems to me that the OP has clearly made the code broken intentionally. – Sriotchilism O'Zaic Jul 24 '17 at 19:08
• @Poke I was waiting, but the 3 people who deleted it weren't. I would have waited. – HyperNeutrino Jul 24 '17 at 19:10
• @HyperNeutrino fair enough. I think it makes sense to put the challenge on hold while questions are posed/answered in the comments but I think deleting it is a bit overkill in situations like this. – Poke Jul 24 '17 at 19:12
• @Poke Yeah, there's a reason it's called [on-hold]; it's being considered further while we prevent people from answering it. Deleting it is unnecessary and doesn't solve anything, if not creating more problems (exception: spam/R/A) – HyperNeutrino Jul 24 '17 at 19:13
• Are we all looking at the same question here? It looks clear to me the poster doesn't know the answer and wants help. The title even starts "I have a doubt" (Indian English for "question"). – xnor Jul 24 '17 at 19:34

## Assume the poster wants coding help

People wanting coding online help outnumber those looking to pose a programming challenge by at least 100x. Giving such questions the benefit of the doubt would result in swarms of help vampires descending on PPCG, claiming that their question is totally a golf challenge or puzzle and they totally know the solution and just want to see how others solve it. We already see this with attempts to cheat at programming competitions.

So, it's important to close and delete or lock such questions ASAP before a well-meaning soul posts an answer or comment that gives the help vampire what they want, justifying their whole goal in posting. If it's actually a good-faith programming challenge, the poster can edit it to clarify this.

• -1 I agree with most of this except that we should delete in addition to closing. What is the problem with leaving something "on hold" until the OP responds to comments? – Poke Jul 24 '17 at 19:29
• @Poke People tend to answer in the comments, which closing doesn't fix. – xnor Jul 24 '17 at 19:31
• @Poke I mean that well-meaning users give them the answer to the programming question in the comments (sometimes while telling them to post on SO). And, then the user has gotten the answer they want and we can't reverse it. I do agree though that deleted is overkill. I think a lock would suffice, if a mod is around? – xnor Jul 24 '17 at 19:37
• What would the point of locking it be? An OP who not only doesn't look around to figure out whether their question is on topic but can't even manage to write their off-topic question clearly is not going to post a question on meta, and they can't edit or comment a locked post. So it would require the mod to create a post on meta, add a comment pointing to it, and lock the post; and then in the probable case that OP never responds to the meta question we have crap on both sides of the site. – Peter Taylor Jul 24 '17 at 20:06
• @PeterTaylor I didn't realize a lock prevented the OP from editing. That's definitely not what we want. What would you suggest here? Is a comment lock an option? – xnor Jul 24 '17 at 20:08
• Since I'm one of the people who voted to delete it, I didn't think it was necessary to say what I would suggest. As I see it, we're given the power to delete precisely to keep the site clean of crap like this and leave the mods free to deal with more tricky cases. – Peter Taylor Jul 24 '17 at 20:12

# The two are similar, but essentially different

The older challenge you linked had a clear specification that it was a , and thus is not off-topic. On the other hand, the newly-deleted challenge was confusing. It was not clear whether it was a typical off-topic "plz debug my program / plz send teh codes" question or a . Therefore, I would have casted my vote to close as either "off-topic" or "unclear what you are asking" (at least until it was fixed).

## But

The instant deletion was not beneficial. We might have waited until the OP responded, and either reopen it or explain the situation and the specific reasons why we consider it off-topic.

• It was not clear whether it was a typical off-topic "plz debug my program / plz send teh codes" question or a programming-challenge There was absolutely nothing about it that indicates it was a programming challenge. I think it was pretty clearly off-topic. – DJMcMayhem Jul 24 '17 at 19:26
• @DJMcMayhem It looks like Wheat Wizard disagrees with you. I think deletion of user content should be based on objective criteria. – Poke Jul 24 '17 at 19:28
• @DJMcMayhem I partly disagree. Why? – Because the body of the question says: Solve this code. I might personally interpret it as programming-puzzle: Why doesn't this code give correct results? / Find the bug. – Mr. Xcoder Jul 24 '17 at 19:29
• The body of the question also says "Why result gonna repetitive one ?" I don't know whether it was Google-translated, but it's blatantly not the case that each word has been deliberately selected. – Peter Taylor Jul 24 '17 at 20:09

# It is off-topic

To quote the tag info:

A programming puzzle includes a goal, a partially completed program, and rules outlining how the program can be modified. The program is specifically designed to make achieving the goal difficult. An answer to a programming puzzle takes the program and modifies it only in ways specified in the rules, so that the goal is achieved.

To cite specific sections of this:

includes a goal

The question in question gives some code that keeps printing 1 and asks why that is; however, it doesn't specify what should happen.

a partially completed program

This is a completed program, it just doesn't work.

rules outlining how the program can be modified

Nope.

specifically designed to make achieving the goal difficult

Assuming there is a goal, that doesn't appear to be the case.

# However

I believe that deleting the question so quickly hasn't solved anything and it's prevented the Original Poster from replying to the comments, so we don't know if it was meant to be a puzzle, just badly worded, because the question was deleted too quickly.