I've seen quite a few questions proposed to be closed as "unclear what you're asking":

and a few more. I voted to leave open (on the above three) because these questions were, to me, clear about what they're asking.

But then I noticed a pattern: these all seem to be "old" questions which has had at least one upvoted answer, but the OP hasn't accepted it. Is this why they were proposed to be closed? If so, shouldn't we close them for the "right" reason?

I understand that closing these questions may favorably affect some of our site statistics. But it's just confusing when review page shows

Should this question be closed as: unclear what you're asking?

and yet the question was sort of clear about what it's asking.

Perhaps we should add a closing reason specifically for answered-but-not-yet-accepted questions?

  • 1
    Note that closing questions which have upvoted answers doesn't improve our stats, as questions are 'unanswered' if they have no uvoted answers, not if they don't have an accepted answer.
    – Joseph Wright Mod
    Jan 16, 2014 at 6:50
  • 4
    Since the demise of 'too localized' 'unclear' has been the favoured way of closing questions where there is insufficient detail to fully reproduce the issue. For example, in the third of the questions you cite, there is a comment asking about font use which has not been replied to. Without full details it's often difficult be give good answers to questions.
    – Joseph Wright Mod
    Jan 16, 2014 at 7:00
  • @JosephWright: If not for improved site stats, then I don't understand why such questions need to be closed...
    – Herr K.
    Jan 16, 2014 at 7:18
  • You'd have to ask the people who voted to close for a definitive answer, but one reason may be the view that questions should generally be closed if they are not really useful to others, even if they've attracted answers. As I say, I note none of the ones you link seem to have a full example, so arguable any answers are more speculation than anything else. That said, I'm not sure whether I've have voted to close them. (I don't really get an option, since mod votes are bind and thus only used when really required.)
    – Joseph Wright Mod
    Jan 16, 2014 at 8:16
  • The comment in the third example is from me but I wouldn't vote to close that (in fact I voted to re-open_ Jan 16, 2014 at 9:56
  • 1
    I recently attempted to answer as many unanswered questions related to listings as I could, starting with the older ones. egreg's answer hit the nail on the head in each of those three cases. In many cases, you can kind of understand the problem, but something (most often compilable code) is missing and the OP is long gone; as a result, the question is unanswerable. Better to close it, if only to reopen it later, should the OP better specify what the problem is.
    – jub0bs
    Jan 24, 2014 at 20:33

2 Answers 2


I consider these questions to have been properly closed as “Unclear”.

Question #1: listing's lst@BeginWrite gobbles '->' and '=>' from input

After a request for a minimal example, there has been no answer in more than a year. I'd consider this question as impossible to answer because it's unclear what the problem is: my answer was just a simple try for seeing what could have been the issue. Adding several lines of uncommented code is not the way to go.

Question #2: Long lines when using listings

Just the same considerations apply. Nobody can know the OP's setting and, given the great customizability of listings, trying to reproduce the problem would be impossible. The given answer is generic and it could be nothing else.

Question #3: XML listing shows incorrect quotation marks

This question is even less clear than the other two. The description of the problem is generic and the attempted answer is just a guess.

  • We're on the same wavelength :)
    – jub0bs
    Jan 24, 2014 at 20:36

While I probably wouldn't initiate a vote-to-close on these myself, if I met them in the review queue, I would cast a vote.

All of them are extremly unlikely to have any positive contribution to anyone now: the OPs are left and very unlikely interested anyways after such a long time, and in all honesty, I can't imagine someone else getting help from the answers, which are basically just shots in the dark since crucial information is missing.

However, as Joseph Wright pointed out, you need to ask the close votees. I would especially be interested in what made Jubobs cast the first vote for exactly these three questions ;)

  • 5
    Jubobs deals in the moment a lot with listings questions, not just these three.
    – Speravir
    Jan 17, 2014 at 2:14

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