9

This site is currently set up to be a source of technical answers to technical questions.

ie. We close out questions that are broad in nature, or contain many questions, or don't show any attempt by the poster to work anything out themself.

This is understandable because for this site to be useful, the questions need to be relevant to more than the poster's unique set of requirements. It can only be useful to the broader community if it's a single problem that other people are likely to come up against.

I feel like there's a category of questions that doesn't sit neatly in these buckets. These are higher level questions about how to approach certain problems. I'm not talking about "I have these 5 requirements, plz help".

A recent example could be: Record detail page pagination using Visualforce?

It's not the best worded question, and the poster shouldn't be specifically calling out using Visualforce, but really the poster is asking for advice on how to approach his/her problem. There are many possible answers, but so long as the poster isn't expecting code to be provided, we could at least point them in the right direction. I feel it would also benefit the community because it will have multiple answers, so the next person that comes along will see those options and vote on what worked for them.

e.g. Answers could be to use a Visualforce wizard, or a multi page flow, or a tabbed component, etc.

There have been a few questions lately that fit in this bucket, but they get closed out. Just wondering what everyone elses thoughts are on whether we should be keeping these style of questions adds value, to help people understand the different approaches they can take.

5
  • 1
    Kind of funny you ask this when you were the first close vote on the post in question.
    – Adrian Larson Mod
    Oct 29 '21 at 0:58
  • 1
    @AdrianLarson : To me that shows integrity - a commitment and respect to the rules/regs/framework in place, and therefore to the community. Then continuing to follow the process by proposing a change rather than trying to act as if the policies don't exist or can be ignored.
    – Moonpie
    Oct 29 '21 at 16:40
  • It was not a criticism, just an observation. I really do find it humorous.
    – Adrian Larson Mod
    Oct 29 '21 at 17:57
  • @AdrianLarson : My apologies. The way I read it, it sounded sarcastic. I guess I "heard" it in the way I might have "said" the same words. I guess that's a criticism of myself!
    – Moonpie
    Oct 30 '21 at 20:37
  • 1
    Yeah, I think when closing that question, it made me think about how it didn't feel right.
    – Nick Cook
    Oct 31 '21 at 6:15
7

I agree that we should not be too technical (I say with a hint of irony, given all my gold question badges are "technical"). In fact, I often encourage questions that are too technical to be scaled back (the oft-quoted X-Y Problem). It's true that there is often more than one way to address an issue.

From my perspective, if I can, I typically answer broad or "incorrect" questions in the form of a frame challenge (as called on various networks), where the answer tries to address the question I think is being asked, rather than the question as literally written. These types of answers often go unaccepted, but are generally upvoted a couple of times on average. Hopefully, at least a few people found these answers useful.

I've said it in other meta posts, but I'll reiterate here: closing should be considered a last resort. If the poster is acting in good faith, and willing to add comments/edits that clarify the problem to the point where it can be salvaged, we should do so. If we can provide an answer that may provide a solution to the core problem, we should go for it. The worst case scenario is a few downvotes, and the best case scenario is that we actually helped someone that needed it, even if it's not the answer they thought they needed.

I disagree with the close vote on the linked question. The question could have been answered one of several ways, without necessarily writing much/any code, and the questioner clearly stated that they don't care what the technical solution is, so long as something's provided. In addition, they've shown prior research, which shows their attempt at good faith. Or, without too much effort, maybe someone could have found an open source solution or another similar question to link to.

I'm not sure what the specific solution to the linked question would look like, or should look like, but I do feel it should not have necessarily been closed. I think there is more we can do for them. I think there is more we should do for them. Non-specific questions can get non-specific answers that are still possibly useful for the questioner, and we should try to answer them if we can. I've even seen cases where non-specific answers help generate further questions that narrow in scope and ultimately lead to real solutions.

I've also said this before, but I'll say it again: we're not Stack Overflow, and while we share a similar format, we don't need to strictly follow their ethos, either. We're still part of the Salesforce Ohana, and that means treating everyone like family, and taking the extra step to make people feel welcome and included under our commonalities, despite our differences.

I don't know if it's too late to salvage that question, but I'd consider at least putting a bit more effort in before calling it quits. Everyone deserves an opportunity to receive whatever guidance we can provide.

1
  • 1
    I also disagree with the close vote.
    – Adrian Larson Mod
    Oct 31 '21 at 1:03
3

I treat SFSE as a place where quite specific questions get quite specific answers. Where the question is woolly or overly broad I tend to suggest that it get re-posted elsewhere, such as on the Salesforce Developer forums, where the bar is (to me) set lower and the Q&A knowledge base is less curated.

I actually think maintaining the current focus is a good idea since it fits well with that sense of curation and as providing a catalog of Salesforce-related, targeted problem solutions.

Of course, there will always be grey areas. When is a question too fuzzy? When is it too broad? What is enough research?

For me, that's where having closure operate as a collective decision comes in. In that regard I think there is a valid question here: is a need for 5 closure votes enough?

On the subject of curation, I think it would be good if we could tag questions and answers with the platform version(s) to which they are known to apply, but that's a whole different discussion.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .