I think that there is a chance some new Users are being put off when trying to join the site. Often, they don't understand a combination of the Site and Salesforce. I've noticed that new Users will often pose a generic question which quickly gets closed. The only message they get is usually some generic comment saying there answer is too broad or saying that we can't understand what they are asking.

Yes, these questions they ask are actually invalid on this site but with their lack of knowledge they have no idea where to start. When their question gets closed with those simple explanations I don't think a some of them are staying around much longer and can stifle our growth as a community. I think it might be a good idea for one of the first people to vote on close actually gives an insightful answer in order to let the new user where to start and explain further why their question will actually get closed.

Below, is a link posing a generic question a new user asked and my response to it. Is doing something like this good for the site or does anyone disagree?

How do I create a dynamic list in Visualforce

EDIT: Seems like Keith answered the question for the new User with a full code with his guess on what they wanted. I guess this furthers my question, is it even better to post full code on the guess on what they want?


1) Close with generic comments explaining why closed.

2) Explanation with whats wrong with the question and referencing information/links to give the User some further insight.

3) Guessing into exactly what the User wants and posting full code based off this guess.

  • 2
    Did you see this very related question ? meta.salesforce.stackexchange.com/questions/675/… Jun 23, 2014 at 14:57
  • Actually, I did see that one. They definitely are related. Maybe my question could been almost posed as a sort of answer to his question. The hard part with that is the fact that what I have to say is more of a question than an answer itself. EDIT: I actually responded to the answer I linked which caused me to think about this issue. I searched for something similar and found his but couldn't figure out if I should somehow respond to his or create my own. I opted to create my own since I couldn't come up with a good way to answer/question at the same time.
    – dphil
    Jun 23, 2014 at 15:18
  • I agree with @SamuelDeRycke, having read both questions, this is basically the same exact discussion as the other question. Would you be opposed to just closing this question down to consolidate the discussion? I am writing up an answer the other question now so don't worry about my answer here. Jun 24, 2014 at 12:56
  • Well, it doesn't let me delete it so i have to just vote to close it i suppose
    – dphil
    Jun 24, 2014 at 13:29
  • Wish I could accept multiple of these for the answer. These are all good replies
    – dphil
    Jun 27, 2014 at 17:56

5 Answers 5


I think it was a valid question and its clear the member had made an attempt to do some research before coming here to post his question. I also think your approach to answering his question was what I consider an appropriate one - pointing him to other resources that would help him learn how to do it himself.

I say that because I think people learn best by doing. That particularly helps them grow to come back and become contributors. My saying that doesn't make the answer posted by @KeithC any less valid; particularly since he noted his approach wasn't typical. I think the two of you did a great job of welcoming a new member to our community.

It would have been quite unfortunate had a question like this one been closed; especially when it was handled so deftly and in such a positive manner by the two of you. If asked, I've no doubt this new member would rate this as a very positive experience and that he'd say he would return here. Would he feel the same had his question been closed? If it had been, doubtless his experience wouldn't have been nearly so positive.


This is totally up to the person voting to close the question. Personally, I will try to leave a comment welcoming a new user to the site and explaining why their question may not be good for our community. However, I do not feel bad for closing it at all. What many new users fail to realize is that a large majority of our community are highly trained, highly paid professionals who do Salesforce development for a living. We come here to learn, have fun answering some questions, and to help new people. However, if you want my time to answer your question, but you haven't even taken the 2 minutes it takes to go through our Tour, I will vote to close your question. The StackExchange is very upfront about what will be closed. It shouldn't be much of a surprise. As far as retaining those people, typically if it is a "do my homework" type of question, I don't think we want to retain them so I am not worried if they don't like the fact that we didn't do the work for them.

Now, specifically to the question you are referencing - How do I create a dynamic list in Visualforce - I actually think this is a valid question and I would not/did not vote to close it. In fact, I gave the user an upvote. They took the time to properly format the code and they obviously did a bit of research. On top of that, I don't think it is all that generic. They are asking about how to do a specific thing in Apex/Visualforce.


As a fairly new user to a product (ExactTarget) which both is and is not Salesforce (but when purchased by salesforce moved the support community here by force) I often find it frustrating when a question gets closed or put on hold with little or no attempt to refine the question and assist in greater contributions to the site. I always do my best to word questions in an SEO savvy manner and to word questions and seek responses that will assist others who find themselves with a similar requirement. I always look here and elsewhere for solutions first and try to be concise yet show that I've worked this to the point where I know others may have the solution and I shouldn't reinvent the wheel. I've reviewed the "How to ask" and do my best to comply with it but too often find questions put on hold rather than refined through dialog.

Sometimes I'm sure I spend way to much time over-analyzing my question so it doesn't get blocked. I'm sure that more people would enrich this community as a whole if more people applied:

2) Explanation with whats wrong with the question and referencing information/links to give the User some further insight.

^^ Gets my vote.


This particular one seems like a pretty good question in my opinion, they've done some research, got stuck, and are looking for help.

The ones that irk me or the "do my homework" questions, where it's clear the person has done nothing before posting. In this cases I think the most constructive approach is @jkraybill's answer for a similar question, which I'm quoting here. As opposed to just closing it, at least give them a link to the relevant documentation to read, and explain why their questions doesn't meet the standards.

I agree with crmprogdev's comment; it would be nice to have some copy-n-pastable text that we all agree is appropriate for users who are asking for their homework to be done. Something like

Hi (username), welcome to SFSE! Your question has been closed because it is asking for other people to write code for you, without presenting a real question or issue. SFSE is a Q&A forum where we look to help each other by asking and answering questions that are real problems or errors. Posting requests to write code for you will get closed. If you need assistance learning the Salesforce technical environment, refer to (some link with good training resources).

Some recent examples I've voted to close:


Just to round this out a little: if a question gets closed without any comments because it's been flagged by four users then the system actually raises a moderator flag automatically to say that it was closed without comment.

When I see those I always follow up with comment (unless someone has beaten me to it) and usually aim to provide:

1) A quick welcome and explanation of why the question is closed 2) A pointer on what to research in order to help solve their issue

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