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I noticed a lot of questions get closed because they ask questions that may become obsolete in the future.

One thing this site is lacking (from that stats at http://area51.stackexchange.com/proposals/10947/project-management) is questions being asked.

I've personally started typing several questions, but stopped and cancelled because I figure it will just be closed for this reason.

Is this important? Do we really need to be proactive about questions that might be less relevant at some point in the future?

I understand quality is important, but if you're too restrictive, this could risk becoming a "read-only" site.

  • Can you post an example? Also, two of us are in chat right now talking about this subject if you'd like to join us :) pmse chat. (Just FYI, I'm just asking for an example just for some context so we're on the same page regarding the type of questions you're referring to.) – jmort253 Jul 29 '12 at 20:00
  • Recent example: pm.stackexchange.com/questions/3147/… – Jason Hanley Jul 29 '12 at 20:06
  • I think this is also maybe related to meta.pm.stackexchange.com/questions/351/… – Jason Hanley Jul 29 '12 at 20:15
  • Hey Jason, my answer is sort of long so I divided into two parts. Basically, these are guidelines and not hard-fast rules. Usually, it's just how you word your questions that can make a difference. I looked at one of your questions, and an edit made it a great question. You're feedback is always appreciated! Thank you for bringing this discussion to meta! :) – jmort253 Jul 29 '12 at 21:28
  • If you feel up to it Jason, it would help if you could maybe show us one of the examples you were thinking of asking but didn't. Remember, our site is still in beta and we're still trying to figure things out, so your help is greatly appreciated! Thanks again! – jmort253 Jul 29 '12 at 21:30
  • Hi @Jason, we're currently discussing some more changes to the way we handle questions. Your perspective will add value to the discussion. If you're interested, please see this thread: meta.pm.stackexchange.com/q/437/34. Thank you! :) – jmort253 Aug 11 '12 at 3:55
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TL;DR

No, questions do not have to be robust enough to outlast eternity or the heat-death of the universe.

Questions/Answers Should be Relevant to Wide Audience

Questions that are "too localized" are questions that aren't applicable to anyone other than the person asking the questions, or about situations that are so transient that they don't form a meaningful corpus of information for future visitors.

So, rule #1 is to avoid questions where bus_factor <= 1.

Embrace Change

Any question or answer can be outdated or superseded. If I answer a question today about the current way Scrum is implemented in the business world, that answer may not be valid 10 years from now. Luckily, you can always ask related questions, update or revise old posts, or add new answers to reflect newer practices that offer alternatives to an historically accepted answer.

So, rule #2 is to make your answers as broadly-applicable as possible based on available data and the current state of the art.

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Don't be afraid to post - (or "Our community doesn't bite")

I definitely don't want you to be afraid to post a question.

I suggest sticking around for a few minutes after posting a question. If people are around to help you edit and improve your question; oftentimes, we don't need to close.

If we do close a new question, we also try to use it as an opportunity to guide the asker, to get at the heart of the actual problem being faced, and then post something that will be useful to future visitors.

Old vs New

The Kanban books question was really old, the asker was long gone, and it had a list of answers that prevented the question from being edited. If edited, the answers most likely wouldn't be valid anymore. In short, it's a broken window on our site and now serves as an example of the end result we strive to avoid.

If that question were asked today, it would probably be closed, but we would also try to encourage the asker to edit his or her question. We would use the comments to try and understand the fundamental problem that he or she is trying to solve, and then we would reopen the question in it's newly revived form.

With that said, the Kanban books question probably should have been closed as Not Constructive instead:

Not Constructive:

As it currently stands, this question is not a good fit for our Q&A format. We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or specific expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. If you feel that this question can be improved and possibly reopened, see the FAQ for guidance.

Why do we care about quality?

This site is much different than traditional forums, which oftentimes just look like random snapshots of the Internet at a very specific moment in time. Instead, we strive to improve questions and answers through editing so that when future visitors find them, either from Google searches or a search on PMSE, the noise level is significantly reduced, and the best answers voted through crowd-sourcing appear at the very top.


Kanban Books Issues:

With that said, the Kanban books question has so many problems associated with it:

How do I determine which books are the best?

It's difficult or impossible to tell what books are the best, as upvotes on the material may just simply reflect people's favorite books, not the ones that actually would solve the asker's problem.

There's no real problem to solve

The best questions are about a real problem you're trying to solve. If the answer just happens to refer to a blog post or a book or some other resource, that's awesome, but for the most part, we try not to make people leave our site in order to get an actual answer to a problem he or she is facing. A list of books just pushes people away to other resources.

There could be more hidden questions

We should ask why someone is looking for a list of books. What problem is he/she trying to solve. If we as a community respond with comments to clarify and get at the heart of the issue; oftentimes, the question can be discovered, which will lead to great answers and maybe even more great follow-up questions. This not only benefits the asker, but the community, and future visitors.

Again, we're closing the old questions because in many cases there isn't a way to fix them anymore.

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