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This question with an accepted answer is being close voted as unclear one and a half years after an answer to it was accepted. I noticed this immediately after the first close vote and edited it to clean it up, but it's continued to be close voted anyway. Why does anyone think that this question is unclear one and a half years after an answer to it was accepted? It certainly wasn't unclear to the person who asked the question. A moderator already closed this question and reopened it again when I brought the matter to his attention.

I combed through this question searching for anything unclear and the only thing I could find was the word "pear-shaped" which is a dictionary word. It means "looks like an ass". If a reviewer doesn't know what a word means, he should use the dictionary before trying to remove useful content from Ask Ubuntu.

I caught it this time, but what are the broader implications of questions being repeatedly close voted with 5 close votes for being "unclear what you are asking" years after the question was answered and the answer was accepted? Content that is still useful may disappear permanently from Ask Ubuntu because it has been called unclear years after the question has been answered and the answer was accepted.

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Sadly, this was likely the result of a combination of "Fastest Gun in the West" syndrome and "Let's all pile on everyone else thinks it should be closed so I do too." Sadly reviewers often fail to review properly which in my humble opinion goes like this:

1) Read what you are reviewing.

2) Follow the link to the original question and read everything to gain context.

3) If there is an accepted/upvoted answer, clearly the question was understood by someone, who should edit it for clarity if at all possible.

4) If the question is understandable to you but might be confusing to others, edit it for clarity.

5) If you can provide a better answer than what you see, do so.

6) If you see an answer that looks promising but could use improvement leave a comment encouraging that improvement for the answerer.

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    "If there is an accepted/upvoted answer, clearly the question was understood by someone" that someone is encouraged to edit the question and made it clear for everyone else. If someone that doesn't understand the question either decides to answer it, it can give a misleading or even harmful answer. There's even a badge for editing questions that you have answered. So, editing should always be your first action if you believe it can be closed. – Braiam Mar 1 '16 at 13:58
  • @Braiam I think you said that better than I did. I'll edit that in if you don't mind – Elder Geek Mar 1 '16 at 14:03
  • In my opinion, a question should only be closed if there is no clear answer, the answer is far too broad for one page of answers, or the question itself doesn't seem to address the issue the user is having - like only posting a picture with no description of what they're trying to fix. The fact that an answered question is being flagged and closed 6 months after it's been answered seems to be strictly user error, rather than the fault of the OP. – Dooley_labs Mar 1 '16 at 18:58
  • "editing a question into a good one is preferred to closure, if possible. " Quote from Wesley Murch on meta.stackexchange.com/questions/193098/… – Elder Geek Mar 1 '16 at 19:05
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    @Dooley_labs that's a very slippery slope, as someone can answer the question "why my system restart at random?" with "someone is making you a joke", yet it may be a loose cable, or faulty hardware, etc. the fact that someone correctly guessed the answer doesn't mean that the question isn't unclear. Think of the next answerer. Unclear also means "answerers can't figure out what an appropriate answer would be without additional information". When you need more information, unclear also fits. – Braiam Mar 2 '16 at 11:18
  • You're right, but my answer doesn't cover the example question you stated. I meant, there're some questions that don't properly address an issue, nor do they contain any data to help solve it. When asking for more info, the OP does not reply to your request, and goes to another site to find the answer, or reposts it a few times. Questions like the one you gave as an example are exempt from what I said above, in that they can be updated with proper info to answer the question. I specifically meant the questions that pop up with no proper answer to be given without restating all man pages. – Dooley_labs Mar 2 '16 at 13:58
  • @Dooley_labs if you are trying to respond to Braiam you need to place his name preceded by the @ symbol as we both did to contact you. I hope that helps. Where is your answer that you reference? All I can find is a comment. My apologies. – Elder Geek Mar 2 '16 at 19:18
  • @ElderGeek I forgot about the @ symbol at the moment and I was referring to what Braiam said as an example question. – Dooley_labs Mar 2 '16 at 19:42
  • @Dooley_labs No worries. If you comment on his answer he'll also be notified (@ symbol or no I believe) – Elder Geek Mar 3 '16 at 0:13
  • @Dooley_labs "there're some questions that don't properly address an issue, nor do they contain any data to help solve it." we close those as unclear. Point. Answering unclear questions is a waste of time for everyone. The answerer have to answer the question again because the new asker couldn't find it before asking, finding duplicates is more PITA than it should be, scares away real experts since the quality of the questions are so bad, etc. BTW, it was me that voted to close that question as unclear due a new answer that said "Has anyone been able to get this working on Ubuntu 15.04?" – Braiam Mar 3 '16 at 2:57
  • ... which prompted me to look at the question and try to figure out what wasn't working for the asker and the new user that posted the follow-up question. They may have different problems, after all, with different solutions. BTW, mildly related meta.stackoverflow.com/a/318118/792066 – Braiam Mar 3 '16 at 2:58
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This isn't a finished product answer, so I will probably need to add to if it becomes necessary. This answer will probably get downvoted by the same person with injured feelings who injured my feelings, but I encourage my readers to read this answer with an open mind anyway. My intention here is to shed some light on the phrase "unclear what you are asking" in order to demonstrate the different results that may be achieved by using or misusing this phrase in different ways. IMG:

enter image description here
original question

Seen from the point of view of who asked the question who was trying to achieve one specific result, and who explained exactly what he tried and what the results of this were.

enter image description here
seen from the point of view of a spoiled reviewer

The question was asked, answered and accepted. Two years later a reviewer uncovers an inessential detail that was missing from the question. Inessential because an accepted answer to the question was posted without it. This is what the original question looks like in the mind of this reviewer.

enter image description here
seen from the point of view of a biased reviewer

The biased reviewer is protecting his incorrect review by embellishing his story. The result looks promising to the biased reviewer, however this "new" question is no longer the same question that was originally asked, so the answer to it may be completely different.

enter image description here
seen from the point of view of a selfish reviewer

This reviewer will do anything to win. All other interests have been subsumed by the single objective of winning, including the person who asked the question, the people who answered it, Ask Ubuntu, the Ubuntu community, and the Stack Exchange network.

The selfish reviewer has won every battle, and to celebrate his victory he has crowned himself as king. The trumpets blare proclaiming his great victory, but what happened to the original question?

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    Sigh. The Stack Exchange network is not the owner of the content, the people who posted it are. SE is a licensee. – muru Feb 26 '16 at 2:14
  • moderators can do so because we granted perpetual, irrevocable licences to our content, not because SE or anybody else gained ownership. We are free to do whatever we want with our content so long as we don't violate that licence agreement. The question of ownership is never complicated. – muru Feb 26 '16 at 2:23
  • Alright, I edited my answer and fixed that. – karel Feb 26 '16 at 2:27
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    thanks. It's saddening that long time, active users think they are giving the content they write. – muru Feb 26 '16 at 2:29
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what are the broader implications of questions being repeatedly close voted with 5 close votes for being "unclear what you are asking" years after the question was answered and the answer was accepted?

I remember one time (I remember posting it in chat, can't find it), where someone asked something on the lines of "why my system doesn't start" and the answer was a wild guess "restart your system" which was accepted. Well, I could have answered that he needs to get a new system, or reinstall Ubuntu, or whatever and I wouldn't be wrong. There would be no "wrong" answers, because the question is too generic that anything and everything that may or may not fix the problem. The question has been deleted since.

It becomes everyone guess what the problem to solve is and therefore what solution to apply. Remember, questions are like a puzzle:

Unclear what you're asking

Please clarify your specific problem or add additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it’s hard to tell exactly what you're asking. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question.

If you don't clearly explain what you're trying to achieve overall, answerers can't figure out what an appropriate answer would be without additional information. e.g. "How should I put these 4 pieces together?"

"How should I put these 4 pieces together?"

Without enough context to know how to assemble it correctly, we don't know what the correct answer would be, and what is a helpful answer or not.

That's what is happening with that question: the user says it needs help installing a piece of software (title guess), then says that he's following a guide to install it (first paragraph), talks about a random FTP server (is that even relevant?), then says that he can't find the executable (well, everything installed in wine is on .wine directory, but I don't think that's the problem), then it tell us that apparently he found how to "execute" the game and runs into a problem... what the problem is, take your pick: you could say that he wants to start the game in off line mode, or that his credentials are not accepted, or that when he inputs his credentials it freeze, or whatever. Then he told us why he's asking here, without any guidance on what we accept here: clear, factual and reasonably scoped questions about using Ubuntu.

Now, why I specifically voted as unclear? Because I followed the guide and was able to start the game, in off line mode, without a hitch. Granted, I'm using Debian testing 64-bits, Wine 1.8.1-1 from the repositories, Intel graphics card and crappy internet. So, what's different from OP's system apart of Ubuntu and a newer version of Wine that can cause problems? I can't tell. So, edit the question so it becomes plainly obvious what the problem is and remove irrelevant information. If that means you have to rewrite the question from scratch, so be it.

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    "So, what's different from OP's system apart of Ubuntu and a newer version of Wine that can cause problems?" that's plenty to have different issues. The day we close questions about Ubuntu based on it not being an issue on Debian... – Tim Feb 24 '16 at 14:23
  • @Tim exactly. What would be OP problem if he doesn't even makes the effort to state one? Is a guess. – Braiam Feb 24 '16 at 14:55

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