Responding to that invitation, I revised this question:
Hi I'm new to ubuntu world. I have few questions about the software installation in ubuntu:
- What's the difference between installing a software in ubuntu software center and command line?
- Why some software I installed with command line can't be searched in software center (press the window key)?
- What are the correct commands to install a software from command line so that I can search them?
- I backed and restored up my system once but some commands worked before (like "subl") don't work after restoring the system.
I think these questions are about $PATH somehow but I can't find some material about this. Any extra material would be appreciated. :)
This question has been viewed more than 3,000 times. Like many other viewers, no doubt, I arrived at it through a Google search. It seemed to be asking a good question.
The question was closed on the grounds that it "needs to be more focused." The linked page explains that this criticism applies "if your question has many valid answers (but no way to determine which - if any - are correct)."
A person could read the question that way. I just don't know why they would want to.
The idea seems to be that the original poster (OP) approached Ask Ubuntu in a rather scatterbrained state of mind, and needed to be properly schooled. That demeaning undertone would predictably discourage the newcomer from participating further.
It seems to have done so for the OP. He said he was a newbie. This was his one and only question on any Stack Exchange forum. He hasn't been back in four years. Ironically, Ask Ubuntu gave him a "Popular Question" badge for it two years ago.
And to think that there are people who just don't understand why newcomers mostly retreat to Windows or Mac after dipping a toe in the Linux pool.
For reasons I am about to present, Ask Ubuntu's debilitating response does not appear to have done justice to the OP and his question.
First, the criticism just quoted does not seem to apply. It is surely not true that there is "no way to determine" which answers would be correct. Even the OP's relatively bemused point 4 could be addressed with a simple indication that what he reports could not have happened, or could only have happened for specific reasons. As we see in many other Ask Ubuntu discussions, OPs can and do submit additional detail if needed. The website would be vastly less helpful if the response were, consistently, to close their questions until they felt like standing up for another round of criticism.
As indicated above, the claim that the post "needs to be more focused" links to a page elaborating what "focus" means. That linked page says, "This can often be fixed by ... focusing on a specific part of the problem." This suggests that the OP could have rescued the question by explaining how his enumerated points related to a single, central question.
In response to the website's invitation, I submitted a revision that did exactly that. My revision read as follows:
My question: for purposes of software installation, what is the relationship between the command line and the Ubuntu Software Center? This question arises from several observations and uncertainties:
- A search of the Software Center fails to produce some of the packages that I have installed via command line. So it appears that these two methods have somewhat different purposes or functionality.
- I noticed that a system backup and restore seemed to break some software installed via command line (e.g.,
subl). I wondered whether maybe that was because the Software Center does a better job than CLI installation, for purposes of registering or preserving the relevant $PATH information.
- Since listing in the Software Center seems to have some advantages (e.g., for searching, for surviving a restore), I would like to know whether it is possible to write the installation command so that my installed software will be so listed.
That edit was rejected on grounds that "This edit deviates from the original intent of the post. Even edits that must make drastic changes should strive to preserve the goals of the post's owner."
That seems illogical. If the OP's intent was clear, then his question should not have been closed in the first place. If his intent was not clear, then it would be difficult to be certain that my revision departed from it.
It does not seem to have done so. Note that my revision reflects the focus of the OP's numbered points: they all convey his impression of installation inconsistencies involving the Software Center and the command line.
One would not expect constructive participants in Ask Ubuntu to reject an edit that actually improves the original question while sharpening the focus on the OP's primary concern.
It is odd in any event that third parties would be deciding what the OP intended. The more sensible response would be to ask him.
Since the closing seems to have deterred the OP from any further participation in Ask Ubuntu, he might not respond to a request for approval of my edit.
Yet his question lives on, and continues to draw a large number of visits. In that case, it does not seem practical to tell people like me that we are silly to look for answers to the OP's question. The practical response would be to let that popular question be clarified and reopened, so that Ask Ubuntu can function as intended -- as a forum for good questions to be asked and answered.
My experience in this case suggests that Ask Ubuntu is falsely inviting revisions that cannot meet its criteria, because those criteria are applied arbitrarily. As a relative newcomer myself, I must ask: do the established members of this forum pride themselves on discouraging newcomers?
I would not think so. I haven't been in Ask Ubuntu very long, but that has not been my impression so far. But I cannot reasonably be expected to feel good about investing time in a revision that was rejected for reasons that don't add up, by people who do not even seem to have tried to understand the original question. Plainly, it would be foolish for me to devote that kind of effort again.
Maybe that's why a popular question remains closed after four years, continuing to rack up visits long after the chastised OP has left the scene. Are we in Never-Never Land -- are we waiting for some magical character to render the perfect rephrasing of that question? In the real world, the evidence says that Ask Ubuntu is behaving as if it does not want that question to be fixed.
Clearly, the people responsible for the original closing, and for rejecting my revision, are not striving to encourage our participation; nor are they intent upon producing a helpful outcome in this specific case.
The problem may be that participants accrue points, in Ask Ubuntu, through displays of technical expertise. As this case illustrates, such expertise is not always relevant -- it may be counterproductive -- for purposes of applying the forum's criteria.
Specifically, as already pointed out, the closers and rejecters said that they did not understand the OP's goals and intent. Those are exactly the things the criteria depend upon. They admitted that they were not qualified to judge my revision. That was their choice. It's not my fault.
Newcomers, almost by definition, will fail to express themselves in ideal terms. When thousands of them seek an answer to a question that the technical experts want to shut down, the practical response would be to encourage them to ask their question, help them shape their phrasing as they improve their understanding -- and dial back this toxic tendency to drive outsiders away.