The question Learning The Business was closed as Not Constructive.

I would like to know why because it is a good and constructive question to me. Moreover, one of the answerers voted to close. I am very confused. If you believe a question should be closed, of course you can vote to close if you have the voting right. But then, why do you bother to answer it?

Personally I think the question is constructive. Every new worker (not necessarily a new employee) could encounter this kind of situation at his workplace. You could be a senior employee but a new person to a new project. You're already familiar with the company procedures, rules, etc. However, you know nothing about the things you're working on. You'll need help. To acquaint yourself with the new project with all the help you can get is a key to your success at work.

How to get help is the answer OP is trying to figure out and that is my interpretation of this question. A typical answer may be that the manager is responsible. Also, the employee may have to request for it. We need everybody's experience and knowledge about this issue, such as from the manager's perspective, the senior tech lead's view, the employee's own experience, HR's opinion, etc. We can make it a community wiki if needed. But, why is it Not Constructive? To me, this question is much more constructive than "Is it rude to do X?".

  • 2
    After editing the post, I voted to reopen. See my meta explanation here and the edits on the question: workplace.stackexchange.com/questions/3971/…
    – jmort253
    Sep 15, 2012 at 19:39
  • @jmort253 as I note in this comment I think reopening is a bit premature
    – Rarity
    Sep 15, 2012 at 20:09
  • 1
    @Rarity If five community members agree the question should be re-opened, there's nothing premature about it.
    – yannis
    Sep 15, 2012 at 20:25
  • @YannisRizos it doesn't mean the question can't be improved. I'd just like it to be improved before it's reopened since I can't cast a close vote after it's reopened without immediately closing it. I'm not going to reverse a community reopen that easily so I really want all issues addressed before it's reopened.
    – Rarity
    Sep 15, 2012 at 20:27
  • 1
    To explain my behaviour to you: I answered the question as I like explaining things - I thought I could do so with the question. At the same time, the question was most definitely not constructive as it stood, so I voted to close. The question has since been updated and is now a better match, so I voted to open. Voting and answering are do not have to related to each other.
    – Oded
    Sep 16, 2012 at 9:39
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    @Oded To explain one of the reasons voting and answering are related. You answered the question and earned an upvote. Then you voted to close. After others voted to close, the question was closed. Nobody else can answer the question, so no one can earn any upvote. This is not fair. I think the best action you could take when you answered the question was to edit it to make it better and more answerable, then answer it. You're a high rep user, I raised the bar on you. Others may not understand this much, you should.
    – Nobody
    Sep 17, 2012 at 7:40
  • People have different interaction and use modes of the site. I tend to answer, vote and make simple edits. I was not able to figure out an edit to the question that would make it suitable - it is not my forte and I don't try. You can't just make assumptions and try to force other users to your mode of usage.
    – Oded
    Sep 17, 2012 at 7:44
  • @Oded I said "I think the best ...". I did not force you to do anything. I do expect a high rep user would help the site to make it better, though.
    – Nobody
    Sep 17, 2012 at 8:54
  • 2
    I believe I do make it better. Not to your standards, but to mine.
    – Oded
    Sep 17, 2012 at 8:54
  • It's reopened, so ironically we can close this question :D ...FWIW I think that question is decent so thanks to all for reopening.
    – SaltySub2
    Aug 20, 2018 at 9:05

3 Answers 3


I voted to close because this question does not meet the FAQ requirements for questions. In fact, specifically from the "What kinds of questions not to ask" section of the FAQ:

You should only ask practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face. Chatty, open-ended questions diminish the usefulness of our site and push other questions off the front page.

This question was completely not a practical, answerable question - there was barely a specific problem being faced. This question was completely an open-ended question because it was all about opinions of the answerers - no real objective answer. "Was I expecting too much?" Plus, there were multiple references to 100% subjective comparative terms?

To prevent your question from being flagged and possibly removed, avoid asking subjective questions where …

This question was subjective.

there is no actual problem to be solved: “I’m curious if other people feel like I do.”

There was no question. It was "was it right to feel this way?"

Also see: the blog post titled, Good Subjective, Bad Subjective, for a good list of how to make good subjective questions.

we are being asked an open-ended, hypothetical question: “What if ______ happened?”

While not necessarily a hypothetical question, it was basically a hypothetical situation, since the user asking the question wasn't experiencing the situation he described.

The main point I have is the question was not answerable (without a swarm of opinions) and not constructed in such a way it could not hit on how to ask subjective questions well.


I voted to close the question because it came off as very "meta". At its core, the question appeared to be a question about a question, which really edges it dangerously into discussion territory.

It also took me a moment to figure out what was going on. I thought it looked more like a Workplace Meta post about a question asked on the site than an actual on-topic question, for the Workplace SE, about a problem faced.

My Question: Was the person asking that question really expecting too much? Or does every "good" company make sure that a "veteran" employee adequately familiarizes new hires with the company's business domain and business practices?

It doesn't take much to make a question look not constructive. I think what really did it was this line:

Was the person asking that question really expecting too much?

- emphasis is mine

Editing and Voting to Reopen

With that said, I'm a huge fan of editing closed posts to try and fix them, and after re-reading the question again, I do think it's possible to make it slightly more constructive.

I've edited Jim's question, Learning The Business: What should I expect when joining a company as a developer in terms of training?, into something that the community may feel fits the SE guidelines a bit better, and I voted to reopen.

I eliminated the part where there was bias "was the person ... really expecting too much" and replaced it with something that I feel fits the spirit of the question, but on a much more constructive level.

I also added more of a first-person point of view to it. Even though Jim isn't personally facing the problem himself, it's still a problem, and I think wording it more in the first person point of view is less confusing for people who might think it not constructive, or new users who may think Jim is trying to start a discussion.

In summary, question closing is designed to give the community an opportunity to fix problems with the post, and I encourage you to always bring these issues to meta in a constructive manner. Sometimes starting a meta discussion around a closed question will highlight ways where it can be fixed, or even give people an opportunity to take a second look and re-evaluate their decision. If this question does indeed get reopened, I hope that's proof that the system does work as it's supposed to. Hope this helps!

  • TBH I don't think it's much better. Companies are vastly different in terms of the training they offer. Telling people what to expect (beyond "it varies") will only cause a lot of people to be confused or disappointed when the reality doesn't match up with the top voted answer. "How much time should veteran employees invest..." is similarly Not Constructive; it's just asking for opinions, not solving a problem. Opinions will vary widely and will generally be irrelevant to real world situations.
    – Rarity
    Sep 15, 2012 at 20:04
  • 1
    Sure, it's debatable whether or not it's truly constructive at this point, but I think that if it's going to be reopened, which it looks like it is, we can at least make it look a little more constructive with edits so it looks like something that fits on the site. I'm not sure I would have voted to close in it's current format, so my reopen vote is there to counter my original close vote. I think it's good to encourage people to find ways to constructively improve posts, if possible. ;)
    – jmort253
    Sep 15, 2012 at 20:37
  • 1
    I've added another edit to reduce it to one question at least; removing the part about how much veteran employees should pitch in. My problem is those 5 users can't recast their close votes, so it's unlikely it can be reclosed at this point with as few 2k users as we have; it should be improved as much as possible before reopening.
    – Rarity
    Sep 15, 2012 at 20:43
  • @Rarity - I know it's a tough spot to be in, but if it looks like the question is getting crappy answers, you could always close it as a mod. I definitely support closing it if it looks like the fixes didn't work. At that point, we can at least say we tried. Hope this helps!
    – jmort253
    Sep 15, 2012 at 20:49
  • 2
    Also, you mentioned 2K users. I think that's a little misleading as it takes just 500 reputation to vote to close/reopen. Not everyone with 500 reputation may be aware of that, and I count 100 users with this privilege, not counting you, Nick, and jcmeloni, of course. Perhaps we can encourage more 500+ users to use this privilege and be sure to remind them as well, not just the 2K users.
    – jmort253
    Sep 15, 2012 at 20:55
  • Oops! Aarthi got mixed in with my count! We can't count her as a 500+ rep user, so it's actually 99 regular close/reopen voters.
    – jmort253
    Sep 15, 2012 at 21:07
  • @jmort253: You've just gained my utmost respect. Awesome answer.
    – Jim G.
    Sep 15, 2012 at 23:36

Every new worker (not necessarily a new employee) could encounter this kind of situation at his workplace.

That has nothing to do with the "constructive" requirement. See the answers on this related question. "Was this person expecting too much" is a bit of a red flag for "discussion, not answers". "Does every 'good company'..." takes the question straight into pure discussion. There's no way to answer that without opinions of what a good company is, what adequate is, or how common it is or should be.

Frankly the fact that it's important to get that sort of training is totally irrelevant to the question; that means it might be important to ask how to get that sort of training. It does not mean a question on "do good companies have that sort of training" is a constructive question. Just because a discussion is centered around an important thing does not make it a constructive question.

We need everybody's experience and knowledge about this issue, such as from the manager's perspective, the senior tech lead's vew, the employee's own experience, HR's opinion, etc.We need everybody's experience and knowledge about this issue, such as from the manager's perspective, the senior tech lead's vew, the employee's own experience, HR's opinion, etc.

This is pretty much what I mean by "discussion", by "not constructive". There's no one answer to this. When you need half a dozen perspectives it's no longer a question, it's a discussion. If you need HR AND the tech lead's view, which answer is correct? Voting stops being about correctness/helpfulness and starts being about "WTF HR people believe that? downvote YEAH this tech guy is right! upvote". That's absolutely not what we want.

We can make it a community wiki if needed. But, why is it Not Constructive?

Community Wiki is largely a sin of our past. It's been used to shoehorn questions we know aren't appropriate but we try and use CW to say "hey, look, it's okay, no one gains any rep". The most common use for Community Wiki now is to convert old, not constructive questions into something slightly more maintainable.

To me, this question is much more constructive than "Is it rude to do X?".

I don't really agree, nor is this a significant point to make; for one we've already agreed Is X rude? is a poor way to phrase most questions. Those sort of questions can usually be salvaged by editing to make them "should I/how should I do X" though, those sort of questions aren't inherently discussion questions at their core, but they certainly can be.

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