Why was How do you configure a Windows machine for a Linux user? closed as too broad?

I can see that it might appear broad. It is broad. But there's a distinction between broad and too broad — broad questions are fine. In what way is this question too broad?

The question has two comprehensive answers that cover all the essential points (disclaimer: I wrote one of them). That refutes the assertion that there “good answers would be too long for this format”. As for “too many possible answers”, I don't see it: it does require a fair amount of effort to get a good answer¹. (Of course I can imagine any number of bad answers, but that goes for every question.)

So why was this question judged too broad?

If this question is indeed too broad, how could it be re-scoped to cover at least the two top-voted answers?

¹ Unfortunately, say I, as the target audience of that question.

  • How do you define getting the most out of it?
    – random Mod
    Dec 23, 2015 at 18:14
  • Re-reading it again it is mostly/mainly a list of apps and tweaks needed to have same-same experiences between the OSs
    – random Mod
    Dec 23, 2015 at 18:17
  • Does it matter? A 4 year old question that already has two good answers is unlikely to attract any new answers.
    – DavidPostill Mod
    Dec 23, 2015 at 18:23
  • 4
    The question is: "How do you configure a Windows (preferably latest version) machine for a Linux power user, so that s/he can get most out of it?" That's a pretty individualized objective that depends on how the person is going to use it, what they want to get out of it, what specific performance is important to them, etc. The top two answers are based on what's important to the answers' authors. Most of the other answers just prick the surface. This question isn't much different from a survey.
    – fixer1234
    Dec 23, 2015 at 18:33
  • @DavidPostill Whyever not? This isn't a forum, we're building things to last. Dec 23, 2015 at 19:06
  • @fixer1234 If you don't like “get most out of it”, please suggest alternative wording. I don't mind the wording. I do mind keeping the answers around, because they're on-topic, vetted and useful. Dec 23, 2015 at 19:07
  • I agree with keeping the answers around. Closing the question doesn't affect that. I did think about how the question wording might be improved, but couldn't come up with something that would make a good on-topic question. Even if it is more focused on a very specific use, it would attract opinion-based answers or a list. Your answer was good to the extent of what it covered. But each person could write a different answer in similar depth based on their own experience and priorities. I think that's what makes it too broad. It's a useful question, but this isn't the right venue for it.
    – fixer1234
    Dec 23, 2015 at 19:31
  • Going from Linux to Windows?, sell your guns first.....
    – Moab
    Jan 2, 2016 at 20:11
  • 1
    @DavidPostill Every time I see a 'This question is Closed...' message, I like SO a bit less. YES it does matter! People invested time in this. Why this strong need to overmoderate? What has all this closing of questions brought SO? And how is closing stuff 'building things to last'? Closing is not a creative act, it's a destructive one. Jan 4, 2016 at 8:45
  • 1
    @StijndeWitt We close questions when they don't meet the quality standards of SU. That's decided by the community. Questions acceptable some years ago are not always acceptable now (the site has matured and standards have changed).
    – DavidPostill Mod
    Jan 4, 2016 at 9:23
  • Yeah yeah. But when about every other question I see has this banner, then maybe the standards are too high? As a visitor of SO, my no 1 annoyance is overmoderation. Not questions with bad quality. You know why? Because I'm not continuously refreshing the stream of incoming questions to check their quality. I search using Google and, with it's huge dataset and fantastic search heuristics, it filters out the bad questions. The cream rises to the top. Jan 4, 2016 at 10:27
  • @StijndeWitt - So post quality questions and answers, get reputation, and then vote to keep answers and and to keep questions open you feel are high quality. Unless you become part of the solution you cannot solve the problem you perceive. I could list you about a hundred questions submitted this week that should have never been even asked, and I believe, even you would believe that to be the case. Questions not being on topic is a huge problem for us,questions closed can be reopened, somebody just has to edit them so they are on topic in order for that to happen.
    – Ramhound
    Jan 6, 2016 at 13:50
  • @StijndeWitt Some people have to work on the stream of incoming questions and work out whether they need answering. By closing inappropriate questions, we ensure that only 5 people need to review the bad questions, and not every single potential answerer and every person who does find that answer in a search. Jan 6, 2016 at 14:00
  • @Gilles Some people have to work on the stream of incoming questions Who are these people? Are there people being paid to answer SO questions? (honest question). For me this is the crux; if you 'digest' the stream of incoming questions like that then yeah I can imagine you get annoyed by vague, broad, etc questions... But I think that only a small minority of people actually work like that. I answer questions when I stumble upon one and I know the answer. If not, I just move along... Current moderation practices seem to favor the viewpoint of the 1st group, even though the 2nd is larger. Jan 6, 2016 at 22:23
  • @Ramhound vote to keep answers and and to keep questions open you feel are high quality. Isn't this the reversed-world? And even if I were to go along with this... You guys close questions before I ever get the chance to vote on them. Remember, I am not continuously refreshing the stream of incoming questions like some of you more active community members do. Also... I have NO problem with question quality. I don't mind the occasional lazy/noob/homework question. I have a problem with overmoderation. Sounds to me like you are saying I have to compete with you guys to 'balance the score'.. Jan 6, 2016 at 22:28

2 Answers 2


This is a question of being too broad in the sense of what defines getting the most of the system, as well as how many apps and tweaks are necessary to say that the experiences between the operating system is similar or same enough.

It also falls under the reason of being primarily opinion based from the read of what the answers have shown to be the crux of the question.

That is, what can you think of to install or adjust on one system to make it feel "at home" for someone more used to another?

At what point do you stop customising or adding on apps, programs to settle in?

  • 1
    sigh Oh, hello, random. Dec 23, 2015 at 19:07
  • 1
    The name is listed as who closed the question. If you wanted to reword the question to also include the answers it would be "What apps and/or tweaks should I make to X to make it feel like Y?" and that would be out of scope
    – random Mod
    Dec 23, 2015 at 19:11
  • Thank you for switching to being constructive. How would your proposal (which I don't really understand: how does it change the question? Or is it just a matter of wording?) be out of scope? Dec 23, 2015 at 19:14
  • It doesn't change the question. It's similar to one on SO asking what plugins a developer should/need to install to get the most out of their IDE. Or of Webmasters asking which add-ons they need to have their IIS server run like if they were on cPanel. Or Android Enthusiast asking what apps and configs do they need to make them feel comfortable from moving away from iOS devices
    – random Mod
    Dec 23, 2015 at 19:17
  • “Get the most out of X” is completely different from “make X look like Y”. The latter has a goal, the former is open-ended. I've found over and over again on Software Recommendations that having a goal (a user story) is a big part of making a question work. Dec 23, 2015 at 19:23
  • Then we need to define what getting the most out of it means, in relation too to how it's been answered. Answers are currently a mix of apps to port user experience to gotchas of working under the different filesystems. Caleb's answer superuser.com/questions/282397/… highlight's how the question rides that line between too broad and primarily opinion based
    – random Mod
    Dec 23, 2015 at 19:37
  • 2
    @Gilles: Just an observation, "make X look like Y" is better than "get the most out of X", but still a problem. X isn't Y, and often, can't be made identical to Y. So it leads to how similar is close enough, and which aspects or criteria are important. The issue isn't whether the question/answers are important and useful, its the extent to which it can be addressed well within this site's constraints.
    – fixer1234
    Dec 23, 2015 at 19:46
  • @fixer1234 And none of this makes the question any less answerable. I'm familiar with the site's constraints, thank you very much. They're met. Dec 23, 2015 at 20:06
  • @Gilles: That's why there's both vanilla and chocolate ice cream. People have different opinions. :-)
    – fixer1234
    Dec 23, 2015 at 20:10
  • @random Just want to let you know that every time you close a question, a kitten dies. Why not spend time answering questions instead of closing other peoples questions? Jan 4, 2016 at 8:49
  • 2
    Bags by the river need kittens
    – random Mod
    Jan 4, 2016 at 14:51
  • Curious question: how many deleted answers this question has and how you came across it (flag, close queue, deleted answer, whining)?
    – Braiam
    Jan 4, 2016 at 22:10
  • Two junk deleted answers, closed after it got bumped into view @bra
    – random Mod
    Jan 4, 2016 at 22:18
  • I could not agree with this answer more. It does not matter if the answers are high quality, it matters that the question was extremely broad and for that reason the quality of many of the answers was severally lacking. In my opinion most of the time, a bad answer is the fault of the question, but there are few exceptions to that rule. I read a ton of questions daily
    – Ramhound
    Jan 6, 2016 at 13:57
  • @Ramhound Then please edit the question so that it rules out the bad answers and allows the good ones, and reopen the question. This question is on-topic and answerable, so if there's something wrong with it, it can't be such a problem that it's unsuitable for Stack Exchange. Jan 6, 2016 at 14:01

Would it not be better to convert one of the answers, or even the entire question, to be a community wiki? The answers to this question is likely to change over time and yet still be relevant (and asked regularly).

  • A community wiki still needs to be on topic. The question and answer authors would also have to convert the question into a wiki themselves since we cannot do it for them as auditors.
    – Ramhound
    Jan 6, 2016 at 13:52
  • I don't see the point of a wiki here. What would be the advantage in merging jcrawfordor's answer and mine? Jan 6, 2016 at 13:58
  • @Gilles - There wouldn't be a point. A wiki is not magical its an indication the author of the content wants to give the control to the community.
    – Ramhound
    Jan 6, 2016 at 13:59

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