How is CMD's convert command able to convert FAT to NTFS without data loss?

I've recently updated the question to directly respond to criticism that the question is off-topic based on the claims that:

  • It already has an answer here (an answer whose only relation to my question is that it partly concerns the FAT32 filesystem, just as my question partly concerns the FAT32 filesystem)

  • It's proprietary and therefore unanswerable

I''m hoping that these updated responses will be enough to ensure the question stays open, but I'm just really having trouble understanding how so many people thought either of the above were reason to close the question. Are questions like this not welcome on SuperUser anymore? As I stated to someone else in the comments, some of the most insightful, highly-voted questions and answers I've ever come across on the net have been on SU and the SE network, and have been just as, if not more obscure, than mine, but their not being initially thought answerable was not cited as an excuse to close them, and as a result they led to a huge amount of insight for countless people.

I'm trying to keep this constructive criticism more than a rant, but it just seems to me that in current SE, any chance to close an otherwise high-quality question (based on the Help Center guidelines, not my hubris) is jumped at, which is a much more toxic learning environment than the one that attracted me at 16.

  • 3
    Your question is starting to feel overburdened by meta-commentary and "this shouldnt be closed because" which, quite frankly, is little more than argumentative noise. I don't agree with any of the close reasons for your original question, but all the noise makes it look like there's more question and useful information when there really isn't. The noise just gives more ammunition for an "unclear what you are asking" close vote.
    – Mokubai Mod
    Commented Oct 28, 2017 at 8:07
  • 1
    I really would cut back on the edits as commentary and try to roll them into the overall narrative of the question. Especially the arguement to whether its on topic belongs more on meta than the question itself. Don't let your question be overwhelmed by noise please!
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    Commented Oct 28, 2017 at 12:27

3 Answers 3


I'm of two minds on this...

  • I've observed over my years on SU that there's a general trend towards being less and less tolerant of questions that "used to be" acceptable. This could be a meta-moderation artifact of community burnout, a Stack Exchange-specific analogue to the original problem that the reputation system of SE was aiming to solve (to prevent people from getting annoyed/burned out/tired of answering the same bad questions over and over and leaving the community).
  • There are lots of "gotchas" in the VTC reasons and topicality rules of SU, such that you could justify closing just about every question ever asked on the site. By simply "going with the flow" of what's currently the community trends, it's easy to throw one or two of these justifications at your question and VTC it. Insofar as those justifications jive with past precedent, they wouldn't even be "wrong" (in the eyes of one's peers).

However, I don't think this is a reason to rant, attack anyone (or the community as a whole), or be an outspoken "rebel" against "the system". Those sorts of approaches rarely have any positive effect.

As the number of reviewers has gradually gone up over the years, I've found that there tends to be a roving band of active reviewers at any particular time who are far more likely (than I'd be, or other not-so-active reviewers would be) to vote to close a question. This reflects the ever-changing consensus of the active SU community, which, again, seems to be trending toward accepting a narrower and narrower scope of questions.

Rather than fighting it that way, I'd say just use the tools available to you in the system to fight it:

  1. If your question gets VTC'ed all the way to being put On Hold, ask a meta Q on how you can improve the question.
  2. Follow the advice given (especially if given by a diamond mod) and flag it to be reopened.
  3. If your question doesn't get enough VTC votes, then ignore it, as it's not affecting you if you get 4 votes but the 5th vote never comes.

Basically: be reactive, don't be inflammatory, and deal with the diamond mods, not other users. If you can get a diamond mod on your side (which is easier if you're nice, patient, and understanding than if you're annoying, entitled and impatient), then you and the mod can work together and hash out a way to ask what you want to ask so that it'll be acceptable on the site while still getting your point across.

Don't bother talking to other users and arguing with them about the topicality of your post, because you're just wasting your breath. Disagreeing with 95% of users who VTC or downvote your post will just cause them to dig in their heels and fight back.

Don't try to create a public debate or make a scene. Just stay laser-focused on working with the mods to meet the current quality and topicality standards of the site while still making it clear what exactly you want to ask, and let them tell you how to go about asking it.

  • The only thing I would like see added is a statement with regards to how a reviewers close votes are not personal.
    – Ramhound
    Commented Oct 28, 2017 at 13:50
  • I'll try to adopt this strategy from now, but I'm very skeptical of the idea that if I ignore users, the problem will go away, which I think is what you're saying. A site where users makes the vast majority of contributions means you're always at the mercy of users. A single misplaced downvote or close vote and the addition of natural cognitive biases, which we all suffer from, can very quickly snowball into 5 of them, which is why I feel such an urge to respond to criticisms, especially when I perceive them as baseless. Once you get those 5, you're at the ultimate mercy of the moderators... Commented Oct 28, 2017 at 18:29
  • ...and can only hope that those who happen to deal with your question are more influenced by the rules than their cognitive biases, which again, doesn't strike me as the surest bet. I've had so many questions across the SE network in the last 2 years closed despite following most of the advice in this post, and despite no-one being able to cite what rules or posting guidelines were being violated, to the point that I've found it often just tends to boil down to "because we say so" by the those who happen to deal with it. It just currently seems too flawed a system to place your trust in. Commented Oct 28, 2017 at 18:31
  • Keep meta at meta, will help, when the community does something you don’t agree with but you also have to be willing to hear the community.
    – Ramhound
    Commented Oct 29, 2017 at 17:46

I've refocused the question somewhat, to deal with the "unclear what you're asking" closevotes. The question was too darned noisy by the time I saw it, and your attempts to argue topicality basically buried the actual question.

The comments cover the disagreement over the topicality, and I've archived them to chat. I've also closed and reopened the question.

Any additional edits ought to focus on making the question easier to answer, rather than trying to engage closevoters in debate. Ironically, this feels like one of those situations where your question would have been better served by keeping clarifications in the comments.


I appreciate everyone's support, and I'm relieved the question is able to stay open, but some of the criticisms above underscore the point I was trying to make in my last Meta thread on the same question.

There are the "official" rules in the Help Center that those on meta.SE will cite, and then there are the rules as practiced and understood by the majority of the community. That incongruence leaves it up to users and moderators to vote based on/enforce whichever version of it they feel like at the time, resulting in a situation like mine with this question: the first Meta thread I posted about the same question justified the deletion of all my comments on it, based on the rule that important information and clarification should be kept to the body of the question; once I'd done that and responded to all the criticisms of it being off-topic, this second Meta thread on the question now tells me I should have kept the discussion to the comments.

I don't see that as irony, I see as it as an inconsistency with the site and how its rules are enforced. A user would have to be telepathic to determine which standard he'll be held to at any one time, and it has the effect of making the rules themselves meaningless in practice.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .