I previously asked this question on Meta to query the overzealous closing of this SU question as a duplicate. The moderator who initially closed it, without justification or explanation of the previous faulty judgement retracted it after being shown not to have read either question, and then quickly re-closed it again as being off-topic. It seems to me that this moderator isn't so much concerned with actually reading the questions they come across but indiscriminately chucking close reasons at questions and seeing which will stick. My last question was also closed by the same moderator for the same reason just a week ago.

I've been on SU for 5 years now, spent my time trying to carefully ask meaningful questions, and never have I come across the case of command-line tools being off-topic - quite the opposite, as a significant portion of the questions and answers that I've learnt from involve "recommending" a CLI tool that is the industry standard.

For example, is the equivalent question for SATA SSDs off-topic? Is this 100+ question off-topic? Is this question of my own off-topic? There's absolutely nothing in the closed question that makes it a "tool recommendation" question any more than these above questions. The tools being talked about here - dd, shred, Secure Erase, hdparm, ffmpeg, imagemagick, and so on - are often not only industry standards, but the only possible (non-proprietary) solution to these questions, and asking whether they exist for a specific function or not has never before been considered a shopping question.

If my question remains closed while the identical, highly-voted questions linked above are not going to be closed anytime soon, then the only thing left to wonder is why the "rules" are being applied inconsistently for higher value, higher traffic questions.

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    Sigh. Your other question explicitly asks "What tools are available on Cygwin". Asking for tools is off-topic and has been for a long time. I've already asked you to edit your latest question to make it on topic. It's really very simple. So simple that I've taken the time to do it for you and reopened the question. Next time please do what you have been asked to do ...
    – DavidPostill Mod
    Mar 5, 2020 at 18:19
  • The question still needs an edit from you though, as you have not specified your operating system .... which is an essential piece of information that is missing if your want an answer.
    – DavidPostill Mod
    Mar 5, 2020 at 18:22
  • Asking us to find tools for you is off topic. Asking us how to use a particular tool to solve a well specified problem is on topic.
    – DavidPostill Mod
    Mar 5, 2020 at 18:25
  • @DavidPostill The Cygwin question is from a week ago, which is not the one I'm querying here. You haven't addressed why you initially marked the most recent question as a duplicate without reading either the "duplicate" or the "original". Why does it take my querying two different close votes and posting two different meta questions just to keep my question open if the edit was as simple as removing the word "tool" from the question, which is apparently what moves a question across the line into "tool recommendation question". Mar 5, 2020 at 18:26
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    @DavidPostill Then why are you applying the rules inconsistently? I have linked to several established, high-traffic questions in this post - if what you say is true, why are they still open? None of them come to the question with the tools known beforehand. The tools are "recommended" in the answers, as has always been the case in 5 years. Once again, the rules are being applied inconsistently, at the whims of whichever moderator is doing the interpreting. Mar 5, 2020 at 18:26
  • 1/ In this case the standards are consistent as neither of those questions were explicitly asking for software, they were asking how to solve a problem 2/ don't expect 10 year old questions to always follow today.s standards. The questions allowed or not has changed over the last 10 years and this has been discussed on meta before.
    – DavidPostill Mod
    Mar 5, 2020 at 18:31
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    The question may have been mistakenly closed as a duplicate (nobody is perfect), but there is already a procedure to follow to get them reopened. It is mentioned in help "If you see a question and do not agree that it truly is a duplicate, edit it to highlight the differences, then try to get it reopened by casting a reopen vote."
    – DavidPostill Mod
    Mar 5, 2020 at 18:37
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    Enforcing the specific asking of "how" to do something when it is known that a) the only way to do it will be with a particular software, and b) that the answer to both questions will ultimately be the same, in that they will consist of recommendations of software or command line tools, is indulging in childish (and slightly Orwellian) games of semantics, and it's a pointless rule that needs to be done away with. A question shouldn't have to explictly say "how" instead of "tool" for what it's asking to be clear. Thanks anyway for re-opening my question. Mar 5, 2020 at 18:41
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    "it's a pointless rule that needs to be done away with. " No it's not. Without such rules the site would flooded with software requests and give me a script requests etc etc. Note also there is a site where asking for software is allowed (but that site also has very strict rules about what kinds of question are allowed (Software Recommendations, but please first read What is required for a question to contain "enough information".)
    – DavidPostill Mod
    Mar 5, 2020 at 18:47
  • I'm not talking about the entire rule, I'm talking about the enforcement of it from moderators like yourself that include questions like mine in it, just because I happened to explicitly use the word "tool" in the question instead of implicitly ask for one and wait for the answers to inevitably include those tools. Can you not see how much playing around with semantics there is there? Mar 5, 2020 at 18:49
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    I'm done trying to educate you.
    – DavidPostill Mod
    Mar 5, 2020 at 18:51
  • That was totally uncalled for. Please read the code of conduct - "No bigotry. We don’t tolerate any language likely to offend or alienate people based on race, gender, sexual orientation, or religion — and those are just a few examples."
    – DavidPostill Mod
    Mar 5, 2020 at 18:59
  • The "closed" note contains a sentence "Here are a few suggestions on how to properly ask …". It links to this meta question and the accepted answer explicitly reads you should not ask "Give me a list of pieces of software that do <x-action>!". Your original "What tools are available on Cygwin that can I use to remove a drive's HPA and DCO?" is exactly this. Frankly, I'm surprised anyone chooses going on a crusade instead of just following the suggestion and changing "what tool?" to "how do I do this?". As if they wanted revolution more than help. Mar 5, 2020 at 19:46
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    @Hashim Moderators are here to enforce policy that was decided long before you joined. While you have a voice among the community, same as the moderators, it is not up to you to unilaterally decide that every one else is wrong and we should change to suit you. If you want to change policy then raise a meta question, make an argument for it, be constructive about it. Be prepared to accept whichever way the community decides, just as others have had to accept policies they didn't 100% agree with (myself included) but accept that it may be for the greater good. This site isn't just about you.
    – Mokubai Mod
    Mar 6, 2020 at 10:26

1 Answer 1


Just to say... The proper way to request a reopening is to make a case for your own question - not try to what-about other questions.

The edits kinda fixed the issue didn't they?

However I might request a slightly less adversarial approach when requesting a reopening

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