To try and explain what I'd like to find (which I had thought not readily doable in a sound-bite), I posted a rather lengthy question earlier today that was closed for being off-topic. One person suggested that I

distill down your question to something answerable without giving us your life story. Focus on a technical aspect of the software.

which I think I've now done, and I'd like to see it reopened if the only problem was the length.

I realize that it's certainly a question which I saw another post on meta about. That author tried to make their question less "software-reccy" and thereby got it reopened. I'm not sure if I've made my question any less "software-reccy" as after all, I am indeed looking for software recommendations. However, I have made the question less lengthy. Does it qualify for reopening now? Or are all questions somehow implicitly off-topic here?

  • 5
    Is your question "How can I edit multiple text files as one virtual document?" May 27, 2013 at 23:11
  • @OliverSalzburg yes, that's an amazingly pithy phrasing. Thanks. Still off-topic, though?
    – TeXnewbie
    May 27, 2013 at 23:46
  • eh, in future, could you please state what the question is about on the title - It makes it easier for those of of who might have seen the question and considered it potentially interesting ;)
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    May 28, 2013 at 1:43

1 Answer 1


The big difference between "Software to assemble text fragments into one long document" and "How can I edit multiple text files as one virtual document?" is that the former is already asking for a specific piece of software (which might have been designed solely for this purpose) and the latter is asking about how a certain goal can be achieved (agnostic of any specific piece of software).

We prefer the latter kind of question because it leaves the answerers with the ability to come up with a solution that might not even involve a single piece of software. It generally leaves more freedom in finding a creative way to solve the problem.

When you ask for a specific piece of software, that can lead to people writing very bad answers, like "I use SomeSoftware, it's really great." But those aren't good answers. A good answer should outline a process of how to approach a problem.

You have now revised your question to be more to the point about the problem you're facing, great! I've put in the final reopen vote and cleaned up the comments.

Not all context is bad though. People are generally interested in hearing why you even have this problem. A sentence or two should suffice to make your point.

Additionally, people like to hear if you've already tried to solve the problem yourself (which you should have). If you did, please let us know what you have tried. Otherwise people might end up suggesting something that you know isn't going to work for you. It also shows that you really care about solving this problem. If someone invests time in trying to solve your problem, they like to know that it wasn't just "some idea" you had, but that it will actually matter to you.

Thanks for bringing the issue up on meta :)

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