On SuperUser, earlier today, Diago closed this question on Wolfram Alpha as not computer related. I fail to see how it isn't computer related. Or how it is different from the several Facebook questions on SuperUser.

Or the questions on Twitter.

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    It wasn't Diago alone – Juan Manuel Dec 12 '09 at 22:42
  • It may as well have been. heavyd needed four more users for it to be closed. Diago's vote would of closed it irrespective of whether heavyd had voted or not. – Macha Dec 12 '09 at 22:50
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    When there are more 3k users, the question still would have closed out on its own without mod intervention. Diago just euthanised it. – random Dec 13 '09 at 0:41
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    I think saying Wolfram Alpha is computer related is like saying paint is car related. – GMan Dec 14 '09 at 4:32
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    @Gman: If it's car paint, then it's related. – Changeling Dec 14 '09 at 14:28

It amazes me how whenever this question comes up, people are quick to pull out samples of old questions that are similar that has been kept.

These question either flew under the radar, or policy changed after they were posted. Simply put it means we will now close those questions.

As for the closing questions, I run through the close list at least 2 - 3 times a day, and will close questions if I am certain that the reasons are valid. This question was in no way computer software or hardware related. Most websites have support forums to cover these in detail, and questions for them should be kept within their own domain. SU is not a trash can, nor is it a free-for all, every question goes site. It has a purpose, and at least 95% of the time that purpose is met.

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    When people post questions like this citing others as examples that weren't closed, it helps the community close them out anyway. That reads like a win! – random Dec 13 '09 at 14:16
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    That was BOLD of you Diago, congrats! – Troggy Dec 14 '09 at 0:05

Macha, the question sucks. Fix it or stop whining. Thank you.

[Edit: to clarify, the question sucks because the author doesn't properly explain how his query is different from numerous other queries that produce the same result, he doesn't cite documentation that contradicts the results he's seeing, and most importantly he doesn't back up his assertion as to the results he expects. If he's gonna come up on to SU and whine about a problem he's having using a certain piece of software, then he should at least tell us what he's tried - if he's just trying to report a bug, then SU is the wrong place, since SU isn't in charge of some random website.

So again, fix it or stop whining. ]

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    It's not my question... Thanks for the insults btw, -1 – Macha Dec 13 '09 at 0:42
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    Actually, Masi posted the question, not Macha, so it's not his question. Though it does make me wonder why he cares so much :-/ – Kyle Cronin Dec 13 '09 at 0:44
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    My apologies - I'm used to people whining about questions they have a vested interest in. None the less, the question still sucks and unless someone has a reasonable explanation of why it belongs on SU (e.g. why it's a "how do i use" question instead of a "there's a bug in" question), I don't see a problem with this closure. Please, consider the vast difference in focus between this question and those Facebook examples you cite... – Shog9 Dec 13 '09 at 0:47
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    So my question that I posted last week about a Windows XP problem I was having should of been directed to a Microsoft support forum? Just curious – Changeling Dec 13 '09 at 16:19
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    @Roboto: do you dispute my assertion (that the question in question is a bad question)? Are you trying to argue that your plea for assistance in setting the file sort order in Windows XP was in fact a bug report meant for Microsoft developers? Or are you being deliberately obtuse because you couldn't stand to defend the question but still feel bad that I attacked it directly rather than arguing for or against some abstract ideal... – Shog9 Dec 13 '09 at 17:04
  • @Shog9: I think you suck as a moderator, frankly. – Changeling Dec 13 '09 at 20:06
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    @Roboto: I'm not a moderator, and frankly if you have a problem with something I've done or said it would be more productive of you to be frank about it. As it stands, I suspect you have no real opinion on this Wolfram Alpha question at all... Am I right? – Shog9 Dec 13 '09 at 20:29
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    You deleted your responce to Shog9, Roboto? – Troggy Dec 14 '09 at 2:27
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    Damnit, that's what i get for going out for a drink. I swear, my chemical addictions lead me to miss all the fun around here... – Shog9 Dec 14 '09 at 3:00
  • @Shog9 If it's any consolation, I completely agree with your answer. – alex Dec 14 '09 at 14:12
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    I was wrong and therefore deleted my comments. – Changeling Dec 14 '09 at 14:31

According to the FAQ your question is best suited for the WolframAlpha support forum. Looks like closing it was correct.

  • So basically, SU needs a "go bother the devs" close reason, instead of closing things as "not computer related" when they are? – Macha Dec 13 '09 at 0:52
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    Yeah, close reasons are not always as precise (or vague) as you need it. – Ladybug Killer Dec 13 '09 at 13:04
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    Once again, closing should require a comment... this comes up time and time again. – Changeling Dec 13 '09 at 16:27
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    @John +1 @Roboto It doesn't necessarily require a comment. If 5 3k+ users or a moderator just told you it's "not computer related" through their close votes, then it's not computer related. This really is a support question, I would have voted to close as well. – alex Dec 14 '09 at 13:40
  • @haikus: That's not true. The closing system does not always mark the close reason accurately. It will choose the most likely close reason based on majority, but that is not necessarily accurate. This is why people keep coming back to Meta and complaining. – Changeling Dec 15 '09 at 12:29
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    @Roboto: let's be honest here... Some people will come to Meta and complain no matter what reason is listed for closing. The most common pattern has always been, "Questions X,Y and Z are still open, therefore mine should be as well"... – Shog9 Dec 15 '09 at 19:44
  • @Shog9: I agree, but at the same time - why can't we mandate a comment? I don't have high enough rep on SO yet to be able to close so this may already be implemented, but even when downvoting it recommends a comment. At least this will give the person a chance to improve earlier before it is closed. – Changeling Dec 15 '09 at 20:21
  • @Roboto: I don't know if you've been around SO long enough to remember it, but at one time commenting when closing was considerably more common. Fights broke out. Grudges were held. I avoided this as much as I could, but eventually my opinion changed: it's easier to keep the peace if you limit what's said to what is absolutely necessary. So now, I leave comments when I think it'll do some good, but make no attempt to "explain" close votes merely for the sake of doing so. If any user wants a better explanation than what's provided by the close reason itself, they can come here and ask for it. – Shog9 Dec 16 '09 at 3:40
  • @Shog9: No I came back from Iraq a couple months ago to return back to my SE job and tried out SO again. Your reasoning makes sense. Thanks – Changeling Dec 16 '09 at 4:00

The question you pointed to is not computer related and it can't be answered by any of us; I would have voted to close as well. However, not all Wolfram|Alpha questions are strictly not computer related. I'll explain below:

Roboto, in a comment to Shog9's answer, said:

So my question that I posted last week about a Windows XP problem I was having should of been directed to a Microsoft support forum? Just curious

It's a completely different thing (most of the times). When you have a Windows XP problem, it can usually be solved one way or another via a workaround, a hack, some simple app or even by following a tutorial.

However, when something doesn't quite work the way you want to in a web app, such as Wolfram|Alpha, you can't just edit the registry (or use a Greasemonkey script) and make it do what you want, it's a simple support question, something the site owners must fix. This is the main difference; there was absolutely nothing we could have done to help him.

This can be applied to software as well. For instance, if you ask a question about volume licensing, or some other legalese stuff that's not in the EULA or on a Microsoft page, it becomes a support problem that we can't fix or can't help you with.

And, for reference, one of the Facebook questions Diago closed after reading your question was partly computer related. Someone asked here about exporting contacts from Facebook. Both the answers given pointed to software that was able to solve his problem, thus making the question computer related. Let's not try to blindly fit everything into categories without actually looking at the bigger picture!

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    Thanks for pointing that out. Re-opened. – Diago Dec 14 '09 at 14:07
  • Thank you, Diago! All the other questions should, however, remain closed. They really have nothing to do with SU. – alex Dec 14 '09 at 14:12

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