Recently, I have seen several questions closed for the close reason

"When seeking help to debug/write/improve code always provide the desired behavior, a specific problem/error and the shortest code (as formatted text, not pictures) needed to reproduce it in the question body. Providing a clear problem statement and a code attempt helps others to help you."

when this does not seem appropriate to me. Specifically, these questions are not asking to resolve an error but rather asking how to do a thing at all. In my opinion, asking these users to write a code sample does not benefit anyone, because such a code sample necessarily can't be any better than

myData = [1, 2, 3];
myAnswer = /* I don't know what goes here */;

Here are some recent example questions. In each case, what is being asked is fairly clearly stated (in my opinion), there is no way for the author to provide a broken-code-sample that is not trivial in the fashion I described above — and an answer would not depend on any particular details that might have been omitted from the question by omitting code.

To be clear, I'm not asking for special treatment of Earth Engine questions (they're just the ones I care about); I intend to ask this as a Stack Exchange user who wants to make sure that questions are closed at the right times and for the right reasons, and askers are given clear and actionable feedback.

Perhaps what's going on here is that GIS Stack Exchange does not actually want "how do I do this" questions, but it seems odd to me that debugging questions would be allowed but not these, which could be of much broader applicability.

Perhaps what's going on is just that the close reason is badly worded: it says "debug/write/improve code", but the requests it makes ("problem/error", "code to reproduce it", "attempt") are specific to debugging or code review questions.


1 Answer 1


Perhaps such questions could be closed "as unclear what you are asking" instead.

Basically, in many of these questions there is insufficient detail to write an answer, but Google Earth Engine is not my area of expertise so maybe they are answerable without any sign of effort by the asker.

  • 4
    All of these questions are unambiguously stated — they do not require guessing by the answerer (and therefore "Unclear what you are asking" doesn't fit). I agree that some of these questions could do with more “research effort” — but the thing we do with low-effort questions (short of e.g. "do my homework") is downvote them, no?
    – Kevin Reid
    Aug 26, 2019 at 13:54

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