4

There are a lot of questions where people have encountered an "error" while trying to use certain features of a web-app and it hasn't worked for them. But if the error is not reproducible by potential answers as in the following two cases:

LinkedIn requiring login even though profile set to OK for public viewing

How do I start a YouTube playlist from a video other than the first?

Should we close the question, as they will be essentially impossible to answer?

  • The LinkedIn question actually resulted in some really useful information, even though the problem is not always reproducible. – Vidar S. Ramdal May 29 '17 at 18:48
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Yes, questions about problems that can't be reproduced should be closed as it's very likely that it will not be helpful for anyone.

Maybe the closing reason could be "unclear what you are asking" but it's worth to say that Stack Overflow have the a close as of topic that could serve as baseline for a custom closing reason for this situations:

This question was caused by a problem that can no longer be reproduced or a simple typographical error. While similar questions may be on-topic here, this one was resolved in a manner unlikely to help future readers. This can often be avoided by identifying and closely inspecting the shortest program necessary to reproduce the problem before posting.

1

No, I don't think it's strictly necessary.

Every once in a while we encounter something where the Asker simply misinterpreted something, there was a transient network error, or there was a bug that has since been fixed. Those sorts of questions should be closed.

But sometimes not all variables have been accounted for. A browser add-on that the people who tried to reproduce the error don't have. Or perhaps a country restriction of some sort. Or some other esoteric issue that won't be recognized until someone comes along who had the same thing and found a solution. If the question is closed, that person won't be able to tell the Asker (and the world) what the fix was. That helps nobody.

There's nothing wrong with having "unanswerable" questions. If it never receives an upvote, it'll be automatically deleted in a year (or less).

That said, I think old questions of this nature should get a comment asking if the issue still exists. If not, or there's no response, then it's okay to close.

1

Maybe.

If the environment, as described by OP, won't reproduce the result then such Qs should be closed.

Usually OPs forget or don't know to mention relevant conditions so something critical is overlooked. Those voting to close should be better informed than OP about what may make all the difference and if they consider OP has provided all details that may be relevant there is no answer but a guess.

If however, OP mentions a specific version for example, then inability to reproduce the issue with a different version is not a close reason.

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