13

Program to search EULA contracts for problems asks for something that appears to me to be well beyond the state of the art. (If not, you can supply an answer).

I think it reasonable to "require" that recommendation requests are for solutions that arguably can have a solution that exists at the time the question is posed.

So, what do we do with a question that asks for:

  • the clearly impossible (contradicts a well known theorem, e.g. Halting theorem)
  • the impractical (e.g., uses resources larger than the galaxy)
  • something which may someday be possible but is pretty unlikely now?

SR might react differently to each case above.

I think things that are clearly impossible/impractical should be marked/deleted as "low quality".

I'm not quite so sure what to do with "not practical now". By whose judgement, and how do we know it is right?

What I chose to do in this particular case is ask the OP why he thought it was practical. Perhaps if OP cannot answer that question, it should be deleted as low quality.

  • That question isn't impossible, it is probably your 3rd option. Pretty Unlikely Now. Like it can be done with na5tural language processing and expert systems with sentiment analysis and ontologies. But i don't think anyone one has. – Lyndon White Feb 27 '14 at 4:42
  • In this particular case, it has to do valid legal reasoning on top of that, pushing it well over the edge from my point of view. So yes, I agree this question is in the 3rd category, but the general issues for SR remain. – Ira Baxter Feb 27 '14 at 4:44
  • expert systems with ontologies should be able to do legal reasoning. That technique has been quiet studied in making expert systems for medical diagnosis. Anyway, this is me being off topic – Lyndon White Feb 27 '14 at 4:47
20

Saying "that software/solution does not exist" is a perfectly acceptable answer to a question asked in good faith — that is assuming you can say so authoritatively.

Conversely, it is not reasonable to require a user to know for certain there is a solution to a problem before they ask it. Of course, if you believe a user is intentionally asking outlandish questions simply to evoke a reaction, you can flag or close them as such. But on any of our Q&A sites, it is entirely possible that a seemingly plausible questions simply has no solution. That in and of itself IS the answer, and saying so is helpful to anyone else who might be searching for that information.

  • 5
    Agreed, and if there is no solution, it doesn't necessarily mean that the question should be closed, it just means that "There is no solution" should be posted as an answer. And then in the future, if someone does post a solution, the "no solution" answer should get downvoted. – Ben Miller - Reinstate Monica Feb 27 '14 at 15:57
  • 1
    I agree with this, the only concern I have is, will any one user be able to authoritatively say that no such software exists? – James Mar 17 '14 at 17:56
  • 2
    @James Sure, these questions get asked every day. I want software that can send a ctrl-alt-del to a user's computer remotely — can't do that; that is by design. I would like an image editor that can tell me if I followed all the rules of good photo composition — sorry, we're just not there, yet. – Robert Cartaino Mar 17 '14 at 18:29
4

In my opinion, this is not a bad question at all. The task that is requested is so specific that a list of additional required features is not required to keep it from being too broad.

When I first read it, my initial reaction was that the solution does not exist. The answer proves that I shouldn't assume that just because I don't know the answer doesn't mean that there isn't an anwser, and I shouldn't be so quick to judge. This is something we all should keep in mind when reviewing questions.

3

This is one of those cases where OP know there's something but quite doesn't remember what.

I've answered the question with the most fit the requirements.

2

I think its an edge case. If someone wrote a fantastically detailed question, with a properly laid out scope and a very practical user story - it might be a good question. As is though its a case of "I read somewhere of a software that does something, somewhere", which makes a pretty bad question. A user story would be nice "I pissed off my boss and I need to check read through the EULAs of all the random crap he tries to install." perhaps ;p

The basis of the question is fine, IMO - hell there's an answer. The execution feels lacking.

2

I won't comment on this specific question but there does seem to be a trend asking for tools that very likely do not exist.

The main problem is that some of the requirements lists or use cases are so situation specific that the only realistic answer is custom script work...sure some tools may be able to fulfill parts of the request but in reality there is no market driver/support for a tool to do what the op is asking because there is 1 person on the planet trying to do what they are attempting. (ok maybe more than one but you get the idea)

These questions are tough because they sit out there unanswered because frankly there isn't an answer or at least not a positive answer.

  • Any comment on why someone disagrees with me? Just curious. – James Mar 18 '14 at 13:10
1

This question asks for something impractical (detailed in my answer). I don't believe this make the question low-quality: the software recommendations should give some compromise between what's possible and the OP request. It would be a loss to delete such a question.

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