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Obviously I'm missing something because I still think my question about frost alerts is an important gardening question. But it's been closed by my fellow moderator, Yoda, and he's not alone because the question has also got heat in comments, downvotes etc. So I accept that the community doesn't like it.

And I'm a moderator here too, not long been in the job, and so I'm certainly not here to raise a stink and defend my question aggressively in the face objections from the community. The same community I'm committed (as a mod) to help building.

But maybe I'm allowed to gently defend it (or at least discuss how it could be improved). Hope so. The question was a genuine one about how to best get forewarned about frost. Would a question like this fare any better?:

How can I best be sure to get alerted if overnight frost is predicted?

If that's no better, than I accept that I need to drop this discussion.

If that's somewhat better then perhaps I should try to edit it.

Someone else has said I should have asked it on webapps.se. Fact is, I don't have a modern smartphone, and an app would be useless to me. I would love an email. I just mentioned apps to broaden out the question and make it more useful to others. Feels like the mere mention of apps was a disaster.

Someone else said, it sounds like a list or poll question, perhaps because I asked for a range of answers for each country or territory. Fact is, I only care about an answer for me in the UK, but it seemed less selfish to me, if the question asked for answers which would help gardeners around the world, not just the UK.

Someone else said it reminded them of the "What's your favourite coffee to drink while programming?" questions from early days StackOverflow. Really? It's as bad as the coffee question? I thought I had a genuine gardening problem and had written it up as an OK question.

Once again, no grumpiness here, hi to Yoda, fellow mod, and just seeking some clarity on whether we're not being too strict on questions.

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I think the simpler question you've posed above is better than the original question. What you're seeking is a legitimate concern for gardeners (I can't see how a frost alert would be useful for any other purpose, but who knows). It's a much better question and will gather far more useful answers than the "what's your favorite tool?" question.

You're right in that asking for answers for other locales puts it into the category of being a "list question". You are better off posing a narrowly focused question that can have a single "best" answer. If the answer you get is UK-centric, those of us outside the UK who want to know about a frost alert service can ask a separate question.

Lastly, yes, mentioning apps made it sound a bit like it belonged elsewhere. I'd just put the question the way you asked it above -- "how can I get an alert?", specify that you'd prefer email but might be open to SMS, and see what sort of answers you get. (My bet is that the "best" answers will include multiple alert channels if they exist and you'll be able to pick your favorite.)

  • thanks. i'll reask the narrower question, perhaps in the Autumn when we start to think about frost (yikes) – Tea Drinker Jul 27 '11 at 10:06

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