I asked a question that asked for outside resources which is against the rules. So I reworded my question to ask for something more specific, but it was still closed even after I re-worded it. My question is here.

What is a good path to learn ZynAddSubFx or Yoshimi soft synths?

What's frustrating about this is that a similar and upvoted question, which directly asks for outside resources several times was not closed. And in fact all of the answers give outside resources. It's frustrating for a new member of this community to see policy applied in an inconsistent way. Or maybe I'm missing some subtle detail of why one question is ok but the other is not.

From the other question, emphasis mine:

one thing I'm finding absent in any of the resources I come across

There's got to be a name to the discipline, some kind of resource,

Where should I be looking, to learn this kind of thing?

Top answer, first sentence:

I'll present you some popular resources.

  • 1
    SE is for specific/objective Q&A; "describe the learning path you took" is not that.
    – user28
    Apr 11, 2017 at 15:24
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    My question is more specific than the one I cited, and that was not closed. Apr 11, 2017 at 15:32
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    Todd - giving an example of one that hasn't yet been closed is not an indication that it should be open. Various questions from early days of SE sites would be closed if asked now. I'll try and get a look at the one you linked to to see if it should be closed.
    – Doktor Mayhem Mod
    Apr 12, 2017 at 17:36
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    Giving the example is useful because it helps me understand which questions are acceptable. If the question should be closed, then I have a better understanding. If you can explain why it shouldn't be closed, then I also have a better understanding. Apr 12, 2017 at 19:31
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    Leaving aside the question of whether the other question that is still open should remain open, there is a fundamental difference between the two questions. The open question is about how synths work in general. Your question is about how to use a specific pair of synths. That plays differently with respect to the mission of Stack Exchange because more people would find good answers to the other question more valuable. That does not mean the other question is necessarily appropriate, I merely point it out to say that your comparison isn't 100% fair. May 2, 2017 at 0:56
  • More specific questions are supposed to be better according to Stack Exchange..... May 4, 2017 at 0:56

1 Answer 1


The Stack Exchange platform doesn't really lend itself to putting in place large numbers of very detailed rules about what is, or isn't, off topic.

If this site were very restrictive on what it allowed, it would be very easy to give clear rules: "we only allow this and this". Likewise if it were very open and permissive: "We allow everything except this", things would be easy to enforce consistently.

However, the reality is that this community has decided to take a middle path between the two. This, combined with the difficulty in producing and enforcing detailed rules, means that 'borderline' questions are often treated somewhat inconsistently. This can result in a rather poor user experience sometimes - no doubt about it. But moderators have to tread the line between not upsetting individual users, keeping the site tidy, respecting the community's wishes, and not spending too much of their own valuable time.

My advice would be to just bear in mind that this site is great for certain types of questions, but not so much for others...

  • Yeah, it's definitely a poor user experience when you know your question is valid for the site, but you have to play a guessing game of how to word it to make the moderators happy on that particular day. As much as I feel for moderators having to make borderline calls like this, inconsistency is always bad user experience no matter how good the excuse. We don't accept it from most businesses, so I'm left scratching my head why the Stack Exchange platform doesn't try harder for consistency in user experience. Apr 13, 2017 at 0:07
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    @ToddChaffee The vagaries of human language means that rules will sometimes be interpreted differently - you might 'know' that your question is valid, and another person might 'know' equally strongly that it isn't. I agree that all things being equal, it might be good if a lot more energy could be poured into carefully wording, explaining, enforcing, and refining the rules. But none of the users or mods get paid for this as they would in a business situation, so there are natural limits. Apr 13, 2017 at 0:18
  • Well someone is getting paid $$$, that's for sure. I guess that does answer my question though. Until the bad user experience affects advertising revenue I shouldn't expect anything to change. Thanks at least for taking the time explain. Apr 13, 2017 at 12:58

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