I asked a question about how ctools multi-step forms work. Because I'm using drupal for business, I could not post the actual code I was working on, and I did not take the time to make a 'dummy' version of the code, stripped of proprietary information.

The mod who closed the question indicated that question about proprietary code was unwelcome, and I could re-open the question if I was able to post stripped-down or dummy code.

I was not asking for my code to be trouble-shot, I was asking how ctools multi-step forms work. With this information, I could then go and troubleshoot my proprietary code. My question was closed as being 'vague', but the mod seems to indicate that s/he closed it because I didn't post the code. I believe I clearly asked the specific question about how the 'step' function of ctools multi-step forms work. I believe this question is a documentation-type question, and could be answered without looking specifically at my code.

Are questions asked by proprietary coders unwelcome here? I didn't see anything in the site documentation indicating that. Should I expect to be able to produce dummy code for any question I might want to ask on this site?

2 Answers 2


Are questions asked by proprietary coders unwelcome here?

No, absolutely not. I didn't phrase my comment as well as I could have done and might well have given that impression, my apologies if that's the case.

The issue I was trying to address is that your question alludes to a problem with custom code, but provides no code example to work with. This paragraph:

I cannot post the code of my forms because they are proprietary.

suggests that you understand a code example would be helpful to answerers, and I agreed with that assessment.

My thought process was that if the question can be answered without the need to include any code, then the info about not being able to include any code is kind of sending mixed signals and diluting the focus of the question, making it difficult to understand (hence the 'vague' closure reason).

That said, now you've brought it up I can see the holes in those arguments so perhaps I acted a bit hastily here. I've re-opened the question, sorry for the mistake on my part.

As a side note, thanks for coming to meta with this, it'd be great if more community members used this medium to engage about this sort of thing.

  • Thanks for replying, now I understand what you were getting at :)
    – user1359
    Commented Dec 27, 2012 at 16:23

I can understand why the question was closed.

  • The question is asked because the code the OP is using doesn't work (Differently, there would not be any reason to ask the question.)
  • The code is said to be taken from a linked page, but the actual code is not shown
  • Leaving out the first part, which explain what the problem with the multi-step form is, the question is essentially:

    How does the multi-step form actually advance to the next form?

That does sound like a question I would close as not a real question:

It's difficult to tell what is being asked here. This question is ambiguous, vague, incomplete, overly broad, or rhetorical and cannot be reasonably answered in its current form.

It's clear what the topic is, but without seeing the code, it is not possible to answer about why the multi-step form keeps to go back to the first step.

Questions on Stack Exchange sites are not thought to be useful only to the OP, but also to future readers. In fact, if a question would be only helpful to the user who asked it, the question could be closed as too localized.

This question is unlikely to help any future visitors; it is only relevant to a small geographic area, a specific moment in time, or an extraordinarily narrow situation that is not generally applicable to the worldwide audience of the internet.

If then we look at the only given answer, we see the problem was not the code used for the multi-step form, but for the implementation of hook_menu(). The answer itself is not much helpful for the future readers as it is referring to used code without showing it; any future reader with the same problem would not understand how to write the code, and what to avoid writing it.

  • Is one to conclude from this answer that all posters should be prepared to post actual or stripped down code, if they are running into problems with proprietary code?
    – user1359
    Commented Dec 31, 2012 at 19:59
  • It all depends from the question. If it is possible to answer without seeing the code, then the question would probably be kept open. Also on Stack Overflow, questions about code that is not show are generally closed.
    – apaderno Mod
    Commented Jan 2, 2013 at 11:12
  • I don't understand what is vague or overly broad about the question. The question isn't "whats wrong with my code" but rather "how do ctools multistep forms advance". The question is specific, and ctools multi-step forms works in a particular way. If one is familiar with ctools multistep form, they can give only one answer "The step is advanced by the step argument being pulled from the url and passed as an argument to the multi-step form wizard". I don't see what other ways one could interpret the question or how one could give a different answer that it still accurate answers the question.
    – user1359
    Commented Jan 8, 2013 at 18:36
  • You are not asking how a CTools multi-step form works just to know it, but because your code is not working. Passing from "explain why my code is not working" to "explain me how this module handles multi-step forms" is making the question too broad. You could have showed the code used for hook_menu(), and somebody could have said your implementation was wrong.
    – apaderno Mod
    Commented Jan 8, 2013 at 22:51
  • The real reason I was not directly asking about my code is because it was proprietary, and I didn't want to re-write dummy code that I could paste. I thought if I wrote dummy code I might miss the bug from the real code, which would negate the whole point of posting the code. So what you are saying is that on this site, questions about how modules work are not allowed? The exact mechanism of advancing from one step to another in ctools multi-step form seems quite specific to be labeled 'too broad'. I would think a question like 'how do multi-step forms work?' would be too broad.
    – user1359
    Commented Jan 8, 2013 at 22:54
  • Also, at the time when I posted the question, I didn't understand that ctools multistep forms depended on proper entries in the hook_menu callback. All I would have thought to post was the actual multi-step form callback. Someone would have had to tell me to post the hook_menu code, but if they knew that much about the multi-step form, they could have answered the question at that point ("Make sure you have the proper menu entries in your hook menu, it's essential for the ctools multistep form") all without looking at the code in question.
    – user1359
    Commented Jan 8, 2013 at 22:58
  • For whatever reason you cannot show the code, you are avoiding to ask the question to which you are interested, and that would require you to show the code you are using. Instead, you ask a broader question, hoping the answer would explain also why your code doesn't work. What you call answer ("make sure you have the proper menu entries in hook_menu()") is not an answer, but a guess, and users avoided to write a guess.
    – apaderno Mod
    Commented Jan 8, 2013 at 23:37
  • I don't see how I can avoid not showing propriety code; I would have to scrub or re-write it, and it doing so I stand a good chance of taking out whatever bug may exist, since I don't know where it is, which makes showing the code pointless. I can only conclude from your position that proprietary coders are not welcome to ask questions, and that question about how Drupal works, even very specific ones, are unwelcome. After all, the only reason to ask how Drupal works is that you're building a site, right? Also, how is this too broad?
    – user1359
    Commented Jan 9, 2013 at 19:59

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