Update: Finally figured the answer out on my own. Updated question to reflect the cause of the twitching/flashing.

I asked about XNA Window Shaking and it was fairly quickly closed as too broad. In thinking about it, I realized I gave a false impression by saying I didn't know where to look in code (giving the impression this question would be an on-going discussion over debugging), which I've since edited out.

My question was not about help debugging my code, and I think in its current form it reflects that. What it is about is help in understanding this problem, its causes (and possibly potential fixes). I don't think this is too broad, as these specific problems often have very well defined causes.

To take an example from StackOverflow I ran across recently, someone asked about a connection pool timeout exception they were getting in MySQL. No sections of code given. No further details than that their code was hosted in IIS. Yet someone was able to give an answer by explaining the cause and general tips for solutions. I feel my question is in the same vein.

Update: I ran across this forum post where others were having the same problem. The only pertinent info missing from my question, which I guess I'll edit to add, is that the problem does indeed seem to only happen after minimizing, something I hadn't connected with the issue.

It's fairly clear this isn't a broad problem space where speculation is the only possibility. Speculation is possible if you don't know the answer, but that's not the fault of the question, and it shouldn't be closed for that reason. There is a definitive answer out there somewhere, but I guess now people won't be able to find it on Stackexchange :/

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    \$\begingroup\$ To me there is a big difference between asking people to help you understand the cause of an observable behavior and the cause of a system generated error. Had the person removed their error from the question and said something like "The browser just hangs sometimes and it's fixed when I restart IIS. Help me understand possible causes of this." it would have definitely been closed as too broad. You don't seem to have any data to back up or help explain specifics on the behavior you are observing so we can only guess what some causes are. This is what your example provided that you didn't. \$\endgroup\$ – SpartanDonut Jul 1 '14 at 20:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SpartanDonut That really depends on the situation in question. To make a silly example, "Why does the window close when I press the X in the upper right?" has a definitive singular answer but is still observable behavior. The problem is, like I first commented on my question, the closer does not understand the problem and I feel cannot make that judgement call that this observation has broadly many potential causes. It very well might have a singular answer that someone with an in-depth knowledge of XNA might recognize. \$\endgroup\$ – Bob Jul 1 '14 at 20:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ Ask yourself this: in theory, can someone come along and answer my question with a single answer explaining the situation? If the answer is a hypothetical yes, then the benefit of doubt should be given to my question, and it should be reopened. \$\endgroup\$ – Bob Jul 1 '14 at 20:24
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    \$\begingroup\$ Still sounds like a problem you're best suited to solve. Start removing things until it doesn't shake any more. Or maybe you can attach event handlers to the window position changing to see what's causing it? Does it happen with a vanilla hello world application? Does it happen with your game on other computers? There's a lot more debugging/troubleshooting you can do on your own to narrow the scope of the question. \$\endgroup\$ – MichaelHouse Jul 1 '14 at 21:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ If you provided more information that could actually lead to an answer not based on a lucky guess then I would agree as long as the question didn't evolve into a debug my code type question. As it stands, I feel that your question likely has more than one possible answer under different circumstances. To be a good question we need to understand YOUR circumstances so that there can be a single right answer to YOUR question. \$\endgroup\$ – SpartanDonut Jul 1 '14 at 21:27
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    \$\begingroup\$ To reiterate what Josh said on your question, if you want to spend some time in chat I'm sure there are a few of us there who would be willing to help you work through your issue. \$\endgroup\$ – SpartanDonut Jul 1 '14 at 21:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Byte56, SpartanDonut I think you two are in the same boat as me, in that you're not familiar with this problem and therefore have to troubleshoot the same as me. This doesn't mean everyone in the world is unfamiliar and needs to troubleshoot. How do you know there isn't someone out there with a clear answer? This is why I asked the question in the first place, hoping someone was familiar with this and could give known causes and pointers. It's not exactly fair to close my question and prevent the help I'm seeking. \$\endgroup\$ – Bob Jul 1 '14 at 21:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SpartanDonut I'm currently at work but I'll try chat later, thank you. I still don't think my question should've been closed, however \$\endgroup\$ – Bob Jul 1 '14 at 21:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ To clarify, it's not fair because the close reason is based on a false equivalency: someone unfamiliar with the problem thinks "I personally need to troubleshoot" then equates this with "question is too broad". They don't know that. It's a judgement based on a lack of knowledge. If in doubt, why not leave the question open? I'd be okay if someone very knowledgeable closed it with a reason of "There's literally hundreds of possible answers, please provide X, Y, and Z info to narrow it down". That I could've lived with. \$\endgroup\$ – Bob Jul 1 '14 at 21:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ I do know quite a lot about XNA (certainly enough to know that it does almost nothing to manipulate the window in the way you have described except during, for example, fullscreen/windowed transitions). And I did tell you the kind of information that could be useful to narrow it down. \$\endgroup\$ – user1430 Jul 1 '14 at 22:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Josh Petrie I'm sorry for my tone. Just frustrating to have my question closed for reasons I don't agree with, and I took my frustration out in the wrong way. You very well may know a lot about XNA, but it seems like you've never heard of this issue before, or anything like it (am I wrong about that?). Because of this, I feel like you may not actually know if this is a broad question or not. Perhaps it's a known issue elsewhere in the world (maybe the XNA team knows about it). \$\endgroup\$ – Bob Jul 1 '14 at 22:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'll try to capture a video of it somehow, and try chat, but I still protest this being closed \$\endgroup\$ – Bob Jul 1 '14 at 22:41
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    \$\begingroup\$ That the thread that you posted goes on for so long is kind of an example as to why the question might not be the best fit for the site. Without us being you, more information would need to be collected to actually answer it definitively, or we would have to count on someone listing all of the possible reasons to actually answer it / find the one that could be a cause for you. \$\endgroup\$ – Jesse Dorsey Jul 2 '14 at 15:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ Meta visitation is low, the best place to protest is chat. Many of the users that stop by there have the required rep to re-open questions. \$\endgroup\$ – Jesse Dorsey Jul 2 '14 at 15:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Noctrine Again, that line of reasoning is borne from a lack of understanding of the issue. Without understanding the problem we can speculate that there's many possibilities, or very few. But it's not very fair to default to "too many possible answers" and close my question. It's pretty likely this is a specific issue with one or two possible causes, like Josh eludes to in his answer (calling my question "too specific"). Last I checked, specific questions are desired on stack exchange, making closing my question all the more baffling. \$\endgroup\$ – Bob Jul 11 '14 at 5:52

On StackExchange, we close questions that are too broad:

There are either too many possible answers, or good answers would be too long for this format. Please add details to narrow the answer set or to isolate an issue that can be answered in a few paragraphs.

First: this doesn't mean they are bad questions, or that the people participating in the close vote are trying to be mean. I am genuinely interested in the cause of the bug you are describing, but it would be wrong of me (especially as a moderator) not to vote to close your question as it was asked.

Second: precisely what constitutes "too broad" varies somewhat between SE sites. SO's definition may be more lax than ours. Or it could simply be that nobody with sufficient voting privileges on SO's far more massive site saw the question in a reasonable timeframe. It's generally not a useful argument to point to another borderline-poor question and say "but this one is still open," because that usually just means you call attention to a question that should also be closed that just managed to slip through the cracks.

Third: the argument that a broad question should be acceptable because one of the many potential speculative answers might lead you to, or actually be, the correct answer doesn't hold on SE. That isn't the kind of question SE is dedicated to archiving (with the outlying exceptions of some of the "softer" sites like Programmers). On SE, we want to keep specific questions with specific answers; for everything else, there are forums. Your question isn't specific enough.

  • You haven't provided much information. Potential answers that tightly bound the limited information you have provided are many, even if most of them are wrong.
  • XNA itself does not have a commonly-report bug regarding the window "shaking" on Windows builds (there many reports of things shaking, but they are almost exclusively having to do with things like half-pixel offsets of window content, which don't fit your description thus far.
  • One doesn't need to know anything about the specific issue to know that the reported issue is too broad. "Why does my game crash?" is too broad a question regardless of if I've ever seen your source code.
  • A question that requires intensely project-specific knowledge (such as a bug known to an internal or former XNA developer) is too specific, relying on the assumption that such a rare beast will happen to stumble across the question. We do have a few people here who have worked on XNA, but this isn't a site to ask them questions specifically. Since we no longer have the "too localized" close reason, we actually tend to (amusingly) close these questions as "too broad" since they fall under the umbrella of "everybody else without the specific knowledge would have to speculate."
  • Finally, a question with so little information could have a straightforward answer; for your question that might be "the window shakes because of bug #6182 in XNA," as you initially hypothesize. But for another user searching this site for "why does my XNA window shake?" the answer might be because they adjust the position of the window themselves, accidentally, somewhere in their render function. The lack of scoping information in your question makes it hard for that future user to disambiguate your problem from theirs (because they were very different problems even if they have similar symptoms). An important goal of SE is to collect questions and answers for posterity, not just to solve an individual users problems, and these sorts of questions are counter to that goal.

Speculation is for forums, not GDSE. It doesn't matter that a million monkeys speculating might eventually produce an answer that is, or leads you to, the solution. That's a great process (bouncing the problem off others), it's just not what this site is for.

I do happen to know a fair bit about XNA, enough to know that this issue you've described as you have described it is very unlikely to be a problem purely in XNA's code. Something about your code is causing (directly or indirectly) the behavior, which means some of your code (or a video of your bug) is going to be necessary to diagnose the problem. That starts to get into "debug my code" question territory, which is why it's probably better you hash out the problem in the [chat] first to get all the back-and-forth involved in those questions out of the way, and then edit your question with the clarified information from that discussion.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ As I already said in the question, I don't manipulate the window at all, so your last bullet point doesn't apply. Secondly, you contradict yourself by trying to claim that my question is both lacking in info and therefore broad, and too specific. Quite clearly my question is not broad, as you correctly get to in one of your bullet points, rendering your other points immaterial. XNA doesn't generally manipulate the window, nor does my code attempt it, so this is a very specific problem with a likely specific answer. \$\endgroup\$ – Bob Jul 2 '14 at 1:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ Finally, you have no idea if someone with the knowledge needed will see and answer my question. That's not very fair to cut me off from that possibility just because you think it's unlikely. It's also not fair to assume I'd be the only one to ever run into this problem. \$\endgroup\$ – Bob Jul 2 '14 at 1:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm afraid you're still failing to see that the point is not whether or not somebody can answer your question, it's whether or not the text of your question fits our community rules for "too broad" or not. It sounds like we have reached an impasse at this point, and you're simply going to have to either take your question to the Game Development Chat or an actual discussion forum or hope that the community disagrees with me and votes to re-open the question. \$\endgroup\$ – user1430 Jul 2 '14 at 1:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ The exact text of "Too Broad" reads "There are either too many possible answers, or good answers would be too long for this format". If you can tell me for a fact that my question has many possible answers, then I'd completely agree with you. If you can't, if you in fact don't know how many answers there are, the fair thing to do is to give the benefit of the doubt to my question. "Too specific" seems, from my perspective, to be you reinterpreting the rules. \$\endgroup\$ – Bob Jul 2 '14 at 2:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't think your question is too specific, that bullet point is meant to be an example of the practical ways we use the "too broad" close reason here. \$\endgroup\$ – user1430 Jul 2 '14 at 2:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ Deleted my previous comment here, updated my Meta post \$\endgroup\$ – Bob Jul 2 '14 at 5:55

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