I have asked the following question: Why does music still loop, when my PC freezes?

I took care to make the question as specific as possible and to not ask for a lot of detail, as I wanted a short, not an in-depth explanation.

The question was put on hold, as it appeared to be too broad. But I fail to see how it can be too broad, when I didn't ask for a lot of detail and presented a case, that seems to be universally present in many kinds of situations, indicating the same type of problem.

If it is not, then it is my lack of knowledge, because of which I am asking the question, that is preventing me from specifying it further.

I would like to have some feedback on how I can improve the question.

Note: There was a comment made basically answering the question, already.

2 Answers 2


I did not close that question but I can hazard a guess as to why @slm did. Had he not done so I would have closed it myself. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing inherently wrong with it, it is just not a good fit for this site because

  1. It is too broad. There are many, many possible reasons why this kind of behavior can happen. We can't answer unless we know more about the specific case you want to solve. I realize you understand this and even pointed it out in your question, mentioning that you've seen it in other OSs and asking what a general answer might be. Which brings us to point 2.

  2. If you're asking about why a computer might behave this way irrespective of operating system, the question is no longer on topic here. We only deal with things that are specific to the behavior of *nix systems. As soon as you move on to the general case, you are no longer on topic. This kind of general computing question should be asked on Super User instead.

  3. If you're asking why this happens on your machine under conditions X, the question is unanswerable and would be closed as "Unclear what you're asking" since we don't have enough data to be able to troubleshoot the specific instance.

So, either your question is about a specific case in which case it is unclear (we don't have enough data to answer it) or you're asking why a *nix system could behave that way in which case it's too broad (there are loads of possible scenarios that could result in what you describe) or you are asking about the even more general case of why a computer could behave that way in which case it is off topic. In other words, danged if you do, danged if you don't.

My suggestion is to edit your question to ask only about the fact that the sound loops and why. That might indeed be answerable (hint: the sound card's buffer holds the last few seconds and there is still an active process reading from that buffer despite the fact that the buffer's contents are no longer refreshed) but I would recommend Super User for it anyway. General computing questions of the type "Why do computers behave in X way?" can be on topic on Super User but they won't be here.

Sorry if you felt you were being brushed off, I know the Stack Exchange sites get some getting used to but this type of strict adherence to the rules about what is and isn't off topic is a big part of the network's success.

  • I can see what you are saying. I guess I did neglect, that the question wasn't *nix specific enough. I think my question feels kind of like a layman would ask, without giving any useful detail, therefore inhibiting an appropriate answer. The one comment on my question answered it to my satisfaction, though. So how should I proceed? Delete the question, or add details for my specific case, for which I don't really want an answer? (I can now see, how the question was poorly thought out)
    – Minix
    Oct 24, 2014 at 18:15
  • @Minix as you wish. You can delete it or leave as you prefer. If you have something more specific to ask, I would ask it as a separate, new question instead of trying to reopen this one.
    – terdon Mod
    Oct 24, 2014 at 18:32
  • Ok. Will do. Thanks for the open discussion with both of you. It showed me what you meant and I agree with the decision.
    – Minix
    Oct 24, 2014 at 22:59
  • I can agree with pt 2, but it feels pretty hostile to be closing questions like this if we don't also bother to direct people to SuperUser, and are just telling them their question is too broad.
    – sourcejedi
    Jun 19, 2017 at 15:53
  • @sourcejedi then you should redirect people. I'm not sure what your point is. Closing has nothing to do with redirecting people and closure doesn't stop anyone from leaving a helpful message if you feel the question would be on topic somewhere else.
    – terdon Mod
    Jun 19, 2017 at 15:56
  • @terdon It is related, we're directing people away at that point, and we recognize that with one of the close reasons (but for some reason the relationship with superuser isn't close enough to support that for, only stackoverflow). "Too broad", which is explained as not a "specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer", doesn't seem a helpful way of saying "the concrete computer architecture question you are asking here is not sufficiently related to Unix / Linux that we can support discussing it on U.S.E."
    – sourcejedi
    Jun 19, 2017 at 16:08
  • @sourcejedi yes. My point is that that sort of thing should be expressed by leaving a comment so I don't understand the relevance. If you (or anyone else) feel that direction would be helpful, by all means direct!
    – terdon Mod
    Jun 19, 2017 at 16:20
  • @terdon Mmm, I have a kind of related but different question in my head, and I think that is not helping me sense here :). Apologies for spreading any aggro.
    – sourcejedi
    Jun 19, 2017 at 18:06
  • @sourcejedi oh, hey, no aggro. I was just pointing out that closing and directing are two separate things and see no reason to confuse them. If you have another question please do post it, that's how this sort of policy is decided after all!
    – terdon Mod
    Jun 19, 2017 at 22:47

Since I'm the one that put it on hold, I thought the default reason was clear enough.

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.

There are a variety of reasons as to why a system can lockup and/or freeze, but still have some aspects to it which appear to be working, such as, I'm still able to type or move the mouse around; but the system is otherwise unusable.

For someone that's providing an answer to this question, they'd have to wade through a lot of assumptions to get to an explanation. These types of explanations are not really conductive to good Q&A content on SE sites.

BTW, there are actually 2 reasons that I closed this question, that was the first. The second reason is this question is actually off topic since it doesn't have anything to do with Linux per se, and would probably be better suited to the Super User site in its current form.

However I was hoping that you would expand it a bit, since I was assuming you had an actual Linux system, which would make it better suited here in the long run.

Your question

As a side note, the behavior you're seeing is indicative of how hardware is typically constructed with various sub-systems. These sub-systems give the illusion that a computer or electronic device is a single entity, but rather they're a multitude of sub-systems working together in concert.

But if I were to write this as an answer to your question, it would've just led you to more questioning (which would've been off-topic of U&L) and wouldn't have been a very useful answer to future visitors either.

  • I read the other answer first, but I see your point, too. My question was too broad and I was expecting an answer too unspecific to be issued here. The simple way you and the comment answered me actually satisfies me completely. If anything I maybe would've asked for additional reading, since this really was just my curiosity and not something I wanted specific details about, how it works in *nix. But that was the problem with the question, that I didn't want specifics for my case, but rather a broad statement about computers. Should I delete the question?
    – Minix
    Oct 24, 2014 at 18:22
  • @Minix - terdon's a much better writer than I, so it was good you read his first 8-). Your call on the delete, I'd leave it since it's now tied to this meta Q, and perhaps if you sit on the Q for a bit a more specific one might come to mind, and you could rephrase that one.
    – slm Mod
    Oct 24, 2014 at 18:27
  • @Minix - if you look at how the sub-systems of a PC or any computer work, focus on the audio portion, you'll likely find out why the sound persists even after the system "crashes". Much of that sub-system is heavily buffered, and so much of the audio can be buffered within that sub-component, which has responsibilities for overseeing the output to speakers etc.
    – slm Mod
    Oct 24, 2014 at 18:29
  • @Minix - also if you look at how the PC works, you'll notice that many of the functions are actually not performed by the CPU but by these sub-systems, such as managing the read/write data to HDD's or RAM, or video. The audio is no different. The CPU is just the component giving out the orders, these other systems are actually the ones doing the heavy lifting grunt work. So when the CPU or a program it's running crashes, these other systems are still fine, and will continue running unabated.
    – slm Mod
    Oct 24, 2014 at 18:31
  • Thanks for the additional information. I will keep the question then.
    – Minix
    Oct 24, 2014 at 22:56

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