Surely, if a question is important to programmers and careers in programming, even if it applies to other jobs/careers outside of that scope, it is a valid question for the community of programmers. I'm especially thinking about questions where the answers themselves are specific to the community, even if the question could be asked in other domains.

I know what the FAQ says about non-domain-specific questions - but it doesn't really cover this aspect.

For example - this question:


I would say that this is important to a lot of programmers and managers of programmers. But a comment from one user shows that it may very well be closed.

Shouldn't there be room for questions like this, while stopping the ones that read like "So, what colour socks do you wear while programming?"


Short form question: Why does a question have to be "specific" and not simply "important/relevant"?

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  • This is best answered here You seem to have missed the finer points – Aditya P Apr 13 '11 at 3:03
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    The meta FAQ doesn't address this at all - or perhaps I'm missing one of the finer points? – HorusKol Apr 13 '11 at 4:01
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    I've updated that link – ChrisF Apr 13 '11 at 7:53

I would say that this is important to a lot of programmers and managers of programmers. But a comment from one user shows that it may very well be closed.

Sure, questions like ...

Is sexual harassment appropriate in the workplace?


What do I do when my manager is cruel to myself and coworkers?


Should I work unpaid overtime if my boss asks me to?

... are perfectly valid questions, just not on this site.

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  • I'd agree that none of those three questions above have specific relevance to programmers, and the answers should pretty much be the same regardless of your job or work environment - but some questions that can be asked in more than one domain will wield very different answers within each of those domains. – HorusKol Apr 13 '11 at 3:57
  • @HorusKol - that's a very different point than you made in the question. – Nicole Apr 13 '11 at 4:27
  • @Renesis - how so? – HorusKol Apr 13 '11 at 5:39
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    @HorusKol - in the question, you did not make the distinction that the answers yielded would be very different, you only referred to questions that are "important" to programmers. – Nicole Apr 13 '11 at 5:52
  • @Renesis - ah - I will amend this – HorusKol Apr 13 '11 at 6:29

Every Stack Exchange site has a specific domain: Programmers.SE's domain is aptly...programmers. All questions have to be specific to programmers, just like all questions on Gaming.SE have to be specific to gaming, all questions on Cooking.SE have to be specific to cooking, etc.

The cutoff is whether a question requires the site's domain-specific knowledge. If I don't have to be an expert in the site's domain to provide a useful answer to the question, it doesn't really belong on the site. This allows each site to be concentrated on one specific focus and to ostensibly attract experts within that domain so that questions get high-quality responses.

It's something of a social contract: the value in asking a programmers-related question to Programmers.SE is that one knows they're going to get expert programmers answering the question, and the value to the expert audience knows that the questions they're going to get actually demand their expertise.

There have been a few attempts at getting an office-space Stack Exchange proposal: check out Area 51 if you're interested in getting a place where general office-related questions can get answered.

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    But if I'm a programmer interested in bonuses, for example - I will want other programmers' opinions, not necessarily that of 'generic office workers'. – HorusKol Apr 13 '11 at 0:41
  • @HorusKol Considering the wide spread of possible team environments in the programming world, are answers given specifically by programmers that much more meaningful? – Adam Lear Apr 13 '11 at 0:44
  • @AnnaLear compared to answers provided by doctors, stock traders, milkmen, teachers, secretaries, business managers, etc... yes, I think so. It's not that far from asking "what should I charge as an hourly rate". – HorusKol Apr 13 '11 at 0:47

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