The FAQ says:

If your question can also be applied to other jobs then it's not really something that uniquely applies to software development.

I ask this question because that question has received several upvotes, answers, and no close votes.

Is this question actually specific to Programmers in some way?


Is this requirement still working for us? Does the community even notice questions that violate that requirement? Or is this just one (of the many) that slip through?

4 Answers 4


I think that this is always going to be a problematical requirement. There will always be questions that slip through.

Most people will think that their problem is unique to programmers even if it's not. Equally there will be people who see that question and also think that's it's unique to programmers and hence won't vote to close or flag the question.

The test is (as always) - replace the work "programmer" with "lawyer", "architect", "fireman" etc. and if the question still applies then it's off topic.

All you can do, if you think it falls foul, is vote to close yourself.

If you think it's not being seen by others then raise a flag or post a question like this on meta.

  • 4
    Even if the substitution gives a question that still applies, it might still apply but with a different answer, because there is some aspect that is (to a greater or lesser degree) specific to programmers, or to some fairly selective group of careers including programming. Personally, I'm very wary to vote to close on these - if I fail to imagine a way in which something is specific to programmers, maybe that's just that - a failure of imagination. I've certainly been caught out over failures of imagination for plenty of other issues.
    – user8709
    May 7, 2011 at 1:53
  • I supports Steve's comment. Programmers are seeking for other programmers experiences, opinions, tips, ... They will get very low quality answers on another, and more generic, site
    – user2567
    May 7, 2011 at 7:15
  • 5
    @Steve - in that case it's the programmer specific aspect that needs teasing out of the question to make it a good question for our site.
    – ChrisF Mod
    May 7, 2011 at 19:38
  • +1 for using both the options Flag and close vote.I am sure many intend to do the same.
    – Aditya P
    May 11, 2011 at 9:40
  • That sounds fine superficially, but not so much when you think it through. The programmer-specific implication is already present, in the choice of site. I understand the point of the rule, but context and implication are basic to natural language, and "teasing out" the programmer-specific aspect will make some questions over-wordy and pedantic. What's more, as with the linked question, the whole point of some questions is the answers should "tease out" the programmer-specific aspects.
    – user8709
    May 18, 2011 at 5:22

It is somewhat specific to programmers, as the nature of our work is particularly related to how frequently it is acceptable to change jobs.


THe question may seem generic at face value but one thing should be keptin mind: The same question can generate radically different answers for different professions. For example this question is almost useless for a governement servant(atleast here in India) becuase beauraucrats just dont hop jobs at the same rate as developers do. So I think it is a valid question.


I believe the question might not be specific, but a correct answer probably is.

If the question makes sense with "As a programmer..." appended, then I think it fits the guideline. Design and engineering jobs may overlap in questions, but the answers may be unique to programming.

Read 'makes sense' as would in 'be applied with common sense', not merely 'grammatically correct'.

  • The problems of the "as a programmer" qualifier has been discussed at length, mostly to the conclusion that nearly any question can be modified with "as a programmer". See ChrisF's comment about how to find out if the question is actually good.
    – Nicole
    May 9, 2011 at 16:35
  • I don't see that conclusion at all in that discussion. I actually see multiple answers reaffirming that if "as a programmer" makes sense in a question, then it belongs here. May 9, 2011 at 18:56
  • As a programmer, should I drink Mountain Dew or Coke? I assure you that the majority of the pop I drink is at my desk, so is this relevant here? May 12, 2011 at 13:41
  • @David Your question does not have a correct answer, even with "as a programmer". Not relevant. May 12, 2011 at 14:11
  • @Thomas - the same applies to the question being discussed. "As an architect, how often is too often to change workplaces?"
    – ChrisF Mod
    May 12, 2011 at 16:23
  • @Chris I would completely disagree. The peculiarities of the programming job market do matter in that question. It also has a 'correct' answer, in that there are trade offs and historical data that can be evaluated. May 12, 2011 at 18:54

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