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From the FAQ:

Can I ask career advice questions?

Yes, within reason. Most career advice questions are specific to the poster's situation and run the risk of being closed. Try to generalize your situation into a good subjective question.

And:

Please note that the following subjects are considered off-topic here:

  • What salary/wage should I ask for/expect? (Too localized to your place and time)

I've noticed that a lot of questions are being asked along the lines of:

  • I can choose between being an X developer or a Y engineer, which has better perspectives/salary?
  • Shall I get a Master's degree in part-time or should I go to a great school and do the Master's in full-time first?
  • I've worked at my company for six months, can I ask for a raise?

It's easy to qualify these types of questions as being too localized (as noted in the FAQ): what type of work you should do depends on what you personally enjoy, whether you should get a degree or certifications depends on your personal ambitions, whether you deserve a raise depends on your contributions, etc.

At the same time, a lot of these questions are not closed because they lead to answers that can be useful in general: musings about the future of different technologies, the general usefulness of degrees and certifications and universal approaches to getting a raise.

My feeling however is that while these answers may be useful, they are typically not what the asker wants. He/she just wants a detailed answer that will generally lead him to make a simple decision to make more money ASAP. So because of this, I wonder whether it would make sense to word the restrictions on career questions a bit stronger in the FAQ:

Can I ask career advice questions?

Yes, but only general questions are allowed that can expect to get answers that will be of value to a large amount of professional software engineers.

As a recent enthusiast and daily visitor/answerer on this site, I just feel those "Should I go for the degree?" and "How to get the most money?" questions drag the site down a bit.

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    I think this is a good idea and agree that those "Should I go for the degree" (and such) questions bring the site down a bit. – Walter May 11 '11 at 13:16
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    +1, getting pretty tired of them myself, too. – GrandmasterB May 11 '11 at 19:12
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    I'm a little bit uncomfortable with the ambiguity in this suggestion: what constitutes a "large amount" of professionals? 30? 30,000? The existing text (which implies that questions on situations specific to the asker will be closed) seems more useful in this regard. – Shog9 May 12 '11 at 19:25
  • @Mr. CRT Although it could be ambiguous, I don't think that there will be a lot of confusion in practice. The main goal is to get people to stop asking questions that are only relevant to them, or to a handful of people in a similar position. The current wording already deals with the former, this wording should also cover the latter. – Deckard May 13 '11 at 7:04
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I think that your proposal makes a lot of sense. If we get a consensus as to whether it is a good idea and then the wording (though I should state that what you propose is acceptable to me) then I'll happily update the FAQ.

On your point about the "Should I go for the degree?" and "How to get the most money?" type questions, please flag them for moderator attention. They might already have close votes but it won't hurt to bring them to our attention so they get dealt with sooner.

If you think that the question is salvageable with a little editing suggest an edit. We don't get that many at the moment so it will be reviewed fairly quickly.

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I like this, but I'll propose a slight wording change:

  • Yes, but only questions that will be relevant to a large number of professional software developers.

I think that's more succinct and slightly better worded. Discussions about that here or on writers.stackexchange.com.

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    +1. I agree that sentence is better. Perhaps exchange "relevant" for the original "of value". My feeling is that that's a little more strict. – Deckard May 12 '11 at 13:49

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