A question I asked recently was closed on the basis of it being to localized and / or not helping any future visitors.

I wanted a chance to explain myself as this is a very important question to me and I would like as much input as possible. Someone's future is at stake!

I brought up my geographic data because it was relevant to show the difference between what my boss wants to pay a highly technical position and what a McDonald’s worker makes. I was not asking a question about a specific region. I was basically trying to ask “If minimum wage is x and my boss wants to pay x + 2, who will I be able to hire?”

How will the question not help future users? I posted that question and in the first 5 minutes it picked up 50 views, 5 answers, some up votes, and no trolls. The question was directly answerable and not open ended or conversational. I looked for similar questions on other forums and found nothing useful. As is usually the case, the SE community came through.

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    It's too bad the moderators at that site don't let the community decide more. One person dictating to the rest like that because they, "...don't see blah blah blah..." The fact that your question already had significant up votes should indicate that a lot of people find it worthwhile, but I guess that doesn't matter to some people. It's their site though, or at least act like it, so that leaves the rest in the position of simply having to live with it or find somewhere else to ask the question(s). Jul 2, 2011 at 1:47
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    @Crazy Or reopen it, which is where it's headed. One vote left to go. I'm acting in what I think is the right way in terms of the site's guidelines, but if I make a mistake, the community can override my decision. That's exactly what's happening here and that's cool. System's working as intended. :)
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Jul 2, 2011 at 2:26
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    And as I figured, after the community reopens, the same mod closes. It's pointless. Jul 5, 2011 at 2:38

2 Answers 2


I apologize for my answer reading a bit disjointed. I'm limited to my phone at the moment, and it's making composing an answer a bit challenging.

Your question was:

will anyone actually want to work for us who doesn't need to be walked through everything and can do some things on their own?

I don't think that is a good question for Stack Exchange. We cannot predict if you will be able to find a developer who fits your criteria in your area. Even if a reliable answer can be found, it's unlikely to remain accurate for other areas. It might also not stand the test of time.

The only way for you to get your answer is to start hiring and see what you get. Nothing will convince your boss of the error of his ways other than some real information about real applicants.

Popularity of a question is not always related to its suitability. To me, this felt like a "what salary should I expect" question in reverse — ultimately, too localized and hypothetical.


Someone's future is at stake!

This is usually the case. And it's usually that of the person asking the question. Which is as it should be... However, on SE we want to see questions where the answers will be useful to the asker and other people. This is the meaning of "too localized": if a question "is unlikely to ever help any future visitors" we'd rather folks weren't spending time answering it here; the goal of SE sites is to compile a database of answers to life's persistent questions, not every problem someone somewhere had once. Joel's example is someone asking why a car is parked outside their house... It's an absurd example, but gets the point across: if the person asking the question has to be you for it to be the same question, it's not a good fit here.

We can't know who's gonna reply to your ad, or what their abilities will be. If you're asking us to guess, well... you already know the answer, or you wouldn't have bothered to ask in the first place. No one's asking, "What kind of programmer can I expect for $90K/year in Oklahoma City?" - you're asking because you already realize the wages you're offering are too low to attract anyone with any real options.

That doesn't mean you can't get an answer here though. It just means you have to put some thought into how you can ask your question in a way that might potentially produce generally-useful answers. Don't ask what the car's doing there; ask how you can find out.

I've given your question a quick edit to reflect what I think you're actually looking for... We'll see what happens.

  • As a joke those edits where rather funny but they're clearly out of the spirit of the question. I rolled them back. Is it too much to ask the mods not to troll edit questions? Jul 2, 2011 at 2:43
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    @Crazy: it's easy to criticize. Let's see you make something out of that question that results in something beyond, "No, duh" as the answer...
    – Shog9
    Jul 2, 2011 at 2:48
  • Yes, I'm sure you think you're cute doing that to people, and apparently others agree. I did in fact change the question and was quite able to do so in a responsible manner, without trolling the original. Jul 5, 2011 at 2:49
  • @Crazy: what are you going on about? I let your previous comment slide, because... well, because you were obviously trying to get a rise out of me and I had better things to do than babysit this question. But now you're back two days later blaming me for your edit's lack of success? When folks are posting joke answers and not revising their existing unhelpful answers, you've gotta take a good hard look at the question they're trying to answer; I did my best to stop the bleeding and you sabotaged it, so point that finger in the mirror and re-think your own strategy.
    – Shog9
    Jul 5, 2011 at 5:22

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