So we have a question that's pretty popular today: Software engineering has become all about the red-tape and not about the programming.

Which, to me personally, reads very much like a rant and the answers its received have mainly been to chime in with personal opinions about how things suck. It even received a comment with 36 upvotes:

Is this a question or a blog post?

Normally, it's a question that would be closed as not constructive, but it's got a lot of activity and no close votes.

So is this question constructive? If so, why? If it isn't, what can we do to get the community more animated in helping moderate popular questions that are ultimately poor fits for our site?

3 Answers 3


Yet again, I think this post needed editing! We need to get better about editing these questions into shape.

Let's start with the title. I changed it from

Software engineering has become all about the red-tape and not about the programming.


Too much version control and bug tracking overhead per change?

Which I feel is a much better, less rant-y way to express the actual content of the question.

  • 2
    That seems to have made the difference (in my mind). I came in after you made that change and I had no clue what people were talking about.
    – riwalk
    Jul 14, 2011 at 13:25

There's a constructive question in there, it's just buried underneath a well-worded rant. I see it's already been pared down once. It could do with a better title and another de-ranting.

Something along the lines of.. Can the processes/procedures/best practices surrounding programming become counter-productive? What can be done to counteract this?

I think it's a good fit and a common frustration.

As for getting the community more involved with moderation, well I might have edited it myself if I had seen it before it got active. Once something is doing well people aren't going to want to break it, esp. people like me who have just gotten edit abilities.


The original version was a rant.

After Robert and Jeff's edits, it's still a rant. (It's looking for validation, not for answers.)

There's a rhetorical (“non-constructive”) question in the rant: “Is there a point at which the process gets in the way and becomes an end unto itself?”. Well, yes, of course.

There's a real question in the middle of the rant: has the point been reached in Ponk's situation? (Or, more usefully, what can be done, if anything, to focus more on the goal and less on the process.) But that requires detailed study of the situation, it's not something strangers on the Internet can answer. (Too localized.)

So, no, I don't consider this question salvageable in any way.

Of course, I don't really participate on Programmers.SE, so my opinion doesn't count.

(Yes, the abundance and worth given to this kind of questions is one of the things that put me off Programmers.SE.)

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