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I know that there's always plenty of healthy debate regarding on- and off-topic questions for this site. We can probably all agree that there are a lot of gray areas and ambiguities. Then, there are questions like https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/121209/dating-advices-for-programmers, which are fun to answer and entertaining, but IMHO, entirely useless to the knowledge base.

Should there be an entry in the faq explicitly saying that questions that loosely combine topic X and programming (GTKY type questions, "What kind of dancin' shoes should programmers wear on a Tuesday?") may have been entertained at one point, but are no longer pertinent (going beyond what is stated in Good Subjective, Bad Subjective)?

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  • Thankfully, it seems as if the wrought iron gate was slammed shut on that question, but I think the discussion is still a worthy one. – jonsca Nov 23 '11 at 4:58
  • If there were a FAQ entry for every conceivable way that users have found to abuse this site, the FAQ would be longer than the Gideon Bible. – Robert Harvey Nov 23 '11 at 5:03
  • @RobertHarvey Very true. I think that this is a significant enough category of off-topic question, though. I'm not well-versed in the history of Programmers, but I think that perhaps there was a time when much softer questions could slide though, so some may consider not having an explicit statement about it to be an ambiguity. – jonsca Nov 23 '11 at 5:08
  • @RobertHarvey is correct. The FAQ used to be a lot longer than it is now and was too complex. Keeping it simple is correct, but obviously not too simple. – ChrisF Nov 23 '11 at 11:31
7

This should be covered by the other aspects of the FAQ, particularly the six subjective guidelines and What kinds of questions should I not ask here?. The general class of these questions are "programmer lifestyle" questions: people asking about general issues as if programmers somehow approached basic life skills qualitatively differently from other people.

We tried to lay out the guidelines for these types of questions earlier:

Are questions not directly related to programming (but might concern programmers) on-topic?

But I do agree a FAQ entry is probably warranted, given how prevalent these once were and their inherent "broken window" nature. I propose the following be added to the "but is not about" section of the FAQ:

  • personal lifestyle (including relationships, office politics, and non-programming activities)
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  • Sounds good to me. – Robert Harvey Nov 23 '11 at 5:08
  • I agree that coverage of the off-topic nature of these questions is not absent from the current faq. I know that there will always be people that ignore whatever you put in front of them to read, but I just wonder how it can be reworded (and you propose a great solution in that regard) to reach more people. – jonsca Nov 23 '11 at 5:11
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    @jonsca Definitely: I agree with Robert that we can't cover every edge case and scenario in the FAQ, but this one is a particularly big one that's worth mentioning. – user8 Nov 23 '11 at 5:25

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