I was referring to a question here:

How to correct a junior, but encourage him to think for himself?

This was closed as off topic!

If you see it received 38 reps and there were great participation, about 10 answers.

How can a "good question" be closed? I agree that one can say similar thing can happen on other industry; but that doesn't mean this is not what programmers face.

Isn't this being harsh just for the sake of being definition of off-topic?

2 Answers 2


First of all, popularity doesn't say much when it comes to whether a question is on topic or not. Consider these questions:

They are all great! And there are a lot more! Why are these closed?

One less obvious reason is that these highly rated but off topic questions will keep generating lesser quality questions on similar topics. People will keep asking those, as long as they feel they are on topic, and it will be impossible to explain why their questions were closed when similar popular questions are open.

And of course the FAQ very clearly defines that on topic questions should be discussing topics that apply uniquely to programming:

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The whole point of Stack Exchange is for questions to be expertly answer. Although the question in question is an extremely interesting one, I fail to see how it can be expertly answered by software developers. And even if one amongst us can expertly answer it, it still doesn't matter, because most of as aren't knowledgeable enough to verify if the answer is a good one.

The core question is:

I need a team who can learn to do things right autonomously, not just follow instructions. How does one correct a junior developer, but still encourage him to think for himself?

Can you tell me how this question is any different than this:

I need a team who can learn to do things right autonomously, not just follow instructions. How does one correct a junior member, but still encourage him to think for himself?

  • where is the allcareers.stackexchange so we can ask/answer/read these questions?
    – HorusKol
    Jan 26, 2012 at 23:40
  • @HorusKol : It is still at proposition stage here
    – Matthieu
    Jan 26, 2012 at 23:49
  • @HorusKol Unfortunately there isn't such a site yet. There is however an Area51 proposal, Professional Matters, and if you are interest in general workplace discussions, you should consider committing to it.
    – yannis
    Jan 26, 2012 at 23:51
  • so, questions like the ones above have no place - shouldn't we wait until there is an appropriate venue before we start closing them? these questions are at least relevant to programmers, they can be answered by programmers (in much the same way that Python questions on Programmers can be answered by any programmer [even if they are predominantly Java]), and there isn't an alternative venue...
    – HorusKol
    Jan 26, 2012 at 23:53
  • 1
    @HorusKol Whether there is an appropriate site or not, is irrelevant to what's on topic. Please read my answer above, the point is not for questions to be answered, but expertly answered. There is a difference.
    – yannis
    Jan 27, 2012 at 0:03
  • @YannisRizos - i appreciate your answer (upvoted as well). And i am already in agreement with what you have said even as i put up. However, i didn't quite see much debate here. I think i couldn't express myself properly here. I am requesting you be on chat room and to be able to discuss more interactively. Please visit chat room ""Allowable" topics on ProgrammersSE". Jan 28, 2012 at 3:27
  • @YannisRizos I ask why such questions cannot be answered expertly by programmers on Programmers.SE - there are many people here who won't be able to answer these questions, but there will be others who will, and some 'expertly'. In the same way, there are programmers who can't answer certain questions about agile development, or version-control, but there are many who can - should we question the 'expert' ability because not everyone can answer these questions?
    – HorusKol
    Jan 28, 2012 at 11:19
  • @HorusKol First of all, we don't get expert answers from individual members. Everyone here has a set of skills & experiences and can answer a fair share of questions expertly. But that's not the point, we narrow the scope so it will be more likely that there will be an adequate number of people with the same skills & expertise within the community that are able to judge the answer and vote truly expert answers to the top. It has nothing to do with the answerer, and everything to do with our collective ability to peer review answers.
    – yannis
    Jan 28, 2012 at 12:12
  • Okay - so, now that we've shifted from ability to answer to ability to review - I again ask, what makes the P.SE community unable to review questions and answers on programming team management and on professional behaviour in a programming-based work environment? Or should I just quit asking, because the answer will inevitably end up being "it has been decided, and even though the community keep asking these types of questions, the community is wrong"
    – HorusKol
    Jan 28, 2012 at 12:34
  • @HorusKol There is an extensive relevant discussion here. You shouldn't quit asking, obviously, but I feel we have quite different opinions over what a community makes. People will keep asking off topic questions, and they are part of the community, but there is another part, a far larger part, that decided long ago what the site is about. And it's never about right and wrong, the content may be community driven, but the platform is privately owned. We, as a community, have a say in a lot, but not in everything.
    – yannis
    Jan 28, 2012 at 12:44

I think we're getting a bit too hostile and closing all sorts of things that would have been perfectly normal discussion a few months ago. In addition, at least one of the mods likes to edit answers to the closed questions and then delete the answers so that closed questions show up with zero answers (I know this because I had over 10k for a few hours before a recalc zapped about 800-900 rep, and with over 10k rep you can see deleted answers). I only noticed this because one question I was typing an answer to, already had one other answer, then got closed before I could submit my answer. When I looked at it, the previously submitted answer was gone, and it question didn't even show up on the front page - even though other closed questions showed up on the front page, and this question was still newer than the other questions near the bottom of the page.

Based on the number of downvotes this is getting, I suspect that the goal of the "community" this board represents has changed since I joined. Perhaps this means it is time to depart? Are we turning into Digg?

  • 4
    All deleted questions show 0 answers in lists by design: when you click through to a deleted question, the answers are still there. It just wouldn't make any sense from a technical or logical standpoint to delete a question and then have to manually delete answers, so instead deleting a question automatically deletes its answers. When you manually recalculate your reputation, reputation from any deleted post is removed: that's recalculation's primary purpose.
    – user8
    Jan 26, 2012 at 22:41

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