Yesterday I flagged a lot of questions (which are now here Structured Tag Cleanup: [career]) to get closed.

No doubt, many from this list are actually useful and of good quality. The primary criteria i choose is the misfit as per our definition - which is that questions must NOT be belonging to all careers.

These questions are not closed deleted yet, but they might be closed and/or eventually get heroic edits and or complete deletion.

It is now generally accepted that most of these questions are good candidates for "The Workplace" so eventually they will all belong there. Earlier there was no such a thing so people posted them here.

Now, the issue is that "The workplace" is still not there yet live. While we may close these questions - even delete these questions, but they all might be of great value. Alternatively we may apply heroic edits that may destroy the real value of the question.

Many are not bad questions, they are just in the wrong place; and while their new home is still under construction, should we shelter them?

Basically is there a possibility that we can kind of hibernate them, unaffected but not visible or something; but preserve them as is?

Also, there is one more thing: Area51 has it's own problem. What if "The Workplace" doesn't take off - or more likely take too long to get up. This happens to a lot of sites which are otherwise seems to be quite promising.

We all must realize, that while these questions do help all others - it will help programmers in any case. As long as they are better placed it is fine, but destroying them will mean we are doing harm to humanity just due to a definition of on-topic.


2 Answers 2


The Workplace is not going to be a "home" (dumping ground) for our off-topic questions: Programmers is the shining example of how that system does not work and actively harms a site trying to bootstrap. None of the questions that are part of this cleanup will be migrated to the new site when it opens.

Because of this, doing nothing and expecting these questions will be migrated will guarantee more questions are deleted than saved. The time for increasing the quality of these questions and bringing them within our scope is now, because there isn't going to be a later for them.

But there are a few options for questions that just are off-topic and cannot be saved:

  • Save the contents and add it to a blog post or archive somewhere off-site. I know a number of people are trying to save the contents of our wildly-popular-yet-off-topic questions by making blog posts out of them for our blog: consider contributing to that effort, or creating a separate site to house them. Also check out Stack Printer, which archives most (if not all) questions, even after they get deleted.

  • Reask the questions, keeping in mind the guidelines created during private beta, on The Workplace. Let them live again organically on the new site. Some may do just as well as they did here, others might falter, but at least they'd be judged on equal footing with the rest of the site's content.

It should also be said that The Workplace isn't simply Programmers.SE but without moderation (like people thought Programmers was going to be Stack Overflow without moderation): the site has a very specific scope and will be subject to the same quality guidelines as the rest of the network. It's just that we've found—on all the professional sites, not just Programmers—there are a lot of general workplace and career questions that necessitates a cross-discipline site devoted to the subject.

  • Understood and i mostly agree. But i am not quite happy about it. Stack Printer is only a kind of better dustbin. And re-ask is not always possible (if i want to know X - i want to know X) that option is not quite simple as choosing pasta because pizza is not allowed to eat. Feb 23, 2012 at 8:49
  • Understand a good many question i have added last night which is misfit from the definition point of view were open and were out there for more than a year and there are still older which i didn't touch (ran out of available flags). Now if there is no way to salvage this situation and had we been so strict about our definition, it's kind of bad state of community where you allowed people to post questions and answer, and all of a sudden a bunch of folks comes after 1 and half year kick those questions out saying "you are a misfit here". This surely is irony irrespective of our honesty to it. Feb 23, 2012 at 8:56
  • Why limit only at career? -Business development questions, legal questions, project management (for which there is a site already) all are there to be punished. If you are really out there to do this job genuinely you are definitely changing what P.SE practically is! I am not against it- but if that is the case - please take everyone's opinion rather than a handful of people deciding this. Feb 23, 2012 at 8:59
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    I am certainly feeling i am doing harm (and injustice) to many good questions - just on the name of definition which was dysfunctional anyway over last couple of years. Feeling very sad :( Feb 23, 2012 at 9:01
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    @DipanMehta Go through all Meta questions. The scope of the site wasn't decided by a handful of people, but by the majority of active users. We can't really keep off topic questions until we find a better home for them, and we can't even assume that when (if) the Workplace graduates, their community will welcome all these old questions. There are really two options, either revise them to fit the scope of Programmers or close/delete them.
    – yannis
    Feb 23, 2012 at 9:19
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    @YannisRizos but then the whole thing doesn't make sense. For one year things go on just like that - then suddenly we say this is objectionable or not acceptable! Then the system has some fundamental problem. Feb 23, 2012 at 9:29
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    @DipanMehta Career related questions were first identified as troublesome on May 2011, and the first organized effort to clean them started on July 2011. There are several other Meta questions in between, and I may even missed some earlier ones. The diagram in the FAQ has been there for almost as long as the site exists... So definitely not a sudden decision.
    – yannis
    Feb 23, 2012 at 9:47
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    @DipanMehta So, I'll repeat my earlier advice: Go through all Meta questions. Start from the very first one and read all 954 of them. It will take you quite some time, but it will help you understand the site and its history, and how several community decisions were made. I did read all of them after my first couple of months as an active member, and it was eye opening.
    – yannis
    Feb 23, 2012 at 9:54
  • @DipanMehta I agree it sucks there's a bunch of questions that slipped through the cracks and weren't caught when they were first asked: it gives the impression that they were on-topic, and similar questions are on-topic. But they aren't, so we're left with trying to fix it sometimes months after the fact.
    – user8
    Feb 23, 2012 at 15:40
  • @DipanMehta Our previous efforts have not gone fast enough, allowing these questions to be broken windows for even longer. The hope with the STCI is that we can blow through the rest of the backlog of career off-topic questions in the next couple of weeks and just move on.
    – user8
    Feb 23, 2012 at 15:40

I have high hopes for this meta proposal suggesting a read-only archive site for good off-topic questions

I'd suggest going there and casting your vote to support it :)

  • ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT !! Is this about to happen really? When? Feb 24, 2012 at 14:24
  • @DipanMehta It was proposed a week ago and seems to have strong support, although nobody knows if stack exchange will really implement something like that. Go vote for it, and perhaps we can show them that we, the community, really really really want something like this, and by implementing it they won't have to waste resources to fight us over good, off-topic questions anymore.
    – Rachel
    Feb 24, 2012 at 14:27
  • Yes indeed! I will have better sleep tonight... Feb 24, 2012 at 14:43

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