The question What is the most productive way to handle development-related failures? is currently flagged for deletion.

Dealing with project failures or your code being rejected seems like something that comes up a lot as a developer, and I like the answers.

So what can I do to the question to salvage it? Should I edit the content of the question and answers completely?


I've edited the question to remove examples that are not related to software development, and flagged a lot of the low quality or duplicate answers for deletion.

I also made an edit to the accepted answer because I felt it was missing a key piece (learning from your failures), and edited a few other answers as well to bring them in line with the edited question. If I have time, I will attempt to go through the remaining answers and clean them up as well, although please feel free to step in and do it yourself.

  • The question is closed as "not constructive", so I don't see how "making it on topic" is even relevant... And the title was edited a few minutes ago...
    – yannis
    Feb 24, 2012 at 0:20
  • @YannisRizos You flagged the question as part of your career-tag cleanup process, and invited us to try and salvage the questions if we'd like to keep them. I would like to keep this question, and am trying to salvage it.
    – Rachel
    Feb 24, 2012 at 0:24
  • 1
    Yes, but salvaging it would mean addressing its actual issues. I was just pointing out that the topic discussed it's actually on topic, but that's not why the question was closed...
    – yannis
    Feb 24, 2012 at 0:28
  • @YannisRizos That is why I am asking here what needs to be done to the question to salvage it... I'll rephrase my question a bit to clarify that I'm attempting to salvage a good on-topic question that was badly written.
    – Rachel
    Feb 24, 2012 at 0:30
  • Closed this question as it refers to the career structure cleanup that is now over.
    – yannis
    Mar 7, 2012 at 5:33

3 Answers 3

  1. Delete all answers with a score less than 2.
  2. Delete the "Go to a Pub" answer. Sheesh, you people vote these things up? This is the chief reason people hate bikeshed questions.
  3. Eliminate the list of failures, or at least pare them down greatly. We all know what failure looks like.
  4. Make the question specific to the programming profession (somehow).

Note: I've edited the question to improve its focus on the programming profession. I've tried to preserve Pierre's intent.

  • Thank you. I see your edits since I was trying to do the same thing at the same time.
    – Rachel
    Feb 24, 2012 at 0:40

The biggest obstacle this question has is the list:

  • Your project failed.
  • You failed 10 interviews in a row.
  • What you have spent days coding was rejected by your team.
  • Nobody listens to your ideas in your company.
  • The design pattern you introduced with force in your team created a mess.
  • Your colleague (you don't like) got the promotion that you wanted to get.
  • You deleted the production database.

Each one of those could be a separate question: heck, every question on the site is arguably about a personal failing; failing to get the right answer, failure to find the right solution, failure to lead a development team, etc. And several of the examples on that list are in no way programmer-specific.

The top-voted answers—before I just deleted the second top-voted answer—consist of:

  • A one line answer with feel-good advice for each of the scenarios. If the question was broken up, every single answer would've been deleted as none of them provide any amount of detail or explanation.

  • A one-line answer saying to go to the pub.

These, to me, are not the hallmarks of a great question with lasting value and deep insights.

There's some interesting answers further down, but they all cover different things. And there's a very high number of pithy feel-good advice answers, not to mention the excessive amount of commenting and conversation due to the sheer size of the scope of the question.

I don't think this question is savable, but it could definitely do with a mass culling of the crap answers and comments, and a rewrite of the question to be about a singular, specific problem.

  • I agree that some of those examples are bad. I am more interested in answers dealing with development failures such as project failure, code you spent hours on being rejected, or design patterns you introduced creating chaos. I would be willing to edit the question and answers to narrow the focus to development-related failures, but I'd need a mod's help deleting unsalvagable answers
    – Rachel
    Feb 24, 2012 at 0:28
  • @Rachel Flag the bad answers for deletion and we'll delete them.
    – user8
    Feb 24, 2012 at 0:40
  • Thanks. I've flagged a bunch of answers for deletion already, but want more time to review the remaining answers.
    – Rachel
    Feb 24, 2012 at 0:49
  • Do you think you could use your moderator super-powers to re-open the question? It had 3 or 4 re-open votes, but I just noticed now they're starting to expire.
    – Rachel
    Feb 28, 2012 at 20:03

The question will not be deleted, at least not as a result of the career structured cleanup.

I disagree that it should be re-opened, I'm keeping it closed because I don't see how it would receive any better answers in the future. Five re-open votes can change that, obviously.

  • I doubt that will ever happen since expired reopen votes don't get refunded to users. It already received 3-4 re-open votes as a result to this question, however they're gone now. I suspect it's received more in the past as well. This is one reason I'd like to [view total re-open votes in data explorer0(meta.stackexchange.com/q/123804/158605).
    – Rachel
    Mar 7, 2012 at 12:21
  • @Rachel However I monitor re-open votes almost daily, as do others. The single vote it needed never appeared, and I personally don't think it should be reopened so I won't cast my vote. I need to be absolutely certain for that, as with every binding vote I cast. I can't really do much to change the system (although you know that we rarely wait to cast the fifth re-open vote). All moderators saw this question, so you can safely assume that none of the others was convinced.
    – yannis
    Mar 7, 2012 at 12:27
  • From Mark Trapp: "The work done on the failure question is good stuff". I assumed that meant he agreed with the edits. In addition, ChrisF was the one who helped me delete a lot of the bad answers. I'm assuming he wouldn't waste his time on something he thought wasn't worth reopening.
    – Rachel
    Mar 7, 2012 at 12:31
  • @Rachel They can both cast re-open votes. The most important thing is that the question wasn't deleted. I really don't see a point in re-opening it, it's not one that will be deleted, unless of course it keeps gathering delete votes.
    – yannis
    Mar 7, 2012 at 12:33

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