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This question was closed: https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/140512/can-it-be-a-good-idea-to-lease-a-house-rather-than-a-standard-office-space-for-a#comment264887_140512

I was a little surprised, as I did read the FAQ. Does the question fall under "freelancing and business concerns" without falling victim to "career advice, including general workplace issues"?

I thought it did, was I wrong?

Ultimately, these types of questions are useful because they are about providing programmers with the best environment possible without making the shop as a whole too inefficient.

  • As the moderator who closed this in response to flags and existing close votes I'm going to stay out of this (for the time being). I will go with the community on this. – ChrisF Mar 19 '12 at 17:37
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    I usually look at the site scope like this: if there was a hypothetical person who knew absolutely everything about programming, but absolutely nothing else, the question would be on-topic if this person could answer the question. Your question is about if a development shop should lease a house or an office, which is not really something a programmer could be expected to know. Perhaps it would belong better on Startups.SE, so maybe our moderators can look into moving the question there. – Rachel Mar 19 '12 at 18:03
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    I contacted the moderators on OnStartups and they said they're happy to have the question. I'll migrate. – ChrisF Mar 19 '12 at 20:38
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I think that closing this question was an appropriate action.

First, the question requires knowledge beyond the education and/or experience of software developers. Although I'm sure there are people that use this site that can answer this question, it generally falls outside of what is considered software development knowledge. I ask myself if the question relies on knowledge or experience that someone would get in some combination of education in computer science, software engineering, or information technology or in professional experience in some capacity on a software development team (ranging from a programmer to a manager).

Next, the question is too localized. In everyplace I've ever lived, zoning has been done at a city (or ocassionally county) level. We can't be sure what the laws are in your city, county, and state, and if someone comes across this question, the answers might or might not help them. Part of "too localized" is a "small geographic area". You can probably make the argument that a country or continent is sufficiently large, but not a city or even a state. The number of people that would benefit is not "the general population of software developers" but "you and maybe some other software developers in your exact geopolitical area".

Finally, I don't think this question is exclusive to software developers. It wouldn't apply to every career - it would be hard for a manufacturing team to move into a house. But the same considerations apply to a number of professions. I can see how accountants, lawyers, and graphic designers could also ask the same question. I'm not expert in these professions, but I would suspect the answers would be similar for other professions that tend toward "desk work" and "thought work".

However, I do think that "freelance and business concerns" being in the FAQ is awfully vague and might be something to look at in the future for clarifying. Your question is clearly a "business concern", but the phrase "make sure your question uniquely applies to programmers in general" from a few lines down in the FAQ helps to eliminate a number of questions from being allowed. I think it's potentially problematic that one could scan the FAQ (and the "what kind of questions to ask" is pretty long), see one or two bullet points, miss a line, and easily stray into off-topic territory.

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    I had flagged this question for moderators for precisely all the reasons as stated above. – jcmeloni Mar 19 '12 at 18:23

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