I've seen a few of these and often up-vote them because I've had the same questions and am interested in the answers, however these questions frequently get closed as not constructive, and one is currently marked for deletion.

Is it off-topic to ask if something is normal for programmers, and if a programmer should be concerned about it? If not, what is the criteria used to determine if these sorts of questions are constructive or not?

Some examples are

  • 2
    Some clarification on the Google question: As I read it, it's a duplicate. You provided a slightly different interpretation of it, which would possibly make the question not a duplicate, but then it would be not constructive (imho). The fact that the question is a bit open to interpretation is a very good hint towards not constructive. – yannis Mar 30 '12 at 15:20
  • 1
    @YannisRizos The majority of questions on this site are probably a "bit open to interpretation", and that doesn't mean we should close all of them. I edited that question once already to try and clarify the question asked and make it a good question for the site, but if you still view it as not constructive that is fine, it can stay closed. I was merely asking what criteria is used to determine not-constructive, and ChrisF provided me with the answer I was looking for, which is that the Not-Constructive close reason also applies to questions that don't match the SE Q&A format. – Rachel Mar 30 '12 at 15:52
  • 1
    Cont... My version of a Q&A site is a site where people can ask questions to get answers, not one where they have to ask constructive questions to get answers, so the "not constructive" close reason threw me off. To me, as long as the question is a good one (for example, one that many other programmers might ask) and is clearly related to programmers, it should be left open. – Rachel Mar 30 '12 at 15:55
  • 1
    I never said we should be closing all questions that are a bit open to interpretation, I said that imho that your read of the question would be not constructive, and the fact that we read it differently is a good hint towards not constructive. A good hint, but still just a hint. As for your version of a Q&A site, I'm pretty sure everyone would like the site to be a bit more tweaked towards what they have in mind, you can't even begin to imagine what my version would be ;P – yannis Mar 30 '12 at 16:01
  • 1
    And yes the NC reason mostly applies to questions that don't work with the format, think discussions, polls, etc. Ironically if a question is really not constructive, in the real life sense, it would probably be closed as not a real question. – yannis Mar 30 '12 at 16:04
  • asking if something is normal isn't something normally considered here as something normal – gnat Mar 30 '12 at 20:04
  • 1
    The first question needs to be reopened. – Jim G. Apr 1 '12 at 6:41
  • @JimG. I disagree, however if you'd like it to be re-opened, please post a meta question about it, elaborating on why you think it fits the scope and the format of the site. You only need to convince four other people to get it re-opened. – yannis Apr 7 '12 at 22:33
  • @YannisRizos: You only need to convince four other people to get it re-opened. - That's true; but it only takes one star mod to close it again. :) – Jim G. Apr 8 '12 at 3:09
  • @JimG. We prefer to be called diamond mods ;P And generally speaking we don't intervene if a question is re-opened by the community (unless it starts getting close votes again, we don't like close/reopen wars - or something equally bad is happening). – yannis Apr 8 '12 at 3:15

I'd say that for the questions that have been closed the correct decision has been reached.

Reviewing the questions that are still open I'd vote to close as Not Constructive on those as well. (I'll wait to see if anyone else votes to close or flags before acting though).


Well - while each of these could well be an interesting question they don't fit in with the Stack Exchange model, as the Not Constructive close reason states:

This question is not a good fit to our Q&A format. We expect answers to generally involve facts, references, or specific expertise; this question will likely solicit opinion, debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion.

To take some of the questions as an example:


Does typing speed really matter when writing software? Most of your time is going to be spent thinking, designing algorithms, testing and debugging - none of which require fast typing.

Is it normal for programmer to work on multiple projects simultaneously

This will depend on where you work, what industry you work in and all sorts of other things. In some places it's perfectly normal and in others it will be quite rare. Knowing this doesn't really help the OP.

  • 1
    I can understand your logic regarding the typing speed question, but are some of the other ones such as if its normal to go days without writing code, or if it's normal to work on multiple projects, or if it's a cause for concern if you're a slow programmer without Google really that off-topic and not constructive for a site about programmers? And in the case of the first one, does it really deserve to be deleted completely? – Rachel Mar 30 '12 at 14:30
  • 1
    But anyways, +1 for reminding me that Not Constructive is also used for questions that don't match the SE Q&A format. I had forgotten about that and tend to think of that close reason as "this question is not constructive" – Rachel Mar 30 '12 at 14:31
  • 2
    @Rachel - don't forget that adding "as a programmer" is not a "get out of jail" card for questions here (or indeed on Stack Overflow). I'll add some more notes for the questions you mention. – ChrisF Mod Mar 30 '12 at 14:33
  • 1
    Thanks for the update, although I'm not sure I agree with it :) For example, I've been a developer for a few years but always worked for the same company and usually on my own. As a result, I have no idea if multiple projects is normal or not, so your answer about it being situational would actually answer my question and I would find it useful. Also, I don't understand what you're saying about being in the wrong industry in the 3rd example... I think the correct answer to it should be "No, don't be concerned about using a faster replacement for text books". – Rachel Mar 30 '12 at 14:49
  • 2
    Good summary. Did you per chance write this on a boat? – Tim Post Mar 30 '12 at 14:51
  • @Rachel - Hmm - I did edit that last bit a couple of times - it's not quite what I meant. However, I think it proves my point about the question being non-constructive. Two perfectly valid answers, both of which would attract up-votes. How is the OP to decide. – ChrisF Mod Mar 30 '12 at 14:52
  • 1
    @ChrisF Your answer about that question still doesn't make sense... the question is if a programmer should be concerned about his/her reliance of Google. It's a question I'm sure many new programmers have, and I did too. The one right answer is No, don't be concerned about it. Google is basically a replacement for Text Books and possibly personal code libraries, which is what programmers usually use to lookup/store code syntax before Google came about. I'm still accepting your answer because it answers my question, but I disagree your assessment of the individual questions. – Rachel Mar 30 '12 at 15:09
  • @Rachel - OK - perhaps I misunderstood the question. – ChrisF Mod Mar 30 '12 at 15:09
  • 1
    I'll wait to see if anyone else votes to close... - well I just voted to close "typing speed" and "internship". I don't plan to do that soon for "multiple projects" - need more time to decide on that one – gnat Mar 30 '12 at 15:48

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .