Where should the The Programmers Bill of Responsibilities question be asked?

To the internet in general? If that is the case a blog dealing with such questions would certainly be considered to be about Programmers.

Reading the FAQ over again again for this post, I find myself compelled to ask:

A sight about algorithm and data structure concepts is the domain of [cs.se] or [cstheory.se], no? Design patterns, developer testing, development methodologies, quality assurance and software architecture should all be considered part of software engineering, right? Surely, software licensing is a freelancing and business concern?

This site appears to have been simply a bucket into which we dumped things we didn't want on SO. It is time to recognize that the title no longer fits the subject matter, and possibly that the subject matter no longer has any cohesion.

If this were an OO system implementation I would seriously weigh the costs of a complete rewrite before attempting to refactor... even believing Joel.

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    Please do not add unrelated tags. I know why that specific question got closed, I can read the reason there. – Joshua Drake May 11 '12 at 16:27
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    may I ask how is this a bug? – yannis May 11 '12 at 16:27
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    @YannisRizos Problem exists between keyboard and chair? No, seriously, poor user experience and/or complete disregard for coupling and cohesion in the design are always bugs. – Joshua Drake May 11 '12 at 16:28
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    Please clarify your question, it's not clear whether you are asking about the specific question, the site's name, the site's faq or the site's design. – yannis May 11 '12 at 16:31
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    If there is something in there you would like us to discuss or help you with, please clarify your question. If you just want to rant, please do it elsewhere. – yannis May 11 '12 at 16:35
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    Apparently I need to bold it. – Joshua Drake May 11 '12 at 16:37
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    @JoshuaDrake I think Yannis is referring to the question title. The title is asking why the site is called Programmers, while the content seems to be asking where a specific question should be asked. You should try and clarify your question to either ask one question or the other. – Rachel May 11 '12 at 16:39
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    Personally I would ask it on Quora. Their platform is more discussion oriented and they can accommodate such questions with ease. A little bit more noisy than Stack Exchange, but it's worth a try. – yannis May 11 '12 at 16:51
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    @YannisRizos certainly I am saddened that such discussion seems to fail repeatedly on SE, because there appears to be no where else for such discussion to occur, at least not across the industry. – Joshua Drake May 11 '12 at 16:52
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    @YannisRizos Thank you. One "final" comment about the earlier "doesn't seem to confuse the hundreds of other people". I would disagree given how many answers, comments and votes on both that such questions generate. Obviously there is some confusion, otherwise we would see such questions die a horrible death at the hands of the general populous and not only the moderators. – Joshua Drake May 11 '12 at 17:21
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    There is confusion, Programmers does not cater to beginners as Stack Overflow or other sites do, it's supposed to have a higher entry barrier. However we haven't any solid evidence that the confusion stems from the site's brand. It's a theory, one that I partially agree with (but haven't seed evidence of). In the few months I have been a moderator I've had a ton of discussions with newer users that where confused about a closure, the site's scope or whatever, and through those discussions I've found that the confusion goes away almost immediately. – yannis May 11 '12 at 17:36
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    Also, about the specific question getting closed about a moderator. We don't go around killing old questions (well I do, sometimes), something brought that question to our attention, in this case it was a flag and Thomas just reacted to it. When attention is brought to a question, we need to do something about it, and since this question clearly didn't fit, the closure is valid. I'm sure we've all seen the question when casually browsing the site, and chose to ignore it, but we really can't ignore flags that have merit. – yannis May 11 '12 at 17:38
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    @YannisRizos It sounds like you are saying, "Once we explain it to them, they understand it, therefore there is no confusion", have I heard you correctly? – Joshua Drake May 11 '12 at 17:39
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    No. I'm saying that there is no confusion for the vast majority of people who use the site, and we are always around to help the few who are honestly confused. – yannis May 11 '12 at 17:40

As ChrisF already mentioned the question is "not constructive", which to us means:

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. See the FAQ for guidance on how to improve it.

There is nothing inherently wrong with these questions, they just don't fit the philosophy and available tools of a Stack Exchange site. For further details on what "not constructive" means for us, you should read these two blog posts:

Personally I have found that Quora is a solid alternative for these questions. I'm fairly new there, but it seems that their platform was designed with discussion oriented questions in mind, and more or less works as expected. It's a bit noisy, and I can't really say that I'm satisfied by the overall quality of the discussions, but I have found some gems that would never work in the Stack Exchange format. Worth a try.

Now, for the issue of the confusion with the site's name and design: It is true that the site's brand targeted its original scope, and I partially agree with you that it doesn't really serve the current scope. It's just too friendly, and we are not ;P

However, although it has been theorized that some people find the site confusing, no solid evidence have been brought forth that this is the case for a lot of people or that even for the few that are confused that the confusion doesn't go away after reading the FAQ and browsing the site for a few days. Very recently, a fairly new user came to Meta and, well, described the site like a pro.

There is an open discussion on the matter, feel free to contribute your thoughts there if you wish. Notice however that the overwhelming majority of the community, either through answers or upvotes, dismiss the matter as a non issue, or at least as something of a quirk that only affects a handful of people, and only for a very short time, what we like to call "too localized" ;P Don't get me wrong, I too was confused initially. Well, after about a week of staying around, no problem.


The questions is not constructive.

It's asking for a list of items to be added to this "Bill of Responsibilities" each one equally valid - well nearly each one equally valid, plus it's inviting discussion and debate.

None of these things are a good fit for the Stack Exchange question and answer model.

I'm surprised that it took this long to be closed.

  • I did not ask why it was closed. – Joshua Drake May 11 '12 at 16:26
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    I would disagree that it is "not-constructive" because I find the answers very useful and constructive to programmers. I realize SE doesn't like questions which are "polls", and often closes these as "not-constructive", but perhaps we can either lock the question or edit it so it asks for the "bill of responsibilities" and prompt users to add their answers to the accepted answer instead of adding new answers. – Rachel May 11 '12 at 16:35
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    @Rachel No point in any of that. We lock questions that have historical significance. Editing such an old question to change it's intent is not advisable. CW is not meant to be used as you propose. – yannis May 11 '12 at 16:37
  • @YannisRizos no point in any of this. – Joshua Drake May 11 '12 at 16:39

The site is called Programmers because it was originally created to be a site for programmers to ask and answer non-programming questions that relate to their career choice or self-identity as a programmer.

Stack Exchange later decided this wasn't a good use of their framework and changed the site scope to be about conceptual questions on software development, so the scope of the site changed however the name and design did not.

The site's faq contains a current list of what is on/off topic for this site, and you can view the full history behind the scope change here

That specific question was valid when it got asked, so got a lot of attention, however is deemed not suitable for the site now. I do not think there is anywhere on the SE network where a question like that would be welcome because it reads like a poll, asking for many answers each with one piece of the answer, and SE does not like polls.

You would probably have better luck on someplace like Quora or Reddit or Yahoo Answers, however I have not used any of those sites enough to tell you much about them. You could also try asking in chat, where discussion is encouraged, although your question and its answers probably won't be easily found by others.

  • Having spent much time there, Reddit is not the place. – Joshua Drake May 11 '12 at 16:54
  • Yahoo Answers makes my skin crawl, sort of an Experts Exchange... without the experts. – Joshua Drake May 11 '12 at 16:55
  • @JoshuaDrake Thanks for your feedback on both sites :) I would love to see SE use their framework for a wider range of Q&A, but that's their decision to make. – Rachel May 11 '12 at 16:59
  • @YannisRizos I've posted it on Quora, with a link to credit the original author. I'll see how it goes. – Joshua Drake May 11 '12 at 17:01
  • Try usenet. It's rather old school, but the people who find it are generally of much higher caliber than a web forum thingy as popular as SE. – Edward Strange May 16 '12 at 18:45
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    what I find interesting about the example question is that it is a great example of consensus building and the power of SE platform. Further, the question resulted in a single great answer that had greater value than the sum of the parts. The question may not have been asked well, but the result is a model for what should exist on this site. – Michael May 22 '12 at 19:34

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