Sort of following up on How should we guide questions toward The Workplace? I was thinking our FAQ's bit that says we're NOT about "career advice, including general workplace issues" to explicitly reference The Workplace, where those questions, when constructive, are on topic.

Workplace currently gets a substantial amount of traffic from Programmers (directly), so while I'm a bit concerned that some of the "off topic anywhere on SE" questions will spill over into workplace, it seems people have behaved themselves reasonable well so far. I also think this is a great time to try this arrangement right now as question volume is low on Workplace so, as a pro temp moderator on Workplace, it's pretty easy to manage if a few problems slip over.

Is this a good idea? How can we word it?

I've also started a receiving discussion on Workplace Meta; I want the blessing of both sites before we continue with this of course.

  • 3
    +1 for discussion on Workplace Meta and the plan to get "blessing of both sites before we continue with this"
    – gnat
    May 28, 2012 at 8:42
  • Workplace looks interesting, I just found out about it from this question.
    – Roc Martí
    May 30, 2012 at 1:39

5 Answers 5



After discussing with The Workplace moderators, and given the positive feedback both this and the Meta Workplace discussion received, I went ahead and updated our off topic list:

and it is not about...

  • general workplace issues, office politics, résumé help (check out The Workplace instead),
  • implementation issues or programming tools (ask on Stack Overflow instead),
  • what language you should learn next, including which technology is better,
  • what project you should do next1,
  • career advice, salary or compensation1,
  • personal lifestyle, including relationships, and non-programming activities

...then you're in the right place to ask your question!

1 For answers to common programming career advice questions, please see "Don’t Call Yourself A Programmer, And Other Career Advice" by Patrick McKenzie.

If you are still seeing the old FAQ, it's caching. It's always caching...

Right now our off topic list is:

  • career advice, including general workplace issues personal lifestyle, including relationships, office politics, and non-programming activities
  • what language you should learn next, including which technology is better
  • salary or compensation
  • résumé help
  • what project you should do next
  • programming tools (ask on Stack Overflow instead)

And the topics from the list that the Workplace welcomes are:

  • career advice, including general workplace issues
  • office politics
  • résumé help

Which I think should be combined in one item:

  • general workplace issues, career advice, office politics, résumé help (check out The Workplace instead),
  • programming tools (ask on Stack Overflow instead),
  • what language you should learn next, including which technology is better,
  • what project you should do next,
  • salary or compensation,
  • personal lifestyle, including relationships, and non-programming activities

I've re-ordered the items, putting the two we have alternative suggestions for at the top, and the rest in order of occurrence.

  • Now that you've dissected it, I notice that some of those are off-topic and some are not constructive. I wonder if we couldn't separate that somehow, without increasing complexity.
    – Nicole
    May 28, 2012 at 14:46
  • 4
    @NickC technically if you call out a specific NC question type in the FAQ it becomes off topic, which can be useful. Gaming has found it useful to say "this is off topic" as opposed to endless arguments over whether it's constructive
    – Ben Brocka
    May 28, 2012 at 15:00
  • 1
    @NickC Most of our off topic items, are either NC or too localized (e.g. salary). When a topic fails repeatedly, for whatever reason, well, the easiest solution is to declare it off topic.
    – yannis
    May 28, 2012 at 15:04
  • 1
    +1 I like the organization.
    – jcmeloni
    May 29, 2012 at 0:22
  • +1 Great! I like the reorganization!
    – Dynamic
    Jul 29, 2012 at 22:36

Having lived through Stack Overflow summarily directing their trash to us, I'd be leery to do the same to another site.

If, however, the Workplace wants that mention in our FAQ, I'm all for it. I do think they should propose the wording, as they know best what types of workplace and career questions are on-topic there.

  • 1
    I'm concerned as well which is why I've started a discussion on Workplace's Meta. I definitely don't want Workplace to be in you guys' close reasons. No offense...
    – Ben Brocka
    May 28, 2012 at 0:44
  • Actually I only use Rarity on Workplace
    – Ben Brocka
    May 28, 2012 at 0:48
  • @BenBrocka And chat for a while. I'm not crazy!
    – user8
    May 28, 2012 at 1:07
  • That was like a day :P April 1st, coincidentally...
    – Ben Brocka
    May 28, 2012 at 1:08
  • Workplace wording the FAQ entry makes a lot of sense though...but how do we handle it. It's hard to have the relevant discussion in two places...
    – Ben Brocka
    May 28, 2012 at 1:09
  • 6
    @BenBrocka I'd say have the discussion on the Workplace, come up with a consensus answer there, then post that answer here so Programmers can accept it. Essentially, you just want Programmers to say okay to the idea: assuming whatever you guys come up with on the Workplace isn't overly nuanced or confusing, it's unlikely the wording is going to get rejected here.
    – user8
    May 28, 2012 at 1:17

How about:

...and is not about...

  • career advice, including general workplace issues (check out The Workplace instead)...

So basically, just add the (check out The Workplace instead).

  • I'm concerned about simple wording like this because it might not be clear Workplace has it's own, similar quality standards; plus "career advice" is pushing it for Workplace material IMO; it gets to close to what should I do rather than something generally applicable
    – Ben Brocka
    May 28, 2012 at 0:46
  • @BenBrocka - perhaps we need to add a general "check the other site's FAQ" message as well. We do already redirect people to SO in a similar fashion. Also note the that "Stack Overflow" is a link.
    – ChrisF Mod
    May 28, 2012 at 8:17
  • 5
    Instead of "ask on X instead", it should be "check out X instead", which would provide more of an implication that one should visit the site, check out their FAQ, and otherwise see if their question is appropriate. The same would be made to the link to Stack Overflow. I'd also throw in a suggestion to reorder a list to put sites that exist for other types of questions to the top and topics not covered by any other site to the bottom.
    – Thomas Owens Mod
    May 28, 2012 at 9:12
  • 2
    @ThomasOwens - that would work.
    – ChrisF Mod
    May 28, 2012 at 10:18

I don't think we should consider linking to The Workplace until after they pass the beta stage and become a full site. While The Workplace is in beta it should be largely left on its own to develop into its final form without outside influence from other sites. If The Workplace proves to be a viable site with its own audience then we should consider linking to it to help make it an even bigger site, and linking in beta may cause the site to become the overflow site for programmers which is something that SE has been working to prevent with any site after what happened to our site.

  • 2
    I'm also concerned about this but the user base is already very largely from Programmers. As long as it stays quality and on topic I'm not sure if it's a problem since all SE sites get born from users from other SE sites.
    – Ben Brocka
    May 29, 2012 at 14:05
  • 1
    @BenBrocka I agree, "since all SE sites get born from users from other SE sites".
    – jcmeloni
    May 29, 2012 at 14:59

Can Workplace not close questions about general workplace issues, career advice, office politics, or résumé help that are specific to programming then? Because if they consider those off topic we should consider them on topic.

I'm posting as an answer so people can vote on it.

  • 2
    If it's specific to programming it really isn't a general workplace issue, and stuff that really is unique to software development which requires an answer from a programmer is generally on topic here. I don't see any need for either site to change any sort of policy here.
    – Ben Brocka
    Jul 30, 2012 at 18:10
  • @BenBrocka - But we are talking about specifically excluding such questions from programmers. That would mean that good, answerable questions that could conceivably be on topic for both programmers and workplace will be on topic nowhere.
    – psr
    Jul 30, 2012 at 18:28
  • @BenBrocka - So can we work out who gets what without leaving gaps, please?
    – psr
    Jul 30, 2012 at 18:29
  • Still not seeing the issue here; topicality in our FAQs aren't changing, those already off-topic areas on Programmers just direct you to Workplace when appropriate. Any "gaps" were there before this change (questions like "what salary should I ask for")
    – Ben Brocka
    Jul 30, 2012 at 18:37
  • workplace.stackexchange.com/questions/2658/… Apparently off-topic everywhere. Discussion about it included Thomas Owens saying he thought all career questions were off topic on Programmers, always. All I'm saying is, lets decide where programmer specific workplace issues are on-topic. It should be one site or the other. Or both. But not neither.
    – psr
    Jul 30, 2012 at 18:45
  • 1
    As was said in the relevant meta thread on Programmers, sometimes those are okay on programmers, it's just that 99% of people don't get that. Again, policy hasn't changed and IMO doesn't need to change.The problem isn't so much "off topic" as it is "never constructive/useful" anywhere, which makes it off topic more at a philosophical than a topical level.
    – Ben Brocka
    Jul 30, 2012 at 18:52
  • @BenBrocka - I don't think it's NC, but that's a matter of opinion. I'm fine with policy being that those are okay on programmers, but at least one of the mods doesn't appear to agree, not to mention enough users that they might as well be off topic, practically speaking.
    – psr
    Jul 30, 2012 at 19:01
  • Career advice is specifically listed as off topic on programmers, even if programmers are best to answer the question.
    – Ryathal
    Jul 31, 2012 at 12:20
  • @BenBrocka - See comment by Ryathal. This is what I mean. Can they be on topic somewhere?
    – psr
    Jul 31, 2012 at 17:35
  • @Ryathal "advice" is a problem because it's not a question. Workplace has had far too many "Which career should I go into?" questions to imply the "career advice" is specifically on topic. Answerable questions about practical problems are on topic at The Workplace. "Where do I go from here?" is generally not
    – Ben Brocka
    Jul 31, 2012 at 18:07
  • @BenBrocka - I'm not talking about NC stuff, just about what is on-topic. And the fact that there is a gap in which questions are on topic nowhere because programmers and workplace aren't agreeing about the boundary. I'm specifically talking only about questions that meet all criteria other than being on-topic.
    – psr
    Jul 31, 2012 at 18:22

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