I asked this question back at the private beta phase after watching Pirates of Silicon Valley and Revolution OS, which I found to be both enjoyable and informative, and I wanted to find more movies like that. Back then the idea of what was on topic and what wasn't was more loose, and so many people answered with movies that were more on the entertainment side, and got even upvoted quite a lot. I myself was hoping to see more answers in the documentary genre, but I felt like I should let the events play out because:

  1. I realized in advance that there might be some movies that are more on the entertainment side of things but still very iconic and influential to programmers' culture, and I felt like they should still be mentioned due to cultural relevance, so I left a slight gray area in that respect. Therefore, these answers were still kinda on topic.
  2. I wasn't familiar with a lot of the answers, so it was difficult for me to judge if they were good ones or not and I gave them the benefit of doubt.
  3. The definition of this site was more loose and the whole "discussion" was on topic in the grand scope of the site itself.

But now that I got to watch some of the top answers, and in light of the overlords cracking down on fun centric questions, I began to wonder if maybe the selection of answers in that question should be fixed.

I'm saying this because I still feel like my question has value for the same reason that movies about making movies have value for cinema students, and for the same reason that "what are your favorite programming blogs" has value, but because it was asked at the time when people were looking for a more forum-like community, and the boundries were loosly defined, the informative aspect of the question wasn't addressed, and now those top answers are setting the tone.

I modified the wording of my question, but now the effect is that there's a question with lots of high-rated answers that clearly don't answer it, and yet they are there because they were originally on topic. (EDIT: reverted to the original, asked a new question)

What do you think we should do about it? Create a new question? Ask the authors of each answer to re-evaluate it? Leave it as it is?

  • 1
    You started a good discussion here. I will think about that and answer tomorrow.
    – Maniero
    Commented Oct 9, 2010 at 5:33
  • 3
    I'd try a new question. Something like "What are some good realistic programming movies (docu-dramas, documentaries, accurate fiction, etc)?" Commented Oct 9, 2010 at 23:40

2 Answers 2


In this case, with so many answers, it doesn't make sense to reword the question in a way that invalidates a lot of answers; anyone coming to the question in the future will be confused by the answers. Retroactively deleting answers doesn't seem the right thing to do either. Why not ask a new question, specifically about documentaries? In your question, link to your previous question and this discussion so that no-one hastily closes it as a dupe. Then, if the fun police think your first question is not constructive, it can be closed separately.


2014 Update :

TL;DR: I think the question, and its sanitized version, should remain be closed as unconstructive, and undeleted.

Even though the linked question was closed, it looks like the fun police deleted it. Wayback Machine has it, but sadly it won't show up in search results.


They also deleted the follow-up question that @Paddyslacker recommended.


That remained open for at least two months, so it seems to me that deletion was an attempt to rewrite history.

  • 2
    Those questions are polls which are a poor fit for the Q&A format of Stack Exchange. They aren't good questions. There are other places such as quora where such a question would likely be acceptable. Having such polling "what is your favorite XYZ" question diminishes the value of Stack Exchange's brand for problems and solutions.
    – user40980
    Commented Sep 5, 2014 at 17:30
  • 3
    I would also point to this history. The questions as asked on the first day of the beta and closed as part of the clean up of the new scope guidelines when it realized that the Not Programming Related site really wasn't going to work. It was later deleted as part of the on going (still to this day) cleanup of questions that really don't fit in the SE model. I would also suggest giving Are you still confused about what Programmers is for? a read.
    – user40980
    Commented Sep 5, 2014 at 17:49
  • @MichaelT Your comment deserves to be an answer in itself. Mine and Paddyslacker 's answers are merely opinions. Yours is factual. (I am afraid I am still confused, but less so.)
    – dcorking
    Commented Sep 6, 2014 at 8:29

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