The FAQ States the Following:

What kind of questions can I ask here?

Programmers — Stack Exchange is a site for professional programmers who are interested in getting expert answers on conceptual questions about software development. If you have a question about...

I am proposing we drop the word "professional" from that.

Professional is defined as :

participating for gain or livelihood in an activity or field of endeavor often engaged in by amateurs

We clearly are not enforcing this standard in any way, so i am proposing we drop the word.

  • On a related note, that word used to be "expert" and it got removed as part of another meta proposal a while back: Removing the word "expert" from the site description
    – Rachel
    Commented Nov 2, 2012 at 13:14
  • On the one hand I want to downvote this, because I disagree we should drop the word professional from the faq, but on the other I want to upvote it, because I think what you really want is for us to be stricter about enforcing the site's standards. When in doubt, I'll go with an upvote, so +1 ;)
    – Roc Martí
    Commented Nov 2, 2012 at 13:20
  • @RocMartí keep the down vote.. this afternoon I'll ask a new question on enforcement.
    – Morons
    Commented Nov 2, 2012 at 13:23
  • 1
    possible duplicate of Programmers tag line is misleading. Can we rephrase it?
    – user8
    Commented Nov 2, 2012 at 17:21
  • I have a genuine curiosity, I am not for or against this, but at what point does any SE site get to enforcing so many criteria that the good answerable questions are drowned out in the closed ones, or that even skilled experts no longer have a very good chance of being able to ask helpful questions within the definition of the site. Not saying we're reaching that, rather just pondering where the line is, and whether or not we should be concerned with reaching it. I'm reminded of how sometimes in code you need near-enough checks to get the data you need rather than the data you already know. Commented Nov 5, 2012 at 22:15

2 Answers 2


How about we start enforcing our standards instead?

You've dropped a question in chat that you clearly feel isn't up to our standards, yet you didn't vote to close it, flag it, or down vote it. Why do you expect other people to enforce our standards if you don't?

While the dictionary definition of "professional" is simple enough, it's still open to interpretation and we can't really force our individual standards on anyone. As a community though, we can enforce our community standards, and every individual vote (up/down/close/re-open) counts towards a sense of consensus.

  • +1!!!! In that case can we add the Definition of Professorial to the FAQ?
    – Morons
    Commented Nov 2, 2012 at 12:25
  • 1
    Also, can we add that as a "Close Reason"? Does not meet the "Professorial" Standard.
    – Morons
    Commented Nov 2, 2012 at 12:27
  • 1
    @Morons The definition of professional is different for everyone, since you clearly feel that question doesn't fit your definition, you should down vote it (I have, when it was first asked, I agree with you it's a crap question). That's exactly what downvotes are for, professionals are expected to do at least some minor research and put some effort to solve their own problems prior to asking.
    – yannis
    Commented Nov 2, 2012 at 12:28
  • @Morons It already is. The close reason for off-topic is that the question does not fit with the scope defined in the FAQ. NARQ can also be used in many cases.
    – Thomas Owens Mod
    Commented Nov 2, 2012 at 12:29
  • @YannisRizos professional is not a subjective term. Check 10 dictionaries you will get 10 consistent definitions.
    – Morons
    Commented Nov 2, 2012 at 12:31
  • @ThomasOwens that's a good point. what is NARQ?
    – Morons
    Commented Nov 2, 2012 at 12:43
  • @Morons Not A Real Question.
    – yannis
    Commented Nov 2, 2012 at 12:44

I for one am interested in answers that may help my work in professional environment.

Hey if you code just for fun, you are free to forget all this boring stuff from Joel Test - version control, issue tracking, code reviews etc. Oh and testing isn't that important as you may read from some elitist professionals here - trust me, none of bat scripts I wrote for my needs has been passed through any formal QA but all three of them work just fine.

Current FAQ wording allows me to downvote garbage like above and even come to meta and complain, requesting it to be deleted.

I think dropping the word "professional" would open up doors for it, that's why I am against.

  • 1
    I agree.. @Yannis is right, better to start enforcing a the Professional Standard
    – Morons
    Commented Nov 2, 2012 at 12:55
  • 3
    @Morons well this may be a bit too late for me. I mean, I look into my profile, it says "10,910 Votes Cast / 3,413 up, 7,497 down / 6,913 question, 3,997 answer". That's quite a bit of... enforcement don't you think? Now, when I look into your profile I think better to start indeed ("104 Votes Cast...")
    – gnat
    Commented Nov 2, 2012 at 14:33
  • 2
    I don't down vote questions.. I firmly believe there is no such thing as a bad question. So if its off topic i vote to close. Even in this case, i say vote to close, don't down vote.
    – Morons
    Commented Nov 2, 2012 at 14:37
  • 1
    @Morons well sorry but it looks like you just don't vote much at all. Not downvoting questions? fine I can understand your reasoning - but, you neither upvote them. And, well, there are answers, what about voting these? ~100 votes in about two years, give me a break - as an active voter I find this almost insulting
    – gnat
    Commented Nov 2, 2012 at 14:42
  • I have high standards is all. :)
    – Morons
    Commented Nov 2, 2012 at 14:44
  • @Morons well maybe it's about time to utilize your standards to enforce (by voting) the way how you would want P.SE to be. For example, I did that and it worked for me - currently site is more or less about how I would want it to be
    – gnat
    Commented Nov 2, 2012 at 15:53
  • so we have YOU to blame!!
    – Morons
    Commented Nov 2, 2012 at 15:54
  • @Morons you got it about right. :) Regarding blame, don't forget also to accuse Mark Trapp. And don't forget about top 10-20 voters, too
    – gnat
    Commented Nov 2, 2012 at 15:58
  • 2
    Just a note in regards to "maybe it's about time to utilize your standards to enforce (by voting) the way how you would want P.SE to be" - Don't vote posts based on how you want the site to be. Vote based on what the up/down vote tooltips say - the question is/isn't clear, useful, or shows research effort, and if the answer is/isn't useful. Those tooltips exist for a reason. If you think the question shouldn't belong on the site, vote to close it and leave a constructive comment. Or bring it up on meta. Or in chat. Just don't vote based on how you think the site should be.
    – Rachel
    Commented Nov 2, 2012 at 17:47
  • 2
    thanks @Rachel that's a very important point. "How you think site should be" comes as indirect consequence of voting based on how one evaluates content. Skipping that part and voluntarily casting votes based on other criteria will more likely damage the site than improve it
    – gnat
    Commented Nov 2, 2012 at 17:54

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