This question apparently received 5 close votes without a single comment explaining why it deserves to be closed.

It's a very good question, and it's gotten some very good answers, and most important, it's from a new user who genuinely wants to learn and improve himself, which is the entire point of this site. The last thing we want to do is scare people like that off by giving the impression that they and their questions are not welcome here. Can we get this reopened please?

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    Love the sentiment, but how does the user being new or the answer being good have anything to do with the question being on or off topic? – yannis Nov 29 '12 at 0:45
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    It's a good question, and if that is off-topic per our definition, as Thomas Owens suggests, then we need to fix the definition. That's a more relevant question, and more important to have on here and get answers to, than 90% of the stuff I see on PSE. And as for the second part of the question, I've been around the Internet long enough to have seen what happens when a community drives new users away too readily. It inevitably decays until it becomes almost a ghost town, inhabited by a bizarre, insular mix of curmudgeonly old-timers and rampaging trolls. Every time. I don't want that for PSE. – Mason Wheeler Nov 29 '12 at 0:53
  • Not sure I agree with the ghost town prophecy. Programmers SE is growing, and it wouldn't be happening if all of the questions and answers were low quality... – jmort253 Nov 29 '12 at 4:05
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    if memory serves, I for one voted for not constructive. Whenever I have seen stuff like "What should I do? How to step into real life and learn how to program?", question answers were quickly degraded into ocean of bullshit, with rare pearls being buried deep under sand. I can't see how this one would end differently... unless maybe covered by mod protection notice – gnat Nov 29 '12 at 8:10
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    @gnat: That's not "buried deep under sand", it's the #1 rated answer. It's the first thing that you see, under the default sort order, which, if you agree that that's a "pearl" of an answer, is how SE is supposed to work. That's not a sign of something being wrong, that's a sign that everything is fine and working as designed. – Mason Wheeler Nov 29 '12 at 12:21
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    @MasonWheeler well besides yours, there are at least two other answers I like. And yes, these two are buried. and no, I am not going to vote these up - because I don't go to Prog.SE to play polling games – gnat Nov 29 '12 at 12:59
  • @MasonWheeler another thing worth taking into account is your current, fair #1 is somewhat "protected" by question closure. Think of what could happen if someone would post new, "smart" populist answer, with images, jokes and stuff? or if a question gets an occasional drop from some celebrity "yo I started like you and look at me, now I am lead programmer in Goocrosoft, you see it's possible". Next thing you'd likely see will be crowds of passers-by bumping that crap up with hundreds upvotes – gnat Nov 29 '12 at 13:58
  • @Gnat: If there's a bad answer, someone can flag it and it'll be deleted. Again, the system works just fine. (And if someone posts a better answer than mine and it gets more votes than mine does, I'd be fine with that. I'm already in the top 5 all-time users; it's not like I need the rep or something...) – Mason Wheeler Nov 29 '12 at 14:02
  • @MasonWheeler well with ~2K helpful flags and 3 marshal badges I know a bit or two about deletion. And thing is, system is not designed to delete bad answers, these are expected to be dealt with voting. Now, if the question is stated so that it allows low-quality populist stuff to be presented as legally valid answer ("not constructive" questions are often like that, and in particular one you ask about), then voting evaluation gets broken too ("The Trouble With Popularity", y'know)... – gnat Nov 29 '12 at 14:26
  • ...You see, the problem is not that it could gather answers even better like yours (if it would be so I'd probably be first to vote reopen), it is that question will attract low quality, formally legal, populist answers, burying real good stuff under thoughtless upvotes, making it an unmanageable mess filled with low-effort opinions, motivational speeches and inspirational quotes – gnat Nov 29 '12 at 14:27
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    I've been around the Internet long enough to have seen what happens when a community drives new users away too readily. It inevitably decays until it becomes almost a ghost town, inhabited by a bizarre, insular mix of curmudgeonly old-timers and rampaging trolls. - Yep. I don't think that's happening here, but it is happening on Workplace.SE. – Jim G. Nov 30 '12 at 2:46
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    @jmort253 About the Quantcast data, someone was bringing up some interesting points about it in chat the other day. He noticed that although our number of "People" is growing, the ratio of "Visits" per person is significantly lower than it once was, meaning more people are just one-time visitors. Sure we advertise more and have much more content, however we are not retaining users at the rate we used to, nor are they participating as much. Data.SE has finally been updated, so you can run the queries I have here for proof if you want. – Rachel Nov 30 '12 at 15:04

It's off-topic, per the FAQ.

Explaining to people how to learn software development doesn't fall into any of the categories that are listed as on-topic. The things that are enumerated as on-topic are all about performing the work of software development, not learning how to perform the work of software development. Although I believe that a good software developer should be able to teach how he does his work to others, it falls out of the scope of what's listed as on-topic.

The FAQ also specifically mentions that questions about "what language/technology you should learn next" and "what project you should do next" and "career advice" do not belong here on Programmers. Explaining how to learn to program (or how to learn any aspect of software development) falls into all of these.

Based on the number of answers (9 in 20 hours - indications of lack of norming on an answer) and the fact that different people learn differently and there's no right or wrong ways to learn something, I'd also call this question not constructive.

My own personal opinion is that someone who is in the situation of the person asking the question (graduating from a "good school" with a "high GPA") should know how to learn and study a topic (which would include reading questions here on Programmers and Stack Overflow) and ask specific, answerable questions that meet the guidelines of the site.

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    See my response to Yannis's comment. If that's off-topic per our definition, then the definition is bad and needs to be fixed. – Mason Wheeler Nov 29 '12 at 0:55
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    @MasonWheeler When a question is closed, it is closed with regards to what is considered on-topic. If you think the site scope needs to be adjusted, define it and propose it here on Meta. However, until there is a change, we have to judge questions against some bar and that bar is how we define the site in the FAQ. – Thomas Owens Mod Nov 29 '12 at 1:00

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