This question on networking at conferences was not closed, but this one I just posted was closed.

First, what is a better forum for that closed question?

Second, I'm assuming that the first one should have been closed too, but it wasn't because it is a bit older and this site is more deletionist now than it was. Do we really want to be this strict? There's a lot of good info in the answers to the first one--info I wouldn't have found anywhere else.

I'm assuming there's already been debates here on how strict we should be. Can someone point out those discussions?

  • 3
    What does deletionism has to do with anything, your question was closed, not deleted.
    – yannis
    Commented Jan 18, 2013 at 14:37
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    There are actually many meta posts related to how strict we should be. But I'm not sure if any of them are recent. The last time I tried to do anything about it, a moderator said he didn't think our closure rate was a problem (Over 50% of questions are closed, deleted, or downvoted-below-0 here)
    – Rachel
    Commented Jan 18, 2013 at 15:52
  • 3
    Call it deletionism or "closism" - same concept. Commented Jan 18, 2013 at 15:57
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    Patrick did you happen to read the FAQ before posting your question? I can understand that seeing a similar open question may have confused your into thinking that yours would be suitable for the site as well, but is there anything in the FAQ that you feel makes either question on topic?
    – yannis
    Commented Jan 18, 2013 at 18:31
  • @PatrickSzalapski Actually, the networking question was recently closed.
    – user7007
    Commented Jan 18, 2013 at 20:03
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    @GlennNelson - Yes, it was closed after this post drew attention to it. Commented Jan 18, 2013 at 20:46
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    @YannisRizos - yes, but I'd rather get some answers. I think the FAQ (if interpreted strictly) is too strict. Commented Jan 18, 2013 at 20:47
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    @PatrickSzalapski "I'd rather get some answers" well as an asker I think you better be aware that SE model considers answerer's satisfaction with question quality more important than that of the asker. Refer here for more details if you interested, "Optimizing For Pearls, Not Sand" etc
    – gnat
    Commented Jan 18, 2013 at 22:11
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    I think the 2011 post I cited above, now closed, is a pearl. Too bad. Commented Jan 19, 2013 at 3:58
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    I'm having trouble understanding what the point is of programmers.stackexchange. I have seen questions closed for subjectivity, or because they would just cause debate and not be a Q/A type of format. Maybe I'm missing the point, but I thought that this forum was about programmers not technology. It's not very often that there is just a simple Question and Answer solution for human behavior. So I guess I would turn the OP's question around and ask "When should I use this site?" (and I'm not trying to be mean here -- text doesn't convey tone well. I'm truly a bit confused).
    – JMarsch
    Commented Jan 21, 2013 at 15:34
  • There are a lot of pretty good/fun questions on both SO, and Programmers SE that have been closed. I propose a new SE - Offtopic for questions that are offtopic for SO and PSE, but are nevertheless pretty informative, and/or funny.
    – elssar
    Commented Jan 21, 2013 at 16:59
  • @JMarsch Have you read our FAQ?
    – yannis
    Commented Jan 22, 2013 at 0:22
  • @elssar If you would like to propose a new site, Area 51 is where you should do it. I must warn you though that "Offtopic SE" has been proposed before, and SE has numerous times stated that they aren't interested in such a site.
    – yannis
    Commented Jan 22, 2013 at 0:24
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    Where can you ask subjective questions about software development and get good answers?
    – fordeka
    Commented Jan 23, 2013 at 14:09
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    @Ramhound I think there's a significant number of people (myself included), who would love to read the opinions of certain highly reputable people on subjective questions. Some questions are too high level to be answered with facts, or no real facts exist. They are not necessarily worthless questions, in fact, some of the most interesting questions on these sites fall into the "good subjective" category.
    – Daniel B
    Commented Jan 30, 2013 at 10:46

4 Answers 4


I've just deleted your question - for technical reasons.

You cross posted the question on The Workplace, and the community there seemed to welcome it. When I noticed, I migrated the Programmers version to the Workplace, and promptly voted to close it as a duplicate of the version you posted yourself. The question was closed a couple of hours after the migration, and then merged with its duplicate. That was the plan, a single version of the question with all its answers.

But a few minutes ago I noticed that the Programmers version of the question - that was supposed to be just a migration stub pointing to the merged version on The Workplace - was actually appearing in full, with no mention of the migration and closed as off topic. What had happened was that a Workplace moderator deleted the merge stub on their site, which for some reason also rejected the migration and brought the question back to Programmers. That's... not normal, the deletion of the stub shouldn't had rejected the migration, and I've already contacted Stack Exchange about it.

To avoid any further confusion, I've deleted the Programmers version of the question. For reference, the relevant links are:

Although I fully realize the irony of deleting the question, it was necessary to maintain some sanity, a single version of the question with all its answers.

Please do not cross post

Flag the question for mod attention and ask for it to be migrated, cross posts are messy.

  • Thanks for fixing that. It is further ironic that a few people said I should post it at Workplace, yet I should not cross-post! Heh, I understand, of course. Commented Jan 19, 2013 at 21:53

You guys have closed a lot of questions lately:

ym  Questions-closed
Jan-13  374
Dez-12  312
Nov-12  296
Okt-12  309
Sep-12  220
Aug-12  169
Jul-12  102
Jun-12  114
Mai-12  121
Apr-12  131
Mrz-12  268
Feb-12  206
Jan-12  256

SELECT year(Posts.ClosedDate) as y, month(Posts.ClosedDate) as m,  cast (year(Posts.ClosedDate) as  varchar(10)) + '/' + cast(month(Posts.ClosedDate) as varchar(19)) as ym,  count(CONCAT ('http://programmers.stackexchange.com/q/', Posts.Id)) as Questions
FROM PostHistory
JOIN Posts ON Posts.Id = PostHistory.PostId
WHERE Posts.ClosedDate >= '2012-01-01' 
--AND Posts.ClosedDate < '2012-12-01'
AND PostHistoryTypeId = 10
AND PostHistory.Comment != 1
group by year(Posts.ClosedDate), month(Posts.ClosedDate)
ORDER BY 1 desc, 2 desc

There is another reason why I think you guys are indeed too strict. When you look at the results of the recent stackoverflow survey, you'll see that 20% of respondents are working in 1-person teams (Question 8,9). 36% regularly interact with customers (Q10). This is a significant fraction.

Most people consider themselves as "full-stack web developers" (Q7), which -in my opinion- means they have to switch context often and take over many roles -put on the frontend/backend dev hat, but probably also the DBA hat, the security guy hat. Each of these roles often happen after some interactions of working programmers with their environments.

This simply means that these people must interact a lot with non-IT colleagues to get the job done. Many issues derive from these interactions. They simply won't be restricted to questions specific to programmers.

If you still try to achieve that goal (only permit questions specific to professional software developers), so be it. Then I'd expect you to close, say, 30% of all questions. That's just an estimate off the top of my head.

However, this mindset would certainly scare away a lot of developers who post their good allegedly "off-topic" questions here. So if one's first question is closed, the chance is quite high to have the second question also closed.

And remember that saying "go away" to these turned-down "SE citizens" also contradicts stackexchange inc's business model, which is, to make money via careers.stackoverflow.com ... by helping out professional programmers to find a better job.

  • 3
    Can you name three questions which were closed but shouldn't have been?
    – Jim G.
    Commented Jan 26, 2013 at 23:47
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    your data is likely flawed because it doesn't include deleted questions; see MSO feature request: Can some metadata about deleted posts be included in Data.SE?
    – gnat
    Commented Jan 28, 2013 at 5:42
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    Gnat's right, according to a moderator in chat, he deleted over 900+ questions in the last quarter. Since total questions in Data.SE for that quarter was just under 9000, that means you're missing roughly 10% of questions from Data.SE, all of which would be considered "bad". Also according to a recent post by a SE employee, our closed, deleted, or downvoted below 0 rate is actually over 50%
    – Rachel
    Commented Jan 30, 2013 at 12:57

Sometimes popular questions don't get closed, even if they are technically off topic. Sometimes the fate of a question depends on who gets to it first. That's a drawback of a community-moderated site. The newer question could have been closed as a duplicate of the first, but both of them clearly failed the test of the following venn diagram that's been the policy of this site as long as I've been here, at least:

venn diagram

Also, workplace stackexchange has come into being since the first question was posted. People tended to be more forgiving of off topic career questions before there was somewhere else to go. Again, that's the nature of a community-moderated site. Just because we haven't gone back and done a purge doesn't mean those questions are de facto on topic. If you notice, old questions like that are quickly closed when brought to our attention.

  • 3
    I think it fits in the blue part nicely. Commented Jan 19, 2013 at 3:56
  • @PatrickSzalapski The rule of thumb is, if you can replace "Programmers" with "Doctors", "Athletes", "Chefs", or any other profession and have the same question, it is off-topic. Virtually all professions have conferences and networking is not something unique to programmers.
    – user7007
    Commented Jan 19, 2013 at 4:06
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    I respect your judgment, but this just doesn't seem good to me. I'll try workplace. Commented Jan 19, 2013 at 4:21
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    The problem here is that it punishes people who asked a question a while ago, when such a question was on topic. (It certainly met the "good subjective/bad subjective" test which was the main means of keeping or throwing out a question at the time) If the claim is that "well now there is a place for such questions", than the older question should be migrated there, not closed. Commented Jan 19, 2013 at 18:10
  • @BillyONeal Unfortunately, migration for questions that are older than 60 days is no longer an option. At the same time, I don't see why closing an old question is "punishment", provided it's not deleted. There's no reason to delete the 2011 question in question, and we can even protect it from deletion with a historical lock if need be (right now, there's no such need, locking is the nuclear option).
    – yannis
    Commented Jan 20, 2013 at 19:33
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    @Yannis: Because it says right there to the asker "This question is inappropriate" -- with the subtext being "You should have never asked this." At least, the message in the close boxes seems to indicate that the asker has done something wrong. Commented Jan 23, 2013 at 20:43
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    @BillyONeal That's a very dramatic interpretation of the close notification text.
    – yannis
    Commented Jan 23, 2013 at 20:44
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    My biggest complaint is when general but interesting and relevant questions are closed just because there can never be a "definitive" right answer. Threads discussing matters such as the merits of a certain technology over another one are no doubt multi-faceted, but that doesn't mean that they lack merit just because they lack a clear answer. Open ended questions are often very important to programmers, yet on StackoverFlow we're browbeated into not asking them even when the resulting set of answers could help us be more successful in our work.
    – Kelseydh
    Commented Oct 22, 2015 at 7:47

I had to think a bit when I was reviewing your question.

On the one hand, the question is specific to programmers and is somewhat related to development.

On the other hand, it's not a constructive question. I can see a good answer being provided, but I'm not positive that answer would have the applicability or lasting value that we're seeking. Discussions about networking are kind of in the realm of "career advice" which are explicitly off-topic per the faq.

I didn't vote to close your question but I can see why others in the community did. FWIW, I have voted to close the older question as well.

It's worth pointing out that voting to close is not the same as recommending the deletion of a question. A closed question will remain, and others will be able to see it. A deleted question can only be seen by moderators and those with 10k+ reputation.

And you didn't get heavily down-voted on the question, so it's not like you asked a patently bad question. You were sitting at a +5/-3 split when I wrote this answer.

  • 1
    In regards to the "career advice" line in the FAQ, it should be noted that while career-advice is off-topic, career-development is on-topic providing it relates to the developer career development, such as I don't program in my spare time, does that make me a bad developer?. There was actually a meta question asked recently about the career-development tag, and I fully agree with SkyDan's answer there.
    – Rachel
    Commented Jan 18, 2013 at 15:32
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    So you wish that the earlier question had been closed immediately after creation, and those answers, including the one with a score of 42, should not have appeared on this site? Commented Jan 18, 2013 at 16:01
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    <<shrugs shoulders>> @PatrickSzalapski - I would ask that you not put words in my mouth. I didn't vote to close your question, but I'm not compelled to vote to re-open either. I voted to close the older question for the sake of consistency. The site continues to evolve, and the community frequently discusses the direction(s) it should head towards.
    – user53019
    Commented Jan 18, 2013 at 16:13
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    @GlenH7 Here's my problem with your last comment.... the community did not want to head in this direction. StackExchange is the one that pushed us in this direction, despite the communities wishes. You can read some of the meta posts in the accepted answer here for proof if you want. Note the differences in answers between Programmers.SE meta posts, and Meta.StackExchange meta posts. So although the community can discuss it all the want (and has... there are a lot of old meta posts about it), nothing is likely to change.
    – Rachel
    Commented Jan 18, 2013 at 17:32
  • @Rachel - I understand the points you are making, and I don't disagree with any of them. Apologies if you felt I was gilding over those changes. I didn't want to re-open those discussions within the context of this question as that would devolve into a complete conversation hijack.
    – user53019
    Commented Jan 18, 2013 at 17:39
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    @GlenH7 Sorry for steering the conversation off track a bit :) I just felt the need to point out that the Programmers community has tried and failed many times in the past to be "less strict". In fact, that was this site's original purpose - a less-strict Q&A site for StackOverflow users who wanted to ask non-programming questions of other programmers. But that really wasn't in accordance with SE's goal for high-quality laser-focused question and answer sites, so the scope got changed.
    – Rachel
    Commented Jan 18, 2013 at 17:50
  • Yep, the bottom line is that there were lots of good answers to the 2011 post linked above, but now due to the judgment of five people, it is closed, and my similar question was closed right away. I am left with no idea where I could go to get answers to this question. Commented Jan 18, 2013 at 20:44
  • My problem with the "its not deleted yet" argument is that there are a lot of questions that end up deleted because there are users with 10k+ who reflexively click the delete button when they see a closed question. Commented Jan 19, 2013 at 18:05

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