Voting to close. See Are programming-related history/trivia questions acceptable on P.SE? That, along with the fact that this doesn't seem
to be related to a real problem, makes this off topic and not
constructive. – Caleb
The history of history questions has had a confused history in Programmers.SE. Closing because this is a history question based on one particular meta post may not capture the full scope of the history tag's history.
One of the earlier meta posts about history (September '10): How can historical questions be on topic? - with very few votes at the time (top voted answer has two as of this writing), there was no great consensus. There were two yes and two no.
One of the yes answers reads:
Yes. In general I don't see any reason why questions on programming
history should not be acceptable here.
(That said, if the answer is simple enough to be found on a wikipedia
page, I would possibly question it's merit from that perspective, but
that would have to be judged on a case by case basis)
From July '11 Are programming-related history/trivia questions acceptable on P.SE?
The accepted answer by
user8 (site moderator back then) reads
Any question that's trivia, by definition, would be any that ask about
unimportant (i.e. trivial) facts and matters. Those would be
prohibited and should be closed as not constructive:
You should only ask practical, answerable questions based on actual
problems that you face. Chatty, open-ended questions diminish the
usefulness of our site and push other questions off the front page.
That said, a question stops being trivia the moment an actual,
solvable problem is defined: that is, if one tells us why you want to
know X or how knowing X solves Y problem, the question is a whole lot
This question includes a follow up comment:
I think it can be justifiable in some cases; for example in the
foo/bar example, indicating that you keep seeing foo and bar in code
you're looking at and wish to understand more about it is not that
fundamentally different than indicating you keep seeing some
particular coding technique in code you're looking at and wish to
understand more about it. – Jeff Atwood♦ Jul 30 '11 at 6:43
In March of 2012, a question of a specific history question was raised in meta - Is the question about statements being terminated by semicolons appropriate for Programmers?
There is lots of text and comments which should be read to get the full scope of the post. It does have some useful quotes in referencing a chat from user2334 (aka user8).
Save for the accepted answer, I thought the semicolons question was
pretty good. Programming history has always been an overlooked aspect
of Programmers's scope.
More recently, in May of 2012, there was a contest that included a week dedicated to history questions.
Tangentially, word origin questions have had some meta posts. Most recently (Feb '13), Are word origin questions on-topic?
Examining my own votes on the various questions and opinions, I've been inconsistent in my opinions of history and origin questions. However, if I was to try to find a common thread to this it can be seen in a recent chat message:
The biggest problem that I perceive with it is a lack of research / utility. That is a difficult thing to fix.
@SomeKittens "Why" questions are especially challenging for historical things - that unless one is able to find documentation to state it one way or another, it is mostly speculation. Speculation can have a multitude of answers, all of which equally correct in speculation. That is difficult to fit into the SE Q&A format.
Questions that are likely to become speculation or don't demonstrate sufficient research (despite the interesting topic) I frown upon, while ones that show that they can be answered substantially should be open. I'd be fast to close and fast to reopen to let someone try to answer it substantially.
Closing because it is a history question I don't see as a justifiable reason.