faq says

it is not about

career advice, salary or compensation,

I see lots of career questions asked on programmers.stackexchange, some closed, many not.

For example,




Switching to a career in Machine Learning

Why are all of the good career-related threads closed?

So I'm a bit confused on their interpretation of "career advice". When is a question about one's career qualify as career advice, and when does it not. For these [career] questions, what does your decision-to-close tree look like?


1 Answer 1


This is where the diagram on the Help Center comes into play.

enter image description here

Generally the accepted definition of what is acceptable here, whether it be career advice or not, is within the blue area of the diagram below.

I am having trouble convincing senior members of the team to go into crunch mode, how can I deal with senior members that are not willing to work 60+ hour work weeks to get the software project done?

On the surface you can clearly tell that this was written by a software developer or somebody that leads them. Really though this could apply to any type of project work, therefore if falls in the All Careers circle.

What is the best keyboard for programmers?

This one is even broader and applies to All People.

This one job is offerring me $50k per year but is in Indiana where the cost of living is cheaper and the job is more stable. Meanwhile I got another offer for $80k at a startup in Palo Alto but I will learn more cutting edge technologies. Decide my life for me!

This one is Too Localized and is unlikely to help future visitors in any way. It applies to Just You.

Regardless Career advice is unilaterally off topic as of this moment. It wasn't always so on this site so it is unrealistic to expect that every off topic question is going to be moderated. We do miss a number of questions from time to time so don't let a lack of moderator action confuse you on this.

As far as a decision close tree, the home page gets populated with questions that have recent activity. Often when an older off topic question gets some activity then it gets bumped where either a moderator sees it and decides to deal with it, or a concerned community member flags it for moderator attention or just votes to close it. There is also a Review feature that higher reputation community members can use to evaluate potentially problematic content and either take action or flag for moderator attention.

Moderators tend to only deal with the flags that come up but we don't necessarily need a flag to take action right away.

  • 3
    "Career advice is unilaterally off topic as of this moment" - When did this change? I thought career-advice was off-topic however questions about a programmer's career-development were on-topic. Career-advice is suggestions you give someone to help them make a decision for their localized situation. Career-development questions are questions that could apply to just about every programmer, and help their professional career-growth.
    – Rachel
    Commented Mar 13, 2013 at 11:59
  • @Rachel as of now, it is probably just safer to ask career development questions at Workplace: 95 open questions of total 120 look like a wide open door. One certain benefit of WP is that there, one would not need to walk on the thin ice scrupulously calculating whether question is sufficiently unique for programmers or heaven forbid it somehow smells like a bit too much at the "All Careers" part of diagram
    – gnat
    Commented Mar 13, 2013 at 12:28
  • I wouldn't be surprised if programmer-specific career questions get closed on workplace. A big reason I started visiting programmers was for all questions related to the "programmer" that were considered off-topic on stackoverflow, including career questions. Now (was it always?) career questions are off-limits here as well.
    – T. Webster
    Commented Mar 15, 2013 at 7:09
  • 1
    @T.Webster It wasn't always like this, but then things change and scope changed to address the fact that the front page was overwhelmed with mundane questions like, "What is a good keyboard for Programmers?" and "Should I learn PHP or ASP.NET? Decide my life for me!" were dominating and interesting questions about design, architecture, algorithms, projects, etc... were being under represented.
    – maple_shaft Mod
    Commented Mar 15, 2013 at 9:01
  • @T.Webster if things will ever turn that way, I'll be all for getting these questions back here at Programmers - exactly on the grounds you mentioned: "programmer-specific", that is (note I don't even claim these to be OT here now, I wrote "safer" and this is exactly what I meant to say). So far though things at WP don't give me reasons to worry
    – gnat
    Commented Mar 15, 2013 at 19:05
  • 1
    Good answer but as a policy this is super-specific and kind of silly. Stack careers has a decidedly tech-career-oriented bent and it's going to be hard for the average casual user to actually figure out what the line is or whether it actually exists. Maybe it's just a UI dev thing but IMO, you shouldn't have to read the damn FAQ to figure out what the subject matter actually is. Commented Jul 17, 2013 at 2:53
  • 2
    Why does the "FAQ" link go back to the prog.SE main page? I'm a bit confused.
    – Air
    Commented May 29, 2015 at 16:53
  • 4
    @Air This question is a bit out of date. The FAQ was replaced a few years ago with the Help Center. I updated the answer. Thanks for pointing this out!
    – maple_shaft Mod
    Commented May 29, 2015 at 17:03

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