Back in February, there was a discussion about the "freelancing and business concerns" bullet point in the list of things that are on-topic. All four answers identified that this was somewhat problematic, however there really wasn't an overwhelming popular opinion on what to do. So, in light of that, I'm going to rephrase the question differently:

Can anyone provide examples of freelancing and business concerns questions that require the expertise of a professional working in the field of software development, that do not require expertise in business, law, finance, marketing, or another non-software-related domain, and meet the other criteria for a good question?

  • 1
    It might be worth mentioning that other than The Workplace and OnStartups, we now have a sister site for Freelancing. If we can't come up with specific examples of freelancing and business questions that are unique to our profession, we have a lot more options for them than we had, say, a year ago.
    – yannis
    Jun 24, 2013 at 16:57
  • @YannisRizos I'll edit that into my answer. If freelancing is moved to off-topic, OnStartups and Freelancing can be mentioned in the help center as possible alternatives.
    – Thomas Owens Mod
    Jun 24, 2013 at 17:02

5 Answers 5


So let's start with the biggest hitter in

I would argue this is primarily about issues that come up within freelance programming that aren't likely to be seen in other programming models.

This one gets into the aspects of ethics, billing, and valuing experience. Arguably on the edge due to the potential for picking up less-than-satisfactory answers.

Is another that could still work as a question without the freelancing tag, but the freelancing aspect adds a nuance to the relationships and their interplay.

Arguably not constructive, but certainly informative from a freelancing point of view.

Quite solid for freelancing. While it deals with contract managements, it's particular nuance relates to programming and that's why I'd argue it belongs here.

There are quite a few more in the ~25 vote category of that I think are on-topic because of the freelancing tag and have specific programming nuances that ought to keep them on our site.

Yes, it can be a problematic tag but there are some valuable questions that we get by having it as part of our scope.

  • Is there, perhaps, some better way of expressing "business and freelance concerns" in the Help Center?
    – Thomas Owens Mod
    Jun 24, 2013 at 18:19
  • @ThomasOwens - likely. I'll try to cogitate something. Might require a few sentences though to help handle scope.
    – user53019
    Jun 24, 2013 at 18:22
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    @ThomasOwens - how's this for consideration? And kudos to Rachel, as her answer to the older question formed the basis of this. "Freelance and business concerns that require a programmer's perspective in order to be answered are welcome. Questions that are best answered by a non-programmer (such as a project manager, financial advisor, marketing / sales, lawyer, etc….) are not welcome as that expertise is outside of the community's knowledge base."
    – user53019
    Jun 25, 2013 at 2:42
  • That's already part of the help center: "a site for professional programmers", "conceptual questions about software development", "make sure your question uniquely applies to programmers in general", and this picture. So perhaps just keep closing the ones that don't fit that criteria and keep pointing it out is the right way to go, since there are a significant number of good, on-topic business/freelancing questions. Perhaps the FAQ should point out Freelancing anyway, as an alternative?
    – Thomas Owens Mod
    Jun 25, 2013 at 10:54
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    just keep closing the ones that don't fit that criteria and keep pointing it out is the right way to go seems to be a viable solution to me. I want to make sure P.SE can keep getting good questions in those subject areas, but I also want to see SE grow so pointing out those alternatives makes sense to me too.
    – user53019
    Jun 25, 2013 at 11:12

No. All freelancing and business questions are either not unique to the software development profession, require a combination of knowledge and experience outside of software development (such as business, law, finance, accounting, project management), or are localized to particular geopolitical areas.

However, there may be business aspects that are on-topic due to being covered in other areas that are on topic due to other areas (such as software project estimation or risk management).

If "business and freelancing" becomes off-topic, suggest OnStartups and Freelancing as possible alternatives.

  • Burninate! 0xFF Jun 24, 2013 at 16:55
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    @JimmyHoffa I'd like to. I'd really like to. When I get to manage scope, I descope ALL THE THINGS.
    – Thomas Owens Mod
    Jun 24, 2013 at 16:56

The "freelancing and business concerns" bullet should be removed from the faq.

It is perfectly fine for a question to mention that work is freelance if it helps provide context to a conceptual question about software development.


What about areas of management that are better off with a certain amount of software developement knowledge? For instance one of the questions GlenH7 posted:

•How to improve relationships between consultants and staff programmers

You could find a project manager, life coach or self-help guru to answer this question, but they tend to screw this up because of their lack of understanding about the people who develop software. The approached used on the sales and marketing team is probably going to fail. Given enough time and possibly learning how to write a little code, I guess they could figure it out. You're more than likely to find people who have experience with this and give a much better answer because they are programmers.

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