I am writing a Python script for downloading a website for offline viewing and changing the links in the downloaded webpages for proper links between the downloaded webpages. I don't know the technical term for this so I asked this question.

  • There was some debate in the comments about whether it is on-topic or not before the comments were purged.
  • One moderator wasn't sure whether to close the question while another moderator closed the question.
  • There seems to be some consensus on this meta question that "name that thing" questions should be allowed. Mine isn't about naming a thing but for finding out the proper technical term for a process that I am trying to do. If "name that thing" is allowed then asking "technical term for this thing" should also be allowed.

I was also told that my question isn't programming related.

I want to know if the answers to my questions are correct i.e. the process that I am trying to do is web-crawling or archiving then how is it not programming related? As far as I know search engines do web-crawling for their work. Then if the argument is that what I am doing isn't programming related then are search engines not programming related?

How does the community define programming-related? Are technical terms excluded?

How is my question off-topic?

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    – yannis
    Commented Jul 30, 2013 at 9:36
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    when there is no overwhelming common agreement on a technical term for something, questions about these tend to blow up into unlimited brainstorming, where everyone just pops up to share their oh so unique opinion
    – gnat
    Commented Jul 30, 2013 at 9:39
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    @gnat If a person doesn't know the technical term how can he know whether there is an established technical term? People can answer that there are various terms commonly used but there is no established term. No reason to disallow such questions. Commented Jul 30, 2013 at 9:48
  • @AseemBansal for the reason to disallow, take a look at Help Center -> What types of questions should I avoid asking?: "avoid asking subjective questions where ... every answer is equally valid..." As soon as question falls into this category, it's perfectly eligible for closing, no matter what asker thought or knew (I'd add that it's generally quite a bad idea to judge questions quality on what askers think - if they would know better, they wouldn't ask)
    – gnat
    Commented Jul 30, 2013 at 10:07
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    @gnat Every answer will be equally valid if there is no established term. If there is an established term then there will only be one correct answer and multiple answers will result merely because of people repeating others or giving different explanation for the technical term. Just because there is a class of such questions doesn't make all such questions go against the scope defined in the FAQ. Commented Jul 30, 2013 at 10:12
  • @AseemBansal yes, on that I agree. When there is an accepted term, such questions seem to fly reasonably well. That makes handling these somewhat slippery I think - like Russian roulette.
    – gnat
    Commented Jul 30, 2013 at 10:16
  • @gnat It does make it slippery but that's what the community is for. We can take care of that. An OP cannot know whether there is an established term or not because if he knew he wouldn't be asking the question in the first place. Like I said if there isn't any term we can just say there isn't any established term for this. Not allowing questions with established terms is IMO against the FAQ. Commented Jul 30, 2013 at 10:20
  • @AseemBansal "we can just say there isn't any established term" -- that's precisely where your reasoning fails. Who's "we"? and how can "we" (who?) make an authoritative statement on this? Next thing you'll see after someone posting "there isn't..." answer will be some guy to pop up and complain, hey where I work we all use term foobar for that, all 10 (100, 1000...) guys around me agree, now that's a standard. And then next guy will pop up with other version (barfoo). And then next, and so on and so on until your head explodes. "Every answer is equally valid" - this is it
    – gnat
    Commented Jul 30, 2013 at 10:31
  • possible duplicate of "Name that thing" questions
    – gnat
    Commented Jan 16, 2014 at 7:20
  • Possible duplicate of On the troubles of naming and terminology
    – gnat
    Commented May 25, 2019 at 7:35

2 Answers 2


These are catch-22 type questions.

As the OP, you don't know what you don't know. So how would you know if there was a term for XYZ or not?

On the other hand, this theme of questioning can quickly denigrate into worthless drivel.

The challenge is if there is a term, it's answerable, constructive, and generally on-topic. But if it doesn't exist, then you're effectively trying to prove a negative.

A better way to approach your question would have been to present what you're doing and what term(s) you think apply. Then asking for verification on usage of the term. That's answerable, constructive, and shouldn't devolve into endless discussion. It also gives someone the ability to answer with "No, what you're doing is Foo not Bar"

Presenting the question like that demonstrates you've done at least some research and you're not just relying on the community to google things for you.

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    I did that. I explained what I was doing and presented a term that I thought it was. I just added that I have been told that it wasn't that and I was confused. You can check that. I just phrased the question differently. Any suggestions about where I went wrong? Commented Jul 30, 2013 at 15:40
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    @AseemBansal What makes you think you did anything wrong? Just because a question gets closed doesn't necessarily mean you 'went wrong', just that the question doesn't end up being useful for the community, for exactly the reasons given here.
    – Eric King
    Commented Jul 30, 2013 at 20:10

These kinds of questions essentially boil down to "what terms should I Google for?" They are an indirect proxy for resource requests, which are specifically off-topic.

The experts are here to provide insight on conceptual programming topics, not to point you to where you can find that insight elsewhere.

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