I asked a question last night which I believe was worthwhile and could have received some interesting responses, but sadly it was swiftly stamped on by the community. I'm doing my best to figure out how I can word it so that it gets the chance to capture any positive input from members of the community.

From the comments and the reason for closure I am certain that the majority of the blame lies in the way I worded the question (I am doing all I can to remedy that)

  • I originally used the term "project" which was slightly misleading
  • I included the option of answering with links

I can basically understand the reason for the question being closed but I could also really use some help and I don't believe I am the only person who would benefit from a quality answer. I'm doing all the training myself, the how, why and where, but I'm stuck on an the what.

If this site really is unsuitable for such technical questions then maybe someone could at least suggest where I can ask this question (I don't think chat has a wide enough audience).

Here's the question in it's current form:

Training material for a teenager

I've started teaching my son to write code. I've decided on the languages and do not need to start any discussions on that - the general route through the languages will be

  • node.js & javascript
  • twitter bootstrap
  • Python
  • C# (at this point all development will become test driven)

What I am looking for are ideas for training material from personal experience - probably fictional solutions with clearly defined modules that eventually meld into a complete solution.

You can't google an answer to this question and this site would seem to be the best place in the world to ask for help from people who may know.

  • 2
    I might suggest that you check out The Whiteboard for such things. There is really no editing away from this question what we are actively trying to avoid on this site, but people in chat will more than likely give you some interesting opinions if that is what you are after.
    – maple_shaft Mod
    Commented Feb 4, 2014 at 10:35

2 Answers 2


(this got a bit big to put into a comment... so...)

One of the first key differences to realize between SO and... well... the rest of the Stack Exchange network of sites is that SO is many times larger than the other sites. Stack Overflow creates 8k questions/day - or one P.SE every 4 days. With such volume most questions on Stack Overflow never get much attention.

Thus from this comment...

@RobertHarvey I've been here twice. Got 4 up votes for an answer and 4 down votes for a question. When I do something silly or wrong on stackoverflow I can understand the odd anonymous drive by down vote or deafening silence but 4 down votes and gone in 60 seconds for my question - I just don't agree with the philosophy

On P.SE you can vote on almost every single question every single day without using up all your votes. P.SE has vote/view ratio compared to the rest of the network and sites its size (see Why are votes per post on the decrease (what can we do to improve this)? - full image at https://i.sstatic.net/SRLlM.png ). Having a post get +4 or -4 is not uncommon. P.SE is more generous with both upvotes and downvotes than Stack Overflow because we have more per question.

P.SE gets quite a few career / education questions. Unfortunately, outside of a few broad ones that keep popping up ("should I get a certificate?") every single one is different. The person is asking about their background information, their situation, their plans for the future. A stereotypical question goes like:

I have a CS degree and spent a few years in tech support, now I got a job working with php. I know some C, but I haven't used it in a few years. What do I need to study to get a job doing embedded programming? or maybe operating system design?

The problem is that this is an "I" question. If any parameter changes (no degree, worked in finance, knows some java and uses it currently, looking for a job in biotech) the question becomes useless to them.

Thus, the difficulty with career questions in general. From Are Career Advice questions useful to anyone except the poster? :

Beyond that, the general rule of thumb should be whether the question can help others in a similar situation. If the circumstances surrounding the question are too specific to the question asker such that there is no way to generalize and answer the question, they should be closed as too localized.

Too localized doesn't exist anymore, but we do have the 'close as career / education advice' which is designed to address this particular and common occurrence.

The key problem with these questions is that they require a dense, two way conversation to get all of the particulars to that out. The Q&A part of the site is poorly designed (intentionally so) for such conversations - it is optimized for "Here is a question, here is an answer".

Please realize that chat is one of the resources that we have available to ask such questions. This supports the dense conversations that are available and provides a way for people to give opinions.



  1. Questions asking for a list of things
  2. Requests for anecdotes and personal experiences
  3. Polls
  4. Requests for links to external resources

All of these things make a question too broad and overly opinionated, and will likely draw close votes.

  • 2
    #5: Educational (or career) information that is particular to your situation. This may lead to off topic votes. If you have decided "javascript then boostrap then python then C#" any answers would become very specific to just your question and difficult to use for a wider audience.
    – user40980
    Commented Feb 3, 2014 at 18:04
  • @MichaelT there are many many ideas that can be implemented in a variety of languages. Another idea I have had is to add the term "client/server/presentation" to the question and remove the language restrictions but it's clear that I'm flogging a dead horse.
    – qujck
    Commented Feb 4, 2014 at 21:49
  • 1
    @qujck: There are many places on the Internet where people can ask for recommendations of all kinds. They are a mess, for the most part, and the experts seldom go there. Commented Feb 4, 2014 at 21:51
  • @RobertHarvey I know - they're all here! ;-)
    – qujck
    Commented Feb 4, 2014 at 21:52
  • 1
    Exactly. There's a reason why they're all here. We make every effort to steer the chaff away from them. Which is not to say that your question is chaff, but that it tends to draw opinions from non-experts, spam and bikeshedding. All of which makes those other places on the Internet terrible places to visit. Commented Feb 4, 2014 at 21:52
  • @RobertHarvey I understand the stance but for me personally, this site is one of them.
    – qujck
    Commented Feb 4, 2014 at 22:24
  • Terrible places to visit? Commented Feb 4, 2014 at 22:38
  • @RobertHarvey I've been here twice. Got 4 up votes for an answer and 4 down votes for a question. When I do something silly or wrong on stackoverflow I can understand the odd anonymous drive by down vote or deafening silence but 4 down votes and gone in 60 seconds for my question - I just don't agree with the philosophy.
    – qujck
    Commented Feb 4, 2014 at 23:00
  • I will readily admit that SE is optimized to protect the experts, to keep them here. Without experts, there can be no meaningful Q&A. There are an infinite number of questions that people can possibly ask, but only some of them are good questions. And by good, I mean properly researched, well-thought-out questions that can be definitively answerable by an expert in the subject matter. More info here, if you're interested: blog.stackoverflow.com/2011/06/optimizing-for-pearls-not-sand Commented Feb 4, 2014 at 23:17

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .