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My first and only question on this site has been closed. I've a fair amount of rep on SO and I know how things work here. Before asking it I have read the FAQ and the What topics can I ask about here? section. I'm fairly sure my question fits the "development methodologies and processes" or even "software engineering management" sections.

So I've gone to the top-rated questions list:

https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/questions?sort=votes

I daresay most top rated questions from that list could've been closed.

What technical details should a programmer of a web application consider before making the site public? -- definitely too broad. There is no definite, finite list of things. The answer depends on the language, technology, libraries.

My boss decided to add a “person to blame” field to every bug report. How can I convince him that it's a bad idea? -- offtopic. Should be in the workplace SE.

Where did the notion of “one return only” come from? -- it's not a programming question. It could be asked on history, if anywhere. Don't know how this didn't get closed.

I've inherited 200K lines of spaghetti code — what now? -- could it be any more too broad?

I don't program in my spare time. Does that make me a bad developer? -- opinion based as hell

My point is that I've asked a perfectly understandable question which can be useful to many, many programmers who are unfamiliar with the concept or would like to improve their efficiency, to make things better, faster or more precisely than before. That's what we programmers strive to do.

If questions like mine, or this one or this one keep getting closed, I don't see a future for this SE page.

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    Re your last sentence: Programmers started growing only after we started closing broad/opinion based/not programming specific questions aggressively. See meta.stackexchange.com/a/200144/162704 for more details. – yannis May 9 '14 at 12:50
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    The number of votes a question gets has no relation to its topicality, or even its usefulness. – Robert Harvey May 9 '14 at 23:36
  • +1, but ... what do you intend to do to fix that? After all, this is supposed be a font & repository of knowledge,. How else should visitors judge what is the correct answer? – Mawg Apr 10 '15 at 8:51
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My first and only question on this site has been closed. I've a fair amount of rep on SO and I know how things work here. Before asking it I have read the FAQ and the What topics can I ask about here? section. I'm fairly sure my question fits the "development methodologies and processes" or even "software engineering management" sections.

I don't agree that your question fits as the site is defined.

First, I'm concerned about topicality. It is about a methodology and process, but if you continue reading the "what topics can I ask about" page, there's a diagram that shows that questions asked here must be unique to software developers. Why does this question require the expertise of a professional software developer to answer?

Since it doesn't fit that, why not migrate it to The Workplace? The next problem that I have with it is that the question is too broad. You're polling for opinions. The "don't ask" Help Center page addresses this. Of the questions that you ask, there is no way to measure the rightness or wrongness of how other people use a tool. If you focused on your current process and quantified how you wanted to improve it, you may be able to get a good question out of it.

Most of the current content is best suited to an extended discussion. Both Programmers and The Workplace have chat rooms - The Whiteboard for Programmers and The Water Cooler for The Workplace. The chat rooms are good for either discussing topics with other people or for getting help from site regulars on how to refine your question so that it fits on the site.


So let's look at some of your other "top questions" that you have concerns with and address those, too.

What technical details should a programmer of a web application consider before making the site public? -- definitely too broad. There is no definite, finite list of things. The answer depends on the language, technology, libraries.

The first thing to note is that this question was asked 5 years ago, on Stack Overflow, before Programmers existed. This site has had a long history, with some turmoil in the early days. You can read about it in more detail here, but the short story is that the original definition of Programmers didn't work.

The second thing to note is that this question is locked. Stack Exchange introduced a new Collaborative Lock functionality and this was the first question that it was applied to on Programmers. Before the Collaborative Lock was introduced, the Historical Lock was applied to the question, which prevented all changes to anything. The reason this was done was because the question wasn't a good fit, but it had a lot of useful information that should not be lost. The question was viewed many times, had many incoming links from outside sites, came up in Google searches frequently - deleting it would have been a disservice to the Internet.

My boss decided to add a “person to blame” field to every bug report. How can I convince him that it's a bad idea? -- offtopic. Should be in the workplace SE.

You could build an argument about migration to The Workplace, but The Workplace was still in beta. Admittedly, it was a public beta. The norm is to minimize migrations to beta sites so that they can develop their own culture as a community. Unless the question is very much off-topic on the site where it was posted and very much on-topic on the beta site, it shouldn't be migrated to a beta site. If this question was asked today, I highly suspect that it would be migrated since I could argue that it applies to more than just software developers, but anyone designing or building a product.

Where did the notion of “one return only” come from? -- it's not a programming question. It could be asked on history, if anywhere. Don't know how this didn't get closed.

Questions about the history of software development are on-topic here. I'm not sure how you can argue that it's not related to software development, since it's about a programming construct. Would people outside of the software development community care about this question? Probably not.

I've inherited 200K lines of spaghetti code — what now? -- could it be any more too broad?

You're right on this one. It's not a good question, but it does have historical significance. It has a large number of views, and many questions are closed as a duplicate of this one. I put a historical lock on the question so the content isn't lost, but to discourage people from using this as an example of the kind of question that can be asked here.

I don't program in my spare time. Does that make me a bad developer? -- opinion based as hell

You're right again on this one. This isn't a good question. However, it has a very large number of views. I treated this just as if someone had flagged it and put a Historical Content lock on the question. It's really not a good question and can't be used as an example of what to ask, but given the number of views and the content in the answers, it falls into the same category as the first question you pointed out. Closing and deleting it would be a disservice to the community.


Overall, I think you should read through some Meta posts. Maybe jump into The Whiteboard and chat with the regulars to get a better feel for this community. We have a certain culture here and a certain expectation for questions and answers. Coming from other sites, it can be a bit of a shock - many SE sites have their own expectations and standards and nuances as to how they work. One closed question isn't that big of a deal.

  • The question would belong on PM.SE not the workplace... we have enough problems there with out adding everything you guys dont want. – SoylentGray May 21 '14 at 16:41
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Closing your question was correct. The topic was indeed quite interesting, but let's look at this excerpt:

how do you categorize them, where are they sticked to? In general: how do you use them? Why and how are they better than bug tracker or progress tracker software?

  • The “how do you use them?” is a poll. In a poll, there could be hundreds of equally valid answers. Hence, part of the too broad closing reason explanation is “There are […] too many possible answers”.

  • The “Why and how are they better than bug tracker or progress tracker software” is a potentially good question, but it gets uncomfortably close to the other part of the too broad closing reason explanation: “good answers would be too long for this format”, with a touch of primarily opinion based.

The meta post Why was my question closed as too broad? explains this in more details.

Regarding the top-voted answers: oh, yes, we absolutely agree with you. In the dark old ages where almost anything was allowed here, a lot of interesting crap was asked and had a lot of time to attract an enourmous amount of votes. By the current on-topic guidelines, these questions are rarely suitable. Wherever you see such questions, please raise a flag for them to be closed.

By the way:

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