As of now, there are over 87 questions in tag.

All of these questions are closed, except for this one which has historical lock. Could we do something to help askers understand the risks associated with this tag?


  • Clarification on what is career advice

    a rough look through shows a lot of closed questions. This should have been a warning that this question is problematic...

  • (MSE) Automatic warnings of 'dangerous' tags

    could we identify the tags beforehand as being problematic ones, and in the event that no tag guidance is provided if the tag has a closure rate above some threshold (50%? 75%?) a canned warning is displayed...

  • 1
    what a lovely edit in rev 2 :) - thanks @YannisRizos
    – gnat
    Commented Oct 20, 2014 at 15:45
  • 6
    +1 for catchy title
    – Ampt
    Commented Oct 20, 2014 at 16:01
  • Can anyone describe a question on this topic that would actually be suitable for the site? If not, just deleting these questions and the tag would be the expedient way to resolve this...
    – Shog9
    Commented Oct 26, 2014 at 19:35
  • @Shog9 consider that prior cleanup of a similar troublesome tag took us over two months. And, if you take a look at three other tags complementing that "bucket", it can easily take about a year. (FWIW I was also thinking about something like stci round 2 for these but am not sure if that would be the right way)
    – gnat
    Commented Oct 26, 2014 at 20:08
  • What I'm getting at, @gnat, is that if there's no legitimate use for this tag then "warning someone of the risks" amounts to a straight-up assertion: "Do not ask this question, DO NOT USE THIS TAG." If we can't come up with a single example of a question regarding the job market that would be on-topic for this site, then keeping the tag available, regardless of guidance, is just a waste of time.
    – Shog9
    Commented Oct 26, 2014 at 23:36
  • I understand that @Shog9 - my point is that even if there's no legitimate example, process of cleaning up content will likely be time and effort consuming and painful - and this is main reason why I am considering an easier way, no matter if it's in theory not that pure. Regarding legitimacy of this tag and career topics in general, I frankly haven't yet made up my mind on that, maybe you can help me here. Look...
    – gnat
    Commented Oct 27, 2014 at 9:16
  • ...what makes it complicated is that prior to Workplace.SE these topics had their home at Programmers. Now that most if not all "good career questions" belong there, the question is, what to do with legacy content here? Leaving it as is would make a broken window. An alternative is deletion but I can't see how it fits "making Internet better", not to mention that I am generally uncomfortable about the idea to retroactively delete content every time site topics change. Could you advise @Shog9?
    – gnat
    Commented Oct 27, 2014 at 9:16
  • While this does not help historical questions much, there probably should be a direct migration path to Workplace.SE.
    – user22815
    Commented Oct 27, 2014 at 14:58
  • @Snowman stats (as of March 2014) were telling against opening up a migration path
    – gnat
    Commented Oct 27, 2014 at 15:02
  • @gnat even the existing migration path has the same issues: just because a question is theoretically on-topic elsewhere does not make it a good question there. Considering the quality of career advice questions, it probably is best to close or delete them.
    – user22815
    Commented Oct 27, 2014 at 15:14
  • @Snowman wrt new questions I agree, closing and consequent deletion of these look like the way to go (save for infrequent cases of migrating reasonable stuff to TWP). Historical legacy is what looks tricky here
    – gnat
    Commented Oct 27, 2014 at 16:36
  • @Shog9 based on recent experience of that cleanup of recommendations tag I referred in prior comment, currently mass cleanup and deletions of old questions at Programmers more and more look like "a gigantic waste of time and effort"
    – gnat
    Commented Oct 28, 2014 at 20:37
  • My gut feeling here, @gnat, is that there's an area of overlap between Progse and TWP - one where questions may be nominally on-topic for TWP, but which are best answered by folks working in the field. I'm not sure how many (if any!) of the questions in this tag fall into that category, but it strikes me that a separate discussion is necessary to establish that - perhaps one already exists?
    – Shog9
    Commented Oct 28, 2014 at 20:44
  • @Shog9 nothing seems to be here, in workplace-se tag. At TWP meta, they tried to somehow get rid of overlap, but were stuck: software-industry tag discussion
    – gnat
    Commented Oct 28, 2014 at 20:51
  • 2
    Yeah, getting rid of the overlap is probably the wrong direction to be going. It'd be like trying to de-overlap ProgSE and SO. The topics overlap; accept it and mark the natural boundaries.
    – Shog9
    Commented Oct 28, 2014 at 20:59

3 Answers 3


Update - follow-up feature request to establish popup as discussed here:

As explained in another answer, tag specific popup can be used to guide askers and editors willing to use it.

Here is an example of tag popup request. Process to create such a popup is described here:

Post a [feature-request] for each tag, with specific guidance (ideally linking to a meta post if non-trivial so I don't have to edit these all the time) and justification for needing something more than the tag excerpt. Let folks discuss it, then ping me ([Community Manager]) if there's support... This is really something that should be discussed within each community, as these might become annoying if over-used (ideally you don't want multiple tags on a single question to produce warnings) and the guidance should reflect the lessons learned from handling these questions.

Suggestion to create a popup for this tag () and other particularly troublesome career related tags:

, , ,

Tag popup content is derived from career-development tag wiki:

Wait! Career advice is off-topic per the Help Center. Please note that most career advice questions end up being closed for being too broad or impractical; try to make yours a good subjective question.

  • Questions about developing one's career can be asked as long as they require the unique insights of a programmer and are specifically about developing one's career as a programmer.
  • Please make sure your question has the proper scope. It needs to apply to other programmers besides yourself.
  • If your question can also be applied to other job fields, then it does not uniquely apply to software development and is not on-topic here.
  • Before asking, review this meta guidance: Why was my question closed or down voted? -> Career or education advice. Make sure your question avoids the problems listed in the guidance.

This post is made community wiki in order to simplify editing.


Do you mean a warning like the one present in this answer?

enter image description here

If so, this was recently discussed in The Whiteboard and Shog9 suggested coming up with a wording and it could be implemented.

  • something like that would be helpful. I just can't make up my mind whether to have tag-specific wording (tuned for job-market, like one in this example is tuned for SQL) or have a generic one, like suggested in linked MSE post. What's your take on this?
    – gnat
    Commented Oct 20, 2014 at 15:44
  • @gnat burninate it. :-)
    – user53019
    Commented Oct 20, 2014 at 15:51
  • that would take about 2 months, considering prior experience with recommendations tag. Not that this scares me though :)
    – gnat
    Commented Oct 20, 2014 at 15:53
  • 3
    Those types of questions come up often enough that leaving the tag in place with a big scary warning might be more effective. Depending upon how easy it is to get the big scary warning applied, we might want to have it generic so it can be reused across a number of carp-tastic tags that we have.
    – user53019
    Commented Oct 20, 2014 at 15:55
  • FWIW idea of a generic warning for "dangerous" tags appears to be officially declined, that is tag-specific warning seems to be only available option
    – gnat
    Commented Oct 20, 2014 at 17:27
  • 1
    ...and here is an example of how tag-specific popup was requested and added at Anime.SE
    – gnat
    Commented Oct 20, 2014 at 18:10
  • ...and here is how I suggest this to be done for job-market and other troublesome tags :)
    – gnat
    Commented Oct 21, 2014 at 7:21
  • @glenh7 "carp-tastic"? Couldn't even find that in The Urban Dictionary...
    – Jan Doggen
    Commented Oct 29, 2014 at 15:07
  • @JanDoggen - "carp" is often intentionally used in place of "crap" as some get offended by the phrase "crap". Likewise, there is a phrase "crap-tastic" which is a play on fantastic. Put the two together and you get "carp-tastic". It's a polite way of saying "this stuff is really [censored for moderation concerns]"
    – user53019
    Commented Oct 29, 2014 at 15:11

Could we do something to help askers understand the risks associated with this tag?

Maybe; if we can come to an understanding of the rewards of the tag.

By which I mean, if we're to warn folks against using it outside of narrowly-defined circumstances, we need to know what those circumstances are. As it stands, with 100% of the questions in the tag closed or locked, I'm leaning toward "non-existent" - which doesn't require a warning, but rather a blacklist!

The job-market tag is not allowed.

Questions about the prospects of getting a specific programming job are considered off-topic for Programmers Stack Exchange, as the job market for programmers is constantly in flux and any advice obtained here today will be inaccurate or down-right harmful tomorrow... Or too specific to your situation to be of any use to anyone else.

Assuming I'm right, we can wrap this up quite easily, and over time remove the existing questions.

Although... I rather hope I'm wrong. As cringe-worthy as some of those questions are (oh god, not this again...) there are some real problems being solved, in areas where it's possible the answers are in fact unique to programmers:

I'd argue all of those are unique to this profession and, with the possible exception of the last one, reasonably likely to be useful in the future. But there certainly is a fine line between job market advice specific to programmers and career advice where you just happen to be a programmer. Of course, this isn't new - the old test for career advice still holds:

A good way to test this is to ask the question, "Would the answer to the question be materially different if a non-programmer answered it?" If no, the question should be closed as off-topic.

In fact, that's probably the best guidance we could offer anyone asking such questions, as it's actually possible for folks to apply it. Perhaps something like...

Questions about the job market should be specific to hiring programmers; if you can imagine a job-seeker or hiring manager asking a similar question for any other profession, then your question is off-topic - consider asking it on The Workplace instead.

Additionally, please word your question in a way that will be useful to others - we can help you learn how to make important decisions, but we can't make them for you.

But... That's only good if y'all really do want these questions here. Right now, you're closing 100% of them.

So, what's it gonna be?

  • that's a good for for thought, thank you! FWIW one reward I can think of is this tag allows to access legacy content, content that was considered okay prior to Workplace.SE was launched. One reason for this tag to exist seems to be "because it has historical significance..."...
    – gnat
    Commented Oct 29, 2014 at 8:22
  • ...For job-market specifically, I can't tell whether it's OK to go beyond "historical" reason because 100% of closed/locked questions feel quite pessimistic, but for other related tags listed in my answer this seems to be the case, these don't feel like fully closed within "historical significance" cage
    – gnat
    Commented Oct 29, 2014 at 8:22
  • Shog, feature request to establish tag tips is here. I tried to make it similar to that A&M example you recommended. If anything else is needed there, please let me know
    – gnat
    Commented Nov 6, 2014 at 8:03

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