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I understand you want questions that can be answered definitively, that's the point of a stack. But given how many sappy personal advice questions you're getting, maybe it's time to create a support group to redirect them to, or maybe find an existing one, because just putting these questions on hold is a dick move.

Mathoverflow is more lenient, they even have big-list and soft-question tags for such questions, might be a good idea to have these as well, especially considering that it's a soft-ish stack already.

Edit: there can be no confuson here, and it is imperative that this issue is resolved. Make no mistake: human questions are the most important ones, not questions about finding printed C++ standard. There must be a high quality community where they can be answered, because turning away people who seek advice from seasoned programmers on a site called "Programmers" is downright criminal. I don't believe that a community where such questions are welcome can be divorced from a community with more hard questions, or its reputation system would go haywire. So it's either SO or this one.

marked as duplicate by user53019, Shog9 Apr 21 '15 at 18:15

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

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    @RobertHarvey Mathoverflow pulled it off, why can't we? Like I said, such questions cannot be divorced from the main community, they must be integrated into it. – Alexei Averchenko Apr 21 '15 at 18:17
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    MathOverflow has shown that they can do a good job of moderating and curating the questions. We have an abysmal track record on that. Furthermore, it continues to be very poor on the part of "if we leave these open, people post very poor answers". We don't go a day without some old answer getting a two sentence answer posted to it that's poor quality. New questions are even worse for the quality of the soft answers when left open. Math overflow has disciplined people answering, we don't. – user40980 Apr 21 '15 at 18:19
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    If our Programmers community weren't so lazy at policing such questions, they might work here. This question exists on Stack Overflow for one reason only: the C++ community is ruthless at maintaining it. – Robert Harvey Apr 21 '15 at 18:24
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    @AlexeiAverchenko I assume you've looked at the tour and the help center and followed those links. Most people skip past them. For the custom close reasons, if you have suggestions on how to reword them, please suggest those. Much of it, however, just echoes the information provided in the help center and here on meta. – user40980 Apr 21 '15 at 18:24
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    @MichaelT If those kinds of questions are the only ones allowed here, then what's the point of having this site in the first place? SO covers all of these! And where should I go with questions on software development history, for example? Or are they not legitimate questions? – Alexei Averchenko Apr 21 '15 at 18:28
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    @MichaelT software architecture is a viable topic, but if it's the main one on this site, it's better to rename it. the name "Programmers" connotes that it's a site about people, not code, and no one is going to read the manifesto before asking a question, and not one should have to IMO. – Alexei Averchenko Apr 21 '15 at 18:33
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    Read the linked question, @Alexei. Then, if you still have concerns, lay them out in a new question with less hyperbole. Many topics can be constructive, but it takes a skilled hand to prevent them from going off the rails; a significant portion of the expertise here is devoted to developing such skill and guiding askers away from the cliffs. – Shog9 Apr 21 '15 at 18:34
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    We have an unfortunate history to the name. However, that doesn't mean one should ignore the FAQ for a given community or ignore its norms. Especially when those are easily accessible and shown to new users when they register for the site. Similar expectations are on all Stack Exchange sites in one form or another (look at software recommendations, mathoverflow, code review for some examples - or the mcve on SO). Hopefully after not reading the provided material once, the user can find the help center and revisit what is on topic or not. – user40980 Apr 21 '15 at 18:37
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    Yeah, it's unfortunate that you added weight to the ongoing (but ultimately meaningless) argument that the name of the site actually matters. Can you tell anything at all about the scope and rules of a site from names like "Seasoned Advice," "Ask Different," and "Arqade?" – Robert Harvey Apr 21 '15 at 18:40
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    @AlexeiAverchenko on Cooking, is the question of "I've learned how to bake a cake. What do I need to do to call myself a proper chef" one that would remain open (note the superficial similarity to the question you answered)? or would it have gotten closed? Why would one believe that this site any different? – user40980 Apr 21 '15 at 18:51
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    @AlexeiAverchenko the problem with where to start isn't the topicality, but rather that they are often way too broad to be answered. If we were try to have a few 'where to start' we would have difficulty with everyone has a different opinion about how to answer it, and everyone asking it is coming from a different place. There are far too many questions and answers in that domain for us to be able to reasonably handle them with quality answers... and we still have the problem of people aren't disciplined in answering them. – user40980 Apr 21 '15 at 18:57
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    @AlexeiAverchenko the stats disagree. – enderland Apr 21 '15 at 19:00
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    @AlexeiAverchenko when people ask sufficiently narrow questions, they become very particular to that one person. The other questions can't become duplicates of them as they are each about different circumstances and experience. The problem with them is they keep getting new answers (you are suggesting not closing them) and crowding out the other questions that are being asked from the front page. The major disaster is that other people don't ask questions then and we don't foster the community that answers the hard questions. – user40980 Apr 21 '15 at 19:01
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    Eh, I don't think the lazy community remark had anything to do with the early phases of the site @Rachel. The community today is lazy at policing soft questions, and it's been more than a couple of years that the scope has been clarified and solidified. – yannis Apr 23 '15 at 8:42
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Just because help vampires are common doesn't mean you should feed them.

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    That's demeaning. Novices seek guidance and advice from seasoned professionals all the time, and it is important that we provide them with good advice. Only a complete sociopath would compare that to vampirism. – Alexei Averchenko Apr 21 '15 at 17:34
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    @AlexeiAverchenko see slash7.com/2006/12/22/vampires – enderland Apr 21 '15 at 17:52
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    How is making the Programmers stack about programmers and not programs enable said help vampires? Why is such behavior even relevant to the discussion? – Alexei Averchenko Apr 21 '15 at 17:58
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    @AlexeiAverchenko did you read the link GlenH7 posted? – enderland Apr 21 '15 at 18:11
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    @enderland people aimlessly asking for help with problems which are too big to solve are a strain on any community, and it is important to keep those in check. That said, I'd be careful about qualifying whole groups as the the problem (aka help vampires) because it's polarizing, and therefore tends to escalate quickly. – Ana Apr 22 '15 at 23:10

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