11

Over in Is this site failing? And should it go away? I posted this list and haven't gotten a satisfactory response yet.

If the site's scope is at issue, then some percentage of these questions should instead be open.

If these are just poorly asked questions that need some moderate editing, then there is an army of people who say they should be open that can help cultivate them.

Without identifying which questions we need to consider how the scope is wrong rather than the question doesn't fit we are simply talking in circles around each other.

So, here's the list. Where the post has been deleted (at the moment of posting this question), the entire text of the question is here.

  1. https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/311935/running-net-desktop-application-on-linux (-3, deleted)

    This question is a software recommendation question.

    We need to develop a desktop application that would run on both Windows and Linux machines, preferably with the same code base or minimal code changes. I know Mono is an option, but I read that Mono Win Forms implementation is suitable only for very simple applications. I guess I cannot make the app using the newly announced cross-platform ".NET Core" either, as apparently it does not support client/desktop apps. So apart from Mono, is there any other option to create a cross-platform desktop application for Windows and Linux?

  2. https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/311931/need-help-to-make-advance-search-in-php-website-project (-3, 4 close votes)

    A bit hard to determine (the close vote is for unclear). It looks like this might be too broad too. Its a student trying to do some project that isn't well articulated. The answers to it are all over the place. The OP hasn't been back since the original post of the question to help clarify.

  3. https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/311930/pointers-and-hexadecimal (-5, deleted)

    This is an implementation question.

    So I want to make a pointer of chars.

    char *ptr = 0x239038F2 <---- this is my attempt.

    where I can iterate through each char.

    So ptr would give me 0x23 ptr++ would give me 0x90 ptr++ would give me 0x38 and finally ptr++ would give me 0xF2

  4. https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/311928/how-do-i-implement-material-style-account-switcher (-3, closed)

    This is a far too broad "how do I do this" type question.

  5. https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/311925/structure-of-an-abstract-for-a-conference-talk-or-workshop (-4, closed)

    This question has nothing to do with programming.

  6. https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/311923/extraordinary-software-written-in-javascript (-8, deleted)

    This is a too broad question asking for a list of all the ways that Javascript can be used.

    JavaScript is usually used for either web frontends or backends (JavaScript). What other extraordinay things can be done with JavaScript?

  7. https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/311921/accepting-express-js-post-requests-in-a-chrome-app (-4, closed)

    This is an implementation question for issues with writing something in Chrome.

  8. How to display a non-interactive message on a JFrame? (-2, closed)

    This is an implementation question for how to do something in Java.

  9. https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/311914/running-ruby-commands-does-nothing (-6, closed)

    This is a problem running some third party ruby software.

  10. https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/311913/how-to-break-infinite-loop-in-turtle-graphics-python (-5, closed)

    This is an implementation question for python.

  11. https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/311910/index-exceeds-matrix-dimension-matlab-hog-features (-4, 4 close votes)

    This is an implementation question for matlab (which was already posted on Stack Overflow)

  12. https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/311907/wdk-10-and-visual-studio-2015-acting-funny (-6, deleted)

    This (now deleted between then and now) was closed as unclear. It was an issue with some software installation for a C library.

    I installed WDK 10 on my computer, and I tried to build a si and I got the error: An SDK corresponding to WDK version '8.1' was not found. Please install the SDK before building.. I downloaded and installed the Windows 10 SDK, and then tried build again, this time I was getting multiple syntax errors, the following code:

    Shows the following errors: fatal error C1083: Cannot open include file: 'ntddk.h': No such file or directory, and multiple intellisense errors.

    extern "C" {
    #include <ntddk.h>
    #include <ntdddisk.h>
    #include <wdf.h>
    NTSTATUS DriverEntry(IN PDRIVER_OBJECT DriverObject, IN PUNICODE_STRING RegistryPath) {}
    }
    

    Shows the following errors: fatal error C1083: Cannot open include file: 'ntddk.h': No such file or directory, and multiple intellisense errors.

    How do I fix this?

  13. https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/311904/learning-linux-kernel-in-todays-world-would-i-be-better-off-hacking-with-android (-4, 4 close votes)

    This is a "what should I learn" question.

  14. https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/311902/why-do-i-get-an-error-in-the-cpp-file-if-i-make-a-class-template-before-the-cla (-6, closed)

    This is a C++ implementation question.

  15. https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/311901/class-as-a-variable-of-another-class (-5, closed)

    This is another C++ implementation/debugging question.

  16. What's the equation to use for finding availability in software architecture? (-3, closed)

    This is a no effort homework dump.

  17. https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/311897/error-code-c4700-uninitialized-local-variable (-5, closed)

    This is a C++ implementation question.

  18. https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/311896/android-file-retriever-application (-4, 3 close votes)

    This is a cross posted green field question that is asking how to use the IDE.

  19. https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/311894/how-do-i-create-a-driver-for-extra-buttons (-4, closed)

    This is a rather vague "how do I program buttons on a drawing tablet." Aside from being off topic, no information about what drawing tablet it is is provided.

  20. https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/311892/deleting-dynamically-allocated-memory (-4, closed)

    This is a C++ implementation question.

    void RemoveDuplicates(Node *head, int size)
    {
    Node *tmp = head;
    
    while(tmp->next != NULL)
        {
    
        for(int i=0; i<size; i++)
        {
        if(tmp->data == tmp->next->data)
            {
            Node *remove = tmp->next;
            tmp->next = remove->next;
            ***//delete remove;***
            }
    
        }
    
        tmp = tmp->next;
    
    }
    

    ok, i wrote this piece of code to remove duplicated nodes in my data structure course, the commented delete operator supposed to keep freeing the memory which the remove pointer is pointed to every loop cycle. it doesn't work, IDE keep segmentation faulting me

    any help?

  21. https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/311891/simplest-way-to-build-an-interactive-website-to-visualize-a-table (-3, closed)

    This is a unclear / too broad "how do I render a table" (there are far too many possible ways to do it).

  22. https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/311890/where-and-how-i-can-find-explanations-of-abstractions-and-fancy-stuff-used-in-bu (-5, deleted)

    This is a rant about large software projects.

    This question is broad, but I'll try to be concise and to restrict the wideness of it.

    I'm full of hate toward these business hipster programmers, so I won't be formal this time. Sorry.

    Don't get me wrong, I really want to sort this out, I need to understand how it works.

    Let's put this in .NET framework only. It's already a good cut down of the range.

    (another 3000 characters)

  23. https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/311888/adobe-illustrator-data-driven-graphics-via-php (-2, 4 close votes)

    This is a question about how to implement an AI that Photoshop has in php. I'm not kidding.

  24. https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/311886/why-software-releases-must-be-self-regulated (-3, duplicate)

    This is a poorly asked duplicate of a question that searching for "Lehman" would have found.

  25. https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/311883/sending-computer-screen-video-through-lightning-connector-to-a-iphone (-3, 3 close votes)

    This is a "is it possible" feasibility study question.

  26. https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/311874/importing-my-class-to-a-given-tester-class (-4, closed)

    This is an unclear question that might be "how do I debug my code?" but not enough information about it is given.

    In Java I have created a class with a HashMap where I put 13 values. With it's own main it will display the RGB values of the Color Object. The problem is trying to import it to use with a given ColorTest class (which has the MAIN main and cannot be changed); which I can tell from the "NullPointerException" it gives me when trying to create a new instance from my class. I'm still very noob at coding so any help is appreciated!

    I have all the code but don't know what/where/how to change it to be used by the tester, and I just don't want to dump all that text unless someone wants to see it.

  27. https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/311873/choose-an-application-development-environment-for-the-displaying-monitoring-da (-3, 4 close votes)

    This is a cross posted too broad question (with a bit of unclear too).

  28. https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/311871/web-design-templates-for-backend-developing (-4, closed)

    This is a tool recommendation question.

  29. https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/311866/connected-city-problem (-6, deleted)

    This is a cross posted (CS) what appears to be homework dump. It has since been deleted here and a bit large to include - see the CS.SE version for its text.

  30. https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/311862/logic-of-ap-to-return-number-set-to-bit1-as-an-input-binary (-5, closed)

    This is a block of code without any question asked (a comment of "how does this work?")

    public class BitSet1
    {
        public static void main(String[] args)
        {
            double num=(Math.pow(2.0,31.0))-1;
            int num1=(int)num;
            double outnum=num1;
            int count=0;
            while(num1>0)
            {
                if((num1&1)==1)
                count++;
                num1=num1>>1;
                }
            System.out.println(count+" bits sets to 1 in number "+ outnum);
            }
        }
    
  31. https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/311860/can-you-please-explain-what-this-php-code-below-does (-7, closed)

    Someone asking what a given function in php does.

    I just need the logic behind the statement because the idea of escaping strings doesn't seem to make sense to me. What does this code do ? and why is it escaping strings ?What does this code do ? and why is it escaping strings ?

        $BackupRegister=mysqli_real_escape_string($Count,monitorEntry($anticipatedDate,'created'));
    
  32. https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/311857/ways-to-send-a-message-to-a-users-phone (-4, closed)

    A service request / too broad (how can you send a message to a device)

    What are some ways to send a private message to a user's phone from a separate computer over the internet? Is there any preferred or standard way to do this?

    Some methods I could think of:

    • Email: May get buried under other emails. Requires the phone to have internet connectivity. Advantage is that its free and works regardless of device operating system.
    • SMS: Either costs money (does it?) or you need an SMS gateway, which can not be figured out programmatically (can you?) Advantage is that it works without internet and works regardless of device operating system.
  33. https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/311856/periodicity-detection-for-gapped-data (-3, 4 close votes)

    An algorithm question that might be answerable if sufficient information is provided.

  34. https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/311855/what-is-more-lower-level-click-or-urwid (-5, closed)

    "I make web apps using flask so I am tempted to start using click since it's made by the same person but I've seen more info around for urwid? Which one is more lower level?"
    I don't even know.

  35. https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/311854/scripting-productivity-and-speed (-6, deleted)

    How do you improve your productivity?

    I would like to ask what kind of scripts that a software engineer writes to increase his/her productivity. I know some of them could really save time so please share with me.

  36. https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/311853/automating-scripting-and-building (-6, deleted)

    A question about automating the IDE. It is a bit unclear and if it was made clear, would be off topic here (its a tooling problem)

    I am working on a project on Visual Studio with C++. So I need to

    1) build the solution
    2) click on debug/attach to process
    3) click on 3 - 4 buttons in the programs to create and load stuff
    4) type "Run master" in a textfield(in the my program)
    5) press Enter button.

    After all this steps, then I can start testing my program. My program is desktop application on Windows 10.

    I would like to automate the whole process of clicking build right up to before I start testing. And also, I need this script to monitor the status of the build in cases of build failures to stop.

    I also need to this script to able to

    1) monitor that I click on the correct buttons so that it does not mess up other running programs.
    2) Is there someway of monitoring the changes in UI or the commands are executed or the maybe just the status/state of the program? This is to check that the script does the correct action at the right time.

  37. https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/311850/python-functions-and-parameters (-5, deleted)

    How to type the parameters for python calls (implementation question)

    Can Python only accept parameters passed to a function that meet a certain criteria for example, Accepts as the first parameter a string specifying the data structure to be used "list", "set" or "dictionary" only


So, that is the list from the other day. The questions that were being closed or were closed from the 50 most recent questions.

Which questions would ideally be on topic for the site?

For those questions, what part of the help center is identifying that they are off topic, or is this part of a too zealous closing?

And I would really like community managers to chime in on this too.

  • 4
    counts the tumbleweeds – Ixrec Mar 9 '16 at 12:16
  • 6
    I've said it many times and I'll say it again - your problem is how you advertise your site to potential users. All they know, without any serious investment on their part, is "this is a Q&A Site titled "Programmers" and "P.SE is a Q&A site for professional programmers interestedinconceptualquestionsaboutsoftwaredevelopment" (tag line). For the average user, this means "place to ask other programmers questions about programming". Most users don't take the time to evaluate the details, nuances, meta discussions, etc about what every word means, they go based on their first impression. – Rachel Mar 9 '16 at 16:47
  • 1
    @Rachel we don't advertise the site. I would encourage you to take that up with SE. That is not a change that we are capable of making. Do you have any suggestions for changes that we, as a community, can make to the scope of the site that would allow any of the potentially good questions from the above list to be open? – user40980 Mar 9 '16 at 16:49
  • As a side note, I've worked as a user-interface developer for 7+ years now, and part of my job is to talk with end users about what they want and interpret their "user-speak" to figure out what they actually need and design applications that are easily understandable to them. A site like this simply wouldn't work for anything I design - it is not easy and clear to the users what the site's purpose is, and what is not desired. I work with end users far too much to not see the problem here... – Rachel Mar 9 '16 at 16:51
  • @MichaelT I say "advertise", but I mean your first impression you display to new users. The google search for this page, the P.SE description on other SE sites, the main page name/design/tagline displayed to new users, etc. As for changing the site name, the official response is a few years old, and I think the current active users have done an admirable job at trying to clarify and enforce the current site scope. I think we might have "evidence" now that that is not enough, and perhaps it's time to raise the question to SE again. – Rachel Mar 9 '16 at 16:56
  • 2
    @Rachel those are things that we can't change. Do you have suggestions for things that we can change? Is there a fuzzy border of scope that one of those questions sits on that would do well with defining on the other side? Are there questions there that you, as a user with sufficient knowledge and experience can edit to make them better and within the scope? Are there questions there that with a gentle nudge could get the OP to edit it into one that would work on the site? – user40980 Mar 9 '16 at 16:57
  • 7
    @MichaelT Personally I would start by changing the tag line from "P.SE is a Q&A site for professional programmers interested in blahblahblah" to "P.SE is a Q&A site for getting expert answers on conceptual questions about software development" (line copied from FAQ). That we CAN do, and changes the site description to be about a specific narrow topic, not a broad type of person. Second I would gather links of new user feedback on meta, and ask SE again about changing the site name. It can't be that hard, register a new domain and change the title. We don't need a complete redesign or anything. – Rachel Mar 9 '16 at 17:07
  • 3
    You guys are doing a good job at trying to control posts and educate users, but you are fighting an uphill battle until SE steps in and helps with this. I did both these actions years ago btw, but the site didn't have the support it has now for detailing and maintaining the site scope, and there was a much more divided community at the time, leading to less tolerance of discussions like this. And it was still a relatively new site.... now we have years of data to back up our requests. – Rachel Mar 9 '16 at 17:08
  • 1
    Somewhat like @Rachel, I think the site's scope is not being property communicated. It's not that those questions should be on-topic here (most look like they would be more suitable for StackOverflow); it's that it's hard to tell what is on-topic here. It's also very hard to explain to new users. – Andres F. Mar 10 '16 at 14:50
  • @AndresF. how can we, as a community, with the tools that we have available to us do a better job of that? – user40980 Mar 10 '16 at 14:50
  • @MichaelT No-one here has pull with SE management? – Andres F. Mar 10 '16 at 14:52
  • @AndresF. you likely have just as much as I do (maybe more - I burnt some of mine a bit ago). – user40980 Mar 10 '16 at 14:53
  • worth noting that "connected city" cross-post to CS.SE was closed as too broad over there (and per my recollection they seem to be more welcoming to questions that are considered broad at Programmers) – gnat Mar 10 '16 at 16:05
3

It's not the scope that is wrong, it's the name.

I took your exercise again to demonstrate, and came up with these results:

  • Programmers.SE : 37/37
  • SoftwareDesign.SE : 13/33, with 4 being a Maybe

While doing this, I noticed there are a lot more implementation questions than there once was. Here are new programmers looking for answers online. They see two major programming Q&A sites, one titled "StackOverflow" and another titled "Programmers". Guess which one they are going to click on first every time?


But here's the details about my opinion on the same questions, and if I'd post each question to a site titled Programmers vs a site with a title that strongly emphasizes conceptual software design, like SoftwareDesign.

I am doing this from the point of view of a user whose only knowledge of this site is it is a StackExchange Q&A site titled "Programmers" or "SoftwareDesign", and who doesn't have a strong grasp of what makes a good/bad question for SE or want to make any significant effort in learning the meta for the site since it is not worthwhile time investment to them at the time.

  1. https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/311935/running-net-desktop-application-on-linux - Programmers: Yes; SoftwareDesign: Maybe;

  2. https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/311931/need-help-to-make-advance-search-in-php-website-project (-3, 4 close votes)

    A bit hard to determine (the close vote is for unclear). It looks like this might be too broad too. Its a student trying to do some project that isn't well articulated. The answers to it are all over the place. The OP hasn't been back since the original post of the question to help clarify.

    • Programmers: Yes; SoftwareDesign: Maybe;
  3. https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/311930/pointers-and-hexadecimal (-5, deleted)

    This is an implementation question.

    • Programmers: Yes; SoftwareDesign: No;
  4. https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/311928/how-do-i-implement-material-style-account-switcher (-3, closed)

    This is a far too broad "how do I do this" type question.

    • Programmers: Yes; SoftwareDesign: Yes;
  5. https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/311925/structure-of-an-abstract-for-a-conference-talk-or-workshop (-4, closed)

    This question has nothing to do with programming.

    • Programmers: Yes; SoftwareDesign: No;
  6. https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/311923/extraordinary-software-written-in-javascript (-8, deleted)

    This is a too broad question asking for a list of all the ways that Javascript can be used.

    • Programmers: Yes; SoftwareDesign: No;
  7. https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/311921/accepting-express-js-post-requests-in-a-chrome-app (-4, closed)

    This is an implementation question for issues with writing something in Chrome.

    • Programmers: Yes; SoftwareDesign: Maybe;
  8. How to display a non-interactive message on a JFrame? (-2, closed)

    This is an implementation question for how to do something in Java.

    • Programmers: Yes; SoftwareDesign: Maybe;
  9. https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/311914/running-ruby-commands-does-nothing (-6, closed)

    This is a problem running some third party ruby software.

    • Programmers: Yes; SoftwareDesign: No;
  10. https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/311913/how-to-break-infinite-loop-in-turtle-graphics-python (-5, closed)

    This is an implementation question for python.

    • Programmers: Yes; SoftwareDesign: No;
  11. https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/311910/index-exceeds-matrix-dimension-matlab-hog-features (-4, 4 close votes)

    This is an implementation question for matlab (which was already posted on Stack Overflow)

    • Programmers: Yes; SoftwareDesign: No;
  12. https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/311907/wdk-10-and-visual-studio-2015-acting-funny (-6, deleted)

    This (now deleted between then and now) was closed as unclear. It was an issue with some software installation for a C library.

    • Programmers: Yes; SoftwareDesign: No;
  13. https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/311904/learning-linux-kernel-in-todays-world-would-i-be-better-off-hacking-with-android (-4, 4 close votes)

    This is a "what should I learn" question.

    • Programmers: Yes; SoftwareDesign: No;
  14. https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/311902/why-do-i-get-an-error-in-the-cpp-file-if-i-make-a-class-template-before-the-cla (-6, closed)

    This is a C++ implementation question.

    • Programmers: Yes; SoftwareDesign: No;
  15. https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/311901/class-as-a-variable-of-another-class (-5, closed)

    This is another C++ implementation/debugging question.

    • Programmers: Yes; SoftwareDesign: No;
  16. What's the equation to use for finding availability in software architecture? (-3, closed)

    This is a no effort homework dump.

    • Question cleaned up to ask about equation for finding availbity in software architecture and has been reopened. Programmers: Yes; SoftwareDesign: Yes;
  17. https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/311897/error-code-c4700-uninitialized-local-variable (-5, closed)

    This is a C++ implementation question.

    • Programmers: Yes; SoftwareDesign: No;
  18. https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/311896/android-file-retriever-application (-4, 3 close votes)

    This is a cross posted green field question that is asking how to use the IDE.

    • Programmers: Yes; SoftwareDesign: No;
  19. https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/311894/how-do-i-create-a-driver-for-extra-buttons (-4, closed)

    This is a rather vague "how do I program buttons on a drawing tablet." Aside from being off topic, no information about what drawing tablet it is is provided.

    • Programmers: Yes; SoftwareDesign: Yes;
  20. https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/311892/deleting-dynamically-allocated-memory (-4, closed)

    This is a C++ implementation question.

    • Programmers: Yes; SoftwareDesign: No;
  21. https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/311891/simplest-way-to-build-an-interactive-website-to-visualize-a-table (-3, closed)

    This is a unclear / too broad "how do I render a table" (there are far too many possible ways to do it).

    • Programmers: Yes; SoftwareDesign: Yes;
  22. https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/311890/where-and-how-i-can-find-explanations-of-abstractions-and-fancy-stuff-used-in-bu (-5, deleted)

    This is a rant about large software projects.

    • Programmers: Yes; SoftwareDesign: No;
  23. https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/311888/adobe-illustrator-data-driven-graphics-via-php (-2, 4 close votes)

    This is a question about how to implement an AI that Photoshop has in php. I'm not kidding.

    • Programmers: Yes; SoftwareDesign: Yes;
  24. https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/311886/why-software-releases-must-be-self-regulated (-3, duplicate)

    This is a poorly asked duplicate of a question that searching for "Lehman" would have found.

    • Programmers: Yes; SoftwareDesign: Yes;
  25. https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/311883/sending-computer-screen-video-through-lightning-connector-to-a-iphone (-3, 3 close votes)

    This is a "is it possible" feasibility study question.

    • Programmers: Yes; SoftwareDesign: Yes;
  26. https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/311874/importing-my-class-to-a-given-tester-class (-4, closed)

    This is an unclear question that might be "how do I debug my code?" but not enough information about it is given.

    • Programmers: Yes; SoftwareDesign: Yes;
  27. https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/311873/choose-an-application-development-environment-for-the-displaying-monitoring-da (-3, 4 close votes)

    This is a cross posted too broad question (with a bit of unclear too).

    • Programmers: Yes; SoftwareDesign: Yes;
  28. https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/311871/web-design-templates-for-backend-developing (-4, closed)

    This is a tool recommendation question.

    • Programmers: Yes; SoftwareDesign: Yes;
  29. https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/311866/connected-city-problem (-6, deleted)

    This is a cross posted (CS) what appears to be homework dump. It has since been deleted here and a bit large to include - see the CS.SE version for its text.

    • Programmers: Yes; SoftwareDesign: Yes;
  30. https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/311862/logic-of-ap-to-return-number-set-to-bit1-as-an-input-binary (-5, closed)

    This is a block of code without any question asked (a comment of "how does this work?")

    • Programmers: Yes; SoftwareDesign: No;
  31. https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/311860/can-you-please-explain-what-this-php-code-below-does (-7, closed)

    Someone asking what a given function in php does.

    • Programmers: Yes; SoftwareDesign: No;
  32. https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/311857/ways-to-send-a-message-to-a-users-phone (-4, closed)

    A service request / too broad (how can you send a message to a device)

    • Programmers: Yes; SoftwareDesign: Yes;
  33. https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/311856/periodicity-detection-for-gapped-data (-3, 4 close votes)

    An algorithm question that might be answerable if sufficient information is provided.

    • Programmers: Yes; SoftwareDesign: Yes;
  34. https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/311855/what-is-more-lower-level-click-or-urwid (-5, closed)

    "I make web apps using flask so I am tempted to start using click since it's made by the same person but I've seen more info around for urwid? Which one is more lower level?"
    I don't even know.

    • Programmers: Yes; SoftwareDesign: No;
  35. https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/311854/scripting-productivity-and-speed (-6, deleted)

    How do you improve your productivity?

    • Programmers: Yes; SoftwareDesign: No;
  36. https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/311853/automating-scripting-and-building (-6, deleted)

    A question about automating the IDE. It is a bit unclear and if it was made clear, would be off topic here (its a tooling problem)

    • Programmers: Yes; SoftwareDesign: No;
  37. https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/311850/python-functions-and-parameters (-5, deleted)

    How to type the parameters for python calls (implementation question)

    • Programmers: Yes; SoftwareDesign: No;

And to copy/paste from before :

Keep in mind, this is my perspective. Everyone's different. We can't say definitely "yes this would be asked" or "no this wouldn't be asked". It depends on the question asker.

The point is, a user who only knows "this is a SE Q&A site titled Programmers" will most likely have a very different assumption than a user who only knows "this is a SE Q&A site titled The Whiteboard" (or Software Concepts, or Software Design Theory, etc)

The term "Programmers" is an extremely broad term that could bring to mind a person writing code, a person designing software, a person gathering requirements, a person seeking a new job, etc. But in all cases, it brings to mind a person.

However a term like "The Whiteboard" (or SoftwareDesign) gives a first impression of "conceptual software design", which is more likely to bring to mind designing software, considering architecture, evaluating approaches, etc. It's much more inline with what this site actually is.

And as a footnote, I've worked many years now in user-interface design and development. I speak to end-users on a regular basis, and translate their "user-speak" to application designs, taking special care that everything is clear and makes sense from their point of view. The discrepancy between the site name and scope and subsequential confusion it causes is extremely clear to me as a major cause of this site's problem.

I know it won't fix everything, but it will significantly cut down on the number of off-topic questions that get asked.

  • "The Whiteboard" sounds like interesting candidate for site name (we'll likely have to rename chat room then or maybe it doesn't matter). Why havent I heard this idea from you before, did I miss something? – gnat Mar 11 '16 at 20:42
  • 1
    @gnat I think it was originally Robert Harvey's suggestion - I've seen that name suggested a few times since then (2012), but there's no point discussing name specifics until we get SE's approval that we can. I would support such a name though. – Rachel Mar 11 '16 at 21:03
  • 3
    I think an important takeaway here is that if changing the name stops only 20% of the questions that don't fit SoftwareDesign but do fit Programmers that is still 5 questions fewer, which is a nontrivial difference in off topic post volume. – enderland Mar 12 '16 at 15:21
  • I agree that the name is "misleading". I really like it though, as it implies a better sense of community and esoteric communication. Maybe some automated system that moves questions of new users to SO would solve this? – K. Gkinis Mar 17 '16 at 14:11
  • regarding implementation questions, statistics given to us about a year ago says we've got 4-5 such questions a day average (that's about 10% of total questions we get) from folks who "first click" Stack Overflow and attempt Programmers only later, after they hit a question block at SO – gnat Mar 21 '16 at 14:33
2

The following questions should not be closed or deleted:

The rest don't appear to be good. I don't agree with the close reason on all of them. For example, this question should probably be closed as a recommendation question and not unclear. But they should all be closed and on some path to deletion, either roomba or VtD.


A theme that I'm seeing is that "unclear what you're asking" is used for questions that seem to be "do my work for me" questions. There's really no better close option that fits, but it's something to keep in mind. It's not that the question isn't clear. We fully understand that you want us to give you answers, but that isn't how it works here.

  • 2
    The software availability question is one that you might want to consider completely rewriting from the original questions "give me the answer to this homework problem" to one that is much more comprehensive. The connected city problem one is one that might be doable if one could properly reproduce the problem. It says some of the test cases failed, but not which ones, nor how, nor why. It needs clarification from the OP to be something that can be answerable. That particular one didn't help that there was at least another question very similar in "debug this algorithm for me" without info. – user40980 Mar 9 '16 at 12:43
  • @MichaelT I'm opposed to such drastic rewrites, especially when they would invalidate the answer given. Even though it's about a specific homework question, the answer may be usable by other people since it provides a more generic explanation of the methodology used to calculate the data. As far as the connected city problem, I agree, but am more concerned that no one prompted the asker for the information needed to make the question better (either for our site or for migration somewhere else). – Thomas Owens Mar 9 '16 at 12:46
  • 1
    Another option then would be to do a complete and self answered one for which that one could be closed as a duplicate of instead as an after the fact. I do seem to recall some comments there that have since been deleted. The connected city problem was asked on CS where there is quite a bit of additional "explain this" including the original version. Going over this multiple times across multiple sites seems... awkward. – user40980 Mar 9 '16 at 12:51
  • 1
    ... and if it were to remain open, should it be migrated to CS.SE so that all of the answers to this identical question are in a single place? – user40980 Mar 9 '16 at 12:57
  • "but am more concerned that no one prompted the asker for the information needed to make the question better" - very recently, there were accusations of badgering and hazing newbies for comments of trying to get them to explain their question. As one of the most frequent commentators on the site, the lack of action by people taking my requests for elaboration into consideration on edits, reopen votes with no attempt to address the stated close reason, the aforementioned accusations, and the hostility seen elsewhere in meta I am leaning to more and more of a "why bother" attitude. ... – user40980 Mar 9 '16 at 13:51
  • 3
    It is disappointing that others are not taking up the torch of trying to guide and cultivate these questions and, to me at least, is a greater cause for concern than mistakenly closing ~5% of the questions. – user40980 Mar 9 '16 at 13:52
  • 3
    "there were accusations of badgering and hazing newbies for comments of trying to get them to explain their question" -- Unless I missed something, those were directed at people using canned comments and links to Meta posts rather than unique, specific comments directed toward the specific question and specific queries for more information. There's a reason why I don't use canned comments - they aren't friendly. Given the sheer number, I can understand you (or anyone) not wanting to take the time to write comments on every low quality question. – Thomas Owens Mar 9 '16 at 13:54
  • While I'm having difficulty finding it now, I seem to recall a comment to Glen accusing him of hazing new users when trying to explain why something was closed. – user40980 Mar 9 '16 at 13:58
  • 4
    @MichaelT - There's a cyclical nature to the feedback I leave on low quality questions. Periodically, when I see a potentially decent question then I'll leave a comment indicating what needs to be done to make it constructive. In some cases, I'll go ahead and make the edit myself if it's straightforward enough. 3 out of 4 times, this is fine. The OP either edits or doesn't. But then that 1 out of 4 will roll through and I stop bothering to comment or edit for some period of time afterwards. In those cases, the OP gets disproportionately bent out of shape and goes into a tirade. ... – GlenH7 Mar 10 '16 at 16:03
  • 8
    ... That leads to me not bothering to leave feedback anymore. I have a limited amount of time that I can dedicate to this site, and dealing with irrational people who sling all manner of accusations at me just isn't worth my time. Granted, it's the interwebs so I don't really care what they have said. But at the same time, it diminishes any potential value I'm creating for the site. So I revert to "why bother?" and stop leaving feedback. – GlenH7 Mar 10 '16 at 16:03
  • 3
    Which gets back to the issue that we're not scaling well. The influx of questions that we are getting now that are completely off topic now feels much more than it did two years ago. It is taking more time to explain to these people what needs to be done. We're having less time per question to help. It feels like there are fewer people participating in community moderation too (and the implications that has). If the off topic reason is not completely off base and it gets closed, that's probably good enough guidance for most, and especially the ones that are going to start yelling. – user40980 Mar 10 '16 at 16:43
  • 2
    I would rather leave a canned comment linking to a meta post than type the same text over and over again. I am with @GlenH7 here, if I can add something specific to that question and I have the time then I will. – user22815 Mar 11 '16 at 19:02
  • 2
    I agree, but am more concerned that no one prompted the asker for the information needed to make the question better (either for our site or for migration somewhere else). It is key to lead by example. programmers.stackexchange.com/q/312743 programmers.stackexchange.com/q/312761 programmers.stackexchange.com/q/312721 . I'm tired and done. Its someone else's turn now. Go through the recently closed list, check to see where there is confusion and better guidance for users. Thats what the 10k mod tools are for. – user40980 Mar 14 '16 at 23:39
  • @MichaelT In those cases, the close reason specifically links to relevant guidance. In some cases, it's better to leave no comment and let the close reason speak for itself, when the reason has appropriate links. – Thomas Owens Mar 15 '16 at 0:09

You must log in to answer this question.