So I asked a question which doesn't jibe with the normal flow of questions on this site, but I don't think it is off-topic and I edited the question to specifically relate it to software development and appease even the minute details of the commentators to no avail

I'd be tempted to ask "Why is there no patron saint of computer programmers?" I'm pretty sure it would get closed for the same reason, which is unbeknownst to me. I can't really help it if people I don't know don't believe there needs to be a patron of programmers, but I don't see how a disconnect between the beliefs of certain programmers makes the question inappropriate - or necessarily misses the boat on any of the subjective criteria.

I'm not going to argue "Where else could I ask this question and get a decent answer" the reason for asking the question was mainly so people who type "Patron Saint of Computer Programmers" into their search engine of choice could hit a living community where-in the patron could actually be determined, which is how we've always done things.

If I asked "Why is there no patron saint" the answer would actually be A: because programmers have higher tendency to be skeptics and B: because programmers who aren't skeptics don't have much of a cohesive presence (i.e. a guild).

The original intent (and still the intent) of Stack Overflow was for C++ programmers to answer C++ question and Java programmers to answer Java questions, but they're certainly free to cross from one realm to another. It's no different with our website, a person should be free to ask and answer questions from their own points of view. If a Java question is answered with a C++ code example and the answerer says, sorry that's the only syntax I can muster up, then he'll be voted on based on how well he answers the question - it may very well be the best answer. The same goes for our site.

  • @Chris, that's true but he's not 'officially' the patron saint through papal decree like St. Thomas More is the patron of lawyers. Plus I think calling some one patron of programmers and the internet isn't quite specific enough, not that he's not a pretty swell saint to have as a patron - he's one of the few doctors of the Church. Patronage usually starts as something determined by the folks in the profession and only occasionally from the top-down approach. So St. Isadore is really the patron of programmers who chose him as their patron and anyone else is free to chose another. Commented Dec 28, 2010 at 19:46
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    The part where it's about religion?
    – Marcie
    Commented Dec 28, 2010 at 21:03
  • @Marcie, well I tried to make it not about a particular religion - figured people would appreciate that, apparently not. Commented Dec 28, 2010 at 21:33
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    @Peter - what's the deal? You asked a question and it got closed. If enough people agree with your view point then your question will get reopened. That's how the system works.
    – user7676
    Commented Dec 29, 2010 at 3:24
  • @user7676. I edited the question twice to appease the closers and didn't get any feedback. So I make my case on meta that's also the way the system works. Commented Dec 29, 2010 at 4:36
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    This is going to nowhere. Nothing was added here to improve our site.
    – Maniero
    Commented Dec 29, 2010 at 20:19
  • @bigown - Amen to that!
    – Ali
    Commented Dec 29, 2010 at 22:30

3 Answers 3


I can tell you why I voted to close it.

Your question has more to do with religion than it does about programming. Secondly, there is nothing in your question that would prevent someone from substituting Accountants with Programmers. That's why I voted to close it as Off-Topic.

I also agree with ChrisF and would have also voted to close it as "not constructive". In addition, I could have been persuaded to vote to close it as "too localized" because it only dealt with a single religion, but that would be stretching the use of "too localized".

The bottom line for me is whether or not this question makes me a better programmer. And for me that answer is no.

  • Thanks for answering, but you nailed the very reason you shouldn't have voted to close it with your last sentence. "For me the answer is no" ... Well, for me the answer is yes. And a C++ question will only make you a better programmer if you are a C++ programmer or going to be a C++ programmer. Commented Dec 28, 2010 at 20:43
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    Then you can vote to reopen it.
    – Walter
    Commented Dec 28, 2010 at 22:40
  • replacing accountants by programmers is a nice technique
    – user2567
    Commented Dec 28, 2010 at 23:03
  • @Pierre thats actually the problem, the current person regarded as the patron of the Internet, sysadmins and computers. Way too broad a scope in my book. Also this question is more about fraternity than religion. Commented Dec 29, 2010 at 4:40

There actually is a patron saint of programmers - http://www.scborromeo.org/saints/isidores.htm, though I see you already mention him.

I would have been more inclined to close as "not constructive" as any answer cannot be backed up by evidence.

Lance Robert's comment is the pertinent one though - your question doesn't really have any relevance to software development.

  • That's what all that bold stuff it at the top, no one wants to specifically refute the use of a patron saint in software development and I'm the only one who thinks having a patron would actually be useful, it maybe true, but it's not a close reason. Commented Dec 28, 2010 at 19:50

Secondly, there is nothing in your question that would prevent someone from substituting Accountants with Programmers
Accountants should have a different saint i think. And that's an important question. Who would you pray to when your project goes wrong? I don't really care too much, but that's an interesting question :)

In addition, I could have been persuaded to vote to close it as "too localized" because it only dealt with a single religion
Yeah, let's be tolerant. Close all topics that deal with only one programming language or operating system. Because we make so many windows users sad when we discuss linux :)

Walter why such religious hatered? Wanting to close something just because it's about religion that you don't like. That's sad.

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    First off, your answer isn't an answer, it's a comment to my answer. Secondly, last time I checked this site was about programming, not religion. I have no issues with religion, any of them.
    – Walter
    Commented Dec 29, 2010 at 3:12
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    Ah, where exactly did you get that Walter hates religion from his answer?? You're way out of line!
    – user7676
    Commented Dec 29, 2010 at 3:22
  • Well the question is about programmers actually. Are programmers related to programming i think yes? @user7676: Where i find it? In a comment that the thread should be closed because it discuss only one religion, so we shlould discuss maybe 5 religions, then it'd be good. Oh wait, you said that site is not about religion, so that's why you want more than one in single question? Well your argumentation... isn't really clever:) If you weren't so intolerant you'd be able to know something interesting, as far as i see there is no endless religion discussion,so what's the problem with one question?
    – Slawek
    Commented Dec 29, 2010 at 3:48
  • I get the feeling that the question was closed out of ignorance more than hatred. No one has been particularly uncouth, but yeah there is a definite prejudice at work here as well as an assumption of a wall of separation between faith and everyday life. Commented Dec 29, 2010 at 4:43
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    @Peter - Can you please be careful with these accusations of ignorance. Having a different view to Peter Turner and being ignorant are not the same thing. I'm not ignorant of what your saying, nor do I hate you, your religion or your question, I just don't think it makes a useful, practical contribution here. There are loads of interesting questions out there which touch on programming but that doesn't mean the all belong on programmers. Commented Dec 29, 2010 at 9:31
  • Peter, that's so different than in my country... i don't say it's good or bad to be honest large amount of religion in everydays life (where i live) pisses me off a little :) Jon do you use Java? If not probably we should remove all uninteresting java questions then :) Beside it's .programmers, not .codemonkey. But i think Peter's right that's ignorance probably maybe being afraid of religion, so people will rather remove a topic than risk a chance to click it :D "Programmers patron" points to this site as 2'nd link on google and u close the topic :)
    – Slawek
    Commented Dec 29, 2010 at 12:18
  • @Jon I'll call'em as I see 'em. Anyway ignorance is bliss, nothing to be ashamed of. If you're not ignorant of what I'm saying then prove it. Tell me what the purpose of a patron saint it. Commented Dec 29, 2010 at 19:12
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    @Peter - Please just leave it, this is becoming very very boring. The question was closed in a day, a week later it still hasn't been reopened (and isn't even close to having the votes needed despite your constant banging on about it). Neither I, nor the community have any interest in discussing this, please get the message and let this rest. Commented Dec 29, 2010 at 22:49

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