As of right now, the close/migrated question rate for the past month or so is around 43% (see notes below)

The majority of the closures are valid based on our site standards, however the fact users are asking so many invalid questions makes me think that we could be doing something better with the way we are communicating with our users about what the site is for. Most people don't willingly post unwelcome questions on a Q&A site

The majority of questions are closed because they are:

  • Code questions - These should be asked on SO, and get migrated there if they are suitable for SO. If the question quality is not suitable for SO, they simply get closed.

  • Requests for broad recommendations, like book suggestions, what to learn next, or general advice in X situation. Any kind of broad question like this is usually closed on SE sites as unanswerable since there is no one right answer to the question, and they usually turn into a poll with everyone chiming in with their own recommendation or opinion

  • Questions about or for programmers, that are unrelated to conceptual software development. The site is meant for Q&A on conceptual software development, so questions asked should be related to that.

Things that contribute to our high close/migration rate include:

  • Users not reading the FAQ, and not understanding what this site is for

  • Users migrating bad questions from Stack Overflow because they don't understand our site's scope. Per Yannis, 41% of migrations from SO were rejected in the past 90 days (about 70-80 questions), but that's for a 90-day period, not the last 30 days. The average for a 30-day period would be somewhere around 25

  • Users who have been suspended on SO, or are banned from asking questions, so are asking code questions here instead. Yannis said they get one of those every few days or so, so its not a lot but it does contribute to the problem (around 10-15 questions over the past month)

(If I missed something in either list list, let me know in a comment and I'll add it)

So my question is, what can we do to improve the way we present the site to users, and prevent so many bad questions from being asked?


For those who want to know how the close/migration percentage was determined:

46% is the number is obtained by going to the question list, sorting by Newest, and counting the number of questions since 4/4, then filtering for closed:1 and doing the same thing. There are 1029 questions total, while 441 are closed, so 441 / 1029 = 42.8%

closed:1 includes migrated:1, so a separate filter for migrated:1 shows 77 migrated questions in the past month, so (441 - 77) / 1029 = 35%

And no, I didn't count those one at a time. :) I sorted by date, found the date I wanted to go back to, and multiplied the page number - 1 by the number of questions per page, and only counted the # of questions on the final page.

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This question was inspired by another question on SO meta question asking why we have so many closed questions on our site –  Rachel May 4 '12 at 15:33
    
441 closed questions, 1029 total (588 open), the percentage is 43% (since 4/4). Not that it makes a difference, but let's be exact. –  Yannis Rizos May 4 '12 at 15:39
    
I did what you did, mostly to verify your findings, because I know how lazy you are (it's in your about box ;) Btw, you should start playing around with the API, much easier to get such stats... –  Yannis Rizos May 4 '12 at 15:50
    
@YannisRizos Thanks, I've updated the post to include the actual numbers. Deleted my previous comment too since I had an inaccurate number there, but yes I do enjoy being lazy :) –  Rachel May 4 '12 at 15:52
    
Hrrrmmm am I to take the downvotes as a sign that people don't think we should try and improve the way we communicate with new users and help them understand our site better so we don't have so many crap questions? If its something else, let me know. –  Rachel May 4 '12 at 16:24
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Well, to be perfectly honest, it's not really a problem. It would be nice to have less closures, but our closing ratio is not an actual problem. –  Yannis Rizos May 4 '12 at 16:25
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You could always consider that moderators that close questions as "off-topic", "unhelpful", or "not a real question" after answering said question sends a rather mixed and confusing message: programmers.stackexchange.com/questions/148783/… - as an observer the whole close thing seems completely random to me actually, which isn't surprising now that I see that even the mods themselves can't decide if a question should be answered or closed :P –  Crazy Eddie May 16 '12 at 7:15
    
@CrazyEddie Perhaps it would help decide what you want, do you want us to close questions asap, or wait for community votes? If your problem was that I decided to help the OP with an answer while I was waiting for close votes / flags, I'm sorry, but that's entirely your problem, not mine. –  Yannis Rizos May 24 '12 at 0:10
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I'd say for the vast majority of questions there is "no one right answer to the question". Are all these going to be closed? Even highly specific programming questions like "How do I loop over a collection in C#" have more than one right answer. It is fatally flawed logic to try and implement such a rule. –  Dan Diplo May 25 '12 at 10:17
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12 Answers

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Nice timing. I came across this question while trying to determine for myself whether I should post my question on P.SE or on SO. For me, (and yes, this is anecdotal and unsupported by researching existing questions -- I'm just speaking from the heart as a P.SE newbie) there are two problems:

1) I find P.SE's mandate to be vague and confusing. I've read the P.SE and SO faqs repeatedly just now, but am still uncertain about the difference between the two sites. I think the difference is that:

  • P.SE is for Q&A on the Software Development Process (methodology, concepts)
  • SO if for Q&A on specific programming problems/tools

If I'm right, then I'd like to propose placing the words "Q&A on the Software Development Process" prominently, e.g. in the site masthead. (Incidentally, I don't see the "Welcome!" post-it note (and its tagline) that Rachel screen-captured. I do not have the tagline anywhere on the P.SE homepage -- finding the word "interested" turns up nothing.) Now, I'm sure that the authors of the current tagline put their heart and soul into it and find it meaningful, but for me, an outsider, it does not successfully introduce the site. Why emphasize "Professional Programmers"? If the site is on process/concepts (and explicitly not on career advice), why differentiate between professional and amateur/student programmers? And what is added by including the words "interested in conceptual questions about"? The only words in the tagline that truly matter are "software development [concepts]", or as I've rendered it, "Software Development Process". Bottom line, consider rewriting the tagline and showing it more prominently.

If I'm wrong about the difference between P.SE and SO, then perhaps we could rewrite the opening FAQ to clarify the distinction. In fact, either way it should be clarified, because clearly us nubes ain't getting it.

The mandate is also unclear in that (independent of SO) it's unclear what topics are in/out. e.g. Q's on "freelancing and business concerns" are allowed, but "career advice" is not. The former is out of place here, as it is unrelated to process/methodology/concepts, and yet seems closely related to the latter.

2) The stated goal of P.SE seems self-contradictory. The directive "You should only ask practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face" is incompatible with such broad, abstract concepts as software architecture/engineering.

Thanks for your work putting together P.SE. I'm sure it serves a necessary niche in the SE network. It just needs a little bit more work to clarify the parameters of that niche and to present itself well within the network.

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Hi Noach :) You might be interested in voting on another proposal to add a line to our FAQ outlining the difference between P.SE and SO. In addition, I think the welcome message only shows up if you're not logged in, which is why you didn't see it. The tagline was originally created when this was a Q&A site for programmers about questions not related to programming, however the site scope changed while the name/design/tagline never did (full history here) –  Rachel May 16 '12 at 12:27
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Welcome to programmers, its nice to see how early on you are grasping the massive inconsistencies with the site, enjoy. –  Ryathal May 16 '12 at 13:19
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Noah "unsupported by researching existing questions" might be just what's holding you from getting it. To expect that cramming Programmers FAQ alone would be sufficient to grasp its concepts would be about as productive as expecting that cramming design patterns books would make one proficient. BTW I wasted few years messing with patterns books wondering why can't I grok it - until I discovered that practice is the way to go. Similarly, I studied quite a lot of P.SE questions (naturally, along with re-reading FAQ) before I became comfortable with understanding the site –  gnat May 16 '12 at 17:16
    
Interesting perspective. I would like to point out that the software development process is only one aspect of Programmers. Others include software design/architecture and business concerns, which aren't specifically about software process. The differentiation between professional and amateur comes from our target audience - questions should be interesting and relevant to those who have (or are receiving) a formal education in and/or are employed in the field of software development and not people working on personal projects and says nothing about who can ask or answer questions. –  Thomas Owens May 16 '12 at 19:44
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As mentioned elsewhere in this discussion (namely the top answer), the emphasis on professional programmers is because this isn't a site for the blind leading the blind: questions must be interesting to professional programmers. To think this site is about career advice would require going to the FAQ, reading up to the phrase "professional programmers", coming up with a non-obvious interpretation that it means "career advice", and then willfully ignoring everything after, including the part where it says career advice is off-topic. –  user8 May 16 '12 at 19:45
    
Also, on the subject of dealing with the "broad, abstract concepts", it's extremely likely that questions won't have a singular right answer. A low accept rate on Programmers (mine is only 10%) is not a bad thing like it is on some other sites (like Stack Overflow). The blog post on good versus bad subjective questions should help a little with explaining how to deal with different types of subjective questions. –  Thomas Owens May 16 '12 at 19:47
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Users not reading the FAQ, and not understanding what this site is for

I am pretty new here, so I might be completely off, but I think that's the main problem. When I first found the site, I read the FAQ, it was pretty easy to find and quite informative (but very long!). I'm not an expert on what is on topic for Programmers, but I still haven't stumbled upon a closed question that would have been asked if the OP had read the FAQ in the first place. I don't know if this is possible but one statistic I would be very interested to see would be the exactly that, how many people actually visited the FAQ before they asked their questions, and how many of the questions asked by people not visiting the FAQ were closed.

My experience with the site is very limited, and so is my data set, but I don't think it's unreasonable to expect people to familiarize themselves with the guidelines before asking. I haven't asked a question here yet, and do not know if I will soon (most of my questions are already asked and answered) but when I do I will give the FAQ another look to see if my question is ok. I think it's the sensible thing to do, it will only cost me a few seconds and it will help me get better answers, as from what I've seen so far the questions that are disallowed are those that don't generate useful answers.

This site, Meta, is also very useful, there are several past discussions that are applicable to this one and I'm surprised no one mentioned them:

It also seems to me that people keep answering obviously off topic questions, although that has already been identified as something that we shouldn't do:

That is not really helpful, although I understand that most people will think to answer first and clean up later, it's very misguiding to the person asking especially when answers are from senior members. It's like saying your question is off topic, but no problem, you got your answers. I've already lost 25 reputation points from answering a very bad question by this guy, and I'm really glad the community and the moderators re-acted and other people didn't waste their time answering his questions.

I'm getting a bit off topic, so I will stop here, with this amazing find:

enter image description here

Programmers is not supposed to be a beginners site, and a lot of closed questions come from beginners. I don't think there is anything we can do here it is only natural that the site will have more closed questions than others. I like the advanced aspect of the site, and the work that is being done in the disciplined aspect of it, questions like this one should be the norm not the exception.

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Programmers is not supposed to be a beginners site - Where is this stated? –  Jim G. May 6 '12 at 14:29
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@JimG. Big diagram above not enough for you? Didn't drew it myself, I took it from a very upvoted answer (which I link to), if you bother to read it you'll find out why Programmers isn't supposed to be a beginners site, conceptual questions on software development by beginners doesn't work. And I though the FAQ clearly states that the site is for proffesional programmers. –  Roc Martí May 6 '12 at 16:41
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This is correct: while you technically don't have to be, or consider yourself to be, a professional, Programmers.SE is intended for expert, professional-level questions and I'm not sure how much more clear it can be made given it's the first line in the FAQ. Maybe make it 5x larger? Make it blink? I think at a certain point, we need to concede that no matter how much guidance we provide, some people don't think to read the guidance (or have read the guidance and decided to disregard it) and we waste a lot effort catering to those people who can't or don't want to learn. –  user8 May 7 '12 at 1:05
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I'd much rather we cater to people like yourself, who see this site isn't for beginners, and take some time to do some digging to make sure their questions are a good fit. –  user8 May 7 '12 at 1:11
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Somebody reddit this man! Stat! –  Will May 9 '12 at 14:55
    
I agree with you that a large part of the problem is not reading the FAQ before posting, but I'm not sure I understand your suggested solution. Is your solution to have users stop answering off-topic questions? In theory it may sound good, but in practice it seems very unpractical since not many users read meta and will see this suggestion. In addition, we're all volunteers here. Many of us answer questions because we like helping people, and if we think we know the answer, we'll post it in an attempt to help, even the question is considered off-topic for the site. –  Rachel Jun 8 '12 at 12:53
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I'm not sure why you think this isn't a beginners site. The faq reads that it's a place for professional programmers to get expert answers on conceptual questions. It seems that beginners should be welcome as long as they fall into those categories. –  briddums Jun 8 '12 at 18:20
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I went through all closed questions of the past month and deleted:

  1. Cross posts

    Questions that were identified as having asked on other sites before being asked on Programmers. None had answers, all were downvoted (which is good), and they were quite a few of them (didn't count, but aproximately 1/10).

  2. Questions posted here to avoid bans or suspensions on Stack Overflow

    Argh.

  3. Rejected migrations

    Questions that were migrated here, mostly from Stack Overflow, and we closed them. Those stayed around locked, and there were quite a few of them.

  4. Succesful migrations

    Questions that were migrated away and had found a better home at the target site, which means that they were got a few up votes (>3), and up voted answers (and in most cases accepted answers). Yes I checked each and every one of them.

  5. Downvoted questions with no answers or no upvoted answers

    All hopelessly off topic.

  6. Heavily downvoted questions with no highlish upvoted answers

    Heavily downvoted <= -3, highlish upvoted <= +2, all hopelessly off topic.

Questions that satisfied any of the above criteria were not deleted if they had at least one re-open vote, and of course duplicates were left untouched. I asked The Workplace mods if they wanted a couple of questions, one was deleted by the OP before we get a chance to migrate (which is funny as the mod I talked with liked the question) and the other was rejected (but not deleted, as with some rewording it might fit another site, waiting confirmation). I've also re-opened a question that was closed as not constructive, as it had two re-open votes and a good(ish) answer.

I was honestly curious to see what was going on with the closed questions, I'm happy with all closures, they are all justified, regardless if they were delete worthy or not. However deleting the questions was only a by product of the process, I only did it because it made sense to clean up while going through the closed questions, my primary motivation was to get a better feel of our closures and our overal closing attitude. My conclusions and thoughts are (in no particular order):

  1. Snarky comments

    I saw a lot of comments I didn't really like. The majority of commenters were being nice and helping OPs understand why their question was off topic, but there were a lot of comments that were... umph. Not outright rude, but not particularly helpful either. I do enjoy sarcasm as much as everyone, and perhaps a little more, but I think we should be a bit kinder to newer users. I understand that several of us are getting increasingly tired of having to deal with the same crap questions over and over, but I would like to ask everyone to refrain from commenting on newer users questions if they are not feeling productive.

    I would like to suggest a very easy workflow: If you happen upon a snarky comment, and you feel you can provide better guidance to the OP, please do, even if it means re-iterating the earlier comment. And after you post your comment, flag the earlier one so we can remove it. Simple as that, and please avoid responding to the snarky comment with an even snarkier. A few of our higher rep users already do that, and I think they are setting a perfect example for the rest of us.

  2. Stack Overflow sucks

    Not the real Stack Overflow, that's a wonderful place, but the part of it that finds it's way here. The questions I deleted were of extreme low quality to begin with, but those that came from Stack Overflow were the worst of the worst. That includes direct migrations, questions asked here because of Stack Overflow bans or suspensions, and questions asked here after being closed on Stack Overflow because some "friendly" commenter pointed OP to Programmers.

    Most Programmers regulars are probably aware of how troublesome our migration relationship with Stack Overflow is, however it's worth noting that 59% of migrations from there the past 90 days were good migrations, and Stack Overflow is our top referring site (excluding search engines). So it's not all bad.

  3. We should be deleting some questions more quickly

    Cross posts, questions that were asked here to circumvent bans or suspensions on other sites, and failed migrations don't really serve any purpose staying around for long. All they do is contribute in our questions lists looking like a battlefield, without having any chance of being salvageable. 10K+ users please contribute delete votes when you see a comment identifying a question in one of the first two categories, lower rep users please flag if you happen upon those questions a week after they were asked.

  4. Not constructive

    We have some not constructive questions that I think could be salvaged. I didn't have the energy to look deeper into them, but I invite everyone to go through highly upvoted closed questions and see if you can help bring them up to shape. Don't go at it alone, if you find a question you think could be re-opened, post it in chat and ask others to evaluate and help. Don't go blindly casting re-open votes, always keep in mind that re-open votes are more powerfull in twos (and even more in threes).

The numbers

Of course deleting the questions changed the numbers Rachel references, the current numbers are (for the last 30 days, and at the time of writing this, new questions may have popped up):

Open questions         = 599
Closed questions (all) = 283
Total questions        = 882
----------------------------
Migrated questions     = 37
Closed (excl. migrat.) = 246
----------------------------
Closed % (incl. migr.) = 32%
Closed % (excl. migr.) = 27,8%

27,8% is our current close rate, having deleted an abudance of crap. Again this wasn't about hiding things under the carpet, this was about getting a clear idea of how many questions we close excluding:

  1. Questions we have little control over (first three categories of the deletions),
  2. Migrations,
  3. Hopelessly off topic questions that aren't salvageable (last two categories of the deletions).

I am excluding migrations (from us to other sites), because:

  • The questions are labeled [migrated] and not [closed], it's reasonable to assume that they don't contribute to scaring newer users off (which is the basis of this question)
  • Migrations are cool, we are only trying to find a better place for the question, and most OPs really appreciate that.

And don't forget that our closure rate includes duplicates, something that's not really cool, I strongly believe that most OPs appreciate finding quick answers or at least don't scare off because of duplicates. However duplicates are still labeled [closed] and they might contribute in giving the wrong idea for the site.

Which leaves us with the hopelessly off topic questions, the heart of the matter, and of course the rest of the closed questions that I didn't delete. Yes, there is room for improvement. Yes, our expectations are a bit higher than most other Stack Exchange sites. Yes, we all want more people to love the site as much as we do, and yes we all want less closed questions. But is it a problem? I think not, at least not a major one and certainly not one we can't deal with efficiently.

Let's start by being a bit more helpful when guiding newer users, and a bit more aggresive when protecting borderline not constructive questions. We (the mods) have said countless times that bad answers may lead to a borderline question getting closed, however the community hasn't really been responsive in defending those magnificently interesting questions by vehemently cleaning up the crap answers.

Use your down votes people, and please for the love of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, resist the urge to add yet another opinion heavy answer to the pile. Great answers with references and relevant experiences is what we are looking for, treat everything else like it should be treated. The best way of lowering our close rate is by re-opening borderline questions.

The upcoming contest will probably bring us a lot new users, the coming month is a perfect opportunity to help the site grow. Be nice(r) to the newcomers, spend a few more seconds explaining why their questions might not fit or better yet, edit them to fit. Please avoid completely un-productive comments & discussion about stuff only a handful of people may find interesting, long comment discussions, etc.

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@Rachel I updated my answer, it's a lot different now. Purged the comments as they were obsolete. –  Yannis Rizos May 5 '12 at 4:06
    
Ah something I forgot. I checked if OP had checked in after the question was closed, if they hadn't the question wasn't deleted. Yes, for all questions in categories 5 & 6. –  Yannis Rizos May 5 '12 at 4:20
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There might be some mileage in reasking for duplicates to be marked [duplicate] rather than [closed]. It seems I'm not alone in this - meta.stackexchange.com/questions/90672/… - has a bounty on it. –  ChrisF May 5 '12 at 12:18
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@Rachel If you disagree with my answer, down vote or comment, but you don't get to edit out parts you disagree with. This is not the first time you did this, but consider it your last warning. –  Yannis Rizos May 6 '12 at 6:24
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The best way of lowering our close rate is by re-opening borderline questions: Agreed - And that's the most encouraging thing I've ever heard a programmers,se star mod say on the topic. @Rachel - Maybe your efforts are starting to pay off! –  Jim G. May 6 '12 at 10:39
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Yannis - I'm not sure what edits @Rachel made in the past, but this one seemed rather light, no? –  Jim G. May 6 '12 at 10:42
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@JimG. Every mod has said that, at least once. The problem is that although everyone agrees, not many seem interested in doing the effort required which includes editing questions, cleaning up crap answers, and more importantly resisting the urge to post crap answers. Fun fact: In the above meta novel I admit to an instance of mod abuse, and that's the one question I re-opened. It might had 2 re-open voted but it was closed by 5 community votes and had no work done towards improving it. –  Yannis Rizos May 6 '12 at 10:43
    
@JimG. Yes the edit is fairly light. But you don't get to remove stuff because you disagree with them, especially on Meta. I have my opinions, if you disagree, down vote and / or comment, editing out the parts you disagree with is abusing the edit privileges and will not be tolerated (light or not). –  Yannis Rizos May 6 '12 at 10:47
    
@YannisRizos The bit I edited out said (which is the basis of this question), and was incorrect. This question is not about scaring off new users, but is about how we can better communicate with them to reduce the number of off-topic questions we get. –  Rachel May 6 '12 at 15:15
    
@Rachel I disagree, I think that's the basis of the question. I welcome both your comment and your down vote. Next time ask before you do such edits. –  Yannis Rizos May 6 '12 at 15:18
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@YannisRizos The down vote isn't for a single line I disagree with, but because this is a bad solution to the question actually asked. We get many bad questions being asked, and simply dealing with them is not a very good answer to me. I'd like to find a way to stop them from getting asked in the first place –  Rachel May 6 '12 at 15:29
    
@Rachel Well that's the only solution I can offer. Eagerly awaiting to hear your proposals. –  Yannis Rizos May 6 '12 at 15:30
    
    
@Rachel Make the site name match the site's content is not a proposal but an inconclusive discussion in which the majority of the community seems to be of a different opinion than yours, clarify the tag line is an unpopular proposal, create a page specifically designed for new users and put the link in the top of the FAQ is interesting, and you could start writing it today. We could put it in the blog, and point to it from the FAQ (assuming the community agrees to that, if not, we could still put it in the blog). –  Yannis Rizos May 24 '12 at 15:19
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A big problem is that the majority of Stack Overflow users neither know nor care what our site standards are now. They did (or thought they did) once and are still using those to judge whether to vote to migrate questions here.

You need to educate Stack Overflow users on the following:

  1. What our site scope and standards are now.
  2. What constitutes a good question - i.e. one that's constructive, answerable, etc. etc.

Basically we need to teach them that you:

Don't migrate crap

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I agree with that :) Any chance you have access to some numbers telling us how many migrated questions came from SO in the past month, and how many are closed? I'm interested to know what % of our closed questions came from SO –  Rachel May 4 '12 at 15:37
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@Rachel 41% of migrations from SO were rejected in the past 90 days (that's the only stat we have). In the same period SO has rejected 2% of the questions we send them. –  Yannis Rizos May 4 '12 at 15:40
    
@YannisRizos Any chance you could use your super-mod powers to get an exact figure from someone else? I'd be really interested in knowing if SO is the main reason for our high close/migration rate or not –  Rachel May 4 '12 at 15:57
    
@ChrisF Any ideas on how to educate SO users? I agree this is probably part of the problem, but I'm hoping to get solutions posted as answers, and not just things that point out possible causes to the problem. Perhaps we can edit the Programmers link in the migration list somehow to make our site scope more understandable. I'm fairly sure most users don't willingly migrate us crap. –  Rachel May 4 '12 at 16:02
    
@Rachel - nope. No idea at all how to educate SO users. The only solution may be to take the migration option away from them, but I campaigned for it to be set up in the first place :( –  ChrisF May 4 '12 at 16:03
    
@ChrisF I edited my previous comment after you posted your last comment to include a suggestion about improving the Programmers tag line in the migration box. Do you think something like that would help out? –  Rachel May 4 '12 at 16:28
    
I think it would be acceptable to start a campaign to take away the auto migration path from SO to programers citing that a 41% rejection rate shows their users aren't capable of properly selecting suitable questions. It was a nice idea, but its just adding more crap, maybe we can give it back later after they learn what good questions for migration are. –  Ryathal May 4 '12 at 18:25
    
@Ryathal 41% is big, but 59% is bigger. What we need to do is closely examine the 59% that does make it through, and see where those questions stand quality wise. Empirically I can say that they are at the low end, and that's an argument in favour of removing the migration path, on the other hand though Stack Overflow is currently our largest referring site (excluding search engines), giving us about 4 times as much traffic as the second site. It's not an easy decision. –  Yannis Rizos May 4 '12 at 18:48
    
@Ryathal I'd rather figure out a way to change the tag line so it doesn't sound like this is just a Q&A site to ask programmers questions or get answers from programmers. The way it is currently worded, it just sounds like a site for programmers [who are interested in a conceptual questions about software development] –  Rachel May 4 '12 at 19:37
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I was curious as to whether the closure rate has been getting worse over time, so I wrote this Data Explorer query. There has definitely been a surge during the past year. (Note that this includes deleted questions; also, the explorer dump stops at March 15 right now.)

percent of questions closed

We had to deal with a similar surge on Quant.SE, where I am a moderator. We dealt with it by revamping our FAQ to be extremely clear about what we did not want on our site. We've also been vigilant about getting the wrong people off the site with a combination of persuasion and suspensions. It was pretty harsh, but it worked. We have halved our closure rate in the past few months while maintaining a steady visitors growth rate.

One thing I notice on Programmers.SE is that there is still disagreement about what's on-topic. Many of the what-language-should-I-use and career advice questions get a few answers before being shut down! It might be instructive for the poor souls who mistakenly answered an off-topic question to be told exactly why they should not have bothered.

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The surge you see (especially from Jan to March) was a conscious effort to clean house. There are several Meta posts documenting all of the tag clean up and the steps taken. –  Walter May 5 '12 at 23:14
    
Is there any way to see if one moderator was disproportionately responsible for the January to March closures? If so, maybe we could just ask him/her to knock it off. –  Jim G. May 6 '12 at 3:53
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@JimG. Easy answer, that was me, I closed/deleted about 90% of the close worthy questions involved in the stci. Man, it was fun! And her? Didn't know we had a gal moderator, do you know something I don't? ;P –  Yannis Rizos May 6 '12 at 5:34
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@Yannis Rizos: We used to. Her name was Anna. ;) –  Jim G. May 6 '12 at 10:33
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@JimG. Well, yes, but she wasn't a mod in the period we're discussing. –  Yannis Rizos May 6 '12 at 10:39
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the fact users are asking so many invalid questions makes me think that we could be doing something better with the way we are communicating with our users about what the site is for

Above issue looks real, as indicated by 54.32% "bad" questions asked.

I think this is likely related to issues with answers quality in hot questions (discussed here in more details):

  • "Hot garbage waves" in the answers once or twice a week
  • poisonous effect these mis-answers have on questions, making interesting and well presented problems look the same as non-constructive popularity contests
  • regular ways to deal with this kind of issues just don't work

    It feels like all one gets is just like 60 seconds to figure protective edit to cover every word and letter in the question that could possibly be misinterpreted by some random passer-by and exploited for their senseless cheap shots. That's just... impossible. And more, it feels quite unfair to over-police text of such questions...


An "outsider" reading low quality answers in hot questions, could naturally think,

hey here I can chit-chat about how git is fantastic and get my portion of cheap upvotes, c00l

Taking into account that these are highly visible posts, with thousands of views, it is pretty possible for them to be a steady source of misguided contributors.

Above makes me doubt that widespread misunderstanding of site purpose is really caused by either of name-FAQ mis-match, or misleading site name / tag line, or scope change. There are much larger broken windows than that: "why can't I post X when Y exists".

If above reasoning is correct, then ensuring good quality of the answers in hot questions will help users reading these better understand the site and eventually lead to less of a bad posts from misguided users.


Update: recent feature request intended to address above issues is Trial run of modified "hotness formula" for Programmers questions

Connection between mentioned request and the way how users can be confused about what Programmers are about is probably best explained in a comment made by Ben Brocka:

Often hot questions have lots of bad or meh answers that are bad enough to drag down quality of the content and general discourse (encouraging similarly bad new answers)...

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Although this may be a potential cause of the problem, I'm looking for solutions to fix the problem, and I don't see any solutions in your answer. Do you have any suggestions to help lower the number of "bad" questions that get asked here? –  Rachel Jan 12 '13 at 16:38
    
@Rachel note potential in your comment; I fully agree meaning that there is a chance that addressing low quality answers in hot questions won't help. Because of that, we can only try and test, not guarantee the solution. As for what we can try and test, well if (if) the cause-effect relationship suggested in my answer is true, then logically solution for "answer quality" question (to be defined yet) will also resolve the one you asked. Remove the cause, and effect will also go away –  gnat Jan 12 '13 at 20:45
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Ok... do you have a solution though? And if so, can you try to highlight it more in your answer? I posted this question to try to find solutions, and only a few of the answers provided so far offer actual solutions. –  Rachel Jan 13 '13 at 1:08
    
@Rachel answer expanded on that; feel free to ask if you'd like to see it clarified further –  gnat Jan 13 '13 at 6:55
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Thanks. While in theory "ensuring answer quality in "hot" questions" sounds good, I'm not sure how that will work in practice. Often we don't know in advance which questions will become "hot" until after their # of views has skyrocketed and the damage has been done. Also, how would you actually go about doing that? I suppose moderators could put a protection notice on it to prevent answers from users with under 10 reputation, but that's the only thing I can think of. –  Rachel Jan 13 '13 at 15:44
    
@Rachel yup; I would prefer this to be sorted of in the "suggested cause" question; it's too complicated to be covered in comments and even in a single answer. Your idea of protection notice sounds good btw –  gnat Jan 13 '13 at 15:53
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to some degree, can this become community correcting as the number of 10k+ users continues to grow? In general, I agree with your theories regarding crap answers to hot questions. –  GlenH7 Jan 14 '13 at 17:41
    
@GlenH7 given that as of now, there are quite a lot of 10Kers already (74 as of now) I somehow doubt this alone would make a difference –  gnat Jan 14 '13 at 18:05
    
@gnat - active 10k'ers then? I've noticed the high numbers too, but there aren't a lot that are consistently active. Of course, I've none the idea on getting the existing 10k'ers to become more active. –  GlenH7 Jan 14 '13 at 18:28
    
@GlenH7 active 10Kers, I see. Well this option looks worth considering (though I am not yet versed in 10K tools to say for sure). We could maybe even give it a trial run, on questions that were sampled in "answers quality..." to test how it could possibly work –  gnat Jan 14 '13 at 19:46
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@GlenH7 well, regarding down-voting the crud answers, this could impact reputation in the opposite way than it looks at the surface. Did you notice how piling of garbage answers eventually turns things CW (more than 1700 answers scored 25+ turned community wiki)? This turns upvotes given to good answers into zero rep; if downvoting crap answers somehow tames that, this effectively means good answers will be bringing more rep to authors –  gnat Jan 15 '13 at 7:05
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@GlenH7 ...I just checked: of your posts, 3 are CW, with total score 149. Of mine, 12 are CW, with total score 498. Rachel has 30 CW posts, with total score 479. If only half of these is "eaten" by CW, this makes something like 550 votes go into zero. This would make 5500 rep lost to just three of us. Wow. Just... wow. How much does downvoting a garbage answer cost? -1? just one point? compared to mentioned losses, this is nothing. –  gnat Jan 15 '13 at 7:51
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Those are some interesting stats; I had always wondered how much CW status on some of my answers was costing me. And the short answer appears that I would be past 10k around now... :-) You make a really good point regarding down voting with that. FWIW, 2 of those 3 were intentionally set to CW status as they were aggregating comments that answered the question. But that 1 other question has 139 votes currently. –  GlenH7 Jan 15 '13 at 12:56
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@gnat - I noticed that yesterday as well. :-( Most of the 22 are reasonably active, but I don't think that's a sufficient number to see delete votes used as I had envisioned. Back to down voting, I guess. –  GlenH7 Jan 16 '13 at 14:25
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@Rachel there we go; answer has been updated with the reference to concrete feature request that would help us find out if answer reasoning holds true –  gnat Jan 29 '13 at 8:02
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I really don't know why you need to close questions at all. If a question is related to programming, even if quite tenuously, then it should be left to the users of the site to arbiter whether it is relevant or not. The mechanism for that is quite simple and already exists - people will vote for questions they like, downvote questions they don't and, most importantly, provide answers to questions they feel are interesting.

I find it totally ridiculous that you can have a question that has lots of answers and is provoking discussion to be suddenly closed because some unelected moderator decides to exert their power. No wonder we are at the ludicrous situation where so many questions are being closed. Personally I hardly even bother coming here any more (and I know for a fact other people feel the same) as half the questions I'm interested in are suddenly closed (without often the mundane and dull questions left). Why should people bother wasting time supplying an answer to a question when they know that it could (seemingly) arbitrarily be closed at any moment?

I subscribe to the StackExchange twitter feed and it's amazing how many of the questions selected to appear in that feed (presumably automatically based on popularity) end up being closed. If people are interested in it, contributing and provoking discussion then what gives someone else the right to stamp down on that? I remember when this site was set up it was to act as an "overflow" for the questions that weren't quite suitable for StackOverflow yet were programming related (with an example cited as the (in)famous "What is your favourite programming cartoon?"). The irony is that questions like that would never be allowed here any more.

I'm sure moderators think they are doing their best by following some "charter", but who wrote that? Who was consulted? Again I come back to letting the people decide what should be here via the mechanisms that already exist with moderators only needing to close the most egregious violations.

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+1: You nailed it. –  Jim G. May 24 '12 at 11:42
    
you are right about quite a bit, but missed a couple things, mods are elected, and this site had its direction changed by the powers that be and that was that. –  Ryathal May 24 '12 at 12:21
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your 3K+ reputation allows casting reopen votes, do you exercise that option? (I for one do, and per my experience, moderators follow reopen votes about the same as ones to close) –  gnat May 24 '12 at 13:55
    
@gnat Your 3K+ reputation allows casting reopen votes, however if the question does not get any other reopen votes within 4 days, your vote expires and cannot be cast again. Therefore, to get a question reopened by the community, you need to find 5 people to cast re-open votes within 4 days of each other vote, which rarely happens. –  Rachel May 24 '12 at 14:45
    
@Rachel as I already wrote, so far reopening to me hadn't been any harder than closing. For the sake of completeness have to mention that sometimes (not often) I also "boost" reopen vote with a comment or flag to mod to catch their attention. IIRC mods can reopen with less than 4 votes –  gnat May 24 '12 at 14:59
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@gnat I never bother to vote to re-open because if moderators have already decided a post violates one of the many rules then I don't see how me complaining will change that fact. And once a question is closed it drops off and the chances off anyone else voting for it to re-open rapidly diminishes. –  Dan Diplo May 25 '12 at 7:43
    
@DanDiplo there were couple of posts here and at MSO, where mods were explaining "official" purpose of closing the questions - did you check these? I ask because per my recollection these seem to contradict your understanding (in particular, there seem to be encouraging attitude on voting to reopen) –  gnat May 25 '12 at 7:54
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@gnat My understanding may well be flawed as it's based on my perception. I will try voting to re-open to see what happens. But I still feel that the overall impression visitors gain from the site won't be changed by the occasional post being re-opened. –  Dan Diplo May 25 '12 at 8:09
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Dan good luck, I really believe reopen voting improves the site. One thing worth keeping in mind wrt what you described as once a question is closed it drops off - don't fall into that trap! Edit-bumps work for closed posts same way as for open, not using these is a mistake. If you need examples, follow @Rachel activities - I really like the way her edits salvage closed questions –  gnat May 25 '12 at 21:44
    
@DanDiplo It wouldn't hurt dropping questions you think should be re-opened in chat, some of our 3K users hang out there and can help out with their re-open votes. I check the re-open queue about once a week, and questions with 3-4 re-open votes are not easy to ignore. That said, lately I've been seeing some ridiculously off topic questions getting re-open votes (mostly one, but still). People may think they're being nice by casting re-open votes left and right, but the end result of this would be that at some point people watching the queue will start ignoring re-open votes... –  Yannis Rizos Jun 1 '12 at 19:46
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I think that part of the problem may be the implicit focus from the site name. The site name is Programmers, which is different from every other successful SE site. Generally, the other SE sites talk about an action, where our title is talking about a group of people. I think that this leads to some of the confusing -- calling it "Programming" might be a better choice.

Part of this might affect Programmers more than other sites because of the site history as random-crap-as-a-programmer.

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Super User, Android Enthusiasts, Database Administrators, Webmasters, Skeptics, Writers are all doing just fine, and none of them is about a group of people, but about what that group of people does... –  Yannis Rizos May 22 '12 at 13:29
    
@YannisRizos: That's a good point, I hadn't considered those ones. –  Daenyth May 22 '12 at 13:32
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I'm not saying the name should be completely dismissed as a potential source of confusion, however I strongly believe that most of the confusion comes from people failing to read the FAQ. Even if the name is a tad confusing, the FAQ is not (imho) and spending 5mins reading it should help alleviate any confusion about the name. –  Yannis Rizos May 22 '12 at 13:35
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Super User is confusing (I have to check the FAQ every time I want to post something to be sure it shouldn't be on Server Fault instead), Skeptics is also confusing but has a great introduction to the site for new users, and DBA, Webmasters, Andriod Enthusiasts, and Writers are all a much narrower group of people than Programmers, whose title spells out what they do. It's pretty obvious what the content of their site is just by the group description, while in our case it is not. –  Rachel May 22 '12 at 13:37
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I think in our particular case the name causes confusion more than other sites because of the history the site has as random-crap-as-a-programmer, though maybe it's a red herring and the site history is the real problem. –  Daenyth May 22 '12 at 13:38
    
@Rachel: Yes. While I am interested in clearing up misunderstandings on Programmers.se, Super User is far more confusing. I don't even go there anymore. –  Jim G. May 23 '12 at 15:09
    
@Daenyth It's funny that your answer is downvoted while your last comment is upvoted, I think you should include it in the answer. I'm upvoting the answer, but 90% of my upvote is for the comment, I came here expecting the "random-crap-as-a-programmer" site you talk about, after reading an old blog post somewhere. But I like what I found. –  Roc Martí May 23 '12 at 19:33
    
While the site history caused problems for people who joined when it was a free-for-all, it hasn't been a free-for-all for 20 out of the 21 months this site's been in existence. Besides there being nothing we can do about the past, the vast majority of users and activity on the site occurred after the random-crap-as-a-programmer stuff was banned. –  user8 May 23 '12 at 22:38
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At a certain point, it becomes untenable to blame it on systemic confusion as the number of excuses without merit or basis in reality start to dwindle. I have a far more simple answer: people come to this site, refuse to RTFM, and ask anything that pops into their head. It's the main reason why moderation is based on reactions, not predictions: no matter what we do, there will be a non-trivial portion of the population that does not or will not attempt to figure out if this site's for them before participating. And for that, we have close votes, down votes, comments, etc. –  user8 May 23 '12 at 22:39
    
Actually, the site tolerated the "free-for-all" (aka Q&A for Programmers to ask questions and get answers from other programmers) for almost a year. No announcement was ever made about changing the site scope from Programmers to Software Development, and nobody started seriously closing questions until around Aug 2011, which is when users started noticing the change. Take a look at this data explorer query which graphs questions asked and closed. Perhaps it will help you understand why users didn't bring up the subject until months later –  Rachel May 24 '12 at 15:05
    
@Rachel That's a very big dose of revisionism. I was very active during that time period: it was a big deal then and everyone knew about it. Enforcement notice, dated September 29th 2010. A casual look through the questions list sorted by date shows site scope and closures was the main topic of the site throughout beta, and people started complaining about it almost immediately. –  user8 May 24 '12 at 19:39
    
@MarkTrapp That is not an announcement stating the site scope has changed from Programmers to Software Development. It is an announcement stating subjective questions need to meet specific guidelines to stay open on the site, which I supported –  Rachel May 24 '12 at 19:44
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@Rachel Since September 29th, 2010, there has been no change in scope. I know you like to keep insisting that there was, but just spending 15 minutes looking at the questions during beta shows people attempted to make the same arguments about the site you keep making almost two years later. Even granting your completely bogus start date of August 2011, that's still almost a year: site history has nothing to do with you keep trying to redefine the site to something you'd prefer more. –  user8 May 24 '12 at 19:51
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Which is a okay, albeit futile, thing to do. But it'd go a lot better if you made an honest case about what you wish the site to be and about what's going on instead of rewriting history. The site simply never was, or was for a very short period of time, the site you want. –  user8 May 24 '12 at 19:53
    
@MarkTrapp I did not understand the scope change until just recently. I was happy just using the site, and stayed out of meta until I started seeing a lot of questions closed that I thought were useful to programmers. Now that I understand it, I've stopped trying to chance the site's scope, although I would like to change the name and/or description/branding because I see new users almost daily who mistakenly think this site is for Q&A about programmers, not software development. –  Rachel May 24 '12 at 19:56
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So... Where should people ask questions like "Recommend an editor that doesn't wrap lines."

I always had the impression that SO was for questions about programming — "What is the pythonic way to use exceptions?", and that P/SE was for questions about the process of programming — "How can I learn to write better code?"

I came here yesterday to answer some questions, and someone had asked about a text editor that didn't wrap lines. I thought "I know the answer to that! Use Vim, and the command ":set nowrap". However, by the time I got to the question it had been closed with no explanation, and I was left feeling confused and disillusioned with the whole site. The person wasn't asking for a general editor recommendation. They were asking for an editor with a very specific feature. It seemed like a decent question to me, but obviously not acceptable on SO, and apparently not acceptable here either. (Although reading your FAQ, it appears that you think it should be acceptable on SO, so why was it closed rather than migrated?)

I think part of the problem is the fact that nobody knows where to ask subjective questions. They see a title like '\*Programmers*\', and think "Programmers between two comment tags? That must be a place to comment about programming! I'll ask my subjective question there, instead of on SO where it will be closed." I think that your subject area (as specified in your FAQ) is much narrower than what is suggested by your title. Perhaps if you change the title from "\*Programmers*\" to "Programming Concepts", you would get better questions.

It would also help if people explained why they downvoted answers or questions. A single comment would suffice. (Downvoting without commenting is a bit counterproductive; either the person will keep making the same mistake because they don't know any better, or they will give up on the site completely.)

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Thanks for sharing your experience with the site. Is there anything you think we could do to improve how the site is perceived and understood by new users? –  Rachel Feb 7 '13 at 14:05
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I think part of the problem is the fact that nobody knows where to ask subjective questions. They see a title like *Programmers*\, and think "Programmers between two comment tags? That must be a place to comment about programming! I'll ask my subjective question there, instead of on SO where it will be closed." I think that your subject area (as specified in your FAQ) is much narrower than what is suggested by your title. Perhaps if you change the title from "*Programmers*\" to "Programming Concepts", you would get better questions. –  daviewales Feb 8 '13 at 5:17
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It would also help if people explained why they downvoted your answers / questions. A single comment would suffice. –  daviewales Feb 8 '13 at 5:18
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Thanks :) Would you be able to edit your answer to include the suggestions from your comments? I think they're good ones. –  Rachel Feb 8 '13 at 13:13
    
Thanks for your interest. =D –  daviewales Feb 8 '13 at 15:44
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These are just my related thoughts in a spirit of sharing them...

  • Sometimes you just look at a site like this as a resource that may or may not yield a desired result. In this light, the FAQ is irrelevant. It sounds disrespectful but I don't mean it to be - it's just pragmatism of someone trying to solve a problem with available means.

  • The closing of a question has an impact on the person who authored it. It's pretty harsh to have your peers reject you, even if it doesn't really mean anything outside of a sandbox, it makes a person less and less likely to want to interact.

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it makes a person less and less likely to want to interact. That I don't believe. My first couple of questions were closed (since deleted), and I got some harsh comments in my very first one, but I'm still here, 227 days in a row. Programmers is a site that is (supposed to) cater to professionals, and proffesionals are (supposed to be) appreciative and tolerant to criticism. –  Yannis Rizos Jun 1 '12 at 19:02
    
fair enough.. i was channeling my own feelings I suppose but your right –  Aaron Anodide Jun 1 '12 at 19:05
    
Well, I wasn't going for a right or wrong here, just sharing my own feelings. I'll admit that getting your question closed can be unpleasant, especially if you don't get any feedback on why it was closed, but at the end of the day it's not a big deal. –  Yannis Rizos Jun 1 '12 at 19:20
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Change the Programmers.SE tagline

The tagline is usually the first thing users see when they learn about our site. It currently is

professional programmers interested in conceptual questions about software development

It is used in our site description on Google

Tagline in Google

in the welcome message displayed to new users

Tagline in Welcome message

and in the Migration path for the site from SO (according to Yannis, Stack Overflow is currently our largest referring site, excluding search engines)

Tagline in Migration path from SO

This makes it sound like we are a SE site for Professional Programmers [interested in conceptual questions about software development], and not a Q&A site for conceptual questions on software development only.

To further the confusion, the site is named and branded with Programmers in mind (whiteboard-look, triple-monitor logo, coffee mugs, comment marks around site name, etc), so by all first impressions, we are a site for programmers to ask questions and get answers from other programmers.

The idea that it is misleading can also be backed up just by looking at our closed questions, where the majority of closed questions seem to come from new users that are looking for an answer from a programmer. I've started leaving comments on closed questions clarifying the site scope, and have received many replies from users not aware of the site scope, including from some long-term users

Most people won't willingly post or migrate bad questions to a site, so I think changing the tag line to make it clear that this is a site for Q&A on conceptual software development will go a long ways towards reducing the number of bad questions that get asked.

Some examples I can think of would be:

This is a question and answer site for ...

... conceptual questions about professional software development

... software professionals to get answers on conceptual software development

... conceptual software development questions by professional programmers

(These are just examples. If enough people agree that the tag line is misleading and should be modified, we'll discuss what it should be then)

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"Professional programmers interested in conceptual questions about software development" works for me. You keep focusing on programmers completely dismissing the rest of the tagline, however people who read will read all of it, people who don't will not read any version of it. I have absolutely no idea why someone would only read "programmers" and somehow fail to read "conceptual questions about software development". –  Yannis Rizos May 14 '12 at 18:13
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the majority of closed questions seem to come from new users that are looking for an answer from a programmer What are your evidence for that bold claim? –  Yannis Rizos May 14 '12 at 18:16
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by all first impressions, we are a site for programmers to ask questions and get answers from other programmers. This is true, we are a site for programmers to ask questions and get answers from other programmers. I fail to see your point there, that's a great description for the site. –  Yannis Rizos May 14 '12 at 18:19
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Most people won't willingly post or migrate bad questions to a site Any evidence for that? Because we've noticed that SOpedians willingly migrate bad questions here, thinking that it's somehow nicer to migrate the question than close it. Can you blame them? –  Yannis Rizos May 14 '12 at 18:20
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Also the question you and Vash talked about, you somehow yet again missed the close reason, the question wasn't closed as off topic but as not a real question, because, well, it's extremely unclear. But a version of it that would ask for a professional code of conduct like the IEEE Code of Ethics would be on topic (if not NC/NARQ). Your little crusade doesn't help anyone, if you are constantly misguiding people that their low quality questions were closed because of a scope change that happened more than a year ago. –  Yannis Rizos May 14 '12 at 18:29
    
@YannisRizos The subject of the tagline is Professional Programmers, and the interested in conceptual questions about software development is merely an attribute of the programmer. It makes the site sound like it is a site for professional programmers with a specific interest, and not a site that is only for conceptual questions on software development (or freelancing and business concerns). Why not just try out a change and see if it helps? I think you'll see it does. –  Rachel May 14 '12 at 18:33
    
@YannisRizos As for my "evidence", just look through the closed questions. The majority of them are new users to the site that are looking for an answer from programmers. –  Rachel May 14 '12 at 18:33
    
@YannisRizos RE: we are a site for programmers to ask questions and get answers from other programmers - If that is true then you are incorrectly closing questions. I think the actual phrase you are looking for is something like "we are a site for programmers to ask questions and get answers from other programmers providing they are about conceptual software development or freelancing and business concerns only" –  Rachel May 14 '12 at 18:33
    
@YannisRizos RE: SE migrations, if you read through the migration list, P.SE is the only one different. It basically gives you options for "SE Engine, system administrator, computer enthusiasts, pro webmasters, or professional programmers [interested in conceptual questions on software development]". Most users used to the SO migration system just see the site name is Programmers and it is "for professional programmers". We can't force them to read, but we can clarify what we say to make it harder to misunderstand. –  Rachel May 14 '12 at 18:33
    
@YannisRizos RE: The chat link with Vash and Joshua, I was pointing out the fact that two users who have been with the site for a long time were not actually aware of the site scope. It wasn't about the question being discussed (which should rightfully have been closed). Now please, make a chat room if you want to discuss this further, or ping me in the main chat. –  Rachel May 14 '12 at 18:33
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if you read through the migration list, P.SE is the only one different Yes, but different how? You claim that the "professional programmers" part is the troublesome, but how is that any different from "system administrator, computer enthusiasts, pro webmasters"? Is ServerFault a site about system administrators? Nope. Is SuperUser a site about computer enthusiasts? Nope. Is Pro Webmasters a site about webmasters? Nope. They are all sites about the primary expertise of these people, as is programmers. –  Yannis Rizos May 14 '12 at 18:39
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The "interested in conceptual questions about software development" part is only meant to distinguish us from Stack Overflow, which is also about the primary expertise of programmers, but from a different perspective. –  Yannis Rizos May 14 '12 at 18:40
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@YannisRizos Programmers is an extremely broad term. It's like creating a site called Athletes, but only allowing questions about sports. And not technical questions about how to play sports, but only conceptual questions on sports. It's very confusing if you're new to the site. –  Rachel May 16 '12 at 16:58
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Write 10,000 pages user manual for using SE sites, consisting of random collection of different posts, all filled with specious reasoning trying to squeeze objective meaning out of language designating inherently ambiguous and incomplete ideas, subject to numerous interpretations, many of them as good as next set of interpretations, and pretend that selected interpretation gets Q&A closer to some platonic ideal of objectivity. Blame the users when they don't meet that ideal you can't attain but still desire.

You can detect what is bad stuff (e.g. spam, or awfully phrased question), but can't define what is good stuff. Close to nobody will bother reading your FAQs, manuals, and policies. Fortunately, for complex reasons.

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