This question on networking at conferences was not closed, but this one I just posted was closed.

First, what is a better forum for that closed question?

Second, I'm assuming that the first one should have been closed too, but it wasn't because it is a bit older and this site is more deletionist now than it was. Do we really want to be this strict? There's a lot of good info in the answers to the first one--info I wouldn't have found anywhere else.

I'm assuming there's already been debates here on how strict we should be. Can someone point out those discussions?

What does deletionism has to do with anything, your question was closed, not deleted. – Yannis Jan 18 '13 at 14:37
There are actually many meta posts related to how strict we should be. But I'm not sure if any of them are recent. The last time I tried to do anything about it, a moderator said he didn't think our closure rate was a problem (Over 50% of questions are closed, deleted, or downvoted-below-0 here) – Rachel Jan 18 '13 at 15:52
Call it deletionism or "closism" - same concept. – Patrick Szalapski Jan 18 '13 at 15:57
Patrick did you happen to read the FAQ before posting your question? I can understand that seeing a similar open question may have confused your into thinking that yours would be suitable for the site as well, but is there anything in the FAQ that you feel makes either question on topic? – Yannis Jan 18 '13 at 18:31
@PatrickSzalapski Actually, the networking question was recently closed. – Glenn Nelson Jan 18 '13 at 20:03
@GlennNelson - Yes, it was closed after this post drew attention to it. – Patrick Szalapski Jan 18 '13 at 20:46
@YannisRizos - yes, but I'd rather get some answers. I think the FAQ (if interpreted strictly) is too strict. – Patrick Szalapski Jan 18 '13 at 20:47
@PatrickSzalapski "I'd rather get some answers" well as an asker I think you better be aware that SE model considers answerer's satisfaction with question quality more important than that of the asker. Refer here for more details if you interested, "Optimizing For Pearls, Not Sand" etc – gnat Jan 18 '13 at 22:11
I think the 2011 post I cited above, now closed, is a pearl. Too bad. – Patrick Szalapski Jan 19 '13 at 3:58
I'm having trouble understanding what the point is of programmers.stackexchange. I have seen questions closed for subjectivity, or because they would just cause debate and not be a Q/A type of format. Maybe I'm missing the point, but I thought that this forum was about programmers not technology. It's not very often that there is just a simple Question and Answer solution for human behavior. So I guess I would turn the OP's question around and ask "When should I use this site?" (and I'm not trying to be mean here -- text doesn't convey tone well. I'm truly a bit confused). – JMarsch Jan 21 '13 at 15:34
There are a lot of pretty good/fun questions on both SO, and Programmers SE that have been closed. I propose a new SE - Offtopic for questions that are offtopic for SO and PSE, but are nevertheless pretty informative, and/or funny. – elssar Jan 21 '13 at 16:59
@JMarsch Have you read our FAQ? – Yannis Jan 22 '13 at 0:22
@elssar If you would like to propose a new site, Area 51 is where you should do it. I must warn you though that "Offtopic SE" has been proposed before, and SE has numerous times stated that they aren't interested in such a site. – Yannis Jan 22 '13 at 0:24
Where can you ask subjective questions about software development and get good answers? – Ford Jan 23 '13 at 14:09
@Ramhound I think there's a significant number of people (myself included), who would love to read the opinions of certain highly reputable people on subjective questions. Some questions are too high level to be answered with facts, or no real facts exist. They are not necessarily worthless questions, in fact, some of the most interesting questions on these sites fall into the "good subjective" category. – Daniel B Jan 30 '13 at 10:46

4 Answers 4

I've just deleted your question - for technical reasons.

You cross posted the question on The Workplace, and the community there seemed to welcome it. When I noticed, I migrated the Programmers version to the Workplace, and promptly voted to close it as a duplicate of the version you posted yourself. The question was closed a couple of hours after the migration, and then merged with its duplicate. That was the plan, a single version of the question with all its answers.

But a few minutes ago I noticed that the Programmers version of the question - that was supposed to be just a migration stub pointing to the merged version on The Workplace - was actually appearing in full, with no mention of the migration and closed as off topic. What had happened was that a Workplace moderator deleted the merge stub on their site, which for some reason also rejected the migration and brought the question back to Programmers. That's... not normal, the deletion of the stub shouldn't had rejected the migration, and I've already contacted Stack Exchange about it.

To avoid any further confusion, I've deleted the Programmers version of the question. For reference, the relevant links are:

Although I fully realize the irony of deleting the question, it was necessary to maintain some sanity, a single version of the question with all its answers.

Please do not cross post

Flag the question for mod attention and ask for it to be migrated, cross posts are messy.

Thanks for fixing that. It is further ironic that a few people said I should post it at Workplace, yet I should not cross-post! Heh, I understand, of course. – Patrick Szalapski Jan 19 '13 at 21:53

Sometimes popular questions don't get closed, even if they are technically off topic. Sometimes the fate of a question depends on who gets to it first. That's a drawback of a community-moderated site. The newer question could have been closed as a duplicate of the first, but both of them clearly failed the test of the following venn diagram that's been the policy of this site as long as I've been here, at least:

venn diagram

Also, workplace stackexchange has come into being since the first question was posted. People tended to be more forgiving of off topic career questions before there was somewhere else to go. Again, that's the nature of a community-moderated site. Just because we haven't gone back and done a purge doesn't mean those questions are de facto on topic. If you notice, old questions like that are quickly closed when brought to our attention.

I think it fits in the blue part nicely. – Patrick Szalapski Jan 19 '13 at 3:56
@PatrickSzalapski The rule of thumb is, if you can replace "Programmers" with "Doctors", "Athletes", "Chefs", or any other profession and have the same question, it is off-topic. Virtually all professions have conferences and networking is not something unique to programmers. – Glenn Nelson Jan 19 '13 at 4:06
I respect your judgment, but this just doesn't seem good to me. I'll try workplace. – Patrick Szalapski Jan 19 '13 at 4:21
The problem here is that it punishes people who asked a question a while ago, when such a question was on topic. (It certainly met the "good subjective/bad subjective" test which was the main means of keeping or throwing out a question at the time) If the claim is that "well now there is a place for such questions", than the older question should be migrated there, not closed. – Billy ONeal Jan 19 '13 at 18:10
@BillyONeal Unfortunately, migration for questions that are older than 60 days is no longer an option. At the same time, I don't see why closing an old question is "punishment", provided it's not deleted. There's no reason to delete the 2011 question in question, and we can even protect it from deletion with a historical lock if need be (right now, there's no such need, locking is the nuclear option). – Yannis Jan 20 '13 at 19:33
@Yannis: Because it says right there to the asker "This question is inappropriate" -- with the subtext being "You should have never asked this." At least, the message in the close boxes seems to indicate that the asker has done something wrong. – Billy ONeal Jan 23 '13 at 20:43
@BillyONeal That's a very dramatic interpretation of the close notification text. – Yannis Jan 23 '13 at 20:44
My biggest complaint is when general but interesting and relevant questions are closed just because there can never be a "definitive" right answer. Threads discussing matters such as the merits of a certain technology over another one are no doubt multi-faceted, but that doesn't mean that they lack merit just because they lack a clear answer. Open ended questions are often very important to programmers, yet on StackoverFlow we're browbeated into not asking them even when the resulting set of answers could help us be more successful in our work. – Kelseydh Oct 22 at 7:47

You guys have closed a lot of questions lately:

ym  Questions-closed
Jan-13  374
Dez-12  312
Nov-12  296
Okt-12  309
Sep-12  220
Aug-12  169
Jul-12  102
Jun-12  114
Mai-12  121
Apr-12  131
Mrz-12  268
Feb-12  206
Jan-12  256

SELECT year(Posts.ClosedDate) as y, month(Posts.ClosedDate) as m,  cast (year(Posts.ClosedDate) as  varchar(10)) + '/' + cast(month(Posts.ClosedDate) as varchar(19)) as ym,  count(CONCAT ('', Posts.Id)) as Questions
FROM PostHistory
JOIN Posts ON Posts.Id = PostHistory.PostId
WHERE Posts.ClosedDate >= '2012-01-01' 
--AND Posts.ClosedDate < '2012-12-01'
AND PostHistoryTypeId = 10
AND PostHistory.Comment != 1
group by year(Posts.ClosedDate), month(Posts.ClosedDate)
ORDER BY 1 desc, 2 desc

There is another reason why I think you guys are indeed too strict. When you look at the results of the recent stackoverflow survey, you'll see that 20% of respondents are working in 1-person teams (Question 8,9). 36% regularly interact with customers (Q10). This is a significant fraction.

Most people consider themselves as "full-stack web developers" (Q7), which -in my opinion- means they have to switch context often and take over many roles -put on the frontend/backend dev hat, but probably also the DBA hat, the security guy hat. Each of these roles often happen after some interactions of working programmers with their environments.

This simply means that these people must interact a lot with non-IT colleagues to get the job done. Many issues derive from these interactions. They simply won't be restricted to questions specific to programmers.

If you still try to achieve that goal (only permit questions specific to professional software developers), so be it. Then I'd expect you to close, say, 30% of all questions. That's just an estimate off the top of my head.

However, this mindset would certainly scare away a lot of developers who post their good allegedly "off-topic" questions here. So if one's first question is closed, the chance is quite high to have the second question also closed.

And remember that saying "go away" to these turned-down "SE citizens" also contradicts stackexchange inc's business model, which is, to make money via ... by helping out professional programmers to find a better job.

Can you name three questions which were closed but shouldn't have been? – Jim G. Jan 26 '13 at 23:47
your data is likely flawed because it doesn't include deleted questions; see MSO feature request: Can some metadata about deleted posts be included in Data.SE? – gnat Jan 28 '13 at 5:42
Gnat's right, according to a moderator in chat, he deleted over 900+ questions in the last quarter. Since total questions in Data.SE for that quarter was just under 9000, that means you're missing roughly 10% of questions from Data.SE, all of which would be considered "bad". Also according to a recent post by a SE employee, our closed, deleted, or downvoted below 0 rate is actually over 50% – Rachel Jan 30 '13 at 12:57

I had to think a bit when I was reviewing your question.

On the one hand, the question is specific to programmers and is somewhat related to development.

On the other hand, it's not a constructive question. I can see a good answer being provided, but I'm not positive that answer would have the applicability or lasting value that we're seeking. Discussions about networking are kind of in the realm of "career advice" which are explicitly off-topic per the faq.

I didn't vote to close your question but I can see why others in the community did. FWIW, I have voted to close the older question as well.

It's worth pointing out that voting to close is not the same as recommending the deletion of a question. A closed question will remain, and others will be able to see it. A deleted question can only be seen by moderators and those with 10k+ reputation.

And you didn't get heavily down-voted on the question, so it's not like you asked a patently bad question. You were sitting at a +5/-3 split when I wrote this answer.

In regards to the "career advice" line in the FAQ, it should be noted that while career-advice is off-topic, career-development is on-topic providing it relates to the developer career development, such as I don't program in my spare time, does that make me a bad developer?. There was actually a meta question asked recently about the career-development tag, and I fully agree with SkyDan's answer there. – Rachel Jan 18 '13 at 15:32
So you wish that the earlier question had been closed immediately after creation, and those answers, including the one with a score of 42, should not have appeared on this site? – Patrick Szalapski Jan 18 '13 at 16:01
<<shrugs shoulders>> @PatrickSzalapski - I would ask that you not put words in my mouth. I didn't vote to close your question, but I'm not compelled to vote to re-open either. I voted to close the older question for the sake of consistency. The site continues to evolve, and the community frequently discusses the direction(s) it should head towards. – GlenH7 Jan 18 '13 at 16:13
@GlenH7 Here's my problem with your last comment.... the community did not want to head in this direction. StackExchange is the one that pushed us in this direction, despite the communities wishes. You can read some of the meta posts in the accepted answer here for proof if you want. Note the differences in answers between Programmers.SE meta posts, and Meta.StackExchange meta posts. So although the community can discuss it all the want (and has... there are a lot of old meta posts about it), nothing is likely to change. – Rachel Jan 18 '13 at 17:32
@Rachel - I understand the points you are making, and I don't disagree with any of them. Apologies if you felt I was gilding over those changes. I didn't want to re-open those discussions within the context of this question as that would devolve into a complete conversation hijack. – GlenH7 Jan 18 '13 at 17:39
@GlenH7 Sorry for steering the conversation off track a bit :) I just felt the need to point out that the Programmers community has tried and failed many times in the past to be "less strict". In fact, that was this site's original purpose - a less-strict Q&A site for StackOverflow users who wanted to ask non-programming questions of other programmers. But that really wasn't in accordance with SE's goal for high-quality laser-focused question and answer sites, so the scope got changed. – Rachel Jan 18 '13 at 17:50
Yep, the bottom line is that there were lots of good answers to the 2011 post linked above, but now due to the judgment of five people, it is closed, and my similar question was closed right away. I am left with no idea where I could go to get answers to this question. – Patrick Szalapski Jan 18 '13 at 20:44
My problem with the "its not deleted yet" argument is that there are a lot of questions that end up deleted because there are users with 10k+ who reflexively click the delete button when they see a closed question. – Billy ONeal Jan 19 '13 at 18:05

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