Are programming languages becoming more like natural languages?

Once in a blue moon, a question comes along that, in spite of its Not Constructive nature, is

  1. Interesting and thought-provoking,
  2. Well-written,
  3. Meets the Six Constructive Guidelines,
  4. Is on topic for the site, and
  5. Can actually be answered.

This is one of those questions.

Close reasons exist to give us an excuse to close all of those crappy, poorly-written, underspecified, lazy and, ultimately, uninteresting questions. You know what those are, what they look like. This is not one of them.

Please reopen.

We don't close Not Constructive questions because they are crappy and uninteresting, we close them because they will evoke a large amount of discussion and debate. Some of the most interesting questions I have seen on this site were terribly not constructive, but that doesn't mean that they belong in the Q&A format. –  maple_shaft Feb 8 '13 at 0:39
Original poster here - I have also opened a discussion on meta regarding the closing of my question… –  Jamie Fearon Feb 8 '13 at 0:39
One hundred percent compliance is impossible anyway. A cursory look at the posts on Stack Overflow (or even this site) proves that. –  Robert Harvey Feb 8 '13 at 0:40
I personally don't see how the question satisfies #5 - what traits can be measured about natural languages to see if programming languages' metrics are trending towards natural languages? As much as I like the question and the discussion this seems to fall squarely in the wholy subjective bucket. –  Telastyn Feb 10 '13 at 16:42
@Telastyn "what traits can be measured about natural languages" the entire field of linguistics. Programming languages could be subjected to the same metrics. –  user4051 Feb 14 '13 at 11:23

2 Answers 2

You've got it completely wrong.

The question is by no means “not constructive”. The fact that the guidelines are met should be a hint. It's a well-written question about an interesting subject.

That this question was closed as NC doesn't surprise me. There are more things on heaven and earth than dreamt of in most programmers' philosophy, but your average SO/Prog.SE close voter barely dreams, let alone imagine that there's a whole world out there.

The study of languages is a science. The question is perhaps not well-suited for the site: it's on-topic (I guess) in that it's about programming languages, but the target audience would be computer scientists, who understand what a programming language is and how natural languages are modeled.

Speaking as a moderator on Computer Science, I'll recommend migrating the question there. Both programming language theory and natural language modeling are on-topic there, and we don't dismiss “it's not part of my daily job as a programmer” as non-constructive.

(However, I'm afraid user881920 is going to be disappointed. While the question is thought-provoking, the answer is an unexciting no.)

If you feel that this question has a home on Computer Science then I can migrate it for you. Just let me know. –  maple_shaft Feb 8 '13 at 0:45
@maple_shaft Well, yes, sure. If you conclude that the question is unsuitable here, please migrate. –  Gilles Feb 8 '13 at 0:46
I went ahead and migrated it, thanks for letting me know. I just want you to know that I feel it is on topic here as well, just that I don't think this could be definitively answerable on facts or expertise. That might just be because I don't understand the question in a way that a Computer Scientist might, so I am glad that you offered your thoughts on this. –  maple_shaft Feb 8 '13 at 0:52
@Gilles ...but your average SO/Prog.SE close voter barely dreams... Did you really mean to say that? –  Caleb Feb 8 '13 at 1:23
I like to think that I'm not naïve. I certainly also like to think that I understand what a programming language is too. Please don't think that because we're not CS.SE that we have no idea about programming languages or computer science in general. –  Deco Feb 8 '13 at 6:51
@Deco Then you're above the average SO/Prog.SE denizen. The ones who think a question like this is not-constructive might be very good at working with a programming language for all I know, but they have no idea about working on a programming language or computer science in general. –  Gilles Feb 8 '13 at 10:43
@Gilles - thank you for providing a home for that question. It ameliorates some of the more asinine statements you just made in your answer here. And while I understand your perspective behind the answer you made to the migrated question, I disagree. My disagreement helps demonstrate why it wasn't constructive - the migrated Q was going to generate discussion and debate, not answers. –  GlenH7 Feb 8 '13 at 14:32

I can second the recommendation from Gilles. Provided you show some work, a vague and speculative question can find a home on cs.SE. Or perhaps slip through the cracks more easily. :)


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