I peek into Programmers Stack Exchange every once in a while and I keep noticing a pattern: there are a whole lot of [CLOSED]-marked questions. What is behind this?

  • Are people unclear on what is or is not on-topic for this Stack Exchange sub-board?
  • Are the permissible questions simply too narrow in scope?

In either case, what can be done to make the front page look a little less uninviting? The way it looks now, a first-time or infrequent visitor will just see Programmers Stack Exchange as an unwelcoming place to ask questions.

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2 Answers 2

up vote 6 down vote accepted
  1. Are people unclear on what is or is not on-topic for this Stack Exchange sub-board?

    Oh yeah. The scope effectively made a 90° turn a few weeks into the beta, and it was a friggin' freight train already in terms of popularity and support even then.

  2. Are the permissible questions simply too narrow in scope?

    Not really. But we're kinda trying to turn a biker bar into a tea room without kicking out the bikers first; doesn't really matter what we say the scope is.

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I think this answer gave me the clearest understanding of the "why" of the large proportion of closed-tagged questions. –  JUST MY correct OPINION Dec 30 '10 at 9:23
    
be good perhaps if you included what the scope was before and after. –  barlop Nov 6 '13 at 10:43
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I don't think it's "half". I've told you a million times to stop exaggerating.

And there is some value in seeing closed questions, because..

  1. People understand there are rules and norms, this is not some kind of "I can do whatever I want" place. So if what you want is anything goes, you might keep on moseying along to the next town.

  2. People get a sense of why questions are closed, because every closed question links to the reason behind the closing, e.g.

    closed as not constructive by Macneil, Mark Trapp, bigown♦ 3 hours ago

    This question does not meet enough of our six guidelines for constructive subjective questions.

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If there are a only a few closed, leaving them visible is fine. The problem is that there are a LOT of them closed. When I asked the question it was 40% of the visible questions on the front page. (The ratio has gone down since then.) Even the stats cited here show that PSE is ... unusually high in the number of closed questions. –  JUST MY correct OPINION Dec 29 '10 at 3:58
    
@JUST - I agree it doesn't look great but hopefully it's relatively short term. As Jeff says, a lot of it is about showing people that there are rules and it's not just a case of anything goes (not that I think many people are thinking much before posting). –  Jon Hopkins Dec 29 '10 at 9:37
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