There seems to be more and more kickback from various people coming to the SO site, asking what most long term users consider to be an off-topic question, then arguing that the question falls under "matters that are unique to the programming profession".
It seems like those "matters" are open for some unnecessary debate.
What I propose is to change the wording of the FAQ to something more like the following:
- a specific programming problem
- a software algorithm
- software tools commonly used by programmers
- practical, answerable questions based on actual coding problems that you face
In other words, delete the whole "matters" line entirely and promote a sentence from the "what not to ask here" section. A vocal portion of the community already does this through closing questions that don't meet the above; let's make it official.
Of course, I should have included a few examples:
Regarding building a PC.
Comment dated September 26 and September 29:
What and where to buy a serious developer's PC?
Completely off topic, but the OPs reasoning is understandable given the FAQ.
Repository vs UnitOfWork
Repository vs. UnitOfWork
Either this was incorrectly closed or it belongs on programmers.stackexchange.com
And others: http://meta.stackoverflow.com/search?q=off+topic
Note that the difficulty is in describing something that is unique to the programming field...and doesn't belong on programmers.stackexchange.com. In other words, just about everything, except code and tools, that falls under the "unique" clause is better represented on the other site. If that's true then it stands to reason that the FAQ for SO should be updated to better reflect this.
One additional tidbit: On this introductory blog for the programmers site: http://blog.stackoverflow.com/2010/12/introducing-programmers-stackexchange-com/
it is stated that "Stack Overflow questions almost all have actual source code in the questions or answers." Maybe the FAQ should better reflect that "guideline".