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Now that we have SuperUser, the "not programming related" reason is no longer a valid reason to close a question - questions that are not programming related but are computer related should be moved instead. But because the option remains, people seem to feel justified in closing questions without moving them anyway sometimes.

As such, I suggest changing "not programming related" to "not computer related" - this will help reinforce the fact that questions not related to programming, but which are computer related, do have somewhere to go now. Alternately, "not programming related" should bring up a confirmation to suggest moving to superuser, serverfault, or meta if the question is appropriate for one of those.

Edit: If questions don't deserve to be migrated, they should be closed, sure - but not with "not programming related". Just thing: how do we close bad questions that are programming related? Use one of the other close reasons available, or edit the question to be better. And certainly leave a comment.

At the very least, if you use another close reason, the questioner might get a better idea of why their question was bad. If you just say "not programming related", they might never find out where their question should go, and might never know why their question was unacceptable.

Finally, from a philosophical perspective, anything computer related is theoretically on-topic somewhere in the SO family. Whether it's a good question is completely orthogonal to this - but since it's on topic, closing it for 'off topic' is false. Think: If the question was submitted to SU in the first place would you close it? If so, use that close reason.

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In such a case, people should just use the "belongs on" close reason. There's no reason to change the "not programming related" close reason. Each one serves a function.

I'll give two examples:

  • This question is not programming-related, but should be moved to SuperUser, so the "belongs on" close reason should have been used.

  • This question is not programming-related, in my opinion. Some could make the argument that it is somehow programming or computer related, since it is dealing with programmers, but really it doesn't address programming. Sure, you could use other close reasons (like subjective and argumentative), but NPR is most appropriate and sends the most direct message about why the question doesn't really fit on SO. The question also doesn't really fit anywhere else on SF or SU either.

EDIT: An alternative suggestion is to adjust the NPR close reason to be specific for each site, indicating that it specifically doesn't belong on that site (and is not worthy of migration either):

  • "not programming related" on SO
  • "not server related" on SF
  • "not computer related" on SU
  • "not SO related" on MSO

IMO, this would be more informative, since it indicates exactly why a question was closed for that particular site.

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But people don't. I'm just suggesting clarifying things a bit, because right now "not programming related" overlaps with "belongs on superuser". Removing the overlap will help remove the ambiguity, and help guide people in making the right choice for close reason. – bdonlan Aug 4 '09 at 16:22
Plenty of stuff already gets moved over to SuperUser without issue. If we do what you say, you're just going to turn SuperUser into the standard trash dump. – TheTXI Aug 4 '09 at 16:23
There are probably things which are not programming-related and don't deserve to be migrated. What to use then? – gnostradamus Aug 4 '09 at 16:24

I agree with this. I've seen several questions recently closed as "not programming related", when they should have been migrated to SU or SF. I think that we may have some users who are not up to date on the close reasons.

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I would suggest that the language be "not appropriate for any SO site". This makes it clear that it is completely unwanted.

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If the users feel it is best moved, it will most likely get moved to another place (if it is better suited there). Otherwise some things just deserve to die. If we did what you said, most people would instinctively choose SuperUser ("Hey, it's computer related HURR!") and we can all watch SuperUser become the trash can that a lot of people predicted at the start.

I don't want to see that happen.

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Please see my edit - while there are certainly undeserving questions, marking them "not programming related" isn't the best option to take here. Give the submitter better feedback, and if absolutely need be use "not a real question" - since in principle all computer-related questions are "on topic" somewhere in the SO family, that should never be the real reason for a closure. – bdonlan Aug 4 '09 at 16:31
You're wrong in believing that any computer related question belongs somewhere. That is not true at all. Despite the original claims of being "computer related everything", SuperUser is NOT where anything even remotely related to a computer can get posted and be accepted. As I have said before, the closing and migrating already works well. If you try and give people options after closing as "not programming related" then they are going to almost always choose SuperUser, which is bad. If something gets closed improperly and doesn't migrate, flag a moderator and ask for some help. – TheTXI Aug 4 '09 at 16:45
Then at the least change "not programming related" to "off-topic" or something similarly neutral. My concern is people sometimes see "not programming related" and choose it without considering the alternatives. – bdonlan Aug 4 '09 at 16:50
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Looks like "not programming related" was removed at some point...

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Yeah, it's "Off topic" now. – Shog9 Jun 28 '10 at 23:14

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