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The moderators recently seem to be hell bent on closing valid questions and answers. Here's two:

http://stackoverflow.com/questions/1191699/are-all-languages-basically-the-same/1191733#1191733

A better Project Manager tool than MS Project?

Both from my (agreed: subjective) viewpoint are perfectly valid questions and answers, and seem to have high vote counts from interested stack overflow members.

Yet the moderators are closing these based on some (subjective!) opinion of their own.

These seem like the kinds of questions that belong on StackOverflow (or at worst moved to "Programmers") rather than just simply slammed closed.

And of course by deleting (are-all-languages...), most stack overflow members have no chance to see these to vote to re-open.

Over long periods of time, I'd expect some subjective judgement on somebody's part to decide that every question and answer was "wrong", and so the long-term endpoint is "no questions are answered at SO".

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closed as not constructive by Yannis, Michael Petrotta, ChrisF, Ben Brocka, sudo Jun 29 '12 at 17:00

As it currently stands, this question is not a good fit for our Q&A format. We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. If you feel that this question can be improved and possibly reopened, visit the help center for guidance.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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Why do you think the PM tool one is on topic? How about replacing the rant with some actual arguments on why you think both questions belong? Also, Programmers is not SO's toilet bowl, sorry but we won't have either question. –  Yannis Jun 29 '12 at 15:58
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the project manager question was closed by two people that both work in the web world, in which it is typical that there is little or no planning. I find that highly offensive. –  Yannis Jun 29 '12 at 16:01
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I quote: "Questions on Stack Overflow are expected to relate to programming or software development within the scope defined in the FAQ" ... "software tools commonly used by programmers" Project planning isn't part of software development? That idea is outright crazy IMHO. –  Ira Baxter Jun 29 '12 at 16:20
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"Programmers is not SO's toilet bowl?" So, you are asserting this question and its answers are only qualified for toilet bowls? And you think I'm insulting? –  Ira Baxter Jun 29 '12 at 16:21
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Read the Don't Ask part of the faq. It's all right there. –  Ben Brocka Jun 29 '12 at 16:26
    
@Dibling: Edited. –  Ira Baxter Jun 29 '12 at 16:47
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@IraBaxter Yes, I've read one question and I think it's crap. I'm sorry if you find that insulting, however I went through the trouble of reading it before forming an opinion, and didn't resort to overly hostile generalizations and stereotyping. –  Yannis Jun 29 '12 at 16:47
    
The first one has actually now been deleted. –  assylias Jun 29 '12 at 16:56
    
The second is clearly a make-a-list questions. It took a while, but (thankfully!) the consensus has turn strongly against those being appropriate for Stack Overflow. Your answer to the first was a fine example of a good blog post or encyclopedia entry posing as a answer to a crap question. –  dmckee Jun 29 '12 at 17:04
    
On a side note you would be better advised to ask about a "historical relevance" ruling on these questions. There were allowed at the time, so it is worth considering though I rather doubt that you'll have much luck on the project manager one. –  dmckee Jun 29 '12 at 17:21
    
valid questions That's the problem, you think Stack Overflow is for valid questions. Read the FAQ. It is for specific programming questions. –  JimmyPena Jun 29 '12 at 17:23
    
Maybe my problem is that I'm assuming that people are interested in software engineering, and SO seems to be focusing on low-level programming questions. IMHO think this is symptomatic of the software development industry, to our collective loss. –  Ira Baxter Jun 29 '12 at 17:59
    
FWIW, I flagged the "are all languages basically the same" question for a historical lock because I think it is really valuable. If you have the rep and feel the same way, I encourage you to do the same. –  Pëkka Jul 1 '12 at 20:39
    
It's now been migrated to Programmers.SE. –  Pëkka Jul 2 '12 at 12:47
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@DiscountGucciHandbags: That's actually a resolution I originally thought was reasonable. Thanks. –  Ira Baxter Jul 2 '12 at 13:44

2 Answers 2

I agree with the closures in both instances. They are both off-topic for Stack Overflow.

SO is specifically for getting solutions to your programming problems. While the lack of a good project management tool is a problem that programmers would experience in their jobs, it's not a programming problem. "Programming problems" are defined fairly narrowly here: Things like compiler errors, confusing syntax, bizarre behavior of code and the like.

Many questions come up all the time that, while they are good questions, they aren't the kind of questions we answer on SO. There might be a better home for these kinds of questions on the StackExchange network somewhere. In those cases, those questions will usually get migrated to that other site. But very often there isn't a better site anywhere on the SE network, and the question will simply get closed.

There were other problems with the linked questions as well. The first question was subjective & argumentative, seeking to open a general debate about this-and-that. That's also not what we do on SO. It's not a forum, and it's not a blog -- it's a question-answer site, where there is (hopefully) a 1-to-1 relation between the question and the answer. SO is not a place for debate, argumentation, or pontification.

The second question was also seeking a list of things, and what essentially boils down to shopping advice. We also don't handle those kinds of questions.

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If only I had a list of things which contained an item pertinent to this discussion about which things Stack Overflow is, in fact, not... –  Ben Brocka Jun 29 '12 at 16:21
    
One of the biggest "programming" problems I see is absence of planning. The SO scope is defined to be "software development". You could define SO to be only questions related only to specific coding questions or code development tools. That would be a loss for SO IMHO. –  Ira Baxter Jun 29 '12 at 16:24
    
@BenBrocka: LOL, mee too. –  John Dibling Jun 29 '12 at 16:25
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@IraBaxter: "You could define SO to be only questions related only to specific coding questions or code development tools" That is indeed how it's defined. You and I may not agree that that's how we would like for it to be defined, but within the confines of that definition, the questions were off-topic. –  John Dibling Jun 29 '12 at 16:28
    
From the FAQ: "if your question generally covers … software tools commonly used by programmers ..." My team and many large projects live with project plans and tools that support building/tracking them. Maybe your team doesn't. If you want to leave this out of SO, then the FAQ should be revised to say, "only raw programming tools", not software development activities in general. –  Ira Baxter Jun 29 '12 at 16:29
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@IraBaxter: That covers as on-topic question such as this one, which is a question about how to accomplish a programming task using a programmer's tool. However, also from the FAQ, "You should only ask practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face. Chatty, open-ended questions diminish the usefulness of our site and push other questions off the front page." This covers as off-topic all questions that ask things like "what's a good project management tool." –  John Dibling Jun 29 '12 at 16:33
    
I didn't ask "What's a good project management tool". I asked for tools that addressed several very specific problems that the tool I had failed to address. –  Ira Baxter Jun 29 '12 at 16:37
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@IraBaxter: "Maybe your team doesn't" Looks like a passive-aggressive attempt to suggest that I don't do any project planning, and that the work that I do is not as "serious" as yours. Is that what it is? –  John Dibling Jun 29 '12 at 16:38
    
@IraBaxter: And that's off-topic. If you had acquired such a tool and was asking about how to do XYZ with it, that would be on-topic. –  John Dibling Jun 29 '12 at 16:39
    
@Dibling: I'm not out to offend you; the focus was on use of a tool. One can plan without a tool. For complex plans, you need a tool. If I had asked, "My compiler doesn't have high levels of optimization, is there one that does", would the answer have been irrelevant to SO? It doesn't involve any specific code. It does involve other people noting "Tool XYZ can provide" higher optimization levels. How is my question different? –  Ira Baxter Jun 29 '12 at 16:43
    
@IraBaxter: That would be off-topic too. Your question is fundamentally no different in that regard. You perhaps have noticed that questions that I am saying are off-topic still live on SO without getting closed, deleted or otherwise moderated. That's also true, but that's not an indication that those questions are somehow on-topic while yours is not. It's simply a reflection of the fact that StackOverflow isn't a perfect model of it's policies. There's only so much moderation that can get done, and far more content that should be moderated than we can handle. –  John Dibling Jun 29 '12 at 16:47
    
Right. So, when in doubt, leave it alone. My complaint is that is not what appears to be happening. –  Ira Baxter Jun 29 '12 at 16:48
    
There is no doubt. There's also just no resources. –  John Dibling Jun 29 '12 at 16:53
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@IraBaxter: The thing is that project tools aren't specific to software development. Project planning is applicable to a much wider field than software. Word processors are often used by developers too - that doesn't mean a question about word processors is relevant on SO. Questions about tools which are specific to programming - IDEs, source control systems - are more reasonable. –  Jon Skeet Jun 29 '12 at 17:56
    
"More reasonable"? –  Ira Baxter Jul 1 '12 at 17:04

Vote to undelete/reopen where necessary, flag where you believe abuse occurred.

If you don't have the rep to do either, there might be a reason.

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The OP has 32k rep on SO. –  sudo Jun 29 '12 at 17:02
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@Dennis: I didn't ask. –  GEOCHET Jun 29 '12 at 17:04

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