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This question was closed by casperOne as not constructive. I don't see why. Parenthetically I also don't see the five votes required to close a question. The stated criteria for being 'constructive' are that the question should get answers that are factual and supported by references and expertise. Well, check to all three, as far as I can see.

Since classification of the question as 'not constructive' is not obvious, it would be helpful if the closer would explain the reasoning, either here or on the question itself.

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Asking for resources (such as an ontology) is considered not-constructive and off-topic. The question was closed for the correct reason. –  Oded Jul 12 '12 at 15:12
    
OK, thanks for the comments everyone. I confess I don't grok the distinction between questions like "Is there a RubyGem to do X in my code?" and "Is there an ontology I can use to X in my code?" but the consensus here seems pretty clear. –  Ian Dickinson Jul 12 '12 at 15:53
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A link to "Stack Overflow is not a search engine" would probably have made this clear, but since that's gone, we can discuss it endlessly here on meta. :) –  CodeGnome Jul 12 '12 at 16:06
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I'm starring this question, because according to the answers, I'm some sort of super-human. –  casperOne Jul 12 '12 at 16:10
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5 Answers

up vote 9 down vote accepted

The question is asking for a shopping list (fancy terminology aside).

Shopping lists are not suitable for the Stack Exchange sites and are typically closed with the "Not Constructive" close reason.

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I didn't ask for anything. But yeah, I got the "no search questions" meme pretty clearly from the other commenters. I have been educated! –  Ian Dickinson Jul 12 '12 at 16:11
    
@IanDickinson Fixed the answer, and also, I figured you'd want it straight from the horse's mouth. –  casperOne Jul 12 '12 at 16:12
    
@casperOne Thanks for the edit, I couldn't figure if it should be CAPS at the beginning of a sentence or not! –  Gaffi Jul 12 '12 at 16:15
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@IanDickinson - A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself if there is one specific solution for the problem posed which most people could agree upon. If so, it could be a good fit here. We want to avoid lists where there isn't one correct answer, but people could just keep adding things indefinitely. They often do, and the question ends up as a mess. –  Brad Larson Jul 12 '12 at 16:17
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You're right! casperOne is totally wrong here, this should never have been closed as Not Constructive! ... It should have been closed as Off-Topic or Not A Real Question! Damn, I had to look up what Ontology is...

Let's play may favorite game: Check The FAQ

  • a specific programming problem -> No
  • a software algorithm -> Neee
  • software tools commonly used by programmers -> Nope
  • practical, answerable problems that are unique to the programming profession -> Noho

That's 0 out of 4. Your question is neither On-Topic, nor well-formed (we're not a search machine), so sorry, but it should be closed.

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Hmm, well you're probably looking at this Wikipedia article, but in this context an Ontology is a database of domain-specific knowledge, something that a programmer creating an expert system would most decidedly use. –  Robert Harvey Jul 12 '12 at 15:13
    
@RobertHarvey: Arrr...like SE? –  Time Traveling Bobby Jul 12 '12 at 15:14
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An ontology is more structured. The correct Wikipedia article is here –  Robert Harvey Jul 12 '12 at 15:16
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I really hate it when people overload technical words like that. I mean, I can understand why it seems to be a good idea at the time, but it still works out badly. –  dmckee Jul 12 '12 at 15:19
    
@RobertHarvey: Oh, I already thought something like that...though, I'd still consider it Off-Topic or NARQ...especially NARQ. –  Time Traveling Bobby Jul 12 '12 at 15:21
    
So what I'm seeing here is that perhaps that third bullet point should be flipped to a "yes". –  Joel Coehoorn Jul 12 '12 at 15:39
    
To be clear, it's not my question, I was answering it. As for your checklist, an ontology is a particular approach to domain modelling. If the question had been "how would I model the concept of skill in ActiveRecord?", would you still says it was off-topic? As for software tools commonly used by programmers, it's my day job. Sure, it's a small field, but does that make it ipso facto off-topic? –  Ian Dickinson Jul 12 '12 at 15:48
    
I thought an Ontology was cancer-related? –  JNK Jul 12 '12 at 16:23
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@JNK that's oncology –  wax eagle Jul 12 '12 at 16:27
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@waxeagle Then what's the study of uncles? –  JNK Jul 12 '12 at 16:28
    
@IanDickinson: Wait wait wait wait wait...it's not an encyclopedia/lexika/wikipedia/stack exchange like thing, but a development model!? –  Time Traveling Bobby Jul 12 '12 at 18:24
    
@UristMcBobby was that a serious question or a quip? If it was a serious question, I don't understand it. –  Ian Dickinson Jul 12 '12 at 18:43
    
@IanDickinson: A serious question...I don't get it...oh wait, so it is some kind model/philosophy to model certain technologies, like MVC? Yeah, that's a serious question, I just don't get it right now... –  Time Traveling Bobby Jul 12 '12 at 18:49
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@UristMcBobby a big question to answer in a short space. OK: when you create a data model for your app as, say, a DB schema, you're using relational algebra to define the model. But that model is baked-in to the DB schema, and isn't something you typically process independently. You don't share it, re-use it, reason about it. In an ontology that's exactly what you do. It's an explicit, declarative, re-usable domain model, semantically based on FOPL (usually), that you use to define the terms your app processes and their meanings. Ontologies based on RDF have other benefits, butIhaveRunOutOfSpa –  Ian Dickinson Jul 12 '12 at 19:00
    
@IanDickinson: Ahhhh...that makes some sense, thank you very much! None the less...I stick to my answer... –  Time Traveling Bobby Jul 12 '12 at 20:02
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casperOne is a full (elected) moderator. His votes are immediately binding.

I agree with the close decision because you are looking for content related to disciplines external to programming (or that may include programming as one among several other disciplines). That you need this for a web page is only tangential (not material) to the question.

Put another way, you might also be asking for an ontology specific to crafting skills (such as sewing, scrap-booking, knitting, cake decoration, etc.), or trade skills (carpentry, welding, plumbing, electrical, HVAC, etc.), and the question would be pretty much the same.

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To be clear, we don't make the law, we just enforce it. –  Robert Harvey Jul 12 '12 at 15:17
    
I realize that SO is not a perfect model of itself but what do think of these questions? stackoverflow.com/questions/8823112/… stackoverflow.com/questions/2819531/… stackoverflow.com/questions/1762291/… –  Some Helpful Commenter Jul 12 '12 at 15:24
    
@SomeHelpfulCommenter The 1st looks on-topic to me, because it's also asking about an algorithm. The 3rd looks on-topic to me, because it's asking about building his own using techniques or design patterns, in reference to graph theory. The 2nd would have been more appropriate on a geography-specific site, and I voted to close it. –  Joel Coehoorn Jul 12 '12 at 15:38
    
More specifically, the 1st and 3rd referenced a specific language and invited code samples as part of a response. –  Joel Coehoorn Jul 12 '12 at 15:42
    
Just to be clear, I didn't ask the original question. I provided one answer and one comment. As to whether the skill in question is about programming or not, that's completely irrelevant. If the OP was developing, say, a social network for skilled tradespersons - builders, plumbers, etc, - then an ontology of skills could reasonably be part of his/her code. –  Ian Dickinson Jul 12 '12 at 15:42
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@Ian - yes, it would be. However, programmers would be among the least qualified to build/maintain the ontology, and therefore a programming site is a poor place to ask about where to find one. What a programmer might do is a build a generic tool for maintaining ontology databases. Such a programmer could ask questions about implementing graph theory, file format performance, etc, that would be on topic. That product could then be used by a government or trade association to maintain a database that would be made available for the first programmer to use. –  Joel Coehoorn Jul 12 '12 at 15:46
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"Parenthetically I also don't see the five votes required to close a question. "

casperOne has superpowers, so the 5 votes aren't needed.

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OK, thanks, I learned a thing. –  Ian Dickinson Jul 12 '12 at 15:51
    
@Gaffi It should be, but the screen name is a proper name, so the casing is respected. Although we could go to English.SE and ask them. –  casperOne Jul 12 '12 at 16:15
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@casperOne It is what happens with iPod, for example: If I write it at the beginning of a sentence, I should not write IPod, or Ipod. –  kiamlaluno Jul 12 '12 at 16:26
    
@kiamlaluno I wholeheartedly agree with you, but I see so many people butcher that as you have shown. On that note, with any language for real and practical purposes, what people use/do is what really defines the language, for better or for worse. :-/ –  Gaffi Jul 12 '12 at 16:30
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In this case, what really matters is the preference of who has chosen the username. –  kiamlaluno Jul 12 '12 at 16:33
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This question should have been closed. I would have closed it because it's structured as a search-engine substitute (e.g. "where can I find...") rather than a programming-related question with an objective, factual answer.

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