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Following George Stocker's suggestion, I would like to ask the Stack Exchange community its opinion about old questions which:

  • are not a good fit for Stack Overflow
  • are in the process of being deleted
  • but include good answers which are referenced in a (careers.stackoverflow.com) resume, as a fine example of one's expertise.

Case in point (referenced in my resume):

"Can we finally move to DVCS in Corporate Software? Is SVN still a 'must have' for development?"

I fully understand this isn't a good fit for Stack Overflow, but I got my last mission in part because of the answer I provided to it.

One solution would be to lock the question:

  • no more upvote/downvote
  • big warning ("This question exists because it has historical significance, but it is not considered a good, on-topic question for this site")
  • stable and persistent link, which can used reliably

Should those kind of questions be deleted while ignoring the fact they are show-cased in one's resume?

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11  
Write a blog post. –  Robert Harvey Mar 22 '13 at 14:45
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@RobertHarvey the point of Stack Overflow is precisely for those who don't write blog posts, and try to show-case their expertise in one place. It has worked wonderfully for me in more than four years. –  VonC Mar 22 '13 at 14:47
    
@RobertHarvey That being said, you are right, and I will probably have to make a Google+ post out of that answer ;) –  VonC Mar 22 '13 at 14:48
5  
I think most people would dispute the idea that SO is a place for you to write blog posts. –  joran Mar 22 '13 at 14:48
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@RobertHarvey that's a bit glib, considering that linking to "showcase answers" is an integral part of the Careers system. I could mostly get behind it if the system provided some warning that deletion was about to happen or provided a copy of the deleted answer. –  Pops Mar 22 '13 at 14:49
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It's a symptom of an unsolved underlying problem: what to do about popular, but off-topic posts. –  Robert Harvey Mar 22 '13 at 14:51
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@RobertHarvey you can lock them! (At least the ones I mention, i.e. used in one's resume) Problem solved ;) (pleeease?) –  VonC Mar 22 '13 at 14:51
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Locking comes with its own set of issues... It freezes the entire post in time, preventing it from being updated. People who see these posts and want to ask questions just like them don't really get that they are historical artifacts (which is the whole point), and cannot understand why there is so much cognitive dissonance between question asked years ago, and questions asked today. They don't think it's fair, and locking a post only serves to further underscore that unfairness. –  Robert Harvey Mar 22 '13 at 14:54
2  
@RobertHarvey uh? but there is an explicit warning about its "historical significance" which explains the cognitive dissonance. I understand it is not an ideal solution, but I would still prefer it over seing an example of my expertise just vanish after more than 2 years. –  VonC Mar 22 '13 at 14:57
    
I looked at the post, but I'm inclined to agree with George's assessment. Locking is only used under extraordinary circumstances which don't exist here. The community has already cast several delete votes, and I don't see anything I can use to justify overriding the community's will. –  Robert Harvey Mar 22 '13 at 15:04
2  
I'm voting up your question because it's well written, and because we should vote up well written questions on meta, even if we don't agree with them (It helps to reinforce well written questions). –  George Stocker Mar 22 '13 at 15:11
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@RobertHarvey but... but-but-but, what if the community's will is WRONG? Just kidding :) –  VonC Mar 22 '13 at 15:11
    
related (not a duplicate): how to deal with link rot caused by deletion of popular off-topic questions? –  gnat Mar 22 '13 at 15:46

3 Answers 3

You bring up a really good point: There's a disconnect between what people use on their Stack Overflow Careers Resume and what is considered a good question for Stack Overflow.

There's a technical solution to this problem: When something is linked to in a Careers resume, actually copy the content; that way even if the source is obliterated, it can still be used in a person's resume.

The target audiences are different. For a resume, it's a 1-1 relationship between the person and the company doing the hiring. For a Stack Overflow question/answer; the audience is the greater internet and a repository of useful information.

Since Stack Overflow's policies have swung over the years, it's unfair to penalize those people who bought into one concept but now can't use some of their best work because it's no longer considered 'on topic'. A way to make both sides happy is to not 'link' to Stack Overflow answers, but actually copy the answer to the resume.


As far as locking that question, I can't do that unilaterally because:

  • Not a lot of views / years
  • Considered an opinion piece (still)
  • Almost irrelevant now because things have changed so much in the 3 years since that was written

Locking is not a good idea (in general) for the reasons Robert Harvey has said:

  • Content is stuck 'in time'
  • Bad content stays around
  • Future questioners point to the bad content to use that as an excuse
  • It attracts a lot of controversy on Meta
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1  
Errr, copy the content? Copy it where? The section in career is made to link to Stack Overflow question. –  VonC Mar 22 '13 at 15:04
2  
@VonC Literally set up a publishing model (it's something we do at The Motley Fool, and it works well for instances where you have content that needs to be one way in a fixed point in time, but can change and be republished -- just like how a resume is done). When you link to your Stack Overflow answer, it literally copies that answer as it is at that point in time to another place; and when your resume is pulled up, that content is served from that other place. If you want an updated answer to be pushed to your resume, it's your responsibility to republish. –  George Stocker Mar 22 '13 at 15:07
    
"It attracts a lot of controversy on the Meta". I see what you did there! –  Hugo Dozois Mar 22 '13 at 15:08
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Oops, got it: career has also a section for "Articles & Blogs", so I understand your suggestion now. I will certainly do that, unless the SO community comes to its senses, and recognize the sheer awesomeness of my answer, of course. (Not holding my breath on that one, though...) –  VonC Mar 22 '13 at 15:08

Should those kind of questions be deleted while ignoring the fact they are show-cased in one's resume?

Well, I for one would likely lower or drop participation if I find out that SE does not reliably support my professional online presence, especially one exposed via SO Careers.

Don't get me wrong, I am active partially because I am interested in practicing problem solving skills and written presentation but substantial part of my interest is due to expectation of having a sustainable, public, online proof of my proficiency in this - a proof that is easy to reference.

If that ease of referencing goes away because of link-rot of SE content, it will also take away respective part of my interest.


IInteresting that this feeling of professional online presence being somehow valuable is largely based on my prior experience with, well, SO Careers themselves.

I can't tell how things look for those seeking Careers invitation now, but 2 or 3 years ago they had an option to get a Careers profile for those who lack both required SO reputation and an invite.

That option was described about as follows: "if you believe your online presence is sufficient to qualify without SO reputation and invite, just explain it to us and we'll have a look". Following their suggestion, I summarized whatever online presence I had at that moment, sent it and got myself a Careers profile.

  • You see, my very presence at SO Careers has been based on the fact of having a solid, verifiable online presence. Now, if it turns out that SO can not reliably support such a presence themselves, to me this would sound like they can't live up to what they expect of others. Somehow I doubt this will keep me motivated to participate.

http://i.stack.imgur.com/5y9mT.jpg

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I can see why you'd want to keep a handle on that piece. On the other hand it is clearly on the wrong site. Why don't you work on migrating it to where it will be on topic? If there are not already good questions on programmers that cover that issue, consider asking one that does.

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