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I raised one question in Stack Overflow regarding a puzzle. It was closed with the reason stated as its not related to programming. This should be relaxed. As good programmers are natural problem solvers. They think very effectively. Infact attacking a puzzle is like finding an algorithm with order, probability, etc.

So, why still this barrier in place?

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A good programmer should have good physical condition, so there should be no problem with asking questions about football. – LukLed Feb 28 '10 at 19:36
I dont know why this is down voted. I joined meta stackoverflow just to clarify my question. I dont see any "bad" coming out of this question. – bragboy Feb 28 '10 at 20:31
There is no implication that this is a "bad" question. On Meta, down-voting simply means that you disagree with the suggestion. It's nothing personal. – Robert Cartaino Feb 28 '10 at 20:33
up vote 10 down vote accepted

StackOverflow is a Question and Answer site, not a discussion forum. The more such "puzzle" or "fun" posts we get here, the more diluted the core value proposition will become. It will move further towards being a hangout, and less a place to get questions answered.

Maybe we need a special, moderator-only tag "fun" (or "fun-fun-fun" if "fun" is in use already). This would allow us to keep track of the number of "fun" questions on the site. Otherwise, there could be "fun-creep" and we wouldn't know about it. All of our complaints would otherwise fall on deaf ears, thinking that we're just not "fun" people.

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FYI, there are lots and lots of discussions in stack overflow going on, few having almost +100 up votes and almost twenty+ answers. I dont see why its an exception still – bragboy Feb 28 '10 at 19:29
@Bragaadeesh: because we don't want thousands of discussions, which is what we'd get if we didn't fight every single question like this. The hundreds you see still there are the survivors of many, many attempts to eradicate them. They are cockroaches, and have earned their right to be annoying pests. – John Saunders Feb 28 '10 at 19:42
@Jon Saunders - Yes, you also have to take into consideration about how old some of those off-topic questions are. Back in the younger, "old west" days of Stack Overflow, many more off-topic questions were tolerated. It's unfortunate that people still hold them up as an example of why their off-topic questions should be okay. – Robert Cartaino Feb 28 '10 at 19:51
+1 just for the cockroaches comment. I actually agree with Jeff that we need some fun, but many posters seem to believe that that means we should accept any allegedly fun thing they wish to post. – dmckee Feb 28 '10 at 20:27
+1 for both your opinion on preventing delution and also for pointing out that we took the fun out of fundamental and became mental. – Neo Sep 26 '10 at 2:43

It's an interesting puzzle, but to be appropriate content for SO, questions need to be related to programming in some way.

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Its just an example :). I'm also a hard core programmer. But I strongly believe that analytical and logical thinking only enhances a programmers creativity. In fact the puzzle that I've asked there has a beautiful solution involving binaries of 0s and 1s. And it need mathematics. In fact, all data strucutres+algorithms hav strong and complex mathematics involved. So, why isolate puzzles, at least regarding mathematics alone? – bragboy Feb 28 '10 at 19:42
@Bragaadeesh - The scope of the site bounded by "questions about programming." Not "anything that should be of interest to programmers." By your logic (above), you could argue that almost anything belongs on the site. If the scope gets too wide, the site fails. – Robert Cartaino Feb 28 '10 at 19:57
@Bragaadeesh: If we had a, then your question would have been a great fit for it. Nobody would come to looking for an Answer to a Question. As it happens, I'm one of those Software Engineers who has managed to spend over 30 years in a career without needing to use mathematics or formal Computer Science on the job (nothing more complicated than a Karnaugh map, which I learned about in High School). – John Saunders Feb 28 '10 at 20:01
@John Saunders: I said mathematical skills are not a mandate for programmers. In fact you dont need a degree to tell that, but it would be a good added advantage, probably your 30 years of career would've had a "better" probability of 0.6 had you learnt it. However, it could've been a "smashing" career in that other 0.4 as well. – bragboy Feb 28 '10 at 20:29
@Bragaadeesh: who said I didn't learn it? I took advanced maths classes and averaged > 90% in them. They have been almost entirely useless in my career. I also see little or no code written by others who have used any of this. I suppose it might be useful for something. For over 30 years, if I've been asked if Math is necessary to program computers, I've answered "no, not in general". – John Saunders Feb 28 '10 at 21:23
@John Saunders: Your answer No because you've learnt it. Honestly, you feel that you're not using any of the math skills you learnt. But its not so. You may not remember what Integral calculus did/does, but it definitely would've honed your skills somehow. I cant prove it but I have a strong feeling that it would definitely have. – bragboy Mar 1 '10 at 7:00
@Bragadeesh: great example. I had fun with integral calculus. I actually enjoyed line integrals, and thought tensors were interesting. I've done no work with numerics at all. – John Saunders Mar 1 '10 at 8:28
As it so happens, I graduated with a degree in applied mathematics, but I'm working as a programmer. Was what I learned in university helpful? Absolutely. Am I using that knowledge in my current position? Not at all. In terms of programming, I think all the math stuff will be far more beneficial to people doing research work, or applying it towards scientific endeavours where the background knowledge needed to solve the problems involves theory and mathematics. – Jon Seigel Mar 1 '10 at 13:44


I cant able to see your post, it seems removed. So my thoughts might not be relevant to your actual post, but its relevant to this discussion.

SO accepts the Community wiki discussion if the question is relevant to the programming(solving the generic problems (puzzles) in different programming languages). We have seperate code-golf tag for this purpose. May be you can change your question to suite for code-golf.

Moderators: is Code-golf kind of questions still valid in SO??


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