I'm looking at the following question:
It has 4 close votes (at the time of writing), and I've been waffling over whether or not to put in a 5th.
By convention, at least, closing is essentially flagging for deletion, and I think this is an important consideration with respect to the proliferation of deletion-related questions/issues that have popped up on Meta just recently (here, here, here, here... you get the idea).
Career advice questions are the epitome of subjective, bike-shed type questions. Anybody can answer, and any answer is correct for somebody. As opposed to a typical subjective or open-ended question, which may still be objectively answerable or at least have answers that can be evaluated objectively (any "list" question fits the bill here), there is virtually never any truly objective criteria on which to answer a career advice question or evaluate an answer.
These questions always pick up extreme numbers of answers and upvotes. In addition to the question up top, I refer you to the following, some of which are very recent:
- I’m graduating with a Computer Science degree but I don’t feel like I know how to program.
- Senior programming ‘guru’ who can’t program - should I find a different career?
- Is 4-5 years the “Midlife Crisis” for a programming career?
These aren't only the highest-voted questions under the
career-development tag (currently at 922 questions and counting); they're some of the highest-voted and most-answered questions on the entire site. Suffice it to say that career advice questions get pretty favourable treatment, even though they are ipso facto extended-discussion questions.
I'm holding off on my close vote for now. I'm not going to touch any more career advice questions until there's an official answer. So I put it to the moderators, and Jeff, and the rest of the Stack Overflow team:
Are Career Advice/Career Development questions welcome on Stack Overflow?
If they are, then what should the guidelines be for posting them? Without guidelines, it becomes a lottery, as it's been framed before; people just fire away without thinking and hope they get lucky (their question remains open / gets upvotes). Surely we can do better than this.
And if they aren't considered to be in-keeping with the overall theme of Stack Overflow, then what should be done about them? They are so popular, and there is such a huge precedent, that it is basically a losing battle for a closer/deleter to explain why they should remain closed/deleted. And perhaps this is
status-bydesign - that's why I'm bringing it up.
Given all of the accusations and general mistrust recently directed at closers/deleters, I think we deserve an official response to one of the most egregious examples of subjective vote/answer swarming. Do these questions belong, or not?
Of course I welcome everyone's input, so feel free to respond with your thoughts; although I am especially interested in what the brass have to say. At the end of the day, this really ought to be a simple yes-or-no policy, like code golf on SO (yes, with specific guidelines) or 3rd-party web sites on Super User (no). So please - let's decide, once and for all.
I'm aware of the incredibly brief mention given to this issue on the SO blog. I don't think that really answers the question, and certainly doesn't set out any guidelines. In addition, I think that career building is actually a very specific incarnation of the more generic career advice. For example, questions about how to deal with a clueless manager aren't really related to career building.
Let's think of this specifically in the context of close reasons. Which reasons would apply to which career advice questions, and when/why? So far I only have:
- Off-Topic - applies if the question could be reasonably answered by somebody totally unfamiliar with the software development field (a counselor). Alternative view: applies if the question would still make sense if all software-specific reference were to be stripped away.
That's fine for OT; what about NARQ, S&A, Dupe, and TL? Can they ever apply to career questions? Where is the bar?