Two years ago, the possibility of careers having its own meta was raised. The question didn't get much interest, but the accepted reasons to not have a separate careers meta essentially boiled down to "careers is a little side-project, and meta.SO is a catchall for support."

Careers is definitely not small these days. There are currently 935 questions here on Meta.SO. For comparison, (!) has 1024, and meta.Programmers.SE has 1027 total. There are twice as many careers questions as s (461) and I'm sure everyone can appreciate how common those are.

Careers also strikes me as a very different beast than many other SO side-projects. Apart from its size, it's designed to be exclusive. There are apparently 52k users on careers, versus twice that many active users on SO. Why should over half the StackExchange community see meta discussion of something they're excluded from?

Apart from the exclusivity, Careers also doesn't feel directly related to the broad SE goal of building a good storehouse of Q&A knowledge. Careers helps match potential employees and employers, but that's a very immediate benefit. A question on SE today might help someone years from now.

TL;DR: Careers is a fine and worthy project, but it's distinct from StackExchange and should have distinct support.

I see from comments that there's some confusion over what I see as the motivation for separating Careers from MSO. I didn't explain that well.

I don't think that Careers is suffering by being included in Meta.SO. From everything I can tell, Careers questions are answered quickly and well.
I think Meta.SO is suffering by including Careers.

Meta.SO is the catchall for questions without a dedicated meta, but Careers is big enough to warrant a dedicated meta (or other support setup). Metas allow community members to discuss and determine the character of that community. Including Careers in Meta.SO hinders SO community members doing the community building that Meta.SO is meant to enable.

Jeff also mentioned plans for Meta.SE to come back, which will shift the problem from Meta.SO to Meta.SE and amplify it because Careers will be an even larger portion of Meta.SE.

  • Meta isn't really "directly related to the broad SE goal of building a good storehouse of Q&A knowledge", either. And you've only refuted the second justification provided by Jon in the linked answer.
    – Cody Gray
    Apr 18 '12 at 22:18
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    @TheEstablishment I didn't directly address Jon's (Tim's?) points because as far as I could tell only three people supported them. I don't find his first or second points persuasive, and didn't want to get sidetracked addressing them unless/until it was clear that many people felt that way.
    – blahdiblah
    Apr 18 '12 at 22:21
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    I see... Well so long as you're posting a duplicate question, it's a pretty good idea to make clear why it is not a duplicate.
    – Cody Gray
    Apr 18 '12 at 22:22
  • @the given that we plan to make meta.stackexchange come back (hopefully this year..) and thus break out all Stack Overflow meta topics to their own site, that should help in filtering out a solid percentage of the questions and thus [careers] questions will be more prominent on meta.se than they are now on meta.so Apr 19 '12 at 6:11
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    It may be worth rewriting this question and/or raising a new one (and closing this old one as a dupe of the new: this is possible behaviour when circumstances change), now that the MSO/MSE split has finally happened.
    – TRiG
    Apr 23 '14 at 16:26

Posts tagged very rarely account for much more than 3% on average* of everything posted on Meta in a given month. The exception was right after Careers was initially introduced, but even then the percentages weren't astronomical by any means.

By comparison, a significantly larger portion of questions end up being closed each month, without accounting for the ones that are also subsequently deleted (typically quite a few, given how many completely off-topic things are often posted).

You state that

Including Careers in Meta.SO hinders SO community members doing the community building that Meta.SO is meant to enable

but you don't really elaborate on what part of their presence is actually hindering anything. Given that the posts average less than one per day, it can't be that they're taking up precious front page real estate, since that simply wouldn't be true.

I also don't think that people are somehow reluctant to post because of the presence of questions, since there's absolutely nothing to suggest that's the case. So, where's the actual problem that this proposed split would address?

As a side note, Careers does have its own dedicated team within Stack Exchange. While public support requests are directed to Meta, they also receive feedback directly at their careers@stackoverflow.com email address.

*I apologise for this SQL

  • Thank you for making that query! I'm not sure it's totally right though. I modified it to give the percentage of questions tagged with one of the four required meta tags (discussion/bug/support/feature-request), and the percentage never rises above 50%, while it should be more than 100% (as posts can have more than one of those tags). My SQL isn't brilliant either, so perhaps I made a mistake in the modification, but you might want to double-check those numbers.
    – blahdiblah
    Apr 19 '12 at 23:47
  • My apologies, I didn't exclude answers in the query that was getting the total count. Seems I also overlooked that in the closed questions query. Modifying both raised the percentages, though in the case of the careers query the change wasn't too drastic.
    – Tim Stone
    Apr 20 '12 at 1:06
  • (Note that in your query, you'd need to change COUNT(*) to COUNT(DISTINCT PostId) to get valid numbers, because a post may have more than one of those tags. The numbers would also not always end up at quite 100% because there are a few migrated posts in the mix that don't have any of those tags)
    – Tim Stone
    Apr 20 '12 at 1:07

I'm not sure the reward to work ratio would really be all that high for giving careers its own meta; the ratio may be negative, in fact.

MSO has been doing a great job of responding to careers questions. Careers administrators have been monitoring the tag, and responding to questions effectively.

Why should the team go through the trouble of changing things?

  • The problem is added noise for the larger part of the community that has nothing to do with Careers, not that Careers is somehow ill-served. Facebook could setup a great support system using Meta.SO, but we don't want them to because it would be irrelevant to the majority of users.
    – blahdiblah
    Apr 18 '12 at 22:33
  • The difference is that MSO is the designated spot for support on careers. And 935 questions doesn't strike me as all that many -- over how many months is that? How many careers questions per day are we averaging ? Apr 18 '12 at 22:35
  • 935 is all time, as are the other tags mentioned, and Programmers.SE which was founded after Careers. I don't have daily rates handy, but right now Careers is the sixth highest recent (non-mandatory) tag, ahead of chat, bounty, badges, etc. Careers doesn't dominate Meta.SO, but it's certainly a significant piece, and bigger than pieces that seem (to me) to be closer to the core of SE.
    – blahdiblah
    Apr 18 '12 at 22:39
  • That's partially because the careers tag is always added to questions about Careers. For one thing, it's a pretty obvious match-up. But if the asker forgot it, one of the devs will come by and add it to make sure that the question gets seen by the right folks. Your other tags, @blah, like answer don't get used quite as often, and certainly aren't applied to every question about answers.
    – Cody Gray
    Apr 18 '12 at 22:43
  • Is there a measure you think would more clearly establish Career's size? I noticed a lot of Careers questions, and then compared to other tags because that seemed reasonable, and Programmers because it was similarly old, but if there's another measure that's not too difficult to do, I'm happy to include it.
    – blahdiblah
    Apr 18 '12 at 22:50
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    @blahdiblah The comparison with Meta Programmers isn't really indicative of anything; everyone familiar enough with the network will check MSO (and probably find an answer) before asking on Meta Programmers (and they might skip it and ask on MSO instead), it's reasonable for a per site Meta to have less questions than career, as there isn't another place you can ask for Careers.
    – yannis
    Apr 18 '12 at 23:10
  • My point was that there could (and should) be a dedicated place to ask for Careers. Meta.Programmers and Careers are comparably old and sized, but the one gets a dedicated meta while the other doesn't. If it makes sense for Careers to be here, why doesn't it make sense for Meta.Programmers also to be here?
    – blahdiblah
    Apr 18 '12 at 23:20
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    @blahdiblah I'm not disagreeing with you, I'm just saying that comparing [careers] questions on MSO with Meta ProgSE doesn't make sense (at all). They may be comparably old, but MSO already has the bulk of questions one could ask on Meta ProgSE, and quite a few people opt to ask their questions on MSO instead of Meta ProgSE. Also the argument, even if it made sense, it's irrelevant to whether Careers needs its own support site or not, what you need to concentrate on is proving that Careers questions don't get served well on MSO, everything else is irrelevant.
    – yannis
    Apr 19 '12 at 14:22
  • @YahooAnswersenthusiast I think that I wasn't clear. I updated the question to clarify.
    – blahdiblah
    Apr 19 '12 at 18:53

I'm impartial on this topic. However, I believe that both the questions and other answers skirt the issue at heart, and don't really benefit. Whether or not MSO suffers from the presence of meta-Careers questions is not a good measure of judgement. You can sort, exclude tags, and you have multiple tools to help see the questions you want to see.

You also get similar results if the programmers for the site automatically hid careers tagged questions. People who are perusing the careers tag, continue to do so. People who ignore careers tag, continue to do so. But you would only need to do so if the tag became excessively large. And then you set a precedence for tags being considered for auto-hide. You'd never consider doing this to another tag, so separating the tag from MSO cannot have a valid justification when considering statistics on its use.

The real issue is a community issue. Is Careers a distinct community from Stack Overflow?

If Careers is attached to the Stack Overflow community, then it should be joined to Stack Overflow somehow? If not, should it be limited to programming only jobs?

That tells you whether it should have it's own meta.

I believe it's a subcommunity, not a distinct one. You need to consider that if it did have it's own meta, it wouldn't get attention from people in MSO that didn't peruse meta-Careers.

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