I see so many questions on Programmers.SE that are closed with lots of down votes. For example, in the past two weeks roughly 45%* of the questions have been either closed or migrated

Why is this?

* The 45% was obtained by sorting the question list by Newest and counting the number of questions that were asked since 4/20, then counting the number of closed:1 questions in the same timeframe. There are around 10 pages of questions asked, and 4.5 pages of closed questions (at 50 questions per page)

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    Do you have some specific questions in mind that you feel were wrongly closed? – yannis May 4 '12 at 12:50
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    You should have brought this up on our meta. – ChrisF May 4 '12 at 12:51
  • @ChrisF : This IS meta so, right ? – CyprUS May 4 '12 at 12:54
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    This is the general Stack Exchange meta - programmers has its own meta. – Oded May 4 '12 at 12:56
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    @CyprUS: meta.programmers.stackexchange.com – Wladimir Palant May 4 '12 at 12:56
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    @CyprUS Every site has it's own Meta, this question should have been asked on Meta Programmers. Meta Stack Overflow is for issues that are specific to Stack Overflow or are of network wide concern. Also voting is different on Meta, people are downvoting you because they disagree with the premise of your question. – yannis May 4 '12 at 12:56
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    Also, asking for book/tutorial/IDE/whatever recommendation is considered to be not constructive on most Stack Exchange sites. – Oded May 4 '12 at 12:57
  • Stack Overflow is not your personal research assistant "The SO community will not write a complete solution for you, develop a complete walk through of a problem, or do your background research for you, unless your question is specific and focused on a reasonably small scope" – gnat May 4 '12 at 13:26
  • @CyprUS I made an edit to your question so it would match the question title, however it got rolled back by another user because it changed the question too much. You can view it in the edit history, and if you agree with it perhaps you can consider changing your question yourself. Right now, many of the downvotes are because you are suggesting we relax the Q&A standards for a site, which many users disagree with. – Rachel May 4 '12 at 14:56
  • Why did you not post this on the Programmers Meta? This is exactly what per-site metas are for. – Cody Gray May 5 '12 at 7:46
  • They closed my account for asking this question. So I'm leaving the community. As have many other great developers because of this issue with closing, I have learned. – user185806 May 15 '12 at 0:54
  • Also if the people of programmers want to know more about what they are doing wrong stackoverflow should make it more clear about meta q and a of that Site not meta.stackoverflow – user185806 May 15 '12 at 0:58

The Programmers FAQ has the most extensive set of guidelines on the Stack Exchange network about what kinds of questions are on-topic and what ones are not.

The problem is that people either don't bother to read the guidelines before posting, or they think the guidelines don't apply to them. I rarely see what I would consider a good, on-topic question closed on Programmers (or even one that's borderline for that matter). If you do see a specific closed question that you think should be reopened, you should bring it to the Programmers community on their own Meta site.

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    Down vote if I could, seriously dislike this answer. Its a forum for the community not the moderators. This issue of closing questions has been an initiative by their own will not the communities. I would link the post I saw about this initiative from them but I can't at this time, essential they did it because they think their too big for all the question. I see allot of people are upset with this, maybe stackoverflow should re-examine what the community wants if it's those guidelines are doing this. See my comment above for meta location comment. – user185806 May 15 '12 at 1:05
  • @BrandonClark Stack Exchange sites are formed with community input well before moderators are chosen. What questions are on-topic is shaped by everyone who takes part in the process, not just moderators. – Bill the Lizard May 15 '12 at 2:00
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    Umm, not according to all the the complaints I see. As mentioned in other post the original intention of the site has been modified and changed. Do you mean the discussions of forming Programmers, certainly not the new direction and policies over the last month. I seen those discussions and they were moderator asked and moderator answered for the most part. I believe you have become bias as a moderator, sorry but i'm entitled to my opinion. I know you don't like it and will probably cancel my account for it like other mods. – user185806 May 15 '12 at 2:31
  • @BrandonClark All the complaints that you can't seem to find right now? Also show me one account that was banned because of a disagreement with a mod. It simply doesn't happen. You're delusional. – Bill the Lizard May 15 '12 at 2:37
  • Edit:Look at my Programmers account its banned, not for disagreement but I posted my question her like @CyprUS did asking the same thing essentially, but instead of saying you posted in the place or pushing to the right one, or giving me a chance to delete, they banned me and most likely because I asked do we blame the mods much like above but now I am bais. So it happens, sorry. I will actually do some research for you since you seem unaware of the fact people are upset by this and I believe maybe you might actually care. – user185806 May 15 '12 at 2:53
  • @BrandonClark Your Programmers account wasn't banned by a moderator or there would be a notification banner at the top. You may be question banned due to downvotes, which we (mods) can't see or control. – Bill the Lizard May 15 '12 at 2:57
  • Edit:Nope I got the banned bar and a email to prove it. first line starts off 'question banned from Programmers'. Unfortunately I deleted my account in hast when I came across a link to this post, or I would link you. Then I recreated a account. – user185806 May 15 '12 at 2:58
  • It also stated exactly why. For posting in Meta when it should have been at meta.programmers. – user185806 May 15 '12 at 3:04

I think people are seeing the site name of Programmers*, and assuming it's a Q&A site where they can ask programmers their questions, and get answers from programmers.

In actuality, the site is a Q&A site about conceptual software development, and it follows the same guidelines that most SE sites have about what makes a good question.

As Bill pointed out, the programmers faq makes it fairly clear what is and isn't on topic for the site, however many users don't think to read the faq before posting a question

The majority of closed questions are either

  • Code questions - These should be asked on SO. If the question quality is suitable for SO, they get migrated there instead of closed, although if not they simply get closed.

  • Requests for broad recommendations, like book suggestions, what to learn next, or general advice in X situation. Any kind of broad question like this is usually closed on SE sites as unanswerable since there is no one right answer to the question, and they usually turn into a poll with everyone chiming in with their own recommendation or opinion

  • Questions about or for programmers, that are unrelated to conceptual software development. The site is meant for Q&A on conceptual software development, so questions asked should be related to that.

* The site is called Programmers because it was originally going to be a site for Not-Programming-Related questions that programmers have for each other, however the site scope got changed quite a while ago. You can view the full history here

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    Questions that belong on SO are migrated, not closed, except on rare cases where OP is trying to circumvent an automatic question ban or a suspension on SO. As for the site's name, that's laughable at best. Several other Stack Exchange sites are named after their audiences and not the activities their about (Writers, Database Administrators, Pro Webmasters, etc), but only programmers get confused? Are we that dumb? – yannis May 4 '12 at 13:45
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    @YahooAnswersenthusiast Yes, however if the question quality isn't suitable for SO then they are simply closed. Not all code questions are closed instead of migrated, however many are. – Rachel May 4 '12 at 13:46
  • @Rachel I added that to the answer. Feel free to re-word in your words, etc :) – user142852 May 4 '12 at 13:48
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    @Rachel Yes, we don't migrate crap, thanks for noticing. – yannis May 4 '12 at 13:48
  • @Ninefingers Thanks, I was actually in the process of rewriting that when you made the edit :) – Rachel May 4 '12 at 13:50
  • @YahooAnswersenthusiast I think Programmers is special because the category is so broad and covers a very large range of jobs, and the site scope is fairly narrow. For example, code-questions are off-topic for Programmers, while SQL questions are on-topic for Database Administrators – Rachel May 4 '12 at 13:54
  • @Rachel Well, we are special, no argument there... But that we don't allow implementation questions is not something you would get if the site was named Software Development Stack Exchange, implementation is part of the SDLC, you'd expect a site named Software Development to be about implementation questions too. – yannis May 4 '12 at 13:56
  • Anyways, we've exhausted the subject. For me it's a non issue, and a quite dumb thing to get stuck on, for you it seems to be the opposite. Let's agree to disagree, but also let's not bring it up again (on Meta ProgSE), unless you're bringing something new to the discussion. I'll ping you in the Water Cooler during the weekend for that WP Meta question. – yannis May 4 '12 at 13:59
  • @YahooAnswersenthusiast Ummm you told me you agreed with my comment above (now deleted) and that I should post it as an answer, then when I copy/paste it almost exactly the same as an answer (only expanded it a bit and laid out a bit better), you downvote and disagree? You're confusing. Your exact comment was You are absolutely right! Why not post that as an answer? – Rachel May 4 '12 at 14:04
  • @Rachel Is your sarcasm filter broken? Haven't we already had the name discussion a thousand times? Anyways, your answer is good, minus the name thing... – yannis May 4 '12 at 14:06
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    @YahooAnswersenthusiast Hrrrm ok. I can write an answer validating why so many questions are closed, however I think the fact that programmers has so many questions that should be closed in the first place needs to be addressed too. Most people don't willingly post unwelcome questions on a Q&A site, so I think we must be doing something wrong to attract so many bad questions. 50% closure/migration rate seems like a sign we are doing something wrong (that's the average based on the past 2 weeks) – Rachel May 4 '12 at 14:20
  • @Rachel Don't know where you're getting your data from, but 50% closure is completely wrong. – yannis May 4 '12 at 14:23
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    @Rachel Past couple of weeks is somewhere between 35% - 40% (there are 6 pages of open questions, use closed:0 to check). But today was a particularly bad day (I smell a known troll), and it might get worse... – yannis May 4 '12 at 14:37
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    Hey, how about if we changed the name to "Software Development"? Has that ever been proposed? – Cody Gray May 4 '12 at 19:26
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    @TheEstablishment Yes, I made the suggestion a while back to either change the site name to softwaredevelopment.se or change the scope of the site. The question itself has many upvotes, however nothing ever got done about it. If you want to post a question on P.SE meta suggesting the name change I'd be happy to upvote it, but be sure to include the arguments about why a name change is needed :) – Rachel May 4 '12 at 19:56

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