I've encountered two questions regarding certification, posted in a short time span. The first question is created by User A, answered by User B. The second question is asked by User B and answered by User A. The Q&A seem sincere, though possibly off-topic (not sure about that part).
What should I do?

Soon after asking this question, the previous two questions have been closed for being Off-topic. What about the other certification questions? Some are closed, others are untouched. Clearly, most of them are not related to programming at all.

  • If they are sock-puppets why didn't they bother to up-vote both answers! Jul 14, 2012 at 9:12
  • "How to handle this situation?" - I would say just flag one (or both) for moderator attention and explain (or link to this question). Jul 14, 2012 at 9:13
  • @Ben I think that they posted for the sake of sharing knowledge, rather than collecting rep. They might be friends, who knows.
    – Rob W
    Jul 14, 2012 at 9:13
  • @Ben: upvote requires 15 rep.
    – Mat
    Jul 14, 2012 at 9:19
  • 3
    With regards to your edit, I think the vast majority of those questions should be closed. I've voted to close a bunch from the first page of 50 already and will continue to go through them. Jul 14, 2012 at 9:30
  • How should I handle certification questions?
    – GUI Junkie
    Jul 14, 2012 at 9:41
  • They, and a few other users, all share the same static IP (well, the DNS record says static-blahblah). All asking about testing. Seems like a failed attempt to sockpuppet or votering. I've removed all their content. I believe they are all question and answer banned, or if not they soon will be.
    – user1228
    Jul 14, 2012 at 14:43
  • @Won't Thanks for the explanation. Now, both parts of my question have been answered.
    – Rob W
    Jul 14, 2012 at 14:47
  • Rob W: The "What Stack Overflow Is Not" link in your Meta profile is broken =) Jul 20, 2012 at 14:56
  • @jadarnel27 Thanks for the hint, I've edited it. I added a quick link to that post, because the feedback was interesting. I'm also a twin, by the way :)
    – Rob W
    Jul 20, 2012 at 15:04
  • No problem! Twins are the best =) Jul 20, 2012 at 15:08

1 Answer 1


Certification questions about where to get certification, what to study to become certified, or whether it's worth it to get certified should be closed. These questions are either too localized (where to get certified), too subjective (whether it's worth it), or both (what to study) to be of any lasting use.

Questions that ask for clarification on or an answer to a specific question from a certification exam (i.e. questions we could actually answer) can stay. Those questions should probably be retagged with the specific certification exam that they're from rather than the generic tag. I'd like to get rid of that tag, since it does seem to invite off-topic questions.

  • Perhaps certification questions do not fit the question format of SO because they are 'open ended' but the reason users (myself included) ask them is because SO has a large user base, some of them having those certifications and therefore their answers would be very welcome to read.
    – Eugen
    Oct 15, 2012 at 19:56
  • 4
    @Eugen SO has a large user base of people who have office chairs too. Questions about office furniture are off-topic anyway. Wanting feedback from the community on a topic doesn't make it a good fit for what we're trying to do here. Oct 15, 2012 at 19:58
  • The remark about office chairs is valid but it is quite a stretch from the topic of programming questions. The semantic gap between IT related certifications and programming is much smaller than between chairs and programming.
    – Eugen
    Oct 22, 2012 at 20:38
  • 1
    @Eugen I updated my answer to say specifically why these types of questions should be closed. Oct 22, 2012 at 21:19
  • "a specific question from a certification exam"... won't this imply usage of a brain dump or similar way to get hold of the question list? Can we really leave them ? Wondering because I just saw one and was thinking about what to do.
    – SPArcheon
    Jan 28, 2013 at 16:12
  • 1
    @SPArchaeologist I didn't mean that specific. I was thinking of the case when someone takes an exam and later asks a question around one of the exam questions they had problems answering. I wouldn't really advocate looking up the exact question and posting it verbatim, but coming up with your own question based on the same principles should be okay. Jan 28, 2013 at 16:30
  • So a perfect copy should be removed? Don't exactly want SharePoint exchange to have problems because of that.
    – SPArcheon
    Jan 28, 2013 at 16:38
  • @SPArchaeologist You should probably post a separate question about whether exact duplicates of exam questions should be removed. I think they're probably too localized, but I'm not sure. SharePoint exchange can have a different policy if they don't like what the community here comes up with. Jan 28, 2013 at 17:07
  • @BilltheLizard, Ok - will do. Thanks for the advice.
    – SPArcheon
    Jan 28, 2013 at 17:26

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