I clearly have a programming question, yet people vote to close my question as off topic - Why?

Is Stack Overflow NOT a programming QA site?

Here is a link to one of my questions where someone voted to close it

Okay, in response to the comment, the SO FAQ clearly states:

a specific programming problem
a software algorithm
software tools commonly used by programmers
practical, answerable problems that are unique to the programming profession

as criteria for posts. All of my posts in question fall in software tools commonly used by programmers - so why do you feel the questions don't belong here?

  • 5
    A link to the question would help – Bart Jun 6 '13 at 15:05
  • 4
    Such as? And not all programming question belong on Stack Overflow. There is a help section that explains what is on-topic. – Oded Jun 6 '13 at 15:06
  • 4
    Minor nitpick: It's voted as "not constructive", not "off topic". =) – J. Steen Jun 6 '13 at 15:08
  • 2
    Better example; a question by the OP that was closed as OT. Rightly so, in my opinion; just because it is about downloading Android source does not make that a programming question. – Martijn Pieters Jun 6 '13 at 15:17
  • @Martijn Where would you post a question like that - To me it's a programming question because I am trying to get the source code and reprogram some of it. – Roy Hinkley Jun 6 '13 at 15:25
  • 1
    +1 where should the repo question go? – tgkprog Jun 6 '13 at 15:25
  • Granted, it's a bit borderline; but it is also fairly localized. SuperUser can help with end-user software issues. – Martijn Pieters Jun 6 '13 at 15:28
  • 6
    @AndroidAddict - I think the answer to your question may be 'nowhere' where it comes to SE sites. SO/SE is not all things to all people. Sometimes you need to post the question on software-specific forums, or something similar. Not every possible question is appropriate for SO/SE. – Joe Jun 6 '13 at 15:35
  • 1
    @Joe When Google lists SO as Android developers official support site, that comes with the understanding that Android issues for developers are going to be supported. – Roy Hinkley Jun 6 '13 at 15:52
  • 3
    @AndroidAddict I suppose I don't know anything about that, as I'm not an Android developer, but that doesn't change my answer one bit. Perhaps Google should consider providing Android developers more support? – Joe Jun 6 '13 at 15:57
  • 5
    @AndroidAddict Google doesn't define the scope of what questions are and are not allowed on SO. That some particular technology doesn't create resources beyond SO for developer support doesn't mean SO is obligated to allow or answer questions it would otherwise not allow. – Servy Jun 6 '13 at 16:01
  • @Servy I understand that. My wish is that if people think a question is inappropriate for SO, then offer a better place to post. Don't just shoot down someone's question and not explain yourself. People have questions and are just looking for answers. – Roy Hinkley Jun 6 '13 at 16:05
  • 7
    @AndroidAddict But it's not SO's job to do that. It's SO's job to answer the questions that are within it's own scope. Since a most answerers here won't be active on a whole lot of other similar sites they may not know what other sites it would be on topic for. You may get lucky and have someone post a comment with a place that it's on topic, but if you think that SO is obligated to find somewhere for you to post your offtopic question then I...disagree. – Servy Jun 6 '13 at 16:08
  • 1
    it's not the first time I see people reading NC closure wording as OT - yet another indication of the issues with this close reason, expected to be addressed per "Help us make..." – gnat Jun 6 '13 at 16:55
  • 1
    Your question wasn't closed as off-topic, so this entire post is a non-starter. As for your bit about directing askers to another website when their question is off-topic, that's simply not a feasible obligation. See Suggest alternate forum exchange when off topic and some of the questions linked from the sidebar there. – jscs Jun 6 '13 at 18:12

This was voted as not constructive, not as off-topic.

And by one person who thought so.

The vote will age and expire, so unless 4 more people vote to close in the time before that, nothing will happen.

The system works - this is why we require 5 votes before closing a question.

  • 9
    And by posting the question here, chances are more people will look at it and vote too. – Martijn Pieters Jun 6 '13 at 15:16
  • Look at all the downvotes here - how is this subject not constructive? I am just trying to understand better - and apparently my interpretation of the bullet list above differs from some others. – Roy Hinkley Jun 6 '13 at 15:19
  • 1
    @AndroidAddict See "voting is different on Meta" meta.stackoverflow.com/helpcenter/whats-meta – Bart Jun 6 '13 at 15:20
  • @Bart I was looking so hard for that since they redid the helpcenter. I didn't look HARD ENOUGH. =D – J. Steen Jun 6 '13 at 15:21
  • 3
    @AndroidAddict Only one person has voted to close your post since you posted it here. I'm quite confident that if it was really not constructive (or close worthy for another reason) it would have been closed within a few minutes of you posting it here, given all of the attention you've brought it. Part of the issue, at least in my eyes, is you getting all upset and defensive when your post hasn't even been closed. If it were actually closed when it shouldn't have been then it would be a bit more understandable that you're upset. – Servy Jun 6 '13 at 15:22
  • @Servy I'm not upset as much as just wanting to understand better. The picture is definitely getting more clear. – Roy Hinkley Jun 6 '13 at 15:27
  • current wording of NC closure looks easy to mis-read as OT: "this question is not a good fit". Someone not familiar with closure intricacies at SE would likely think not a good fit means off-topic – gnat Jun 6 '13 at 17:24

Just because you think something is a programming question doesn't make it on topic. Without a link to your question it's hard to be sure, but one of these things likely happened:

  • Your question was a general question with "as a programmer" included - for example questions about setting up an office space, getting enough sleep, or raising your children are not on topic here, but sometimes people feel they are programming questions because they apply to themselves as programmers
  • Your question was a shopping, recommendation, or list question - for example "what logging framework would be good for me to use?". Many close voters use OffTopic when closing these sorts of questions
  • Your question was actually an on topic programming question, but was not clearly written, so people misinterpreted it
  • Your question would be better suited on a smaller more focused site devoted specifically to the topic of your question
  • One person voted to close your question but they were wrong. This happens - that's why 5 votes are needed to actually close it

In some cases you can edit the question to demonstrate that it is on topic, and it can be reopened.

  • FYI, he has provided a link to his question. – Josh Mein Jun 6 '13 at 15:13
  • One which invalidates my answer. Sigh. People, Y U NO read things? – Kate Gregory Jun 6 '13 at 15:15
  • 2
    Because reading is hard... – Servy Jun 6 '13 at 15:16
  • 3
    The words, they oscillate. – J. Steen Jun 6 '13 at 15:19

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .