I posted this question

How do you write quality code under duress?

And it has been closed as off-topic. Now I suppose I've already gotten my money's worth out of it, but I'm wondering how a question about coding practices is really off topic on stack overflow. After all the close message says (emphasis mine):

Questions on Stack Overflow are expected to generally relate to programming or software development in some way, within the scope defined in the faq.

So, would someone explain to me how this question is off topic?

  • @Rosiante Nice catch. Maybe I should have asked about asking questions under duress :-).
    – C. Ross
    Jul 11, 2010 at 15:23
  • 1
    There is programmers.SE now!
    – Pekka
    Feb 20, 2011 at 22:01

2 Answers 2


I probably would have closed it as "subjective and argumentative", since it would lead to a lengthy discussion which is not appropriate for a Q&A site. I disagree with 'off topic'.

Remember, questions about programmers aren't always about programming. This question was about how programmers deal with stress, but not about any specific technical issue in any language, where an answer could be proven and accepted.

  • 1
    A little nitpicking: There is no close reason called "subjective". There is one called "subjective and argumentative" (and the question in question here clearly doesn't qualify for that).
    – balpha Staff
    Jul 11, 2010 at 14:44
  • @balpha - edited, but I can only suggest that the possibility of an argument only increases as a discussion grows, and the question does invite a discussion. The question is, indeed subjective - there is no single 'correct' way to deal with stress. Unfortunately, it doesn't say 'possibly' argumentative :)
    – Tim Post
    Jul 11, 2010 at 14:48
  • Basically what I'm hearing is, it would generate too much discussion? Is this correct?
    – C. Ross
    Jul 11, 2010 at 15:22
  • @C. Ross - yes. Its just too open ended and subjective. Sure, it would be popular, but it would also encourage people to ask similar questions.. which leads to a lot of 'broken windows'.
    – Tim Post
    Jul 11, 2010 at 17:26

Because doing certain work "under duress" is not programming or software development exclusive. There are many other jobs where you need to perform emergency fixes to a project, such as many different engineering disciplines and architecture. Looking at the top 2 answers on your question, the heart of their suggestions (testing, change minimization) is not really exclusive to programming and software development. Hence, off-topic.

Yes, the tests and procedures aren't exactly the same as what must be done for emergency operations in other jobs, but neither would food or boat operations.

  • The other answers are much more programming suggestions though. Where else will I get answers about branch management, pair programming, and valgrind?
    – C. Ross
    Jul 11, 2010 at 12:19
  • Does the generally relate part of the close message mean anything at all? Do questions have to specifically relate?
    – C. Ross
    Jul 11, 2010 at 15:24
  • @C.Ross I'll be honest. I'm on the fence on your particular question. Your question may look more like "How do I do a good job under duress", which is what may have attracted the votes to close. As far as your inquiry, though, yes, it really does have to relate fairly closely to programming. See this answer (and I'm not saying your question is this class of off-topic, but compare how the actual boat programming question was in fact about tools for programming).
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Jul 11, 2010 at 15:44
  • Point taken.
    – C. Ross
    Jul 11, 2010 at 16:04

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