Since everyone hates 'soft' questions so much (but has too much fun with them to banish them forever)...

Add a 'Soft' flag.

It could work that same as all the other 'vote based' things. You know, needs 5 votes against to be marked 'soft', but could then be 'hardened back up' by 5 votes for.

Once a question is flagged as 'soft' it can't gain any rep/badges etc.
But different to 'wiki' in that the 'soft' flag doesn't change the ownership mode but merely indicates that the question really contains no redeeming value other than humor/comedy/vacuous cartoons.

This will give all the people who don't want to look at cartoons or jokes a means of filtering them out.

Update #1 - Some 'soft' topics can now be asked/discussed on Programmers - StackExchange

Programmers - Stack Exchange is for expert programmers who are interested in subjective discussions on software development.

This can include topics such as:

  • Software engineering
  • Developer testing
  • Developer tools and techniques
  • Practical algorithms and data structures
  • Design patterns
  • Architecture
  • Development methodologies
  • Quality assurance
  • Software law
  • Code golf & programming puzzles
  • Freelancing and business concerns
  • 6
    "Hard" and "Soft"? Seriously? :-/ Jul 23, 2009 at 5:49
  • 1
    I think the underlying problem is that SO was never meant for 'soft' questions. Many users will be reluctant to support them in any form. Jul 23, 2009 at 5:50
  • 2
    @Ian, ok, you try and close this question :) stackoverflow.com/questions/305223/jon-skeet-facts
    – Benjol
    Jul 23, 2009 at 6:33
  • 1
    @Kyle. Yeah, serious. It doesn't have to be a 'soft flag', I am simply trying to stimulate a discussion about how best to deal with these types of questions (or if we deal with them at all). Cuz it pretty obvious that, despite everyone's constant whinging about them, they are here to stay (see Benjol's comment).
    – Dhaust
    Jul 23, 2009 at 22:44
  • @Kyle. Also see my comment to TXI's answer for further clarification.
    – Dhaust
    Jul 23, 2009 at 22:56
  • @Benjol: It's been moved to meta. Is that good enough? Mar 23, 2010 at 2:17

2 Answers 2


This is not going to happen on my watch.

If you think something does not belong on SO and instead belongs on programmers, you can ship it there (close, flag to close).

I strongly disagree with the concept of a canned flag that basically say "NOT FAIR, this user is getting too much rep from this 'soft' question". Instead, man-up, and make a real decision.

  • Does this question belong on any of our sites? If not - close as off topic.
  • Does this question belong on another site? Close or flag to close.

When a question is closed and deleted (or migrated), next recalc will strip rep gained.

Programming cartoons and other questions of that nature are not welcome on SO these days. See: https://stackoverflow.com/faq

  • As far as I (the OP) was concerned, this was a long dead (and dumb) idea. See my comment to TXI's answer.
    – Dhaust
    Jun 3, 2011 at 1:42
  • The stomach to actually close questions as offtopic (the question I link to really belongs on programmers.se) is waning, it seems. Example 2 Jun 3, 2011 at 2:41

Community Wiki does not really shift the ownership of a post. You are still eligible for badges and your posts still show up on your profile with their vote counts regardless of your status.

This just looks like you are trying to achieve a CW status without it being CW, which doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

I would much rather be in favor of an automatic rule that said a post that got closed for not being "programming related" or "computer related" or "sysadmin related" or any of the other logical close reasons would not receive any rep from up and down votes during its period under close status.

  • It was just an idea I had and I figured I'd throw out there to see how you all felt about it. I'm not 'trying to achieve' anything. Do you think there would be another way to tackle this? Or is it a non-issue that isn't worth thinking about? I'm happy for everyone to say this is a stupid idea and downvote the crap out of it. At least then it will be a bit clearer how the community feels about it.
    – Dhaust
    Jul 23, 2009 at 22:55

You must log in to answer this question.

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