Someone asked this question:


The question was clear. There were several answers, all of which were positive, on-topic, and full of good information (although mine was a bit long-winded).

The question was closed as being subjective.

I do not see any benefit to StackOverflow or its users whatsoever in closing this question - this question, not subjective questions in general. Did closing this question bring any benefit?

I'm dubious that it was even subjective. I can certainly see how it is a bit subjective, but if this is subjective, then any question about what constitutes best practice is subjective. Does this question meet the criteria for subjectivity?

If the answer to these questions are 'no' and 'yes' respectively, does this mean that the rule on subjectivity is broken, and needs to be fixed?

More generally, what the hell happened? How could anyone look at that question and think it was something that needed suppressing?

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    Did the OP really have to put 'kung-fu' in the question? That attracted closers like a lightning rod attracts lightning. Commented Apr 6, 2011 at 17:14
  • 3
    It really just shouldn't have been submitted with that title. After @George Stocker's edit, I reopened and migrated to Programmers.SE. Commented Apr 6, 2011 at 17:17
  • 4
    Yeah. Needs less kung-fu, more rockstars. Or ninjas.
    – mmyers
    Commented Apr 6, 2011 at 17:18
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    As a point of history there was a long time when we tried to allow only the really good subjective questions on Stack Overflow. Opinion eventually turned against the practice (though not universally). So the "blind" obedience might have been more open-eyed then it looked. Commented Apr 6, 2011 at 17:33

2 Answers 2


The question is a good question. It is just too subjective for StackOverflow. Migrating it to Programmers.SE and definitely narrowing the scope some is a more suitable approach.

  • 6
    It has since been migrated to Programmers. Commented Apr 6, 2011 at 17:17
  • So, choosing a question more or less at random, why is that question more subjective than stackoverflow.com/questions/2164686/… ? Commented Apr 6, 2011 at 17:19
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    @Tom that question is also subjective, but arguably much, much more concentrated on a specific piece of code and a very narrow task. It can be commented on, or some other approach (also with code) recommended - but there is a limited number of alternative approaches. The deployment question is much broader, and the suggestions are bound to be more subjective.
    – Pekka
    Commented Apr 6, 2011 at 17:22
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    @Pekka's trolling account Bound to be but have they really been? A quick scan through the answers seem to suggest nothing of the sort. I've seen this happen far too many times. Someone posts a question, some very good and matter-of-factly answers arrive, then people start voting for closing, because "it might cause a subjective debate", and the fear of what might be wins out over the evidence of what actually already happened.
    – biziclop
    Commented Apr 6, 2011 at 18:14
  • @biziclop sure, that happens sometimes, no doubt, but you can't blame people for voting based on the question and not the answers. (I'm not totally sure where I fall on this specific question - I think Will makes a good point - but the general point still stands.)
    – Pekka
    Commented Apr 6, 2011 at 18:19
  • @Pekka's trolling account Maybe a clarification of when to consider closing a question could help. Or raising the reputation need to vote for closing, or even requiring a certain number of days of usage. After all, rep can be racked up very quickly in the first few weeks, and you might not have seen enough to judge where the line of subjectivity should be drawn.
    – biziclop
    Commented Apr 6, 2011 at 19:24

I don't know. I wouldn't have migrated, I would have converted to a wiki and left it.

I think the question is more about programming and programming tools and less about programmers.

Am I wrong?

  • Is the question really "do questions about the build process belong on StackOverflow or Programmers"? If the guy had been asking which compiler he should use for a Fortran project, there is no way the question would have been closed. And how about this one: stackoverflow.com/questions/5544312/… - that's already picked up a couple of close votes. Commented Apr 6, 2011 at 18:04
  • I believe you're correct and I don't think it belongs to Programmers SE at all. (It's got nothing to do with development as a profession.) But perfectly good questions are closed or migrated all the time.
    – biziclop
    Commented Apr 6, 2011 at 18:07
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    @TomAnderson: Questions like that (as long as they aren't dupes and are likely to get good answers) can be flagged for a mod to convert to a wiki (the question is subjective and cannot be answered definitively).
    – user1228
    Commented Apr 6, 2011 at 18:15
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    @Will, The question is very wide in scope, asking about tools,best practices for test driven development, etc. If it was edited down to a question just about tools it would make more sense to stay on StackOverflow, but if it was changed more to best practices then I would think migrating would be the best option.
    – jzd
    Commented Apr 6, 2011 at 19:03
  • @jzd: A best practice is applied by a programmer, but is not about the programmer; it is about the program. It is not on topic for Programmers.
    – user1228
    Commented Apr 6, 2011 at 19:17
  • @Will fair point.
    – Pekka
    Commented Apr 6, 2011 at 19:30
  • The questions on Programmers don't have to be about programmers. The FAQ still says "Programmers - Stack Exchange is for expert programmers who are interested in subjective questions on software development." Since the best-practices tag was banninated on SO, but is still alive on P.SE, I thought that would be a better place for it. Commented Apr 6, 2011 at 20:19
  • @BilltheLizard: Well, the truth lies in the tag. I won't act, however, unless its about Programmers. Its the only way I can keep from migrating things that get closed.
    – user1228
    Commented Apr 6, 2011 at 21:15
  • @Will: You wrote "but is not about the programmer; it is about the program". Wait! Does the program decide what it's a good practice and what it's not?
    – user150068
    Commented Apr 6, 2011 at 22:14
  • @Alejandro: The question isn't about the decision, it is about backing up your configuration before updating Java. Come on, the distinction isn't that hard to understand.
    – user1228
    Commented Apr 7, 2011 at 13:40

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