As with any beta site, what should we include in the FAQ?

What should it look like? What type of questions should the FAQ contain?

Take the Super User FAQ as an example:

Super User is for computer enthusiasts and power users. If you have a question about …

computer hardware computer software and it is not about …

videogames or consoles websites or web services like Facebook, Twitter, and WordPress electronic devices, media players, cell phones or smart phones, except insofar as they interface with your computer a shopping or buying recommendation

  • 1
    What do you think is missing from the FAQ or what do you think needs improvement? It's better to adjust the FAQ case-by-case rather than just soliciting general opinions.
    – Zelda
    Commented Apr 11, 2012 at 18:26

4 Answers 4


I'd really like to see someone define what "professional" means. Maybe I'm the only person who doesn't get this, but I don't. Is a "professional setting" only an office, or anywhere you might be doing work and interacting with coworkers? Is a shop you work at a "professional setting"? How about a dinner out with coworkers?

Does the word "professional" mean anything other than "related to work in some manner"? I'm not clear on whether any type of job is considered to fit under this umbrella, or only certain types of jobs, and if so, which ones.

If there is a sensible definition that we're planning on applying, we should add it to the faq - and if there isn't, I think we should either avoid making "professional" the main defining term of our site, or very explicitly specify what we mean, or else a lot of people may not be sure whether their situation qualifies.

  • I've heard "professional setting" used to define offices a lot. Although an automotive shop is also a professional environment, the rules are just so different. For instance, mechanics can talk about sex, they can curse, they can make inappropriate jokes, and say things that most of us would never dream of saying in an office. When editing the tag wiki, we should include a list of appropriate questions as well as include some definitions.
    – jmort253
    Commented Apr 12, 2012 at 5:12
  • I don't know if you should ask this as a separate question or not, but here is Wikipedia's definition of professional: a person who is paid to undertake a specialised set of tasks and to complete them for a fee. The traditional professions were doctors, lawyers, clergymen and commissioned military officers. Today, the term is applied to architects, accountants, educators, engineers, scientists, social workers and many more.. Also, check out the section on trades.
    – jmort253
    Commented Apr 12, 2012 at 5:17
  • 1
    @jmort253 - So basically it's one of those terms that used to mean something specific but it's unclear whether it does nowadays, and if so, what... And I get the feeling we won't be getting a lot of commissioned military officers. ;) And, for the record, I work in a biology lab at a non-profit research institution, and we do curse and make inappropriate jokes. ;)
    – weronika
    Commented Apr 12, 2012 at 5:30
  • I like going by the Wikipedia definition. It's easier to reference and support than something that we just simply hear out of context only.
    – jmort253
    Commented Apr 12, 2012 at 5:39
  • @jmort253 - The definition including "and many more" which you quoted here still feels unclear to me... The "Definition" section of the wikipedia entry seems to mostly focus on "how to act professionally" rather than "what defines a profession". The "a professional does mainly mental or administrative work, as opposed to engaging in physical work" part of the Trades section is at least a clear definition - is that a reasonable reflection of what the term means to most people?
    – weronika
    Commented Apr 12, 2012 at 5:47

It should contain a back it up rule similar to the one on Parenting:

Please note that opinions shared here should be backed up either with a reference, or experiences that happened to you personally. Also, posts that primarily exist to push a specific agenda (propaganda), and soap-boxing, are not welcome.


migrated from another, very similar question

Realizing that many of the early members are related to software or IT, I've seen questions like this one come up that ask for specific advice regarding career paths, that are industry-specific. I feel that these are off-topic, especially in this case because the question I reference already has an SE site dedicated to matters of programmer professional life.

So, should the FAQ advise OP's to keep their questions industry neutral when possible? I have no issue with users asking questions regarding issues that are only exist within a given industry, but generic questions like, "What are my career path options given that I am [insert job title]," I would argue, are off-topic and/or too localized, because they don't have to do with the workplace, but a specific person and career path.

  • 1
    IT specific career questions are off topic on programmers. If they are off topic here as well, then where are they on topic?
    – siamii
    Commented Apr 11, 2012 at 17:02
  • The closest match appears to be serverfault.com - specifically built to be a place for IT professionals.
    – jefflunt
    Commented Apr 11, 2012 at 17:15
  • They're off topic on serverfault. Per SF's FAQ - "If your question[...]is not about...Career, salary, personnel, employment, or formal education..." Part of the reason for the creation of workplace.SE is because such questions as above-linked are off topic on the other sites.
    – Shauna
    Commented Apr 11, 2012 at 17:37
  • 3
    I can't agree with this. If it's industry specific, tag it. Many problems in the workplace are industry specific (for instance as an IT person I don't deal with my company's Safety Inspector often), that doesn't make them any less workplace related and that doesn't necessarily mean there's a better site to post them on.
    – Zelda
    Commented Apr 11, 2012 at 18:25
  • Do we want to document all the possible career paths for every industry that someone might inquire about, at every level of experience? I get why this can be a place to collect questions that are off topic elsewhere, but I don't see how it's practical to answer every version of that question that can exist. Maybe I'm wrong on this, so I'll happily accept your down votes if you disagree, but I don't see how that particular kind of career advice is useful, practical, or useful to more than the person who asked it.
    – jefflunt
    Commented Apr 11, 2012 at 18:46
  • Eventually, we will draw the line. Career questions weren't always off topic on Programmers. They only became off topic after seeing different versions of the same question countless times. Let's accept these for now, and when we see a pattern, we'll close them. Just focus on making sure they're good Q&A questions.
    – jmort253
    Commented Apr 12, 2012 at 5:15
  • If your worry isn't that those questions are off-topic but just that they it's not "practical to answer every version of that question that can exist", I think we can wait and see. If not too many of those questions get asked, we're fine. If not many get answered, we'll start closing them as not a good fit for the site. If so many get asked and answered that they start overwhelming the other content or otherwise get annoying, we can decide what to do about them then.
    – weronika
    Commented Apr 12, 2012 at 6:11
  • Alright cool, I can see the wisdom in this.
    – jefflunt
    Commented Apr 12, 2012 at 13:33

Here's my attempt at the first FAQ (and also my first time every writing an introductory faq):

The 'workplace' is for members of the workforce navigating the professional setting. If you have a question about career oriented and areas relavant to professional matters and it is not about soliciting for job inquiries, project proposals, financial decisions, etc.

  • "Germane" is a pretty awkward word choice for an FAQ, stick with "relevant"
    – Zelda
    Commented Apr 11, 2012 at 18:33
  • Good point Rarity
    – chrisjlee
    Commented Apr 12, 2012 at 3:52

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