How can I encourage my employer to adopt the "Programmer's Bill of Rights"?

This question has already had a major revision, Several of us feel this revision changed the question from its original intent.

Original Question:

Programmer's bill of rights: does your workplace follow it?

Here's the link to the bill of rights of a programmer: http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2006/08/the-programmers-bill-of-rights.html

The question is pretty simple, does your workplace follow the bill ? Or is it too good to be true?

This question was a discussion/poll question so it needs to be revised but what do we need to do to make it on topic and help the OP get to the answer they are looking for.

Revision 2 changed the question to:

The question is are there any workplaces that follow the bill? How does it work in practice?

Though I think this needs improved upon as well prior to reopening, it is still in the realm of what the OP was asking.

So what can we do to improve this question so the next edit can be reopened and left open. Or should the question be left to die?

  • 3
    I'm afraid this is one of those that should be left to die. Interesting question, but too vague and broad to work in the Q&A format of the site.
    – yannis
    Feb 4, 2013 at 20:32
  • 1
    I am very interested in seeing answers to that question, so hope the community is able to pull through and salvage it :)
    – Rachel
    Feb 4, 2013 at 20:33
  • 1
    It should also be noted that this question was cross-posted on Programmers, and they have a meta post about it as well. The revision history for both is a bit different, and the current Programmers version is sitting at "Is it reasonable to expect all the items on the “Programmers Bill of Rights”?", which I think is what the OP is ultimately trying to learn.
    – Rachel
    Feb 4, 2013 at 20:36
  • @Rachel - in that case, is it better to leave this one closed and direct them back to that question?
    – Adam V
    Feb 4, 2013 at 20:38
  • @AdamV One of the answers to their meta question is to migrate it here. Sounds like both sides just don't want to deal with the question, so are trying to push it to another site. If I had my way, I'd leave them both open. They're fairly different now, and although the questions aren't spectacular, they're not terrible either and appear to be generating some useful information (At least, the Workplace one is. Programmers version got closed before it got any answers) :)
    – Rachel
    Feb 4, 2013 at 20:49
  • @Rachel - I would love to see some version of Rev 2 here. I would even like to see your version as a different quesiton. I think that the question is a better fit there but if they do not want it then I think we should try and fix it. Feb 4, 2013 at 20:57
  • I don't think it should be saved. Even if it were rewritten, we have enough questions on "how can i get my company to give me more stuff?" Feb 8, 2013 at 13:56

4 Answers 4


Original text is:

Here's the link to the bill of rights of a programmer: http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2006/08/the-programmers-bill-of-rights.html

The question is pretty simple, does your workplace follow the bill ? Or is it too good to be true?

I don't see a way to modify this into something which fits a Stack Exchange site without the asker clarifying.

While I think there are a whole variety of interesting angles to take this, I cannot in honestly suggest which of them will match the asker's intent.

Modifying the question for the sake of a "better question" when the original intent was not this case ignores the fact that there is a user (real person!) behind the hdman online account.

I dislike going through such extreme assumptions about what hdman wanted, and as such, until hdman returns and posts what they are looking for, I see no reason to edit this into something which likely doesn't match original intent.

That being said I see no reason to not ask those interesting questions which are related -- but not directly relevant to the original text here.


No, it cannot be saved without strong and likely inaccurate assumptions about the asker's intent.

  • To be clear you are not suggesting editing this question into something related but not directly relevant to the original text are you? Feb 4, 2013 at 21:29
  • 2
    @Chad I am not. I don't see a way to edit this question into a "appropriate" question here without making huge assumptions about the asker's intent
    – enderland
    Feb 4, 2013 at 21:43

Separate it into multiple questions?

I like the question and originally voted to reopen once it became "How could one encourage an employer to adopt these practices?" However, I do agree that it's really a number of questions that should be answered separately (as evidenced by the fact that both answers to the question are disjointed "here's what you do for #1, #2, #3, etc." answers, including mine).

  • I do not think that is the right solution to this question. The question is how to do you get your employer to sign on to the bill of rights as a whole. While you could argue that any one is better than none, the idea is that we should always have these in full. Breaking them down into 1 at a time defeats the bill of rights aspect of the question. Feb 4, 2013 at 20:40
  • @Chad - agreed, but I would think each individual question stands a better chance of staying open in that case.
    – Adam V
    Feb 4, 2013 at 20:41
  • There are three categories in this "bill of rights" (equipment, noise, network), and a broad policy question ("how do we get employers to do this?"). The approach might be different for each of these and we've already had noise questions that are relevant, so splitting this into three quesstions and ditching the "bill of rights" aspect (which is just packaging/marketing and one person's list, not anything formal) seems like the right solution to me. Or, if the codification aspect is important, that's a fourth question. Feb 5, 2013 at 16:33
  • @MonicaCellio - That is another alternative. Though I do not think it is right for this question. This question was wanting to know about companies that have embraced the bill of rights. That is as a whole It is possible that 1-5 of them are acceptable but the 6th is not to a company, in that case the company has not embraced the bill of rights. Those would be good questions though. Feb 5, 2013 at 17:41
  • If the question is specifically about embracing this bill of rights, it's too localized -- there's nothing special about this particular list. If the question is about effecting change, then either (a) answers depend on the changes in question or (b) it's a general negotiation question, and this question isn't either of those. So leaving this one closed, and letting the other arise if people care (some have already been asked), seems right to me. Feb 5, 2013 at 18:17

I feel the current version is OK for this site the way it is, however you are correct that it is not the same question the OP originally asked.

There is a comment on the question that says:

@hdman myself, rachel and chad have collaboratively made a few edits to hopefully make your question on topic for this site. Could you confirm for our sakes if this question still reflects your intended question?

I think we should wait to hear back from the OP before doing any further editing to the question.

If the OP is OK with the changes, I would reopen it, as I think it is a decent question for the site.

Sure it could possibly be broken up into 6 different questions, each asking "how can I get my employer to implement X" or even one question asking "how can I get my employer to buy me something", however ultimately the question deals specifically with a Programmer's work space, and specific tools that are typically accepted as being standard for any decent programming job, and I would not want to see it broken up or changed into something generic

(A separate generic question asking "how can I get my employer to buy me something" wouldn't be bad too, although I'm fairly sure I've seen one of those either here or on Programmers that had some great answers already)

If the OP is not OK with the changes made, then I would roll back to the original version of the question, re-close it as off-topic, and start discussing if the current version of the Programmers question would be on-topic instead, as it more accurately reflects what the OP is trying to ask. (Personally my vote is yes, it would be on-topic here, although I think it would be more on-topic at Programmers)

  • I do not expect we will hear back from the OP at this point but I hope I am wrong. I think this is a good solution though. Feb 4, 2013 at 21:12
  • @Chad If we don't hear back from the OP, then I'd just leave it the way it is and let the community judge if the current revision is good or not to be reopened by voting on it. The original version definitely should be closed, and at least now its a decent question :)
    – Rachel
    Feb 5, 2013 at 13:01
  • I think that is the wrong decision. Feb 5, 2013 at 15:38
  • @Chad If we don't hear back the the OP, would you rather roll it back and leave it closed? It should be noted the question was at -5 when the first revision was made, and is now at +2, so I think a decent number of users (compared to our population size and activity level) think it is a useful question.
    – Rachel
    Feb 5, 2013 at 15:43
  • Because this is a different question than was originally asked. Yes this question is better but the edit was wrong. It probably should have been rolled back immediately but I got chastized last time i did that. The question should have come here before that edit. We should delete that question. If you want to know the answer to it then post that question yourself. Feb 5, 2013 at 15:45
  • @Chad Hrrrm ok, guess we should just wait to hear back from the OP for now then :)
    – Rachel
    Feb 5, 2013 at 15:46
  • I think we should roll it back and delete it at this point. Feb 5, 2013 at 15:49
  • @Chad Don't give up and just delete the problem! At least give it a few days to see if the OP responds or if new answers appear here :)
    – Rachel
    Feb 5, 2013 at 15:54
  • Having more bad content on the site is not a good thing. Feb 5, 2013 at 16:00
  • @Chad Deleting a question just because you don't want to deal with it is also not a good thing. We're a community of users, and our process is to close unsuitable content, and give the OP a chance to edit and reopen it if possible. Deciding to delete a question because of a controversial edit or because it has caused too much discussion, while disregarding the fact the question content isn't actually bad, is probably more likely to drive users away than just having one bad question stick around for a few more days.
    – Rachel
    Feb 5, 2013 at 16:06
  • It is not that I do not want to deal with the question. I am getting very annoyed with your characterization of my actions that way. I do not want bad content on our site. It acts as a broken window. This question was improperly edited. It could have been saved back when... but it has been changed. If you want to ask this question then ask it, I will probably upvote it. Its not just about doing the right thing, it is about doing it the right way. Feb 5, 2013 at 16:16
  • @Chad I'm sorry if I mischaracterized your actions. The whole deletion thing has me a bit fired up today because I had yet another question get deleted while I was attempting to get it reopened, which lead to me posting a new MSO proposal about an hour ago.
    – Rachel
    Feb 5, 2013 at 16:26
  • The question needs to be rolled back... which will result in getting negative votes. That is why I want to delete it. Feb 5, 2013 at 16:28
  • FWIW I am more likely to cast a delete vote for a question with reopen votes that is still a bad question. Than a question sitting in a closed state with no reopen votes, but with the potential to be saved. Feb 5, 2013 at 17:43

Turn it into a single over-arching question?

Instead of asking "how can I fix each failing in the Bill of Rights", turn it into "how do I open a discussion with my supervisors about improving the quality of the environment?"

  • 1
    I think this would not be the question the OP was looking for. Feb 4, 2013 at 20:39
  • @Chad - agreed, but this might be a more Workplace-oriented question than the original question was.
    – Adam V
    Feb 4, 2013 at 20:42
  • I think changing a question just to have another open question on the site is the wrong tactic to take. Feb 4, 2013 at 20:56
  • That sounds too vague to me. Feb 5, 2013 at 16:33

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