A few questions like https://workplace.stackexchange.com/questions/3739/im-not-a-software-engineer-any-more-but-what-am-i are basically asking either the difference between job titles, what a certain job title means, or what job title one "really is" given a description.

Are these constructive and good for the site? There's multiple issues here; some titles are very poorly defined and vary from company to company. Some titles have strict definitions, but only in certain countries (like Engineer). Often times the "same" job could fall under a variety of titles.

Is there a line to draw somewhere around these questions? It starts to remind me of Let's play the guessing game; sure we have some answers that sound right, but:

  • There almost certainly isn't an actual, definitive answer, just something that "sounds right"
  • It's often the case that the question is only searchable by the answer, not the definition to which it fits (like the linked question)

Do these questions help more than one person? Can we work with these or should they be closed?

  • I certainly would like to find a way for these to be acceptable, but you are right, as they are they are fairly open-ended. That puts them in pretty much the same territory as "word requests" on English.SE. As far as I know those are disputed there, too.
    – Nicole
    Sep 6, 2012 at 17:23
  • did we ever come to a consensus about this? new (related) question: workplace.stackexchange.com/questions/3951/…
    – acolyte
    Sep 13, 2012 at 13:18
  • @acolyte not as much as I was hoping for, it seems Chad's answer is the majority opinion thus far though.
    – Rarity
    Sep 13, 2012 at 13:20

2 Answers 2


This is a great question to ask in chat. It would spur conversation and increase our chat usage if these types of questions (and even some answers) could be migrated there. Sadly our chat is primarily a place where we point out issues that need addressed. If these types of things were asked there the chat would be more vibrant and things needing addressed would probably be dealt with better.

It is a broken window on the main site. It is off topic because it is about a specific job which we have declared off topic. It is to localized because the answer will probably never be of use to anyone else. And it is not constructive because even if the job duties fit nicely in a little box we can slap a name on it is not going to solve the OP's problem.

And from the comments the OP is looking for a way to tell his boss he is not happy because he was hired to do X and is now doing Y. Which also makes this question not constructive.

  • Agreed; this is the sort of thing that's usually not impossible to answer, but it's mostly opinion and/or very specific. I certainly wouldn't mind it in chat (unless we get swarmed or something, which at the moment doesn't look all that likely)
    – Rarity
    Sep 6, 2012 at 19:10
  • @Rarity - If we get swamped in chat spawn a few more rooms. Can we request a migrate to chat feature? Sep 6, 2012 at 19:44
  • For questions? It'd be sorta weird, most questions don't fit in a chat message. It'd be easier to just direct people to chat when closing for stuff like this, if they have the rep for chat. And true, we could always make it it's own room
    – Rarity
    Sep 6, 2012 at 19:53
  • Thats to bad i think if mods could actually move the convo to chat it would get used more. Sep 6, 2012 at 20:01
  • Been lots of migrate to chat suggestions on MSO meta.stackexchange.com/questions/57079/migrate-to-chat-option at the moment all we have is the automatic comment thread -> chat feature when there's lots of back and forth on one post
    – Rarity
    Sep 6, 2012 at 20:13

Do these questions help more than one person? Can we work with these or should they be closed?

No. Most should be closed.

I do not see how these sorts of questions are at all useful outside the scope of the individual person asking the question. Me asking "hey I do these specific (or generic) things at my job am I a XXX or a YYY?" is not going to be useful to anyone except people in a very similar circumstance.

I simply cannot understand an easy way to transition these sorts of questions into a useful reference. And this problem is independent of the difficulty of identifying actual titles and meanings within an organization as these differ from company to company anyways.

Now, if people phrase them more constructively and agnostic of their specific circumstances I think they can be good questions. For example, in the linked example, a better and valuable question would be something along the lines of "No longer performing the work matching my title - should I try to get my title changed or compensation adjusted accordingly?" etc.

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