This question looks like it is going to be one of those that gets voted to close, then voted to reopen, then probably voted to close again. Why not sort it out here? The arguments seem to be:

  • It's vague, not being very specific about the diversity programs it is talking about
  • The general usefulness of diversity programs are an academic rather than a workplace issue
  • Diversity programs are about much more than effectiveness of the workplace
  • 1
    I think your second point is not an argument being made. Oct 24 '12 at 12:45
  • if anything, this question has one of the most enlightening revision histories I ever studied
    – gnat
    Oct 24 '12 at 22:31
  • 2
    Never mind starting a debate, the question is a debate. Oct 25 '12 at 0:29

Let's look at the root of the current question:

Do these programs encourage "diversity" in a positive way, or do they reinforce ethnic divisions?

What's a positive way? Which programs? Where? For whom? This is a very broad question and there's no specific problem at work here.

This reads like a Political Science 101 discussion question, it is neither specific for the workplace (the problem area is sociology, not getting work done in any sense whatsoever) nor is it a specific, answerable question. It's a debate topic.

A much more clearly workplace related and much more answerable question was What are the benefits of multicultural diversity in the work environment? IMO there's still a bit of Not Constructive in there since there's plenty of room for opinion over solution or fact, and the lack of answers actually enumerating the real benefits with real proof kind of indicates these questions aren't great for us.

The answer the new question got is also indicative of the "opinions/debate, not answers" problem. There's no solutions, just "what do you think of these programs". It's also all about "the greater good". That's not the topic of this site; again, that's a political science issue. A very broad one, to boot. Creating a perfect racially balanced world is awesome. But it's not going to happen in a question on this site, and if it did it's still not really a Workplace specific problem. Dealing with discrimination personally in the workplace is on topic, the greater topic of enforcing racial equality through laws is not.

Can it be reopened? I can't really see how. It's on it's 8th revision and it's still pretty unanswerable, not constructive and not apparently on topic. It's also changed scope pretty significantly at least 3 times (without becoming acceptable at any point) so that's pretty bad. I think it's best to let sleeping dogs lie here.

For the record the question has received a large number of edits (currently revision # 16) but my opinion of it is more or less unchanged. I'm considering locking it for a content dispute at this point, and/or closing it per community consensus on Meta. If 5 users hadn't used up their close votes the first time, I'm pretty sure the current copy would have been closed as well.

And with 3 community close votes and -8 score I closed it, again. I don't think this question is going anywhere (good).

  • 1
    It's a debate topic. you use debate far more liberally than I do :-)
    – enderland
    Oct 24 '12 at 13:47
  • @enderland how so? I can easily imagine this question as a topic for Lincoln/Douglas or Congressional debate styles.
    – Rarity
    Oct 24 '12 at 14:01
  • You think this site will have a nice debate over this topic? We'd get all sorts of answers like the one there so far.
    – enderland
    Oct 24 '12 at 14:03
  • @enderland debate isn't always nice...but anyway I was using debate as an example of a discussion outside of our format.
    – Rarity
    Oct 24 '12 at 14:09
  • Hence my original comment :)
    – enderland
    Oct 24 '12 at 16:23

Original post closed, but could be reopened:

The question is vague, and was rightly closed, if nothing else but to prevent it from getting similarly vague answers prior to cleaning it up and reopening it. From my perspective, the topic isn't what's the problem; this could make a good post for this site, but only with some helpful, collaborative edits from the community, and most importantly, the op himself, Greg McNulty.

Comments should help improve posts, not berate the poster:

I'd like to take a moment to point out that it would be extremely helpful if certain people tried to be a bit more constructive in comments on posts like this. Instead of emphasizing how bad the post is and backing Greg, the question asker, against the wall in full on offensive strike mode, perhaps it's better to explain to him how he could improve his post.

My suggestion is this: If you're going to leave a comment on a post pointing out a problem, also point out a possible suggestion for how to fix that problem. Otherwise, just cast your vote and move on. No one needs to hear your opinion on how bad you think the post is unless you can also say how to fix it. ;)

If we're going to encourage Greg to fix his post, we'd probably have a higher chance of success if we're positive about it.

How can we make this post be a good question for Workplace SE:

When I encounter posts like this, I ask myself, "what is Greg really asking for in his question?" He's probably facing some kind of problem with the diversity program, or he wouldn't have asked about it, but he's likely just afraid to speak his mind about it.

So, I suggested that he edit and maybe explain how the diversity program affects him, which could lead to describing a real, actual problem that he's facing. Then he could ask for solutions. I'm not sure if my suggestion would make it constructive though, but having more details would give us more to talk about, in a polite, constructive manner, of course...

  • The only question I can see that could come out of this that would be constructive and on topic has already been asked though. workplace.stackexchange.com/questions/4049/… Oct 24 '12 at 12:43
  • 2
    It doesn't read to me like Greg is facing any specific workplace problem. He hasn't given any specific examples of 'diversity programs', just a very vague comment about 'diversity on the floor'. Oct 24 '12 at 13:22
  • 3
    There is nothing personal about it. We all have asked bad questions. But trying to lobby to get your question reopened because you want to have a discussion is not good. That was most of what he got flack for I believe. Oct 24 '12 at 14:24
  • 3
    @Chad, the comment thread has been deleted, so I can't verify, but I thought the flack is what made him get defensive and urge people to reopen. I could be mistaken though. Either way, I believe focusing on solutions is better than just picking people apart without explaining how to be a better SE user. After all, asking questions is tough..... Hope this helps clarify any confusion.
    – jmort253
    Oct 25 '12 at 1:08
  • 2
    He made the pleas to reopen almost immediately, after the comments This isn't really a question about the workplace, but about politics and society. It's also a discussion question, very unlikely to get a definitive answer. and As is, this has too many open questions. It could be the problem statement for an entire thesis or research project. What is your actual problem that needs solving?. I don't think they warrant being defensive...sorry for the format abuse, it's hard to show quotes in comments
    – Rarity
    Oct 25 '12 at 15:54
  • 2
    I agree with @Rarity - the question was closed and quickly received a quick "hey guys please reopen this question" comment. Just look at the edit history and see the timing between it being closed, the changes the OP made, and then the sequence.
    – enderland
    Oct 25 '12 at 16:20
  • @enderland actually he made the comments before the post was closed
    – Rarity
    Oct 25 '12 at 16:30

The bottom line here is: You should only ask practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face. This question fails to meet that criteria.

If the question was I am being asked to evaluate a diversity program how do i do that it would be ok, or even how should i go about implementing a diveristy inclusion program? This question boils down to lets have a discussion about diversity programs in the workplace. That is not constructive.

  • 1
    Actually I don't think that's the bottom line, because clearly the OP, Greg, does think this is about a problem he faces in the workplace. So we don't get anywhere with that point. Even if you think that it "fails to meet that criteria", something is wrong with the messaging.
    – Nicole
    Oct 25 '12 at 17:51
  • 1
    @NickC I am not saying it is not a problem he faces, but the question was not practical or answerable. Especially when he admitted in the comments that he was looking for a discussion on the topic. Oct 25 '12 at 18:27

I think this sort of thing leads to discussion, sometimes excellent, productive discussion, but SE is not the best place for discussion (except, perhaps, in chat).

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