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No offense but in many scenarios, be it question closing, downvotes etc, I try not to be offended, but I question if some of the responses are from people familiar with the tech industry.

For example, project, "HR", salary, development, role naming, etc. do have similar but NOT duplicate questions.

In today's tech industry and tech workplace we sometimes have very specific and relevant questions.

I suspect some question closing, downvoting, and comments are by people that do not grasp the technical element of the workplace question, or if they are involved in the tech field or especially the subspeciality of said tech field.

In no way am I saying if one is better than the other, just that for tech workplaces things can be very different.

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    In my opinion a far greater problem is people treating Workplace as "Tech Workplace.SE" - some examples here might help you clarify. I actually see the opposite problem frequently (people assuming a question is tech when it's not) and while many questions are very tech specific, most often to the point that they belong on a different site, I rarely see what you are calling out here. – enderland Aug 20 '18 at 11:25
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    @ElysianFields Agreed. I've even posted several meta threads about tech people closing and down-voting questions that don't apply to tech environments, such as the shipping industry in non-tech roles and anything blue collar. – Richard Says Reinstate Monica Aug 20 '18 at 12:59
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    Can you provide an example question? I'm always happy to vote to re-open any question that was inappropriately marked as a duplicate. – Joe Strazzere Aug 20 '18 at 14:07
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Any problem we have with questions specific to the tech industry(1) are also problems for questions specific to any other industry. There appears to be problem with tech industry questions because we have a lot of them and almost no questions specific to any other industry. The problems are much worse for the few non-tech industry questions posted because there are far fewer people who knowledgeable and enthusiastic to champion for those questions.

There are two general problems when a industry specific question is posed and people not familiar with the industry respond.

  1. People not familiar with the industry makes assumptions which are incorrect.

  2. People not familiar with the industry provide useful insights and are dismissed, (down-voted) because there point of view is at odds with conventional thinking in the industry.

We could suggest that all industry specific questions should be off topic. That is not realistic. All workplaces exist in an industry and every industry has its own practices and norms. Good answers must take into account the context of the question.

I suggest an number of approaches to deal with these issues.

The immediate thing is to try to find a good balance between thinking about the question in a general, non industry specific way, and also recognize that what is normal in one industry may be extraordinary in another. For example when a question about using git (a tool software developers use store and share versions of their computer code) is asked we should provide a answers which addresses both collaborating in general and also the specific practices withing the software development world. If non software developers offer their perspective we should not be careful not to immediately say they are wrong but instead try to understand their perspective.

This way of thinking should also be used when deciding to vote to close or reopen. A comment to explain why a close vote was cast will also help both the voter and everyone else decide when to think about the question generally and when to think about it in industry specific ways. If we don't see such a comment we should ask for one before we also vote.

The longer term thing we should do strive to make this site a welcoming place for people of every industry. This means being liberal in accepting industry specific questions. You may argue that these questions are off topic. The reality is that are slow to close very specific software development question. Being tolerate of questions about other disciplines will provide some balance. We also should also be cautious when close questions as duplicate of question which ask a similar question in different industries. It helps people feel welcome when they can see open questions about an industry they know. It is also the case that every often the answers are industry specific.

These things will not only help with how we handle non technology industry questions. When we have more people from other industries then everyone who frequents the site will become more aware to be sensitive to the industry specifics of all questions.

This advice is based on an assumption that it is very important that this is to be a place when people are welcome to come seek advice. This goal is in tension with the desire of some to build a corpus of great questions and answers. If curating an such a collection is important to you then you will probably disagree with some of the things I have written here. That’s okay because I believe there are no right answers, only helpful ones.


(1) The term “tech industry” is not well defined, I’m assuming we are all talking about the same industry, what ever it may be.

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    Great answer, changing to this as accepted (I appreciate all answers and comments in any case). Cheers. – SaltySub2 Sep 2 '18 at 6:38
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Here, people are permitted to provide answers even if they aren't intimately familiar with the domain in question. Sometimes the answers are good anyway, sometimes they are poor. And people are permitted to downvote or vote to close whether they understand the question or not.

Try to be as explicit as possible in your question so that you can attract answers relevant to your domain.

If you ask the question, you should accept the best answer.

Upvote good answers. Downvote bad answers.

And use comments sparingly to try to get improvements to answers/votes that don't seem to relate well to the question being asked.

And if you think a question has been closed inappropriately, the most efficient mechanism to get it re-opened seems to be writing a question here containing a link to the closed question, asking that it be re-opened. That very often seems to result in success as you can see by browsing the Meta questions.

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    And use comments sparingly to try to get improvements to answers/votes that don't seem to relate well to the question being asked. +1 – enderland Aug 20 '18 at 13:14
  • It always burns my biscuit when someone obviously unacquainted with the subject decides to argue in the comments and either nit-pick a detail, contradict the answer instead of providing one of his/her own, or just argue. – Richard Says Reinstate Monica Aug 20 '18 at 16:27
  • @RichardU - yup. But a gamified forum like this basically encourages folks to chime in quickly, downvote, vote to close, etc. anyway. It burns, but it is what it is. All we can do is demonstrate and encourage good behavior. – Joe Strazzere Aug 20 '18 at 16:59
  • @JoeStrazzere it is a sad state of affairs when I am one of the few acting like an adult in the room. – Richard Says Reinstate Monica Aug 20 '18 at 20:04
  • @RichardU - I think there is only a small group of non-adults in this particular room. But perhaps I am too optimistic... – Joe Strazzere Aug 20 '18 at 20:31
  • Fair enough, marking as accepted answer. I appreciate too the explanation of the method of getting the question re-opened. Thanks. – SaltySub2 Aug 21 '18 at 2:51
  • @SaltySub - so can you point out a specific question, so we can decide if we want to vote to re-open it? – Joe Strazzere Aug 21 '18 at 11:11
  • @JoeStrazzere No worries, I will keep this question in view, I just needed clarification on the issue. No specific other question I want re-opened at this stage. – SaltySub2 Aug 22 '18 at 9:41

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