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A user recently asked How to work on a programming project remotely.

The comments asking for clarification, and comments hinting that the question might not be the right fit for our site are great! Our community is stepping up and participating in guiding new users, and it's making an impact. To those of you who are stepping up with edits and comments, thank you! :)

With that said, I considered closing this question as off-topic since it's asking about technical issues, not project management issues, from what I can tell. I'm wondering why those of you with the ability to flag or vote to close have not taken one of those actions? As a member of our community with the ability to flag/vote to close, what is it about this question that made you decide to just leave a comment or provide an answer to the question?

I'm looking for explanations on why you feel it's on-topic and whether or not we should leave it open as an on-topic question that could be randomly selected in our next site evaluation. If you feel it's off-topic or borderline, please speak up as well and let us know what you think!

I'm hoping the responses here can further help us determine where the boundaries are for our site, help us further clarify its scope, and provide more guidance to everyone on how we should handle these types of questions as a project management community.

  • One parameter to look at is time. It has been less than 24 hours since it was posted. Personally, I didn't see the question until recently. Also, it could be that the person "sounded" like they were genuinely looking for help and this is a very helpful community. – Mark Phillips Sep 6 '12 at 17:29
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I originally didn't vote to close, but I was on the fence about it. I was really hoping that the author would edit the question to clarify what he was looking for. It was difficult to tell if he wanted a source control solution (off topic) or a communication solution (closer to on topic). As he/she has accepted an answer without edit, I've since voted to close.

  • Thanks for clarifying @aclear. Do you think the op would have been more likely to make the edits if we closed this one earlier, or do you think that wouldn't have made a difference in this case? – jmort253 Sep 6 '12 at 16:52
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    Possibly. I'm not really familiar with how often people edit their questions after they've been closed. As it stands right now I don't think it is a well formed, or on topic question. Hopefully closing it would change this, as suggesting that it be edited did not. – Andrew Clear Sep 6 '12 at 17:03
  • @jmort253 In my experience, new users rarely edit closed posts. Users who have been in the community a while may or may not, depending on their personal experiences with having such questions re-opened. Aggressively closing questions from new users also leads to question-banning, and non-moderators can't vote more than once to close or open even after a question is edited, so I don't like to use it just to encourage editing. – Todd A. Jacobs Sep 8 '12 at 21:34
  • @CodeGnome - I don't think it's necessarily important that we aggressively close either, in most cases, unless it's evident that the question will get hit hard with a lot of low quality answers prior to any edits, and as long as anyone who answers understands that his/her answer might need to be edited again once the question is fixed. In short, I don't see anything wrong with the way we handled this post; I was mostly seeking clarification and a sanity check. Thank you! :) – jmort253 Sep 8 '12 at 21:56
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It was definitely off-topic, but in my comment I suggested to the OP that it could possibly be made on-topic through re-framing. After all, distributed teaming is PM-related, but distributed programming per se is not.

Since the question was never re-framed, I would have voted to close the next time I ran across the question. After commenting, though, it just didn't pop up on my radar again until after it had been answered and closed.

I agree that the question, as written, should be closed. I also don't think the question was salvageable by anyone except the OP, since there wasn't enough context to rewrite the question on someone else's behalf.

If anyone had voted to close after a suitable opportunity for the OP to refactor the question, it would (should?) have popped up in the review queue. Out of the 63 views the question had as of this morning, how many had vote-to-close rights? I have no idea, but probably not enough to get the ball rolling faster than it did.

  • This makes sense. Taking a light-handed approach to community moderation provides balance, equity, and fairness. – jmort253 Sep 8 '12 at 21:23
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Based on the feedback here and in the comments on the actual question, I went ahead and closed the post. This is of course still open for discussion if anyone wants to try and improve the post with some edits and discuss reopening it. There could be a way to tailor the question, based on the answers, to make it a PM question, and we should definitely be open to those sorts of ideas. :)

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