I asked a question which was subsequently deleted. While it was open, I didn't receive the basic courtesy of a response to my comment asking why it was off topic.

That narked me slightly, since I did go and check the documentation, and whilst I noted it wasn't claiming to be a comprehensive list, I didn't spot anything obvious there which suggested that it was off-topic. By contrast, warnings about posting about code not working, tool configuration issues, and xpaths being broken seem to be silent warnings.

On the other hand, I did find out the answer to my question. Nobody answered, so it was a Negative, but...

Is the What topics can I ask about page really up to date? Is it not better practice to try to respond to comments which ask for clarification?

1 Answer 1


So first off, I'll say the question was deleted by an automated system that cleans up closed questions. I was unaware of this system, so it may be new.

As to the content of the question, I'll copy the main question here for posterity:

Is there any web-thing that keeps track of the best courses out there for general Quality Assurance or for technical software testing?

This particular question has multiple problems that perhaps should have been explained better. The most obvious the use of the word "best" - best is a very problematic word because it is so hard to define in context. Now, it seems the word isn't about the tool you're looking for, but rather the courses you want to track with the tool, but alas, it instantly sends a signal to the person reviewing the question that there's a problem.

The next is that the question is a software recommendation, which while not strictly off topic is very difficult to answer. Suppose three people each suggest their recommendation and you pick one. Were the other two incorrect? What about the one you picked worked? Does it really solve the problem? Is it going to be helpful to future readers?

The third is that the tool in question isn't really about SQA. The tool that tracks SQA courses could probably just as easily track GHS courses or PMBOK courses or whatever kind of courses you want. Now this is a hotly debated topic on SQA. For example, suppose someone is trying to parse a CSV file in Python - is that on topic? No, it isn't. But someone is trying to do that same parsing in a Selenium script. Now is on topic? Some feel it is. Some feel it isn't. (How I personally feel is irrelevant to the discussion at hand.) Your tool falls under this category too.

What is certainly true is you have a problem you want solved, and you're looking to our community to help you, and that's great. I hope this experience hasn't left a sour taste in your mouth, and that my explanation helps you understand why things happened the way they did.

  • Thank you for answering. Agree that best is not warranted there, it should be removed from the question. Are there any active lists for QA courses on MOOCs would avoid that pitfall. I would struggle to see how my question counts as asking for a software recommendation. Is r-bloggers.com a software ? I was really after just any bog standard aggregator, or curated list like Awesome NameYourLanguage to make it faster to search. Given your third point, do you feel the pointers to what is on topic is really up to date? If it's debugging Selenium it is okay, seems a valid update. Jun 25, 2019 at 21:42
  • Maybe, I'm not sure - that's really up for the community to decide - what I can say is that answers you expect to go out of date soon are not good answers.
    – corsiKa Mod
    Jun 25, 2019 at 22:16
  • My main point is not about the deletion, it is about the guidance to the community about what is on topic or not. In my experience moderation is best when it is as consistent as possible. If there is no consensus on valid content, then it is better to actually state so directly rather than to be dishonest about it. Jun 26, 2019 at 11:28
  • perhaps - but this is not a moderation issue, it's a community issue - the community is currently divided on the topic
    – corsiKa Mod
    Jun 27, 2019 at 7:12
  • Why not state the reality? Jun 27, 2019 at 9:38
  • What do you mean reality? I might be a diamond moderator, but that doesn't mean I get to decide what is or isn't off topic. Rather, the community decides what is or isn't off topic and i help them enforce those policies. So the reality is some people think it's on topic and other's don't - it's something we've struggled with for years because there are good reasons to support both sides.
    – corsiKa Mod
    Jun 27, 2019 at 18:41
  • I think there should be a collective re-evaluation of the guidelines so that reflect the reality of what is asked and answered here. If I go to sqa.stackexchange.com/help/on-topic and then I look sideways at the reality of moderation what am I supposed to be think? That the help pages are just a thing that you have to have and well, they don't matter. Jun 28, 2019 at 6:43
  • I think that's a little dramatic. The op-topic help article is still accurate. This is an issue that doesn't affect a huge number of questions so it hasn't had the attention necessary to fully resolve it.
    – corsiKa Mod
    Jun 28, 2019 at 6:54
  • I don't mean to be dramatic, but for me it is a serious point. Jun 28, 2019 at 7:00

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