It seems pretty obvious, having been on this site for a while, that the primary target for this site is database administrators (or people who want to be DBAs, people who love working with databases at this level, etc.)

However, I've seen a growing number of questions that are far below this level. One of those questions was even closed due to this reason.

So, my question is, should these questions be flagged as inappropriate for this site, or should continue to answer these questions (such as we did here)?

It's my understanding that these are off-topic, and I just wanted to know whether I was mistaken or if this site is taking a slightly different turn than expected.

To put this in a simple question format: Should we close our doors to these (flag them/transfer to SO) or open our arms (answer them)?

By all means flag them or vote to close if they are off topic. If it's simple query building, send them to Stack Overflow. If it's problems with Access, off to Super User. If it's advanced query tuning, and they ask a shitty question, VtC. But always aim to help them fine-tune things or edit where possible. –  jcolebrand Aug 10 '11 at 14:51

3 Answers 3

up vote 5 down vote accepted

I have been VTC'ing those as off-topic and downvoting them. From the responses here, this site should only be on-topic for advanced query tuning.


The mandate of this site is to be for database professionals, not folks who are beginners!

Database Administrators - Stack Exchange is for database professionals who wish to improve their database skills and learn from others in the community

Intermediates with aspirations are probably OK, but I would close true beginner questions as off-topic without a moment's hesitation.

I hope that intermediates with aspirations are OK! That's where I consider myself! ;) –  Richard Aug 12 '11 at 12:13
Even since 2011, the field has changed. Today, there is a thundering herd of people designing their first database, and it's going to support just one app, and just one user at a time. This thing almost isn't a database at all, except for the fact that it's layered on top of SQL Server or Postgres. These people might be intermediates today, where I would have called them rank beginners in 2001, having the same skills and knowledge. The SO people see the tools they are using, and send them over here. The DBA people see how little they know and send them back to SO. –  Walter Mitty Jul 11 at 18:35

I don't mind someone asking about a challenge they're having in porting from Database engine A to Database engine B...

Even asking a relatively simple question of converting how to convert Access's IIF to SQL Server. It's grey as to whether it sits better on or stackoverflow, but I can see it's place here (Access -> SQL Server is probably a bad example though...)

What I object to is the poster saying here's my full query, write the port for it (and be quick about it to!). Showing no effort or consideration for the community we're building here.

My point (if I have one)
Is that I'd VTC because it was a bad question not because it wasn't about advanced query tuning, and I agree with @jcolebrand's response of suspending the account as per JAs blog post:

No effort to learn and improve over time
- This user does not put reasonable effort into the questions they ask of the community.
- There is little or no evidence of this user learning over time, either in the topic itself or in the community norms on the site.
- This user intentionally spams the site with the same question or very similar questions, over and over.
- The user never gives anything back to the community, but only takes.

But keep in mind I'm not in favor of heavy-handed moderation. Just that if you're an ass, you're going to get treated like one. –  jcolebrand Aug 11 '11 at 16:26

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