We currently have 82 questions, over 60% of them got closed.

As and are the tags with the highest ratio of closed questions, it seems to be unclear to askers what we expect from a good question about learning and working in the security field. Not all of them were poorly received but I suspect that even some better ones would today get closed as opinion-based or too broad rather quickly.

The tag guidance ("A career is a chosen occupation or profession..." - well, duh) also isn't incredibly helpful. I'd improve it myself but I'm unsure what actually makes a good career question, since career choices seem inherently opinion-based.

4 Answers 4


Many of these questions are of the form:

  • What should I study to get into security?
  • How can I get into security?
  • What is the ideal path to security?
  • What are the job prospects?

And these are just terrible questions for a question and answer site, as they have no answer (or far too many possible answers) and show zero research.

All the questions with a score over 4 have been answered successfully, as have a few under that score, and you can see why when you read them. The majority are objective, answerable and specific.

And I think that is key to questions anywhere - we aren't asking anything special from career questions. It's just we get some really terrible ones on that topic.

  • 5
    Hmm, all true but still rather ambiguous. I am wondering about this myself though, other than the generalities, how would you define a good question in these topics? Or what would be a good example of one?
    – AviD Mod
    Commented Jan 17, 2017 at 11:30
  • 3
    I think we need to consider the possibility that all [career] questions are bad. Being asked a long time ago seems to be the best predictor for upvotes and absence of close votes, and not research effort, objectivity or clarity.
    – Anders
    Commented Jan 17, 2017 at 12:12
  • Your general advice is right. But I disagree with "The majority are objective, answerable and specific.". There'd be plausible close reasons even for most of the high-rated questions (which are mostly from ~2011) and they'd probably not survive if asked today.
    – Arminius
    Commented Jan 17, 2017 at 12:54
  • Oh, don't get me wrong - I really don't think career questions are good here, so if they were banned entirely I would be fine with that :-) But I also think that there is a world of difference from those top voted ones and the dross at the bottom.
    – Rory Alsop Mod
    Commented Jan 17, 2017 at 12:56
  • Doesn't having a career tag imply that career advice questions are on-topic and welcome? Commented Jan 20, 2017 at 11:43
  • Not really, no. Tags come and go as required. Any user with enough rep can create them. We remove the most egregious when we find them, and some are blacklisted. Where we have a lot of questions in a particular tag we have to be careful that we approach any decision with the support of the community.
    – Rory Alsop Mod
    Commented Jan 20, 2017 at 12:29

Maybe we are too strict on closing and down voting questions?

For example, this one got a negative score of -1 and got closed but 2 members found it good enough to spend their time answering it (one of them is even a moderator) and both answers got a positive score.

For me this is a paradox that I can't explain. How can a question be so bad that it deserves a negative score and be closed but at the same time many members want to answer it and those answers are great/helpful?

If the question is interesting enough that you want to answer it, maybe you should up vote it and not close it.

  • 2
    Well, when a question doesn't fit the Q&A format (because it has no definitive answer), users can still decide to give their thoughts on it - especially if the asker has put a lot of effort in their question.
    – Arminius
    Commented Jan 18, 2017 at 17:10
  • @Arminius A question that has no definitive answer still fit in the Q&A format. Usually, for those types of questions the answer will be "we don't know because..." and that's a perfectly fine answer.
    – Gudradain
    Commented Jan 18, 2017 at 18:23
  • 2
    The linked question is old, and standards have evolved over time. But you still raise very interesting points.
    – Anders
    Commented Jan 22, 2017 at 20:02

Having been on the edge of asking one of these questions - my answer is "I don't think so." I am starting my career in IS - and though many of you may have been here for a long time, I want to remind you these are all individuals who probably don't have mentors or know people who have been in IS. I, personally, have no mentor - and these people are probably 20-somethings who are looking for validation of going into this field and trying to get a re-assuring push.

That said, understanding aside - these requests or posts don't make good questions. The path is one an individual must take - no one here can tell me why I should look at moving into compliance more than AppSec, etc. There are far too many answers to give.

A good question for [career] would usually turn into a different question - for instance, I might ask: "I am learning Pen Test Scripts in the Windows environment - should I spend my time in Python, or PowerShell, or something else?" Would this still be considered a [career] question? It seems to me, this would be rather broad Pen-Test/scripting/Windows rather than [career].

Even questions regarding certification guidance usually aren't that great - "Do I get the Security+ first or SSCP?" are already answer - and can be found with easy google searches - I know because I had the same questions.

In this light - I think [career] will continue this trend. I don't think that the close rate is too high - I think it is appropriate.


Certainly, the survivors of the high closure rate among career questions are very specific in the stated goal and show a significant effort prior to posting the question.

Another way to ask, "What makes a good career question?" is to ask, "What characteristics might a career related question have or what criteria must it meet to not get closed?"

I don't hold with the popular view that reading the rules will minimize the risk of question closure. It certainly helps, but I don't think it is always on pure and objective criteria that closures occur. Whether something is opinion-based is often an opinion. Q&A communities attempt to arrive at something close to an objective truth through an incentivized democratic process.

A good preparatory question to ask is apolitical and mathematical: "What to the 40% x 82 career questions have in common that do not trigger the impulse to mark them as begging opinion or broadness?"

It would be an interesting study and could be directed at any of the tags. I'd love to understand more myself, because my answers keep getting deleted because the questions are closed, and I'm not sure how to protect my time other than performing exactly those kinds of studies or only answering old questions and being content with zero or a low reputation increase rate.

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