We seem to have had a few interview questions posted recently: 1, 2 (I thought there were more when I started writing this, but maybe not). I don't think they're a good fit for the site, because interview questions are supposed to be open-ended, provoke discussion and discover how the candidate solves problems, which isn't what a Stack Exchange question is supposed to be. (Others seem more focused and Stack-Exchangey, such as 3.) They're also often only tenuously connected to computer science, though that's an easier issue to deal with.

My feeling is that we should close this kind of question – what do others think?

If we do want to close them, should we add something to our reference list of comment templates? Perhaps something like this?

Interview questions aren't a good fit for this site. A good interview question is very open-ended and intended to provoke discussion and see how the candidate solves problems; a good Stack Exchange question has a definitive answer, because we're not a discussion forum

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ I'd say that "open-ended, discussion-provoking" implies too broad, which I'd use as a reason for my close-vote. If they are more focused, I'd leave them open -- whether or not they are interview questions is not very important. $\endgroup$
    – chi
    Commented Oct 18, 2017 at 18:47
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Agreed, I think our usual tools apply. A reference comment is a good idea, though. Let's wait for other opinions! $\endgroup$
    – Raphael
    Commented Oct 18, 2017 at 19:14
  • $\begingroup$ @chi Agreed on all counts. Wanna post that as an answer? $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 18, 2017 at 19:57
  • $\begingroup$ Did the other questions contain the word “interview”? Looking at the list of questions containing the word, I don't see any particular trend, and the type of question is all over the place (many hits are questions that are inspired by an interview, not interview curveballs). As a moderator, I can include deleted questions as well and that doesn't change the picture (150 hits instead of 84 and no particular trend that would get you to use this template more than once a month on average). $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 18, 2017 at 20:28

1 Answer 1


I suggest to disregard the fact that they are interview questions, and evaluate them on their other merits.

Some interview questions are open-ended, and meant to trigger discussion. The interviewer asks such questions to see how the candidate tackles the problem. Often, there is no clearly defined or even intended answer. As such, they fall into the "too broad" category, and should be closed accordingly.

Some other interview questions, instead, are more focused. These have a clearly defined answer, and the interviewer asks them to see if the candidate is able to find the intended solution. These can be kept open, if they fall within the scope of CS.SE (e.g. they are not programming or technology questions).


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