Suppose someone asks for help with an interview question, such as this one:

I was asked this question, but don't know the answer. Any help on how to approach this would be greatly appreciated :)

I have just plugged in my network cable. How many packets must leave my NIC in order to complete a traceroute to twitter.com? Describe the various layers and what must ensue.

Does NE want interview questions to be on-topic? Speaking personally, I don't think we should accept interview questions, but let's hear from the community.

  • 1
    As a note, I did close this particular question, but not for being off topic. There were too many details missing to even begin to provide an actual answer, and there likely isn't a "correct" answer to this question. Any answer provided would just be a guess or opinion. For instance, to answer this question you would need to know details such as is the IP address static or DHCP, what OS in use (to know if it is doing an "internet available" check of some sort), etc. Since the OP is not the interviewer, he would not be able to clarify these details.
    – YLearn
    Jan 15 '14 at 13:56

Interview questions are generally being used to gauge two things: a level of knowledge and how a person thinks.

In the first case, I view this somewhat like test/homework questions (which we don't allow). So my stance personally is about the same as my stance on homework questions. In summary, the actual interview question is a no, but questions about the concepts behind the question, when fitting our other quality tests, should be allowed.

In the second case, many interview questions are not meant to be fully answerable initially. They expect that the interviewee to ask follow up questions to clarify details to allow the interviewer an insight into the thought process. In these cases, the question won't be answerable as they stand and the OP probably won't be able to provide the clarity by answering follow up questions in comments.

Either way, I don't think they make a good fit.

  • Agreed. Aside from a momentary "gee-wiz", I can't see questions like that as helping or providing any discernable insight.
    – Ryan Foley
    Jan 22 '14 at 15:35

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