TL;DR: Recently, it seems to me like we have been a little trigger-happy about closing questions as "only about software/programming". I ask that we please ease off a bit.
Our help page on on-topic-ness says (emphasis in the original):
if it [the question] needs statistical expertise to understand or answer, ask it here
The closure notice I am concerned about here says:
This question appears to be off-topic because EITHER ... OR it focuses on programming, debugging, or performing routine operations within a statistical computing platform.
Now, of course there is a continuum and room for reasonable disagreement as to where "needs statistical expertise" ends and "programming, debugging, or performing routine operations" begins. I will happily VTC questions on R that ask about how to use the
*apply() functions, or how to create a particular plot in
ggplot. My personal litmus test usually is whether J. Random R Programmer would be expected to be able to answer, potentially on StackOverflow. (I am not concerned with "unclear" questions here.) As in: are help pages and R tutorials enough to answer, or do we actually need to know some statistics?
However, here are just two recent examples of questions that were (almost) closed, although I would definitely argue that the "needs statistical expertise" criterion is met - even if this expertise need not be very deep:
Why are my fitted values returning greater than 1 in GLM? OP ran a logistic regression with
family=binomial. You need to understand the difference between OLS and logistic regression to answer here. No, this is not statistical rocket science, but it's something a run-of-the-mill programmer does not know.
Can I use bottom up, middle out, or top down approaches with fabletools:reconcile? OP struggles with what I would consider a beta release (the 3rd edition of an online textbook, which is missing a key chapter that can be found in the 2nd edition, and a very rudimentarily documented R function). To answer, you need to have an understanding of hierarchical forecast reconciliation. I referenced JASA, the International Journal of Forecasting and Computational Statistics & Data Analysis in my answer, and necessarily so.
Sometimes it feels to me like some of us see a question that asks about R, perhaps even in the title... and jump to conclusions.
I ask that we please be just a tiny little bit more relaxed about leaving questions open where there might be some statistical aspect, even if it is in the context of software.
Alternatively, we could be more stringent than I would prefer. Fair enough. But then we should communicate this explicitly in our on-topic help page, and hopefully have a discussion here beforehand.
And of course we have discussed similar topics before, which in fact informed our current closure notice as cited above, and also our on-topic page (?).