I was under the impression that coding-style questions are allowed here, even if they deal with a language-specific feature; but other users assert this is not the case, and that these questions should be closed. I couldn't find any explicit policy regarding this, so I'm turning to meta.

My opinion is that these sort of questions are not coding problems (which belong on SO) but squarely rest in the coding-style field, which seems to be allowed here. Not to mention that with the variety between different programming languages, every coding style question could be said to be specific to a certain (and possibly small) group of languages.

So, are coding style questions in general on-topic, and does the size of the group of programming languages they refer to matter?

  • 3
    you're absolutely right, this is exactly the sort of subjective programming question we want on programmers. Not sure why this is unclear to a few folks, it's outlined in the /faq. Feb 16, 2011 at 18:04
  • @JeffAtwood I checked the help center's on-topic page as it stands now, but I don't find such questions covered by it. Can I know exactly which one of the bullet points cover it, specifically "coding styles, patterns and practices"? If not, shouldn't we add it in?
    – ADTC
    Sep 25, 2014 at 9:00

3 Answers 3


It's perfectly within the domain of Programmers.SE: answers are entirely based on convention derived from experience. Additionally, it would be entirely off-topic on Stack Overflow, which would be interested in a specific problem you were having, not a programming philosophy/best practices question.

  • That is your erosional opinion. The question isn't about what we personally think. It's about what are the current rules. The current rules say "Algorithm and data structure concepts" and "Design patterns" that’s nearest programming language question you can get. This question isn't generic either it's language specific. Feb 16, 2011 at 10:27
  • @Amir I'm not sure what you meant by "erosional" opinion, but I'm informed by 6 months of active participation and as a former moderator. Check Introducing programmers.stackexchange.com for more information: "In a nutshell, Stack Overflow is for when you’re front of your compiler or editor working through code issues. Programmers is for when you’re in front of a whiteboard working through higher level conceptual programming issues."
    – user8
    Feb 16, 2011 at 10:32
  • Sorry about the "erosional". I meant that your personal opinion. Feb 16, 2011 at 10:40

As Mark said, those questions could be fine here. Additionally, if you have existing code that you'd like critiqued, you can also check out the new Code Review.SE.


This can include topics such as:

  • Software engineering
  • Developer testing
  • Algorithm and data structure concepts
  • Design patterns
  • Architecture
  • Development methodologies
  • Quality assurance
  • Software law
  • Programming puzzles
  • Freelancing and business concerns

As I see it the nearest programming related question you can ask is the ones that I have marked. This question doesn’t fall under any of them. This is a programming specific feature.

  • 1
    The qualifier "This can include topics such as" enumerates a non-exhaustive list of topics, not an immutable list. Questions about program design is definitely a topic for Programmers.SE.
    – user8
    Feb 16, 2011 at 10:13

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