I DO think this site is great for questions such as software-development-methologies, programming-eductaion, software-laws, business and many other non-programming related questions. However I believe that for a few of the topics related in the FAQ, this is not the case.

I have read Why Programmers when StackOverflow already exists?, What's the difference between Programmers and Stack Overflow? and Do we need a definition of subjective? and even a few more related questions here and non of them seems to deal with theses specific overlaps.


Quoting StackOverflow's FAQ: (please notice the * italic bold list items)

What kind of questions can I ask here?

Stack Overflow is for professional and enthusiast programmers, people who write code because they love it. We feel the best Stack Overflow questions have a bit of source code in them, but if your question generally covers …

    a specific programming problem
    * a software algorithm
    software tools commonly used by programmers
    * matters that are unique to the programming profession


Quoting Programmer's FAQ: (please notice the * italic bold list items)

What kind of questions can I ask here?

Programmers - Stack Exchange is for expert programmers who are interested in subjective questions on software development.

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

Architecture and design patterns

To me it seems like many architecture questions are as objective as many programming questions are. If fact, many programming questions are really to do with architecture and the accepted answer suggests an architectural change.

Also many programming questions can be solved in many ways (just like architectural problems). Each way has its pros and cons, but the decision of which way to take is subjective since the decider (or asker/voter), being human, thinks in a subjective way.

Algorithms and datastructures

I do not see how these can be considered subjective.

Programming Puzzles

Asked over and over in StackOverflow, sometimes referred to as "interview questions" or "homework". Basically no different than any StackOverflow question, except maybe never being technology-specific.


A bit of statistics:

StackOverflow has over 5400 questions tagged [design-patterns].
StackOverflow has over 3400 questions tagged [architecture] and more with similar tags.
StackOverflow has over 1500 questions tagged [interview-questions] and more with tags such as [code-golf] and [puzzle].

Generally we take subjective to mean "not having a single definitive answer". Subjective questions allow answers to come from different perspectives and be motivated by people's individual experiences instead of an well-define and clear "right" way to do something.

So let's take questions about algorithms and data structures, for example. A question about an existing algorithm (how to use it or implement it) would be objective. A question about algorithm choice or algorithm design would be subjective, as the answer could vary based on different perspectives and approaches.

A similar approach holds true for the architecture and design pattern questions.

You will see high numbers of questions that would belong on P.SE over on StackOverflow instead. This is largely due to the fact that SO is a mature site and a lot of those questions were (sort of) on-topic there before Programmers came into being. Sometimes they get migrated over, sometimes they don't. Dumping thousands of old questions on Programmers would effectively cripple the site, so it is a case-by-case decision. New questions asked over on SO that belong here usually get migrated here or closed.

See also: Good Subjective, Bad Subjective.

  • In an ideal world I would agree with you. However, I have seen "objective" topic questions with less than perfect answers selected, simply because the asker, with an specific education and work experience, understood specific answers better than others. I have also seen "subjective" architecture questions, such as Business Logic - User Interface separation with commonly agreed answers using known design patterns that could be seen as objective, however how to implement them is subjective (there are many different implementation flavours for the patterns). – Danny Varod Apr 28 '11 at 23:00
  • @Danny Yeah, I can see that happening. There are variations. Do you perceive that to be a problem? – Adam Lear Apr 28 '11 at 23:50
  • Which of the cases are you referring to - Objective questions with subjective best answers and votes or subjective questions with objective answers? :-) – Danny Varod Apr 28 '11 at 23:57
  • In general, if it is a programming/coding question, subjective or not, I wouldn't move it from SO to here (and design, unit-testing and documentation is part of the programming work). It it is environment, human or business related (source control techniques, career, life-cycle, training, clients, ...) then this IS the place for it. – Danny Varod Apr 29 '11 at 0:01
  • Great link BTW. Despite best efforts, it does happen in SO. – Danny Varod Apr 29 '11 at 0:04
  • @Danny I was referring to both cases. In general, code-related questions do go to SO although there have been a few exceptions in cases where there is no 100% correct answer. – Adam Lear Apr 29 '11 at 0:53
  • So how about removing them from Programmer's FAQ, to prevent confusion? – Danny Varod Apr 29 '11 at 1:03
  • @Danny Why? There are subjective questions that don't involve code snippets are welcome on Programmers. There is no need, imho, to remove anything from the FAQ. – Adam Lear Apr 29 '11 at 2:24
  • Many SO questions do not involve code snippets, rather they include links to MSDN or a direction to solving an issue. SO is not codereview.stackexchange.com. That does not automatically make them programmer questions (as the link you provided proves). – Danny Varod Apr 29 '11 at 2:36
  • @Danny I'm not really sure what questions you're talking about. Can you provide some examples of questions on Programmers that you don't think should be here? – Adam Lear Apr 29 '11 at 2:50
  • @danny I think you misunderstand, none of those are on-topic for SO except accidentally or as historical "grandfathered in" situations. If the answer is going to inevitably be "well, it depends.." then the question is a better fit for programmers. – Jeff Atwood Apr 30 '11 at 8:08
  • I see, however, I still think most programming questions are not black & white, but rather gray. – Danny Varod Apr 30 '11 at 17:13

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