In the beginning, Stackoverflow contained all kinds the questions, including the famous "comics for programmer" type of questions.

Then programmers.stackexchange.com was created, and all that stuff was migrated here, so only "professional" questions remained at stackoverflow.

Then came the disciplining, and now programmers.stackexchange.com has become another place that only allows professional questions.

There is a distinction between "objective" (so) and "subjective" (p.se) questions, but I think that this is a bit arbitrary. In fact, questions migrated from so are often closed in p.se as well; and there are non-closed questions on both sites that could be asked on the other site as well.

Examples (all from the first page as of this writing):


How do I implement the MPL? What's this "Exhibit A" thingy?

types of encoding in xml

Are MSDN licenses transferrable? How about if they have expired?




A possible solution to that dilemma would be to restrict SO to pure technical/coding questions. Currently, most of the questions on SO fall into that category anyway. That would require a change in SO's FAQ, though, since it reads...

... 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

… then you’re in the right place to ask your question!

The last item on the list includes a lot of things that are allowed on P.SE too.

2 Answers 2


I think part of the problem is the name. This isn't so much about programmers is it is about the group of people who refer to themselves as software engineers, software developers, software architects, requirements engineers, software designers, software craftsmen (and probably a dozen other names and job titles that I'm missing).

Stack Overflow is for the "how do I code X". Well, writing code is a huge deal. It's how we in the software profession actually get to deliver something. But a lot more goes on in the lifecycle - requirements, architecture, design, maintenance, testing, process, project management, quality engineering. These are things that are mostly of concern to professionals working on medium-to-large scale projects, and that's who (IMO) this site targets.

  • 3
    "Programmers" is better than the original - "Not Programming Related" - though.
    – ChrisF Mod
    Jun 10, 2011 at 22:28
  • 1
    Absolutely. And any other name would be unwieldy to say or write.
    – Thomas Owens Mod
    Jun 10, 2011 at 23:39


Even in the last bullet point you cite, the way to read it is

matters that are unique to the programming profession [which have concrete, definitive solutions that can be verified as correct, more or less].


  • OK. Maybe this should be made more clear in the respecitve FAQs.
    – user281377
    Jun 10, 2011 at 11:07

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