4 Answers 4


What kinds of questions can I ask here?

Programmers.SE is for professional and enthusiast programmers who are interested in subjective discussions on software development and programmer-related issues.

What kinds of questions should I not ask here?

Avoid asking questions that are objective or technical in nature and can have a definitive answer. Ask technical questions about programming on Stack Overflow.

You should also avoid asking questions that are not tangentially related to programming or programmers in general.

If you want to talk about the site itself, please don't do it here. Visit our meta-discussion site where you can talk about things like what questions are appropriate, what tags we should use, suggest a feature, or generally discuss how Programmers.SE works.

If you want to talk about the family of Stack Exchange sites, including problems using the site or your account, visit the meta-discussion site for Stack Exchange.


  • 2
    I updated the on/off topic questions with the latest discussion from What's the difference between Programmers and SO.
    – user8
    Sep 15, 2010 at 7:29
  • +1 Looks nice so far. :-) Sep 15, 2010 at 19:02
  • @Tom Woah, thanks for the update. I'll inform Jeff. I just wish there was a better way to say "programming related issues", because it still sounds like I can ask "Whats wrong with my code?".
    – TheLQ
    Sep 15, 2010 at 21:47
  • @TheLQ: I think you meant to mention Mark Trapp, sometimes it seems handy to have the ability to edit comments. :-) Sep 15, 2010 at 21:58
  • @Mark Thanks for the update! See above comment
    – TheLQ
    Sep 15, 2010 at 23:12
  • @TheLQ: I think you're right. I changed it to "programmer".
    – user8
    Sep 17, 2010 at 7:41
  • I added a sentence for "TV shows for programmers" type questions. This came up either in a comments thread or somewhere here on meta a while back Sep 18, 2010 at 0:15
  • 1
    Not sure I like the "expert" in the opening sentence. We don't want to be elitist do we? That's not the way to build a good community. Sep 20, 2010 at 8:21
  • @foaroffours: I edited it to be the same way SO, SU and other main sites do it. Sep 20, 2010 at 11:01
  • I tried to clean up "You should also avoid asking questions that are not tangentially related to programming or programmers in general." so that it makes sense
    – TheLQ
    Sep 20, 2010 at 21:17
  • @MarkTrapp: Regarding your reversion of my edit: this seems like something that should probably be decided in some central question, rather than half a dozen comment threads here and on the main P.SE. Created meta.programmers.stackexchange.com/questions/288/… Sep 21, 2010 at 18:36
  • @Fishtoaster: I agree, answered there.
    – user8
    Sep 21, 2010 at 19:12

How is Programmers.SE different from Stack Overflow and other related Stack Exchange sites?

On Stack Overflow, subjective questions, questions requiring extended discussion, and list-type questions are considered off-topic and will be closed. On Programmers.SE, these questions are considered on-topic.

In addition, questions that are only tangentially related to programming, but aren't actually programming questions, are accepted on Programmers.SE.

Example questions that are off-topic on Stack Overflow but on-topic on Programmers.SE:

Example questions that are off-topic on Programmers.SE but on-topic on Stack Overflow:


  • The on-topic questions for Stack Overflow but off-topic for Programmers.SE should probably be re-thought. I created a discussion on Meta.StackOverflow to elicit feedback.
    – user8
    Sep 15, 2010 at 8:00
  • The inclusion of "code golf" in the latter section just sends shivers down my spine. I guess technically they are on-topic, but they're almost a special case; it's pretty unlikely that anything similar would go over without a fight.
    – Shog9
    Sep 15, 2010 at 17:48
  • @Mr. C: Whether or not it belongs on Stack Overflow is a debate for Meta.StackOverflow: as of right now, it's more or less accepted on Stack Overflow and not accepted here. The import part, for us at least, is the latter.
    – user8
    Sep 15, 2010 at 18:48
  • +1 This should be in our FAQ so we can refer people to it. Sep 15, 2010 at 19:16

Can I use Programmers.SE to advertise, promote, or recruit for my project/site/product?

No. Programmers.SE is a question-and-answer site meant to catalog the community's answers to questions asked here: a question should be in the form of question whose answers would be useful to the greater community of programmers, not just yourself.

Examples of questions that are off-topic on Programmers.SE:

  • Can you fill out my questionnaire on how many programmers use Vim over Emacs?
  • Would you donate to my charity to help the lost children of C#?
  • Would you be interested in a timeshare condo marketed specifically to programmers?
  • Can I hire one of you to do my homework?



Shouldn't all "list" questions be Community Wiki to prevent rep farming?

No. The community wiki  flag should be used for questions which would benefit from a collaborative answer; it is not for allowing questions that might be of too low value to gather reputation. If a question is too poor or might attract low quality answers, it should be flagged for moderator attention and/or voted to close.

However, some list questions might only have a finite amount of correct answers and could benefit from more than one person editing an answer to provide the most comprehensive point of view. In this case, community wiki  is appropriate. Answerers can flag a question as community wiki  on their own answers, and all questions will convert to community wiki  automatically after receiving 30 answers.


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