I ask a reasonably good question on StackOverflow but it does not get many views (maybe because there are so many questions asked on StackOverflow). I then ask a more generic question on Programmers that is closely related to the StackOverflow question and I link it there. There is a very good chance that if the question on Programmers is a good one, it will get a lot of views. When it does, the linked StackOverflow question will get many views as well.

Does this looked down upon as abuse? Or is this just good marketing :)

I have just done this recently (and certainly not to abuse the sites). My StackOverflow question had only about 50 views and 5 upvotes before linking it (and it was tapering off at that point). Now the StackOverflow question has more than 250 views and 10 upvotes.

These are the questions in the example:


How good does a well-rounded programmer need to be with bit-wise operations?

(And yes I understand that I am doing it again :) obviously the intent is not malicious here)

2 Answers 2


The question you asked here on Programmers is not on-topic here. From the FAQ:

What kind of questions should I not ask here?

You should only ask practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face. Chatty, open-ended questions diminish the usefulness of our site and push other questions off the front page.

Your questions should be reasonably scoped. If you can imagine an entire book that answers your question, you’re asking too much.

The first part of your question is a rant about how unreasonable it seems to be to know how to understand the code. Taking out that part, we're left with just the general question, "how good does a programmer need to be with bitwise operations?"

That is not reasonably scoped nor is it answerable: the only context we have is a question you had on Stack Overflow that you didn't know the answer to. Obviously, knowing bitwise operations would've been helpful to you on Stack Overflow, but not every programmer has the same issue or the same situation as you. The answer is going to be different for every programmer.

That is, in this diagram:

Scope diagram

You've made your question applicable to the "Just You" section, not "All Programmers."

If the problem was scoped differently and described a problem generally applicable to programmers at large, it'd be on-topic. And such a question wouldn't include a link to a question on Stack Overflow that you want people to answer, because it'd be irrelevant to such a general problem.

So in general, if you're asking questions framed around getting people to answer question on Stack Overflow, you're Doing It Wrong™. Intentionally and repeatedly doing this would be abuse of the system.


The link was present in the initial revision of your question, which had zero popularity by any measure the moment you posted it. The SO question was already popular enough to have garnered one answer, which means that, if anything, you linked to a more popular question.

Unless you're part of a cabal whose members go around artificially popularizing each others' questions, you had no way of predicting whether or not the Programmers question was going to become popular. You also had no way of knowing that users following your link to the SO question would upvote it. Unless Stack Exchange keeps track of how upvoters arrived at questions, any attempt to say those upvotes happened because of referrals via your link would be conjecture.

I suppose that to stick to the letter of the FAQ, your question could have been more general, perhaps something along the lines of "should a good programmer be able to easily understand any algorithm implemented using constructs he already understands?" I could also see the first comment on a question like that being "could you give an example?"

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