I am curious, why not combine this site into Stack Overflow?

Add a meta-tag so it's clear about discussion and it's an open topic for general questions not directly code problem related.

The benefit, keeping things more central, more people would view it, so more responsiveness.

It might be a bit strange to combine them for some but i got the feeling that Stack Overflow almost becomes pathetic if the questions are not like

help needed for function f(x) a + b = ...


help needed for error ccc

I know some hardcore programmers rather not tend to handle open problems, and like to see the world as a closed problem (Stack Overflow is like that), but in reality it's often a mix and there is some chatting around a lot of questions.

Amazingly as soon as I posted I got a -1 reward.. it makes me laugh because I had not done enough research.. even here the systems are becoming to automated, and people rate things as they are in their own minds view..

The point is I did a feature request, to improve this site.. or rather the group umbrella of sites under Stack Exchange. To become a bit more like the Arduino forums, or Reddit C# an active friendly userbase open to anyone who like to discuss.

But already this is a denied feature request (without really voting or so).

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    and people rate things as they are in their own minds view Hm, that's exactly what voting on Meta means...
    – yannis
    Commented Nov 15, 2012 at 0:49
  • 3
    -1 for A) thinking discussion/open topic are on topic here, they absolutely aren't. but mostly because B) I just don't want to have to sift through SO for the higher level questions I enjoy answering, and I think many others feel the same way which is why there's a community here, and a surprisingly active one at that. Commented Nov 15, 2012 at 2:10
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    @JimmyHoffa But it is not surprising at all :)
    – maple_shaft Mod
    Commented Nov 15, 2012 at 2:36
  • My -1 means I think it's a bad idea. Meta scores don't affect your main site reputation, so the up | down votes get slung faster and more freely. At higher levels of reputation, you can see the split on the votes so you can better gauge how people reacted to the question.
    – user53019
    Commented Nov 15, 2012 at 18:15
  • For example, this question is currently at a +3 | - 10 split. In my mind, this translates into 10 folk think it's a bad idea while 3 folk thought it was either a good idea or just not that bad of an idea.
    – user53019
    Commented Nov 15, 2012 at 18:19
  • Wow i got a -7 score now, well the hunt is down kill all my points for free
    – user613326
    Commented Nov 16, 2012 at 0:07
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    @GlenH7 My upvote was because I think this is a good idea.... you can see my reasons why in my answer to the MSO post "Should Programmers.SE Exist?". Also user61326, you don't gain or lose reputation points here on meta. Your reputation displayed is the same as what you have on the main site, and you can't lose it from posts on the meta site.
    – Rachel
    Commented Nov 16, 2012 at 1:02
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    Well i dont like to put snake oil on topics or write in such way. I kept the question simple and did a request to merge those groups, just add a META tag that would be enough. Reason i've seen other forums that are way more friendly for starters. And one can look down to starters, but we all had to start someday.
    – user613326
    Commented Nov 17, 2012 at 11:15
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    @user613326 You've made a request, and your request was declined. Nothing unfriendly about that. Deal with it and move on, please.
    – yannis
    Commented Nov 18, 2012 at 0:53
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    -1 because: 1) This request shows lack of research, OP clearly don't understand the nature of either site, 2) For suggesting using a meta tag, when meta tags have been proven harmful in the past, 3) For the extremely juvenile generalizations about programmers, 4) For theorizing that the request will make SE more friendly, without providing any kind of reasoning on how that will happen (or any evidence that SE is not already a very friendly place), 5) For the extremely insulting stereotyping in the comments in Yannis' answer.
    – Roc Martí
    Commented Nov 19, 2012 at 5:37

2 Answers 2


Programmers.SE and StackOverflow have two completely different site scopes - which is why Programmers exists. There are a number of meta discussions on both here and meta.SO which discuss the difference between SO and P.SE.

From Introducing Programmers.StackExchange.com:

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.

Stated another way, Stack Overflow questions almost all have actual source code in the questions or answers. It’s much rarer (though certainly OK) for a Programmers question to contain source code.



What's the difference between Stack Overflow and Programmers SE?

In regards to your question that was downvoted on SO, the comments on there advise you that Programmers is probably a better place to ask the question - which I agree with and notice you have done and received some answers on your question.

  • 3
    I think there's a clear historical evidence of Programmers and SO not having two completely different site scopes, though the scope is different, there is a lot of overlap as you can read here meta.programmers.stackexchange.com/questions/5132/… that said I'm not in favor of merging the two as they have overlaps in topic, their goals are different enough imo to benefit different audiences more, I think one of the defining characteristics of programmers is it dictates the audience is to be professional, SO does not. Commented Nov 15, 2012 at 2:00
  • I think it would only require a single META tag and some database merge to combine it. To have the benefit of a single page BTW thanks Jimmy for explaining the historic reason.
    – user613326
    Commented Nov 17, 2012 at 12:25


Keeping things more central is actually antithetical to Stack Exchange's philosophy of creating laser sharp focused Q&A sites. Additionally if "discussion" and "open topic for general questions" is your description of what Programmers is about, you should really read our FAQ a bit more carefully. While we welcome some subjective questions, Programmers is definitely not a free for all discussion forum.

Secondly, more responsiveness is not necessarily a good thing. We strive to be a canonical resource, answers should be as detailed and complete as possible, being quick is an added bonus but not a goal in itself. From the perspective of the asker, quick answers might be more useful, but Programmers and every other Stack Exchange site (including Stack Overflow) aren't only about the asker.

Thirdly, folding Programmers into Stack Overflow right now would be a disaster for everyone involved. Stack Overflow, similarly to Programmers, has created and maintains a community culture that is different, and in many respects conflicting to ours. While the target audience of both sites might more or less be the same, the focus and scope is distinctly different, thus is community culture.

Furthermore, Stack Overflow is gigantic, and that's one of the many reasons, perhaps the main one, I never really participated in the site. To put it very simply, if it takes me more than 5 minutes to find interesting content on a site, that site is not for me. Reducing the conceptual aspects of the SDLC to a set of Stack Overflow tags would be extremely counter-productive, it would take a certain level of masochism to put yourself in the position of searching for interesting methodology questions (for example) in the vast ocean of crap Stack Overflow is slowly becoming.

Since you posted this as a feature request and there are tons of earlier discussions both on our Meta and Meta Stack Overflow that explain how the sites are different and what's the purpose of Programmers, I'm afraid I'll have to decline it.

Further reading:

  • 1
    +1 and ditto on the comments regarding SO being gigantic. I almost never participate there simply because of the churn and the lack of validation (voting) behind questions and answers.
    – user53019
    Commented Nov 15, 2012 at 18:17
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    Why are you people so afraid of this ? i know many blogs forums etc, where people are much more open, and overal it results in a helping hand community. A great example is for example the Arduino forum, where people ask for advice, and programming problems, bugs, assistance, etc etc. Its less strict; i know your programmers like to think strictly, its a mind thread psychological you people prefer. But its also the weak point in many programmers unable to deal with a more open world. its not a bad habbit, but it wouldnt harm if it was more open
    – user613326
    Commented Nov 16, 2012 at 0:13
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    @user613326 Afraid? Why do you think anyone's afraid? Just not interested. Also, please keep your opinions on what programmers may or may not think to yourself, your generalizations and stereotyping are quite insulting.
    – yannis
    Commented Nov 16, 2012 at 14:26
  • ok not afraid paranoid; i know enough people that its fair to claim that certain personality traits make people excel in their specific jobs. However in no way i mean this in a negative way. I always enjoyed differences between groups of people i work with. which have been; construction workers; schools; lawyers; IT personal; company owners etc etc etc.. People are not that same, but for example it does help if you rather look to computer screens and stay focused for a whole day behind a screen. Other people i know of rather talk to people whole day, and others work in nature whole day.
    – user613326
    Commented Nov 17, 2012 at 11:10

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