This is general question regarding guideline of where to post non-technical questions.

I had non-technical question at https://stackoverflow.com/questions/15653199/free-compiler-ide-for-writing-windows-app-in-c-for-students and it was marked as off-topic and asked to move to softwareengineering.stackexchange.com.

So I did https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/193138/free-compiler-ide-for-writing-windows-app-in-c-for-students?noredirect=1

and then it got marked as off-topic and migrated back to stackoverflow. Knowing clear guideline will prevent me asking question in a wrong venue next time.

  • 8
    If anyone on StackOverflow ever suggests programmers, they're usually wrong. And they usually don't even participate on programmers to even know. Mar 27, 2013 at 17:18
  • 3
    @AnthonyPegram: The bigger problem I saw back when you could migrate to programmers was bad questions being selected for migration. "Vague question not directly applicable to SO" was enough to get migrated.
    – Guvante
    Mar 27, 2013 at 17:51
  • sorry about the close vote! mis-click that i don't know how to undo Mar 27, 2013 at 20:09
  • Your question should have been closed as not constructive rather than off topic---on both sites.
    – Kazark
    Mar 29, 2013 at 15:37
  • 4
    The fact that this type of question even makes an appearance seems to suggest that people are still genuinely confused about what programmers.stackexchange is for. With the recent substantial changes in regulations, this has gotten pretty confusing for me too.
    – TtT23
    Apr 1, 2013 at 6:57

3 Answers 3


You are at the whims of the community when it comes to borderline questions. Since many of the high rep users hang around only one community (or at least on moderate one community) they tend to get blinders as to these odd cases.

Specifically in this case you are asking about a tool (not Stackoverflow), however it isn't programmers since it isn't a general programming question. If you asked about design patterns you could do programmers but tools would not be programmers.

The important bit here is that it is Stackoverflow because it is a programming tool.


Here's how it breaks down:

  • Asking about a tool is on topic on StackOverflow and off topic on Programmers.
  • A lot of people on StackOverflow don't know programmer tool questions are on topic. I've answered a lot of git questions over there that people try to close.
  • Asking for a recommendation is off topic both places. If you already have a free IDE and are having problems setting it up, StackOverflow is your place. If you are still looking for one, that's a recommendation question.
  • Asking in chat is welcome either place.
  • I wish people wouldn't be allowed to vote to migrate unless they have enough rep to vote to close on the other site.
  • As to your last point, less than half the top reviewers for close votes meet your desire. This would likely mean it would require mod intervention for all the good migrations rather than a faction of the failed migrations.
    – user40980
    Mar 27, 2013 at 20:00
  • Perhaps just weight avid SO users' non-migration votes more heavily. Mar 27, 2013 at 22:11

There are a couple points here that involve the different community perceptions of the other sites and processes.

First, there is the repost rather than migrate. When one has a question that isn't appropriate for one site, but is (in theory) appropriate for another site, it should be migrated rather than reposted. Because of questions of quality alluded to by Guvante's comment Programmers.SE isn't a migration target for StackOverflow as part of the close process. However, any question can be migrated to any site by moderators. Rather than reposting a question, one should instead flag it for moderator attention and ask for it to be migrated. They may say yes, they may say no. If they say no, work with people in chat to either get it answered (it may be a question that is best suited for chat rather than a Q&A site), or help you recraft the question so that it can get migrated.

Reposting a question rather than migrating it often leads to headaches and frustrations, especially when the question would be closed for a reason other than topicality. If a question is not constructive, or overly broad, or too localized on one site, it is likely the case that this is true of the question on another stack exchange site. This is where it is especially helpful to work with people in chat.

StackOverflow has the perception (or P.SE has the perception that SO has the perception...) that anything that doesn't have code attached to it is a question that should be on Programmers.SE. This is not always the case. As mentioned, these are questions that sometimes fall into other close reasons (too broad, too localized, or not constructive) and thus shouldn't be on P.SE. Other times they are questions that are appropriate for sites other than P.SE.

Programmers.SE has the perception that SO is the correct migration target for things that have errors in code (if it doesn't have errors, the perception is it belongs on CodeReview). There is also the perception that tool related problems belong on SO.

The 'tool related' is where your question falls into the migration juggling. There was no code, it seemed open ended and thus someone at SO thought that it would be best at P.SE. However, P.SE notes that SO has the part of the SO FAQ:

software tools commonly used by programmers

As such, a question about the tools belongs on StackOverflow.

At least, that is the perception of this P.SE user.

If in doubt, flag for migration and chat rather than repost.

  • programming tools being a SO topic is actually in our FAQ and SO's FAQ, its not a perception.
    – Ryathal
    Mar 28, 2013 at 13:02

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .