The first of the FAQ is:

Programmers - Stack Exchange is for expert programmers who are interested in subjective discussions on software development

According to the FAQ it is about the actual development of software not programmers, there a lot of questions about programmers (eg https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/1166/how-important-is-dress-code-to-you)

This is in complete contrast to the Area 51 proposal Not Programming Related (which is the proposal for this site) the tagline on Area 51 is

Beta Q&A site for expert programmers interested in discussions that are only indirectly related to programming.

Which is wider than the FAQ, also take this On topic question (13 votes):

Should I work for a company that makes you wear a suit?

It would be closed on this site under the current FAQ. I think people want a somewhat more open ended site, I've pretty new here to the site and programming but its the feeling I get from the people who actually use the site.

I'm asking for the site to be widened to allow more subjective questions that currently available. I think it as long as it related to programmers (and programming) it should be ok, no matter what the question is (pretty much like that anyway).

Alternatively rename the site to Programming as the FAQ says this site is about Programming only.

So either change the title or the FAQ (preferably the FAQ)

  • So what is your question? Do you want the site renamed? Do you want the FAQ changed? What exactly are you looking for?
    – Walter
    Dec 5, 2010 at 14:07
  • 2
    Read the last little paragraph, I thought it meant that I wanted the FAQ changed.
    – Jonathan.
    Dec 5, 2010 at 14:47
  • @Jonathan - I did, the first time. You pose an observation and my question is still the same... What are you looking for? Perhaps you can expand on your question to actually ask a question? Or perhaps offer a suggestion...
    – Walter
    Dec 5, 2010 at 19:04
  • @Walter there you go.
    – Jonathan.
    Dec 5, 2010 at 19:23
  • 1
    @Jonathan - Excellent edit. Do you propose to eliminate the 6 guidelines for asking questions? Or perhaps to rework them? What criteria do you propose to evaluate what is a valid question and what is not?
    – Walter
    Dec 6, 2010 at 0:41
  • @Walter eliminate the criteria. There is enough criteria on stackoverflow. This site should be more about the programmers than programming though a balance would be good. In all this site should be able to have at least most subjective questions from stackoverflow and then also questions about programmers.
    – Jonathan.
    Dec 6, 2010 at 8:22

3 Answers 3


The schism between the site name, the subjective clause of the FAQ, and the site's content only adds to the confusion. But don't change the name; it comes the closest to getting it right. To that end, I suggested a byline to clarify the issue:


Programming issues beyond coding

This site is about the skills, issues, careers, and interests of programmers… beyond coding. That's what the FAQ should say, or some variation thereof.

This site's identity crisis is rooted in people's fixation on subjectivity. "Subjective" is not a topic. "Not Programming" is NOT a topic. If you can step outside the anti-establishment bent of this site for a moment, the purpose of this site becomes exceedingly simple.

Stack Overflow became so huge, lumping all those "soft topics" into the coding conglomerate of Stack Overflow was unpalatable. But fix the FAQ (it's editable) and keep the quality of the content high. Don't change the site name.

  • I don't think the site name should be changed, rather the FAQ as you say, I only suggested it because I wasn't 100% sure the original intentions of the site.
    – Jonathan.
    Dec 6, 2010 at 19:57
  • Who's responsible for a site's FAQ? You said it was editable, but by whom? I think your answer applied to the FAQ would go along way towards answering these questions and keeping the off-topic questions to a minimum.
    – Walter
    Dec 6, 2010 at 23:35
  • @Walter: The Moderators are responsible for and can edit the FAQ. They should be addressed through meta questions; i.e. the community should be deciding what to put in the FAQ (blog.stackoverflow.com/2010/07/…). Dec 7, 2010 at 0:29
  • 1
    I was hoping that this site was going to be "Stackoverflow with the ability to ask a question without walking on egg shells". Perhaps we need another site.... geekAnarchy.stackexchange.com laissez-faires.stackexchange.com, or something similar, which can cater to those who just want to ask questions and get answers.
    – JW01
    Dec 10, 2010 at 9:03
  • @JW01 - They have Yahoo answers... Feb 14, 2011 at 9:35

I agree that somewhere there is something wrong because too many questions get closed. Early on it is important to keep the site going for it's intended purpose, but most visitors seem to think that should include a broader range of acceptable topics.

I don't think too many people are searching for answers to the types of questions here. It just seems like you get more out of it by participating in the dialog.


Terminology: Subjective

I read the faq, and the page 'good subjective, bad subjective' http://blog.stackoverflow.com/2010/09/good-subjective-bad-subjective/ and one of my conclusions is, that the terminology 'subjective' is meaningless, as used there.

There is this term, and then there are 10 bullet points, and none of them is about subjective things. Maybe the last one 'Freelancing and business concerns' a little.

I would suggest to avoid this misleading term, or change the bulletpoints accordingly.

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