I'm a repeat offender of asking "Name that thing" questions. The most recent one is here (now deleted).

Where can I ask this kind of question if not here?

I strongly feel that well formed questions of this format, with clear criteria should be permitted here. The reason is that it can be very helpful for people like myself and future googlers who may be unwittingly starting to work on an area that others have already worked on, but without sharing the right terminology it is harder to connect. It is good for programmers if they know the names of objects as they appear in the "literature" so to speak.

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    If I say "foo" and someone else says "toto", how does that help you? How do you decide between the two? Is one clearly better than the other? How likely is the next person to come and find your name this thing useful?
    – user40980
    Commented Jan 16, 2014 at 3:57
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    Related, though historical: Are “name that thing” questions on-topic?
    – user40980
    Commented Jan 16, 2014 at 3:58
  • @MichaelT maybe I wasn't clear enough? My question was not asking about what name I should give a variable in my code, it was asking if this kind of data structure is recognized and named in computer science. This would be analogous to asking "Is there a name for a data structure that stores data as a list, and from which items are added to the back, and removed from the front?" to which the answer would be "queue" with a high enough degree of accuracy to match any answer you may see on stack exchange.
    – Trindaz
    Commented Jan 16, 2014 at 7:56
  • @MichaelT also to answer you question, it is very likely to be useful to the next person who comes along asking the same question because it would help them also in finding the fastest way to implement it (or if a faster way even exists than them writing it from scratch). They may also find it beneficial to not go through the same process of asking a specific question with narrow and finite answer space only to receive downvotes.
    – Trindaz
    Commented Jan 16, 2014 at 8:10
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    To answer your question of where you can ask that stuff, you're welcome to ask in P.SE's official chat room, otherwise Reddit's /r/programming is a pretty active place for experienced programmers that is more discussion and resource request based. Commented Jan 16, 2014 at 17:58
  • @MichaelT In one word, references.
    – Izkata
    Commented Jan 20, 2014 at 3:35
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    possible duplicate of On the troubles of naming and terminology
    – gnat
    Commented Dec 2, 2014 at 20:59

1 Answer 1


Did you read the custom close reason? It describes in detail why we think these kinds of questions are unsuitable, and provides a link to a Stack Exchange blog entry that applies to the entire network.

This question appears to be off-topic because it is a "name that thing" question. "Name that thing" are bad questions for the same reasons that "identify this obscure TV show, film or book by its characters or story" are bad questions: you can't Google them, they aren't practical in any way, they don't help anyone else, and allowing them opens the door for the asking of other types of marginal questions. See http://blog.stackoverflow.com/2012/02/lets-play-the-guessing-game

The close reason highlights an important goal of the Stack Exchange network: questions should be useful for everyone that has an interest in the subject matter, not just to the person asking them.

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    I firmly disagree with all of the reasons listed in that blog post. Sci Fi and Fantasy make an effort to rename and reformat questions so that they're more likely to stand out as meaningful to future visitors. I mention there because that's the one venue I've used to ask such a question, and it works fine there.
    – Tom W
    Commented Jan 21, 2014 at 13:33
  • @TomW: Yes, but Sci Fi and Fantasy have decided to accept such questions as on-topic and to put in the effort to try and make them work. We haven't. Commented Mar 7, 2014 at 20:28
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    Your answer specifically refers to the entire network. If a specific site in the network contradicts that, it's not really a network-wide policy, is it?
    – Tom W
    Commented Mar 7, 2014 at 21:18
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    @TomW: It is for the vast majority of the network. One exception does not a policy make, however. Commented Mar 7, 2014 at 22:05

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