I entered Softwareengineering Stack Exchange and unfortunately, it wasn't what I was looking for. I expected you would be able to talk about all kinds of programming, but the rules are much stricter than I imagined.

The problem is that I prefer subjective discussions where I can learn through gaining different viewpoints and perspectives. Softwarengineering.SE doesn't offer that experience.

Which Stack Exchange sites allow this sort of discussions? Can Stack Exchange's chat be used for that?

  • possible duplicate of On discussions and why they don't make good questions
    – gnat
    Commented Jun 5, 2015 at 15:40
  • 2
    @gnat Um this is tagged faq and I would say is definitely not a duplicate of that post. This one asks for alternatives to P.SE for discussion-related questions, and that one is about why discussions don't make good questions for P.SE
    – Rachel
    Commented Jun 5, 2015 at 15:52

3 Answers 3


It really depends on what audience you want to reach and what you want to talk about.

Options range from Stack Exchange's chat (or Stack Overflow's chat), which is a real time web based chat that has history to it and tight integration with Stack Exchange as a whole to going to other places that are more designed for discussion.

Places like Reddit's /r/programming and the various related ones that cater to a more specific focus, Hacker News, and Slashdot are three that come to mind most easily specifically for computer and technology related content.

Quora is a site that seems to specialize in sharing of anecdotes and advice on all subjects (though I'm not active enough there to be able to say if that is a correct description). Slant also bears mentioning in that it is specifically designed for the "what is the best XYZ" type questions, though it is also a site that maintains a laser focus on what it does well and comments or discussions really aren't part of that.

There are countless forums, forum-likes, and chat options. Finding the one that fits your particular desires for the community and focus may take some time, and compromises to what you want desire may be needed.


When every answer to a question is potentially equally correct - and there could conceivably be quite a few answers, there's a pretty good chance that you've started a discussion instead of asking a question (or a question that kicks off a discussion or debate). That's not always true, but it's a good way to tell when you're venturing into the land of off-topic.

We're not .. a good platform to hold discussions. They turn out to be a collection of opinions that turn into a popularity contest as folks vote, and they don't age particularly well. There are plenty of user groups / forums around that run forum software that doesn't suck much better suited to host these discussions than we are.

Now, you can have some pretty energetic and lively questions here, design patterns (and anti-patterns) have been covered quite extensively, as well as development methodologies, interesting approaches to architecture and others. But those are questions that you tend to ask while your designing or building something - they have some context and they're anchored in something you're actually trying to get done.

"What's the best" and such tend to be encapsulated, there's no actual work going on, it's just people talking about stuff with no predetermined goal - and that's the kind of conversation that our engine does a wonderful job of breaking.

  • How would you suggest phrasing questions in the case where someone is trying to do X in language or framework Y, all ways he can figure out to do X within a Y stink, and it seems like Y should probably include a good way? If Y does include a good way, or even if it includes a way that's a little less odious than the OP's way, such questions can be useful. If Y doesn't include a way, such questions may still be useful if they save people the effort of searching for one. On the other hand...
    – supercat
    Commented Jul 20, 2014 at 15:35
  • ...some such questions seem to get answered and up-voted largely by people who argue that nobody should want to do X, and such answers can sometimes remain at the top even if framework Y later adds a very good and reasonable way to do X. The less it appears to the original asker that the feature exists, the more useful the question will be if it does [e.g. I'm not sure I ever would have found ConditionalWeakTable if not for some questions where it worked nicely to solve a problem, since it's rather "hidden" compared with other collections].
    – supercat
    Commented Jul 20, 2014 at 15:42

The new product that the creators of Stackoverflow and the StackExchange network is Discourse. This new discourse platform might be useful for such discussions.

  • I would personally love to have a 'discourse.programmers.stackexchange.com' site, though care would need to be taken that it doesn't become the water cooler / toilet (there is an image for you) that NPR had with things like What should I name my cat? ( i.sstatic.net/VI92W.png ). Stack exchange thrives because of quality. Maintaining quality in a forum like (even a 'better forum than a forum') environment, well... spend some time on Reddit or Hacker News to see thats a difficult task.
    – user40980
    Commented Jul 26, 2014 at 3:00
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    I'll also point out that try.discourse.org is a sandbox and is reset on a regular basis (your previous question there is now gone). You might consider something more permanent like Meta.StackExchange for your question, though be sure to read Do you plan to add a Discourse site? and The fourth place: Polling, Recommendations and subjective-ish stuff first.
    – user40980
    Commented Jul 26, 2014 at 14:07

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