I asked a question about software design. It is on topic. I also read the questions to avoid, which was linked to in the Ask Question page. Now, the question was put on hold as primarily opinion based. I believe this question is helpful to many people. How should this be stated then? Does this question not fall under the exception Constructive Subjective Questions near the end?


1 Answer 1


Consider the following possible answers:

I don't think it's a hinderance. Knowing functional programming helps you understand various aspects of higher order functions that are finding themselves into many traditionally non-functional languages.

Having all these ideas spinning around in my head? Yea, thats a problem. I can't decide if I should use a map or a fold. And then when I do use these, they get taken out in code review for being overly complex and unnecessary.

These are two fundamentally opposed answers that are equally right.

The question you end up asking:

Based on your experience, how would knowing multiple programming languages affect a software developer's (or your) ability to design programs?

is asking for anecdotes. The question seems to be looking to foster a discussion and a telling of stories:

"Reason for the question (just a background; not part of the question. There is no need to discuss or explain this part unless you want to. I'm merely including this to shed light on why I asked my question above)".

Also, hidden within this is a career growth question, which also tends to foster opinions and anecdotes:

I'm sure many people would be interested to know the answer to this question. Software engineers would like to know if not being limited to one language would improve their design ability, programmers would be thinking ahead, managers would also want to know especially when it's time to choose someone they can trust to come up with a good architecture.

The bit about discussions comes up - the Q&A part of Stack Exchange is about questions that have answers. From the tour:

This site is all about getting answers. It's not a discussion forum. There's no chit-chat.

I would suggest that you read On discussions and why they don't make good questions and Discuss this ${blog} (the later of which is particularly important with the passage "In my readings, I came across a proposition saying that good programmers don't make good software engineers because, it was said, good programmers know a programming language (and a framework or technology) very well, and that would make his designs somehow as constrained as his language."

So, to summarize:

  • There are too many, personal, answers to your questions - the question is seeking discussion or to poll people for opinions and anecdotes.
  • The question you are asking does fall the bullet points of what types of questions should I avoid asking:
    • there is no actual problem to be solved: “I’m curious if other people feel like I do.”
  • Trying to get people to explain other people's opinions is also an opinion.
  • I see.. Ok, I have a clarificatory question, just so that I won't ask questions like this again in the future that might get downvoted and placed on hold again thereby possibly banning me from asking further. 1. When I asked if knowing multiple languages would be an asset or a hindrance, I thought there was one answer. That answer I wanted to know. What should I have done to figure out that it could be answered in two or three ways that are equally right? Commented Oct 12, 2014 at 12:59
  • 2. Does that mean that in the future, I cannot ask things like what algorithm to use for a particular problem? (because I bet there would be differences in expert opinion on that.) I was hoping to be able to ask questions like that here. Commented Oct 12, 2014 at 13:01
  • 3. I may be wrong, and correct me if i am, but when I asked that question, I really had a problem. My problem was I wanted to create better designs, and I don't know if that would be aided by knowing many languages. It's like, I wanted to sort a database efficiently, and I don't know if using this algorithm or another would get me there. Commented Oct 12, 2014 at 13:04
  • 4. Finally, I want to ask if I should not include background information in my future questions (like the way I did in this question) what I've read that led to my problem. I'm asking this because, like in this case, it got misinterpreted that I was asking people to discuss this ${blog}, which is totally not the case. I wasn't trying to get people to explain other people's opinion. It is as good as not there. I just included it for context. Should I not include things like that in the future? Commented Oct 12, 2014 at 13:11
  • Again, I'm asking these questions in the hope that I'll be a better contributor to the community in the future. I wouldn't be able to do that as well if I can't post a question anymore. I hope to avoid that. I've read the rules, but again, asking a question here isn't as trivial as it may seem at first. Reading the rules certainly is not enough. Commented Oct 12, 2014 at 13:16
  • Oh, wait.. P.S. to number 4.. (I can't edit the comment anymore. > 5mins..) The backgrounder info is as good as not there. In fact, the edit history would show that the original question did not include it. When the question was put on hold and downvoted, I thought it was because of lack of information, so I wrote that thing. It was not to discuss a blog or opinion. But apparently, it got misinterpreted to be that way. Sorry for the long series of comments. I just simply don't understand and if I continue w/o clearing this up, I'm afraid I'll end up with a lot of downvoted or closed questions. Commented Oct 12, 2014 at 13:53

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