Is it on-topic to ask questions about the meaning of terms in IEEE standards, or how those standards would be applied to specific documents?

Specifically, it's IEEE/EIA 12207.1.-1997 Software life cycle processes— Life cycle data, and the question is what's meant by "notation for description" in section 5.1.2, which lists generic content guidelines for software life-cycle documents. The specific document I need to apply it to is a Software Design Description, so maybe it could include design languages (e.g., UML).

I'm not certain whether this is a software life-cycle question or a tech writing question, but since the Writers SE is so broad, this seems like a target audience more likely to be able to answer it.

2 Answers 2


From your initial description, I believe it would be on topic here at Programmers.

You would want to quote the relevant sections in order to make it easier for readers to understand what you're asking.

If your question doesn't work out here, it could always be migrated to Engineering where it would be on-topic as well.


It's definitely on-topic here, as long as you quote relevant sections and are clear about what's confusing to you.

  • 1
    Technically, it would also be off-topic if he didn't do what you say, it would just be too broad or unclear. Aug 12, 2015 at 23:40
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    @JörgWMittag It probably wouldn't be too broad. Standards like the IEEE have pretty standard definitions for terms. Some are defined in a glossary, but others require knowledge from multiple standards or require putting together information from multiple sections in a perhaps non-obvious way (until you live and breathe IEEE standards). Unclear, perhaps, since it would require an expert on the IEEE standards to answer without context.
    – Thomas Owens Mod
    Aug 13, 2015 at 12:09

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