I flagged this SO question as off-topic with the comment "I think this would be a better fit for Programmers.SE, but that's not one of the migration options." This flag was declined with the message "a moderator reviewed your flag, but found no evidence to support it."

I'm fairly certain that this topic isn't a good fit for SO simply because it's largely opinion-based (as essentially any discussion of coding style must be), so I'm wondering if perhaps the reason for the declined flag is that it wouldn't be welcome here, either. Is that the case? If so, why is that?

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    Related: meta.programmers.stackexchange.com/questions/7182/…
    – user53019
    Dec 15, 2015 at 21:49
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    Because most coding style questions are pure opinion polls, and opinion polls are just as undesirable here as they are on SO and all the other SEs. Though this depends to some extent on what you call "style". The question you linked may or may not be "style", but even if it's not an opinion poll on the aesthetics of curly braces, it would probably still be too broad because curly brace initialization has a lot of implications for code behavior.
    – Ixrec
    Dec 15, 2015 at 21:51
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    Also note I've had a lot of flags for that migration rejected when there are existing answers. That might be part of it.
    – enderland
    Dec 15, 2015 at 21:53
  • @enderland Ah, that makes sense. I even commented on the question that there's something of a duplicate here: programmers.stackexchange.com/q/133688/89959 ...which would at least imply that I'm on the right track thinking that it would have been a better question here. Dec 15, 2015 at 22:26

1 Answer 1


When you consider a question on Stack Overflow for migration, the first thing you should ask yourself is "Is this a good question?"

Good questions:

  • Are clear and understandable.
  • Have a specific problem statement, tailored to Programmers' scope.
  • Don't ask for lists of things.
  • Don't ask for product or service recommendations.
  • Don't ask questions that require extended discussions or lengthy explanations.
  • Don't ask "which is better" or "is this a good idea" without explaining what "good" or "better" specifically means, in a way that isn't a tautology ("best practice" is not any better than "better.")

In particular, if it's Too Broad or Unclear What You Are Asking on Stack Overflow, then that is likely to be the case on Programmers as well.

Some questions are still on-topic for Stack Overflow, even though they look like Programmers questions. Questions about software algorithms, for example, are still on topic on Stack Overflow, and shouldn't be migrated.

In summary, migration is only for high-quality questions that are on-topic on programmers, but specifically off-topic for Stack Overflow.

  • By Gricean implicature, I take it you're implying that the question as asked is not a good question? Why not? Dec 15, 2015 at 22:24
  • @KyleStrand Read my sixth bullet. Dec 15, 2015 at 22:25
  • I did read your entire answer before responding, but this is still just a generic "here are some thoughts about good vs bad questions" list. The specific question I flagged is very clearly asking about the technical merits and demerits of habitually using a particular language feature and even mentions both a benefit and a potential pitfall of the feature in question; this seems more appropriate for Q&A here than simply asking "which syntax is better." I would think it falls under the "software architecture and design" category of valid question topics (even though it's micro-level.) Dec 15, 2015 at 22:33
  • @KyleStrand: Is the question categorically off-topic on Stack Overflow? Dec 15, 2015 at 22:34
  • Well, it does seem to be partly opinion-based, even though the specific technical pros and cons are largely (or entirely) factual and objective. My understanding is that, yes, subjective questions are entirely unwelcome on SO, but that they can be good on Programmers. Dec 15, 2015 at 22:46
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    @KyleStrand: That's a common misconception. The subjectivity of the question (in and of itself) has nothing to do with its suitability on Programmers vs. Stack Overflow. Rather, software design questions tend to be a bit more subjective than coding questions. I'll grant you that this particular question appears to meet the overall subjectivity bar. Dec 15, 2015 at 22:48
  • So the key distinction, at least vis-a-vis the "software architecture and design" category, is that a question has to be truly about architecture or other high-level design concerns to fit here? Dec 15, 2015 at 22:57
  • @KyleStrand: Yes. The question being discussed here appears to be a good fit for Programmers; the only remaining question is, is it categorically off-topic for Stack Overflow (subjectivity notwithstanding)? Dec 15, 2015 at 23:01
  • Well, prior to this discussion, I would have thought so. Dec 15, 2015 at 23:03
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    @KyleStrand: Some recent discussions that I've had with members of the Stack Overflow community seem to suggest that all they want to see is "how can I fix my broken code" questions, a viewpoint I consider highly suspect. That said, I don't think it's on-topic for Stack Overflow, but the Programmers community often finds "is it a good idea" questions like this too broad. Dec 15, 2015 at 23:05
  • @KyleStrand: tl;dr: Probably not a good fit for migration. Programmers gets a great deal of questions of all kinds (many of which are clearly off-topic), and they've become rather ruthless at weeding out the marginal ones. I don't have any confidence that this particular one will fare well over there. Dec 15, 2015 at 23:07

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