Programmers has changed its name.

  • Why has this name change occurred?
  • Has anything else changed?
  • What kinds of questions will I be able to ask, now that the name has changed?
  • see also: Are you still confused about what Programmers is for?
    – gnat
    Commented Sep 19, 2016 at 12:10
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    That post is a bit outdated. Commented Sep 19, 2016 at 17:51
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    it is interesting to notice that site scope as of today is pretty much the same as was outlined over 3 years ago (freelancing and licensing are gone / or almost gone but that's only because these matters are now better handled by newer specialized sites)
    – gnat
    Commented Sep 19, 2016 at 18:54
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    Yes, I think that was a major point in this whole ordeal: we did not want to change the scope, but rather align the site name, URI, tag line, help center, and on-topic page with what the scope already was. Commented Sep 19, 2016 at 21:40
  • @JörgWMittag we did not want to change the scope what? that's exactly what's happening here. Commented Sep 22, 2016 at 23:25
  • @Qix not in the slightest, consider taking a closer look at discussions in new-site-name tag. In particular, discussion that started this effort says it pretty clearly: "The site scope and FAQ has been clarified so it is very clear what is on or off topic now". And none of the following discussions had changed that stance (you maybe are somewhat confused about recent edits to Help Center but these are only rephrasing to satisfy bureaucratic requirement of SE management to have 4 bullets there instead of 6)
    – gnat
    Commented Sep 23, 2016 at 7:19
  • Please, please oh god don't change the name to software engineering. Software engineering is a terribly inaccurate name for software development, which is not in any way a rigorous engineering discipline like actual engineering disciplines.
    – mrr
    Commented Sep 28, 2016 at 4:30
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    @MilesRout: The new name is not intended to be accurate, nor is it targeted at people who require accuracy in their site names. The new name is intended for those individuals who think that peanut butter sandwiches are on-topic because programmers eat peanut butter sandwiches. It is our hope that those folks who see the name Software Engineering in the site title will view the site as a professional resource and hopefully ask their questions about peanut butter sandwiches somewhere else. Commented Sep 28, 2016 at 5:55
  • @RobertHarvey But questions related to 'people'ish things in software should be on-topic. There are several very, very highly upvoted and very helpful questions that have been closed years later because you keep narrowing the definition of what is on topic here.
    – mrr
    Commented Sep 28, 2016 at 8:06
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    @MilesRout: Because the new folks who see those questions think they can ask similar questions. But the questions they ask in these subject areas are terrible 99 percent of the time, and we can't afford to keep them on-topic for the 1 percent of remaining questions that people happen to find useful. Commented Sep 28, 2016 at 15:36

1 Answer 1


Why is "Programmers" changing to "Software Engineering?"

Because the name "Programmers" invites all sorts of questions that are only vaguely related to software engineering, questions that we don't want.

Has anything else changed?

Yes. The Tour and the Help Center have a new tag line, the public description of the site which is seen by everyone. The Help Center/Ask page includes four new bullets that describe the site's "scope:" the kinds of questions that are suitable to ask here.

If the Help Center describes the scope, then what is the purpose of this post?

To better describe the site in a way that makes it very clear what kinds of questions are acceptable to ask here. Over the years there has been a lot of confusion over what the site is all about, and we think we can now describe it in a way that is very clear and unambiguous.

OK, so what kinds of questions can I ask, then?

Questions directly related to the Systems Development Life Cycle, except for code troubleshooting and requests for written code.

What does "Questions related directly to the Systems Development Life Cycle" mean?

This is what it means (click on the picture to expand it):

enter image description here

If the subject area of your question is in that picture, it's probably an acceptable question. If the subject area of your question is not in that picture, or is only tangentially related to one of those topics, then it is probably off-topic.

Why can't I ask questions about writing or troubleshooting specific bits of code here?

Because that role is already well-served at Stack Overflow. This site, in part, is a refuge for those folks who have no interest in fixing other people's broken code or writing their code for them.

  • This always gives me the impression that we have a wide scope with a few exceptions. The last bit makes me think of law, opensource, and history stackexchange. To bad the last two are still in beta. It'd be nice to point to them. Commented Sep 19, 2016 at 6:38
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    @CandiedOrange Open Souce is certainly doing reasonably well, and is unlikely to close anytime soon.
    – ArtOfCode
    Commented Sep 19, 2016 at 9:29
  • I know Law or Opensource might be more appropriate for licensing questions, but if I encounter a license question, I doubt I should do anything to close it? What about historical questions regarding software licenses?
    – maple_shaft Mod
    Commented Sep 19, 2016 at 13:10
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    @maple_shaft as far as I know meta discussion to update and finalize on licensing is sort of "in the queue", it was just kind of obscured by name change efforts which are considered more important than licensing
    – gnat
    Commented Sep 19, 2016 at 16:16
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    @CandiedOrange Based on the help center at History Stackexchange I very much doubt that questions related to the history of programming, such as this recent question would be appropriate there. Would it be appropriate at History of Science and Mathematics? Don't know, maybe.
    – njuffa
    Commented Sep 19, 2016 at 17:29
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    While those sites are technically in beta, with the "new" graduation criteria, it looks pretty impossible for them to fail. Commented Sep 19, 2016 at 21:42
  • @CandiedOrange SQA Stack Exchange, which encompasses the entirety of the 7th step in Robert's diagram, has been in beta for 5 years. It isn't going to be graduating any time soon (fluctuates between 5 and 7 QPD, not the 10 required for graduating) but is certainly going to be available to handle questions related to testing but not "directly" related to the SDLC where they might previously been encouraged here.
    – corsiKa
    Commented Sep 20, 2016 at 22:16
  • @corsiKa not sure where you're going with this. Commented Sep 20, 2016 at 22:53
  • @CandiedOrange Your comment about law, opensource, and history stack exchanges mentioned that they're in beta. I was emphasizing the fact that a site being in beta doesn't mean it won't be able to receive the increased load due to a lack of scope of this site.
    – corsiKa
    Commented Sep 20, 2016 at 23:14
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    @corsika In that case I advocate providing links to all more appropriate sites to any topics we specifically call out as being anything less than on topic here. Finding out you're in the wrong place is easier to deal with when there is a clear signpost pointing you to the right place. Commented Sep 21, 2016 at 2:54
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    Who is the "we" that is constantly being referred to?
    – user541686
    Commented Sep 22, 2016 at 3:20
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    @Mehrdad probably 386 users who voted up this request to change site name (387 if you count author of request who apparently can not vote up own post)
    – gnat
    Commented Sep 22, 2016 at 6:04
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    It is not only the name that invites the questions you don't want, but the steaming casual-discussion coffee mug as well.
    – Jason C
    Commented Sep 22, 2016 at 13:39
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    The last paragraph of this answer is wrong. Questions seeking legal advice have been off-topic since early 2012, we have had no discussion that make licensing or history off-topic. There are new communities that are dedicated to Law and Open Source, until we come to a consensus, questions that can reasonably be expected to be answered by a software engineer are still on-topic. History has been on-topic since 2013.
    – Thomas Owens Mod
    Commented Sep 23, 2016 at 3:01
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    @ThomasOwens: I've removed History from the answer. Licensing questions should just go away; other sites can handle them. Commented Sep 23, 2016 at 3:50

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