Every so often, we get a question asking what design pattern to use in order to achieve some goal, such as...

I wonder if a lot of the people asking these questions aren't aware that "design pattern" means a specific and common solution to one particular reoccurring problem, and believe that it just means "way of designing something". If so, these people aren't really asking "what design pattern should I use", and telling them that that's not a good question to ask isn't helpful. What they're really asking is just "how should I design this".

When we see questions like this, should we edit them so that they just ask "what design should I use" or "how should I design this" instead of "what design pattern should I use"?


2 Answers 2


I would appreciate it if everyone, before over-hastily voting to close any question with the buzzword "design pattern" in it as being a dupe of Choosing the right design pattern, would first

  • take a deep breath
  • count to ten, and
  • think twice how the question changes when replacing "design pattern" by "design approach".

If the question makes more sense then, and does not become too broad, my recommendation is to edit it accordingly (or, if not enough rep, write a comment for the OP asking for a change of wording). If, however, it is still looks like a low-quality Shopping for patterns-type question, then, but only then, vote to close it.


Words as specific, best, in combination with design, imply the user wants to know what is best. Even the term design pattern can be described as the standard ways to do things. A standard is something that people follow most of the time, otherise it wasnt standard, but standards also implies thats its not always the best or that there can be other ways to solve the same problem. If it were common for a certain problem to compress data there are several ways to do that, there might be a theoretical best practice to compress it, but even that could change with progress in math and computing.

Maybe its a bit of language writting thing
What is the "best design", pattern / pattern used as schematic*
What is the best, "design pattern"

*some people tend to think strongly visual when programming and so i can imagine that problems appear to them as schamtics of blocks resulting in patterns

Sure inside software development design pattern has a specific meaning. But a lot of people code, not everyone got educated in it, and some are just engineers from other areas who unaware of the terms actually try to say what the best "software design".

In the end i think, your question is all about should we stay to scholar explanation of this term/ or might it be that we understand what that person want and overtime this got a different meaning. Jargon words who changed over time: http://ideas.ted.com/20-words-that-once-meant-something-very-different/

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