My recent attempt to participate in this website has left me very confused about what is considered "on topic" here. I asked this question, which seemed like a good fit for this site because it is about software development practices and standards, and not a request to debug some code or recommend a product or tool. Furthermore, while I was searching for an answer on my own before asking the question, the most helpful Google result was this question on Software Engineering, which I linked to in my own question.

On the other hand, my question doesn't seem like a very good fit for StackOverflow, because questions there are supposed to be about solving specific programming problems, not "subjective" questions about best practices or how code "should" be written given that it already works. Yet my question was closed as "off-topic" for Software Engineering and migrated to StackOverflow.

As far as I can tell, there's no way for me to see why my question was closed and migrated, even though the decision was made by 5 separate users who probably had some discussion about it. When I click on the text "migrated from softwareengineering.stackexchange.com" below my question, it takes me to this page, which shows who voted to migrate it, but no reason or explanation for the action. (If I'm missing something, please let me know). So I'm asking here on Meta in the hopes of gaining a little more insight into what the moderators were thinking when they migrated my question.

2 Answers 2


I can't speak for the 5 users who voted to close and migrate. I can say that 3 users voted to migrate the question to Stack Overflow and 2 voted to close as our "assistance in explaining, writing or debugging code" custom close reason.

I disagree with this closure, but I reached out to a Stack Overflow moderator to reject the migration and then clean it up on this side once that happens. I then reopened the question and cleaned up the history. It should now be good to go here, where I hope you get the kinds of answers you are looking for.

Personally, I consider this to be a design question. You're asking about how to structure your code, specifically when calling C libraries from C++. I consider the structure and layout of the code to be the most detailed level of design. I don't see you asking for "assistance in explaining, writing or debugging code", since you seem to understand what the code does and aren't having any problems with making it work or fixing bugs. That close reason was specifically made for questions where the asker is either looking for people to write code for them or is getting an error message - and often, in both cases, they ask here after being blocked or limited from asking new questions on Stack Overflow.

  • Yeah, I see this happening with a question I asked yesterday too. Maybe I've been gone too long and this site has changed (the name changed since the last time I asked a question). But this softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/362699/… is about an idea within python, not about a specific programming problem. Commented Dec 20, 2017 at 15:24

Being one of the users who voted for migration, I can give my reasons for casting the vote.

In my opinion, once you need to know the particulars of a specific language to be able to give a good answer to a question, then the question has crossed the line between a design question (suitable for Software Engineering) and an implementation question (better suited for StackOverflow).

In the case of your question, you need to know about the differences in cast operations and their effects. This is knowledge that is specific for C++, so it should be answered by a C++ expert. Those are available on SO in abundance.

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