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How can I determine if a question I want to ask is best suited for Stack Overflow or for one of the other Stack Exchange sites? For example, there is programming.stackexchange.com, where programming questions may be better suited, or the gamedevelopment Stack Exchange site, or networking, or security, etc.

I've noticed some questions get downvoted, closed or moved with comments that they should have been on one of the others in the first place, but there are plenty of Stack Overflow questions that could easily fit on the other Stack Exchange sites as well that don't seem held to this.

So what should be considered in deciding whether to ask on Stack Overflow or ask elsewhere?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 8 down vote accepted

The FAQ is a good start. It provides a guideline for what you should and what you shouldn't ask on Stack Overflow and any other Stack Exchange site.

Another good indicator is looking for similar questions on Stack Overflow and check if they have been either migrated or closed as off-topic. If you are still not sure, you can ask here on Meta Stack Overflow if it is an appropriate question.

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I would take your best guess as to the optimal spot for the question. If you're wrong, don't worry too much about it yet. Read the FAQ if you can.

But the single best thing you can do is to ask a great question. The guideline's vary a bit, but the answers are still the same. Make it interesting, sufficient detail, etc. Then, if it's not the best place, it will at least get migrated to the best place, as opposed to closed. This especially will happen if you are close, but not quite, on topic.

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1  
To expand on this answer: If you're wrong, don't worry too much about it because high-quality questions that are just not a good fit for the site that you posted them on can be easily migrated to another site in the network. This is the purpose for which inter-site migration was designed, and you shouldn't take offense if one of your questions gets migrated. –  Cody Gray Aug 12 '11 at 3:59

If after reading the FAQ and looking for similar questions (as cularis has suggested) you honestly believe SO is the correct place for your question, then just post the question. If you're right, you'll get answers. If you're wrong, then your question will be closed/migrated and you'll be that much better at knowing where to ask next time.

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