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I work on an open source tool called gem5 ( It's a tool for computer architecture research. Basically it simulates processors, caches, memories, networks, devices, etc. in detail so researchers can figure out what features go in the next generation of processors.

We have a development mailing list that is pretty active. The members are both developers and users since users almost always need to write code to model some new component. Many questions are pretty specific to the tool, but many questions get into the guts of C++ and the CPython API.

So, my question, would it be appropriate to direct people to stackoverflow to ask these questions? Should I instead apply to have a new stackexchange site?

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

So, my question, would it be appropriate to direct people to stackoverflow to ask these questions?

Yes! I'd strongly encourage you, however, to make it trivial and easy for people to see the latest questions related to your project by hosting an RSS tag feed on your site of the latest questions tagged gem5. Encourage users to use that tag when posting questions, and encourage experienced users to browse that tag frequently so that they receive quick attention.

Should I instead apply to have a new stackexchange site?

If your userbase and community is large enough and you expect hundreds of questions a week on the topic, then this is a reasonable path. Since there's such a large overlap, though, it might be easier to stick with Stack Overflow.

Keep in mind that there will be some questions your users have which would be off-topic here. You may still have to have a support forum of some sort to handle non-programming questions related to your project.

Actively watching the feed and answering or commenting on questions very quickly will go a long way toward preventing questions that are in the gray area between programming and non programming from being closed.

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Awesome. We won't have hundreds of questions per week, more like dozens or maybe 100 in particularly active weeks. Thanks! – Nathan Binkert Jan 10 '12 at 21:25

I would just suggest to keep in mind whether there is any community of people here who can answer questions about it. It does seem like questions about it would be appropriate, but for your sake (the project's sake), you want to make sure that there will be people here to answer the questions.

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Well, there are a dozen regular developers and it would be relatively easy to just agree that we'll all direct and field questions here. Thanks! – Nathan Binkert Jan 10 '12 at 21:26

StackOverflow is for programming and development questions. If a question falls into that category and otherwise meets the criteria in the FAQ, it's fine. Coding to model something with your tool is no different from coding for any other purpose, from our perspective.

It's sounds like your tool is something of a development aid, as well. As such it sounds like questions about problems installing it or how to do something with it, for example, might also be on-topic here. Just like Visual Studio issues not related directly to coding are on-topic. It's not quite clear to me where your tool falls though — it's possible those sort of regular user questions should go on Super User instead.

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