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I was wondering what to do with this question:

"XML is one of the most widely-used formats for sharing structured information today." [...] is there any evidence (studies, reviews) for this statement you can find on the w3c-homepage?

I feel somewhat inclined to defend it - asking for scientific data on this is a fair question. Still, it doesn't feel like a good fit on SO. Maybe on programmers? Probably not.

Where can stuff like this be asked? Or is this viewed as a shopping recommendation, unsuitable anywhere on the network?

There are similar questions but most of them are very old:

Can something be done to fix this question? If so, what?

share|improve this question
I tried to improve the question, but I'm still not sure if it's a good fit for SE. It does ask for official references, which seems like it should be on-topic, but the concern is that it would attract link-only answers that are likely to be useless in a very short period of time. – Cody Gray Feb 28 '12 at 18:36

I think Skeptics.SE might be the best fit

From their faq (emphasis mine)

Skeptics - Stack Exchange is for challenging unreferenced notable claims, pseudoscience and biased results. Skeptics is about applying skepticism — it is for researching the evidence behind claims you encounter. It is not for speculation, philosophical discussions or investigating original claims.

If you have a question about the accuracy of public claims made in the media or elsewhere, if you're interested in the evidence behind what you hear or read, then you are in the right place.


Looks like that's where it ended up.

share|improve this answer
Skeptics is indeed a possibility... It wouldn't be one of their top questions, but the crowd there has an uncanny ability to provide excellent answers to the worst of questions. – Yannis Feb 28 '12 at 17:44
Correct. It would be on-topic on Skeptics. Technically, we'd need a proof that the claim is notable but, judging by the comment on the question, that should not be a problem. Feel free to migrate it to us. – Borror0 Feb 28 '12 at 21:45
@Borror0 I guess you'll need to get a SO mod's attention to do that. Is there a way as a moderator from Skeptics.SE to do that to do that directly? – Some Helpful Commenter Feb 28 '12 at 21:49

I fail to see why this question isn't suitable for Programmers. Per their faq (emphasis mine):

Programmers — Stack Exchange is a site for professional programmers who are interested in getting expert answers on conceptual questions about software development. If you have a question about…

  • algorithm and data structure concepts
  • design patterns
  • developer testing
  • development methodologies
  • freelancing and business concerns
  • quality assurance
  • software architecture
  • software engineering
  • software licensing

This seems like a non-subjective question that fits into, at the very least, algorithm and data structure concepts and development methodologies, and possibly software architecture.

share|improve this answer
Fair enough - although it's about the use of a data structure concept, hence my hesitation... I'll flag a programmers mod and ask them if they want it – Pëkka Feb 28 '12 at 17:30
Could you please expand your answer to tell us why you think that particular question fits the categories you emphasized? IMHO it has absolutely nothing to do with any of them, and you forgot to emphasize the conceptual questions about software development part... (P.SE mod) – Yannis Feb 28 '12 at 17:41
@Pekka'sReputationBordello I'd be worried if I saw this question - as stated - on Programmers. – ChrisF Feb 28 '12 at 17:42
@Yannis - it seems to fit perfectly with development methodologies and software architecture. Are you saying this isn't conceptual enough? That's it's a simple fact debunking that belongs on Skeptics.SE? – Adam Rackis Feb 28 '12 at 17:43
@Chris - is this not conceptual enough? Is it a bad fit simply because it's a fact-check question? – Adam Rackis Feb 28 '12 at 17:44
@AdamRackis Questions on prototyping, RAD, waterfall, etc, would fit under development methodologies, and they might even survive if they were simple fact checking questions. Similarly for questions on event-driven architecture, SOA, n-tier in software architecture. I honestly don't see how this question fits under any of our on topic categories, similarly to how a question about browser usage has nothing to do with a browser's architecture... Obviously it's not a conceptual question, but still I don't think it's even tangentially related. – Yannis Feb 28 '12 at 18:01
@Yannis - fair enough. I feel silly on the development methodologies, more so on algorithm and data structure concepts (I have a degree in CS, after all, I should know what data structures are). I am curious though, whether this question would still be considered on-topic today, and which bullets it would fit in if so – Adam Rackis Feb 28 '12 at 18:05
Definitely software engineering, which is my catch all category when I have no idea where a question fits ;) Seriously now, it's somewhat about architecture, but it's mostly not constructive. It's also a bit off topic, as we have "which technology is better" on our "it's not about" list... – Yannis Feb 28 '12 at 18:11

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