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Should one direct an 11 year old to ask questions about programming on StackOverflow? Is there another site in the StackExchange network that is better suited?

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I'd say yes, but since you seem to know the kid offer them guidance and help formulating the question well. –  Flexo May 10 '12 at 8:04

2 Answers 2

up vote 10 down vote accepted

Well, no. Not because of the questions they might ask, but because our Terms of Use unfortunately forbids people who are under the age of 13 from participating on any of the sites in the Stack Exchange network. If it comes to the attention of a moderator that the user behind a particular account is under the age of 13, that account will have to be suspended until the user's 13th birthday. This is seen as a hard-and-fast rule by the site administrators, and not something that they're willing or able to work around, even for child prodigies.

If you think their question is good and worth asking, then you'll have to get it from them and ask it yourself. Don't worry about whether it is "too simple"—there's no "experts only" requirement in place for questions on Stack Overflow. We allow any question, as long as it is well-formulated and answerable, in accordance with the general guidelines in our FAQ.

The advantage of asking the question yourself is that you'll be able to ensure that it's appropriately constructed and a good fit for Stack Overflow. Questions like "What programming language should I learn first?" are not allowed, and will quickly be closed as "not constructive". But since it is a question targeted to a very different audience than our typical user, you might want to mention that explicitly somewhere in the question. (Or just in case it gets wildly upvoted and makes its way in to your "top questions"—although there's little reason to be embarrassed by asking a "simple" question!)

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As far as I know, that rule applies for all sites under the Stack Exchange network, not just Stack Overflow. Right? (OP also asked if there's any other site in the network that is better suited) –  Shadow Wizard May 10 '12 at 8:11
    
@sha Yes, it does. –  Cody Gray May 10 '12 at 8:12

questions about programming

No, because StackOverflow isn't for questions about programming - it's about programming questions.

So, "how should I store an IEEE 754 floating point value in SQL Server when float doesn't allow NaNs?" good; "what's recursion and when should I favour it over iteration?" bad.

Also, and here I'm straying into opinion, a collection of Q & A makes for a terrible learning resource - far better a book or other resource intended to serve a didactic purpose.

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I recommended a book too. But "in the old days" the USENET had helped me a lot for both questions about programming and programming questions. Since people move from what is left from the USENET to Q&A sites, there should be space allowed for questions about programming too. Somewhere (not on StackOverflow). –  adamo May 10 '12 at 8:51
    
Computer users of any type learn a lot of thing wen put next to other people of his own level or slightly high. Wen theres a lot of ways to solve a problem, most computer users learn only one way, and ignore the others. Putting togueter people, everyone learn from each another better or different ways to do thing. Theres a lot of "Oh god!, I never tried that!" or "You can do that?". So a 11 years old programmer can learn a lot from reading newbie questions and answers. –  Tei May 10 '12 at 13:50

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