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Sometimes it is very hard to understand what the problem put forth in a question is. Many questions stay unanswered because of this.

However, if someone would be able to look at all code, it will be much easier to answer.

So, code can be put on Github. It is great, but it requires some additional knowledge and preparation, from both sides.

It is much easier to use some online collaboration tool. Cloud9 could suit for this purpose well. It is open source, it is hosted on, and signup is free for open source projects.

It can be used 'as is', but it would be great, if it could somehow be integrated with Stack Overflow, via:

  • File upload form which creates Cloud9 project. It then can be auto-linked from question.
  • Form for Cloud9 project name
  • Github repo name to create Cloud9 project from

Stack Overflow extended user info could be displayed in the Cloud9 project - it will be visible who comes with help, and Stack Overflow gamification can be applied too: points for helping in Cloud9 can be added on Stack Overflow, and/or some Cloud9-related badges could be added.

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If the problem can't be scaled down to a snippet of code that fits on an SO post, chances are it's not a good SO question (too localized). I don't think we want to encourage exploration of large blobs of code. – Mat Sep 29 '12 at 10:46
the further away the code is from the Q&A the less likely the code will match the situation. Also invites spammers to post links advertising projects. – deleted_user Sep 29 '12 at 10:57
This might be something for Codereview.SE though? Not sure – Pëkka Sep 29 '12 at 14:50
Thank for mention Codereview, can be useful. – denis.peplin Sep 29 '12 at 18:38
up vote 3 down vote accepted

The problem with encouraging users to attach large blocks of code or an entire project is that the main goal of the Q&A model is to provide questions and answers that will not just help the asker, but also help future visitors for years to come.

If a question asked requires an entire project in order to answer, the chances of someone else googling the same problem becomes smaller and smaller, indirectly proportional to the size of the codebase.

As a result, the best questions, the ones most likely to help future visitors, are those that are broken down into fine grained, measurable units.

With targeted questions, it's possible you and I can both be helped by the answers to the same post, even if I'm working on a chat application and you're working on blogging software. In short, it scales better.

Lastly, the more we keep the actual question and answers contained to a single page, the less likely link rot will ruin a useful post or create confusion by forcing people to go dig through other resources. If each Stack Exchange answer is self-contained, they become more useful, even years from now.

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