Meta Stack Exchange is where users like you discuss bugs, features, and support issues that affect the software powering all 157 Stack Exchange communities.

What is meta?
Here's how it works:
  1. Any Stack Exchange user can ask a question
  2. The community provides support, votes on ideas, and reports bugs
  3. Your voice helps shape the way Stack Exchange operates

My field of expertise is relational databases. These are very complex pieces of software and some questions about these products are of the form of "why does this happen?" Two examples I remember vividly are

  • a strange installer bug
  • a question about one particular DBMSes sorting and execution being slower when allocated more memory

In both of these cases I commented and suggested they ask on the vendor's forum or mailing list as they are much more likely to get helped there.

Is this OK?

I'm thinking in future I should also suggest that they report back and answer their own question here.

share|improve this question
up vote 11 down vote accepted

Is this OK?

Absolutely. Especially in a comment.

We're all big fans of Stack Overflow and seeing to it that as much (relevant) traffic and knowledge as possible make their way here, and stay here. The site's got a mission of being the canonical archive of Q&A, etc. etc. and most active users stand behind that mission.

However, that does never mean it's forbidden to recommend other, more suitable places where to get help with a specific issue. That would be taking the mission way too far.

Pointing to another site is, however, never a valid answer if just left on its own. Answers on Stack Overflow are expected to contain meaningful information independent from external links.

Sometimes, a question may be completely off topic on Stack Overflow; in that case, it's good to leave a helpful comment pointing to a more suitable site, and vote to close as Off Topic.

share|improve this answer
Great. Stack Overflow does seem to become a "victim of it's own success" with people asking here first and forgetting about the more specific forums where they can get help. – Colin 't Hart Oct 30 '12 at 18:31
@Colin yup, definitely! Plus people start forgetting about Google, turning Stack Overflow (partly) into a giant mechanical turk where users do Google searches for other users :) – Pëkka Oct 30 '12 at 18:31
And then there's the joy of finding that the top google hit for some problem is a SO question littered with "just google it" remarks... hoist by our own petard it seems. – McCannot Oct 30 '12 at 18:58
@McCannot true, but there's always the second and third hits... I know it's a bizarre situation but it's not like the search results are full with links to SO. Simple stuff can and should still be Googled. – Pëkka Oct 30 '12 at 18:59
Yes, I was mostly remarking on the humor of the situation, and from my perspective as someone who answers questions on SO I largely agree with you. But from my perspective as someone who's encountered this a few times when googling for solutions... I sometimes wish people would link to something useful anyway. Maybe the too-lazy-to-search questioner doesn't deserve it, but it's frustrating for the people who find the question because they did search. :T – McCannot Oct 30 '12 at 19:12
@McCannot yeah, I see your point. Maybe those lazy questions should be removed so they don't litter the Google index. – Pëkka Oct 30 '12 at 21:14

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .