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The question: Tips for using Google when looking for C stuff, rather than C++?

The FAQ says the following:

We feel the best Stack Overflow questions have a bit of source code in them, but if your question generally covers …

  • software tools commonly used by programmers

I definitely consider Google to be a software tool commonly used by programmers. The question I asked also is a real problem I have with this tool, and looking to solve. So why was it closed?

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closed as off-topic by CRABOLO, Doorknob, Aziz Shaikh, gnat, Lance Roberts Jan 22 at 15:54

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

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My gut feeling is it should be closed, but I'm not sure which one of the rules supports it :) – Pëkka Dec 8 '12 at 16:41
Head long into the rush of webapps.stackexchange.com/questions/tagged/google-search – random Dec 8 '12 at 17:11
You're asking about how Google works, that's simply not a programming question. – casperOne Dec 9 '12 at 2:29

2 Answers 2

Google is a tool that programmers use, but it's hardly exclusive to programmers. There are a seemingly infinite number of verbs that can come after "As a [foo] programmer, how do I .." .. and we're simply not equipped to handle that. Consider the following:

Well, darn it, you let the person wondering how to use Google as a programmer ask their question, why can't I ask the same about Excel?

Sooner or later, you'll get someone asking about boating as a programmer. That, actually happened. Programmers could conceivably use anything to get our jobs done, heck we use rubber ducks. We have to draw a line, so we ask that the tool you're asking about be rather exclusively used by programmers. That is what is meant by tools that programmers use.

If you've got a question about an editor, a compiler, a debugger .. we're here to help provided that the problem relates to programming. Tips on how to narrow down Google searches (essentially, what you're asking) are of a far broader interest than a very programming specific community.

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Honing the Google is more Web Apps – random Dec 8 '12 at 17:10

"How to Google something?" is not really a programming question. Even if you end up Google-ing programming related content. So as such I would say it's off topic.

The whole "software tool commonly used by programmers" angle doesn't really work either. I'm sure most of us commonly use a browser. Or some IM program. That doesn't mean questions about those fall under this header. Questions about IDEs, compilers, etc. would fall under this header.

All in all, I would say it's off-topic indeed.

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But you could make the argument that how to Google something C specific is very, very programming related in a way. This is a really weird edge case... – Pëkka Dec 8 '12 at 16:48
@Pekka I disagree. That is simply a topic-specific rephrasing of a more general "How do I search for X, excluding Y" type question. I would not be able to suggest an appropriate SE, but I don't think the question itself is enough programming related by virtue of the content searched for. – Bart Dec 8 '12 at 16:50

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