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I have a question that I am quite sure does not belong to SO: it is a general, broad question about programming language implementation.

Also, I do not feel it belongs to CS, because it is not strictly computer science (it is more of an engineering question). To be honest, after reading this answer I was leaning towards CS, but then in the CS FAQ I read "(avoid questions where) there is no actual problem to be solved"

In general, I wonder where to go for questions that:

  • are not about theory (for those, I would go to cs.stackexchange)
  • are not really practical programming problems (for those, I would go to SO)
  • are not design questions (programmers)

The question I am referring to are something like "Are function calls always implemented using a stack?" "Under which conditions can I transform a function call into CPS, and how would I do that?" (general, not related to a particular piece of code).

Where do questions about programming "curiosities", where there is no actual problem to be solved belong? Or maybe they do not belong to stackexchange at all?

share|improve this question

marked as duplicate by gnat, Flyk, Martijn Pieters discussion Mar 7 '15 at 23:36

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

Your two examples do not sound on-topic anywhere on SE. "Are function calls always implemented using a stack?" is a poll question, we'd have to look at every programming language/framework/whateverelse to know that. "Under which conditions can I transform a function call into CPS, and how would I do that?" That sounds like a bad question, and I sure hope you can add a lot of body to it! – Time Traveling Bobby Jun 7 '13 at 7:15
That question can't be reasonably answered by anyone, anywhere, so does not fit anywhere. – Emrakul Jun 7 '13 at 7:15
"Under which conditions can I transform a function call into CPS?" That sounds like a theory question to me. – hammar Jun 7 '13 at 7:16
For theoretical questions (without actual code, examples would be nice anyway) Programmers should be fine, but please be aware that I'm not fully familiar with the scope of Programmers, so I might be wrong there. – Time Traveling Bobby Jun 7 '13 at 7:17
@M.NightDemonbobby that is what I feared, although I do not really feel the first one is really a poll question..But maybe asking "Which are the alternatives to using a stack to represent function call semantics?" is better.. The problem remains: they are question without a specific problem. Do they belong anywhere on SE? – Lorenzo Dematté Jun 7 '13 at 7:19
@KnightswhosayNi which one? – Lorenzo Dematté Jun 7 '13 at 7:19
@hammar yes, it is theory... do you think it should be fine on CS? – Lorenzo Dematté Jun 7 '13 at 7:21
@LorenzoDematté: I think it could be, as long as you focus on the theory and the algorithms (perhaps in separate questions). Though you should probably check their FAQ first. – hammar Jun 7 '13 at 7:28
Don't worry so much about posting on the correct site, if the question is well defined and interesting, we'll find the better site and migrate it. If not, no site was correct to begin with. – Yannis Jun 7 '13 at 7:59
I don't really mind but... duplicate of two newer (by years) questions? Shouldn't be the other way around? – Lorenzo Dematté Jun 14 at 12:00
up vote 5 down vote accepted

First, topically your questions belong on Programmers. They might also work on Computer Science, but I'm not a regular there and I wouldn't really know.

As for the "problem to be solved" mantra, you're quite right, it doesn't exactly work with intellectual curiosity questions. However, if you are genuinely interested in a topic, have done your best to research it and are stuck, I'd say you are facing an actual problem and we are all here to help. From experience, if your questions are concise, precise and show sufficient prior effort, you'll be just fine.

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Thank you, I will do more research and then I will try to post one on Programmers. I have done some research, but what I would definitely like is asking an expert because I thing I am missing something – Lorenzo Dematté Jun 7 '13 at 8:03
@LorenzoDematté Sounds like a plan. Try one of your examples first, see how the community responds. If there's criticism, try to learn from it for the next time. When it comes to vague / broad questions, be warned: we prefer to close early, mostly to avoid letting too many vague answers sneak in. But we also love to re-open if the question is brought to shape after a constructive Meta discussion. And... if something bad happens, don't hesitate to flag. We haven't had many flags lately, and I'm starting to get bored ;) – Yannis Jun 7 '13 at 8:10
my take on this is, at Programmers, purpose of the question may be 1) not immediate and 2) not direct. "If you ask about mission critical software a week before interview, you're probably few months too late: few months ago, you should ask yourself whether you are interested, and what would you want to understand about doing software development in this context..." Also I expect question to be stated in a way that it would have "(authoritative) answers, not items or ideas or opinions" – gnat Jun 7 '13 at 9:15

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