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On Stack Exchange, I've pretty much only ever used Stack Overflow, and one thing they push (fairly) strongly is that questions should have specific answers. Make yes or no questions, or questions on syntax or the usage of functions, or whatever.

The point is that your question should create answers, not discussion.

My question is - what if you actually need a small discussion? For example, if you want people's opinions on options for some kind of syntax or usability of your program - a "How should I..." as opposed to a "How do I...".

Is there a subset of Stack Exchange (or of Stack Overflow) for those kinds of questions?

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6  
Have you tried Stack Overflow's chat? –  Yannis Sep 27 '13 at 0:02
    
Is this some sort of meta-question? –  orique Sep 27 '13 at 22:34
    
Yeah? Asking if there's a particular subsite devoted to a particular question seems fairly meta to me. –  Kevin Mills Sep 28 '13 at 0:31

3 Answers 3

up vote 11 down vote accepted

You could try

  • http://chat.stackoverflow.com - just remember to not come off sounding like a help vampire; just because the rules are relaxed doesn't mean you can walk in and get free code!
  • http://slant.co - Great place to get an opinion. You can see how many votes each option has recieved, and it gives you reasons why.
  • If all else fails, Google "programming forum" shudder and one of those may work. This should be a last resort

The Stack Exchange model is simply not suited to discussion-type questions.

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Thanks. To be honest, I'd never even looked at the chat, so I had no idea how lax or how active it was. –  Kevin Mills Sep 27 '13 at 0:28

My question is - what if you actually need a small discussion? For example, if you want people's opinions on options for some kind of syntax or usability of your program - a "How should I..." as opposed to a "How do I...".

Use one of your SE site's chat rooms, and ask people there. There's a link to chat in the top bar of every site.

On RPG.SE, we actively encourage people to inquire on chat when they actually need to discuss things with people. We have an active chat room, so there's usually someone available to help out.

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Make your "how" question part of the process of determining what the answer should be.

Q: How do I tell which point-and-shoot cameras take good low light photos?

A: I strongly recommend looking for something with

  • a fast lens (2.0 at least)
  • reasonable ISO handling (at least 400, but preferably 800)
  • the biggest sensor available

    The sum of these factors are really critical for low light situations.

Make your question interesting to the site experts, and useful to others. Make sure you have a good title that properly represents the content of your question.

Example:
parallel programming - I need some clarifications

The OP demonstrates prior knowledge of the topic being asked about, and brings that knowledge to the question, asking for specific clarifications. The question is interesting to the experts, because it exercises their expert domain knowledge.

In addition, it's got decent grammar and punctuation, and is asked in a general enough way to be useful to others who come across the question.

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