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Recently a lot of questions from SO has been migrated to SU, which seems to have been given the impression that it is the SO and SF dumping ground, which I strongly disagree with.

However, there is a few questions regarding the setup of developer machines, hardware and software related, and although I agree that it is SU material, the audience is not as wide for these as SO.

Part of the problem is that some users end up pointing back to SO saying the question is a duplicate. The other part of the problem is that some SO users want the question migrated to SU, and some SU users wants the question migrated to SO. Confused much? (There is one particular case where the same user couldn't make up his mind, first he wanted it on SU, then decided it should go to SO when it did move)

There is no way to flag a question as duplicate cross-sites, the best solution is to post a related question link to the other site

Examples:

Building a fast Visual Studio Machine
Help with developer machine hardware and software setup
Can all in one desktops be good developer machines?
2009 Ultimate Developer Rigs

So where should question regarding developer machine setups go? SO? SU? Non?

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6 Answers

up vote 21 down vote accepted

I think this is part of a wider issue. I've seen over-enthusiastic close requests on bash shell, LaTeX and Vim questions, and have even seen Subversion questions voted against because the target of version control included non-code files! Justifications are rarely given, but when they are, they are based on an extremely narrow focus - one that should exclude Eclipse questions from SO, for example.

I don't understand why the community appears so keen to close and eradicate questions that are useful to programmers, but just happen not to include actual code. We are in danger of throwing away valuable and interesting insights! Clearly the pool of expertise and interest for questions about development processes, development tools and development machines lies with the developers - on SO.

Looking to the future, what would a SO with developer machine questions actually look like? I would expect there to only be a relatively small number of these questions before they become duplicates. They would have specific tags. They would be useful to developers. Are we really that obsessed with the purity of SO questions and answers to ban them from the site?

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+1 Very well said. I happen to agree on this topic. There is certain questions that do belong on SO, although they are offtopic. To many questions are being migrated and once done, we can't migrate them back easily. –  Diago Sep 22 '09 at 7:22
    
We need a developercomputer.stackexchange.com page and a programmingbooks.stackexchange.com and .... –  Ivo Flipse Sep 22 '09 at 7:37
    
+1 well said. I too agree that closing seems to be overzealous at times. –  cletus Sep 22 '09 at 11:07
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I think the questions fits Super User more than Stack Overflow. Though of course a computer used by a programmer might be programmer related, but programmers also use cars and coffee machine and we don't want to discuss those there (ok some people would) either.

BUT asking those questions on Super User would mean that people from Stack Overflow with experience on this topic would have to visit Super User (if they don't already) to answer it and I don't think the vast majority of Stack Overflow also visits Super User on a regular basis.

Still, it should belong on Super User

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-1, just because I disagree with your viewpoint. I would rather see questions related to development on SO than on SU –  a_m0d Sep 22 '09 at 7:36
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Fair enough :-) –  Ivo Flipse Sep 22 '09 at 7:58
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@Ivo: No downvote, but IMHO the objection falls flat. We're not talking about all things that programmers use, we're talking about the hardware which makes programming work possible. A developer's machine is critical to his job as a programmer and is distinct from other people's computers. While coffee or a car might have good traits for a programmer, there's nothing that makes them distinctively good for programming. A developer machine is critically different in that it does have characterstics that will make it suitable or unsuitable specifically for programming. –  ベレアー アダム Sep 22 '09 at 12:23
    
Then perhaps the question should be: what is important in a programmers computer? Since that answer teaches people something about where to look after, not just: buy an i7 with 12 Gb RAM. This will only last for a season, while something like: make sure you have a fast processor so you compile faster. Or something like that. –  Ivo Flipse Sep 22 '09 at 13:13
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If we define the right place with Where can the most people help them, then Stack Overflow is the right place.
I vote for SO.

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I'd almost argue for SF then if SF is supposed to be the place for the people most likely to be responsible for ordering such machines. –  Eric Sep 22 '09 at 10:39
    
Responsible for ordering and Knowing the requirements are most often mutually exclusive. –  Ladybug Killer Sep 22 '09 at 11:53
    
True, but I wouldn't expect most developers to have a clue as to what they really need for development either. –  Eric Sep 22 '09 at 12:03
    
Are you kidding? With which developers are you working with? I know exactly what I need. So, I do not get it :( –  Ladybug Killer Sep 22 '09 at 12:10
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From the description, it seems like super user is the place.

Super User is for computer enthusiasts and power users. If you have a question about ...

* computer hardware
* computer software

-- Edit

Responding to the comment, my opinion, is they don't belong anywhere. But that's mainly because I don't care about such posts.

-- Edit

Actually that's not entirely true; I just don't think they should be on SO. (And I haven't seen one there, to be honest). I do not fit the description of someone who uses SU, hence because of my dislike for those posts, and the fact that they do fit with the SU description, it makes sense that they go there.

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+1 That's a better way of putting it, though I understand the reason for doubting where to put them. Stack Overflow also has managing and book questions there. –  Ivo Flipse Sep 22 '09 at 7:10
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I am fully aware of what the description states. However the issue is related to the current scenarios, ie. the questions are moved to SU, and then users want them moved back, and vice versa. The idea around the question is to get concessus from the community, since these question affect developers directly who may not visit SU at all. –  Diago Sep 22 '09 at 7:20
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To rehash/expand on my comment to Ivo:

It belongs on StackOverflow, because the question is programming-related.

A developer's machine is critical to his job as a programmer and is distinct from other people's computers. While coffee or a car might have good traits for a programmer, there's nothing that makes them distinctively good for programming. A developer machine is critically different in that it does have characterstics that will make it suitable or unsuitable specifically for programming.

SuperUser is for questions about computer hardware and software. In general. As in, questions that aren't specific enough to be appropriate for SO or SF. In my opinion, this question is specific enough to be on SO. After all, all questions on SO are about software, it just so happens that because they are about software development (i.e. programming-related), they belong on SO and not on SU.

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Isn’t there a simple (conceptually if not to code) solution. Questions which are debatable could be on both sites as the same question, so answers, votes etc from both sites are shown together.

Otherwise someone will ask a question about building a developer machine for iphone development. The “code only” zealots of SO won’t want it, and the “not about phone” zealots on SU won’t want it either. The question clearly belongs somewhere.

The other option is for people to chill out a bit about what goes where, does it really matter if things are a little off topic.

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