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Where I work, I'm probably the one with the most experience designing and developing large, complex systems. The unfortunate thing is I'm only a few years out of college and I often have a whole lot of questions and no one to ask. These aren't strongly technical but often have to do with code style/smells, organization, architecture, etc.

Are these sorts of soft-coding/mentoring-type questions appropriate for Stack Overflow? Should they be community wiki?

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You probably won't need to ask many of your questions, as they sound like things that have been asked already and have ample discussion around them already. Take a look through the [best-practices] tag to start, or read through the archives for the tag(s) covering your favourite language. –  Ether Apr 6 '10 at 17:10

3 Answers 3

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I think you're in the right place for your questions. I'd let the question itself be the guide on whether it's community wiki or not. In general, if there isn't a right answer, I'd first consider if it's a programming question and, if so, ask it here, but as community wiki. If it's a programming question with a right answer, then there's no need for community wiki.

The fundamental guideline or ethos, IMO, is that questions that primarily elicit opinions or measure participation/interest (i.e., polls) should not be used to garner reputation. Reputation should be earned by providing factual answers or asking questions that contribute to someone's knowledge of a specific problem. That said, there's a lot of gray area and I'm probably not even consistent in my application of the guideline.

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Are these sorts of soft-coding/mentoring-type questions appropriate for Stack Overflow?

Yes

Should they be community wiki?

No

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In general I would say yes, they are appropriate for Stack Overflow, we have many questions about architecture, design, code style, etc. They're actually fairly popular tags.

The caveat is that if you're relatively inexperienced (and we all were at one point), then you may accidentally stumble onto questions for which there are no right answers, or the "best" answers are hotly contested, and these may end up getting closed as S&A - so just don't be too offended if this happens. I had a few questions closed when I started out too.

If your question does get closed, or you start getting downvotes or comments that a question is too subjective or should be Community Wiki, then try to think of ways to reword your question to be more "objective", as I explained in this answer from the other day.

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