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Consider the mission of Stack Overflow, which states among other things...

With your help, we can build good answers to every imaginable programming question together. No matter what programming language you use, or what operating system you call home -- better programming is our goal.

So, in our goal to strive for this, if you were going to ask a question which can be asked in a specific scope, but was also valid to ask in a generalized language-free context, which way would you ask it? Do you think that even for a generally-applicable situation it is better to give a focused language scope to make the answers more focused? Do you think that there should be more language-agnostic questions to avoid keeping facts that can apply to many languages from being distributed in multiple dissociated questions?


This isn't necessarily limitted to Stack Overflow, nor to the scope of language specifically. In fact, I can use this question as an example! Without this latest statement, I could have scoped this question to simply be whether people prefer language-agnostic questions on SO versus language-specific on SO, when the choice between them is valid. No one need necessarily be any wiser to the possibility of asking it for a general thought with regards to these kinds of questions across all of the sister sites. What do you think would have been the preferred course of action in this case?

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3  
The fact is, most language agnostic questions (for example) are not in fact language agnostic. –  nb69307 May 17 '10 at 15:07
    
Good questions can be easily answered in both ways, and the best answers that emerge typically provide both a general overview and insights into particulars. –  Kenny Evitt May 21 '10 at 2:03

1 Answer 1

I think questions should be generalized as much as possible, but you can only generalize a question so much before the answers become unusable for your situation, which defeats the purpose of the site.

There have to be certain constraints on the question in order for people to give useful answers

  • without writing pages and pages of scenarios (which is discouraged, and not helpful), or
  • giving answers that are unusable for your situation (if you need to write an algorithm in C# and all the answers you get are in BrainSomethingSomething, that's not very helpful, even if the answers are technically correct)
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1  
Wow, someone is sensitive. –  Jon Seigel May 17 '10 at 15:19
    
+1 (comment) though it's not immediately obvious what you're referring to. –  Pops May 17 '10 at 16:42
    
I already did, that's why I gave you the +1 in the first place. –  Pops May 17 '10 at 17:40

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