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Hi,

I have a couple of open source PHP libraries on Google Code. Someone who uses one of them recently suggested I create a forum for users to post questions/answers (or at the very least, allow me to post my answers somewhere public so other people can learn from them). This is something Google Code doesn't offer.

Given that these are very small libraries (in terms of user base) creating a whole forum for them seems like overkill. As Stack Overflow works so well, and is already full of people who might be able to answer questions before I can, is it OK to direct people here to post their questions, with a specific tag that I can monitor?

I only ask because although many of the questions are about broad subjects such as XPath etc., some are very specific to code I've written, which only I could answer (probably), and I don't want to hijack Stack Overflow for my own private Q&A site. There's also the bit in the FAQ that says "software tools commonly used by programmers" which my code obviously isn't.

Be great to know what the opinion on this is. Cheers,
Jack

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Just for the records: Qooxdoo is using SO as one of their main support channels: qooxdoo.org/community . –  Time Traveling Bobby Jun 10 '10 at 11:51
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I believe sponsoring a tag would be more appropriate than monitor...just my opinion. –  IAbstract Jun 10 '10 at 12:08
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Would Jeopardy-style questions by the author of a library become a grey area? –  Andrew Grimm Jun 10 '10 at 12:33

3 Answers 3

up vote 3 down vote accepted

I believe it's becoming reasonably common to use Stack Overflow for "how do I do X" questions, but also to have a mailing list for forum for more detailed questions, discussions, feature requests etc. Basically consider whether a topic could be answered reasonably by other users of your libraries, or whether it's really aimed at you personally.

While Google Code doesn't provide forums as such, it's dead easy to set up a Google Group - that's what I've done for Noda Time, for example. I think that would definitely be worth doing whether you also use Stack Overflow or not.

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Aye, I have to agree here. I have seen many, many open source projects using Groups as their main support forum. In many cases, I cross post questions from here to the group, with a link. –  snicker Jun 11 '10 at 15:20

I only ask because although many of the questions are about broad subjects such as XPath etc., some are very specific to code I've written, which only I could answer (probably), and I don't want to hijack Stack Overflow for my own private Q&A site. There's also the bit in the FAQ that says "software tools commonly used by programmers" which my code obviously isn't.

For these reasons, I'd vote no, unless you can make a reasonable case that your tool is not "too localized".

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Which libraries? You should link to them here so we can take a look. (I looked in your profile hoping to find them. FYI, you should put links to your work in there.)

I think as long as you have your users tag the questions appropriately with the name of the tool and language, it should be fine. One thing you should warn people not to do is address their questions directly to you. (I give this warning because we've had people do that before.) Just let them know that you'll monitor the tag for your tool. Also encourage them to do the same and answer any questions that they can.

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