What is meta? ×
Meta Stack Exchange is where users like you discuss bugs, features, and support issues that affect the software powering all 134 Stack Exchange communities.

With the creation of Programmers Stack Exchange site, the purpose of creating a Software Engineering site has become very unclear.

The Software Engineering proposal says that it is for:

Proposed Q&A site for students, practitioners, and researchers. Software engineering deals with requirements engineering, software design and architecture, implementation, testing, maintenance, configuration management, process, tools, methodologies, quality, and ethics.

But now that we have the Programmers.Stackexchange.com site, the questions that define the site seem to cover the same territory. Every one of their example questions is subjective:

  • "How can I justify the use of throwaway prototyping to my manager?" 24 votes
  • "What’s the best method for estimation?" 24 votes
  • "I got a job in a company that practices Scrum. How can I prepare myself before the first workday?" 22 votes
  • "What single book provides the best overview of key software engineering topics?" 22 votes
  • "What is the single most important Software Engineering concept to learn for practical use?" 21 votes

Subjective, subjective, mostly subjective, subjective, and subjective.

I'm having trouble finding questions that would be on topic on one site but off topic on the other. Finding that unique subject matter between these two sites will be key if we are going to go forward with this proposal.

share|improve this question

closed as off-topic by РСТȢѸФХѾЦЧШЩЪЫЬѢѤЮѦѪѨѬѠѺѮѰѲѴ, michaelb958, hims056, Flyk, R.J Feb 27 at 9:08

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "The problem described here can no longer be reproduced. Changes to the system or to the circumstances affecting the asker have rendered it obsolete. If you encounter a similar problem, please post a new question." – РСТȢѸФХѾЦЧШЩЪЫЬѢѤЮѦѪѨѬѠѺѮѰѲѴ, michaelb958, hims056, Flyk, R.J
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

    
meta.stackoverflow.com/tags/area51/synonyms -- Feel free to reverse it to [area51] --> [area-51] as you see fit. –  Jon Seigel Sep 14 '10 at 4:35
    
@Jon Seigel: Why? The main tag is "area51." Correct? –  Robert Cartaino Sep 14 '10 at 14:07
    
Either or. (See my edit on this question.) –  Jon Seigel Sep 14 '10 at 16:35

5 Answers 5

In theory, there should be a clear difference between "programming" and "software engineering", with questions on the former going to SO and questions on the latter going to this new site. In practice, it's all the same elephant.

So non-subjective engineering questions get asked on SO, leaving only the subjective, argumentative, discussiony ones.

I don't see the point. Unless someone's planning on getting really strict with Programmers.SE, closing out anything that isn't sufficiently inane.

share|improve this answer
    
Programming is not the same as software engineering in practice. Programming (formally called Software Construction by the IEEE) is one of 11 Software Engineering Knowledge Areas defined in the Guide to the Software Engineering Body of Knowledge. The SE Stack Exchange is for the other 10. –  Thomas Owens Sep 14 '10 at 16:49
    
@Thomas: and how many of those other 10 aren't well-represented on SO but are represented by this new proposal? –  Shogging through the snow Sep 14 '10 at 17:12
1  
All 10. There's honestly not that many people on SO (at least reading bios) who are explicitly familiar with requirements engineering, architecture, management, quality. Most of the people on SO (at least when I reviewed the profiles before proposing SE Exchange) are programmers who deal with programming issues most of the time. –  Thomas Owens Sep 14 '10 at 17:24
2  
@Thomas: well, I see your motivation - I've had poor luck with certain questions on SO because they don't fit the "write me some code" mold. However, I know I can ask programming questions on SO - it's immediately clear that, even if the topic is too niche to get much attention at least it's allowed. I have no idea what questions I could get away with asking on SE.SE, and the top-voted questions on the A51 proposal don't make it any clearer. –  Shogging through the snow Sep 14 '10 at 17:56
    
@Shog9 I see where you are coming from. I think the problem here is not the proposal, but Area 51 making it too difficult to provide a sufficient description of the proposal (500 characters isn't enough) or hold a discussion on topicality/scope (a question title isn't enough - the body of the question is just as important). I think Area 51 needs to be fixed to provide a better discussion area (such as providing a Meta as soon as the proposal enters Commitment). –  Thomas Owens Sep 14 '10 at 18:02
    
@Thomas: actually, question titles can suffice... However, there's a nasty tendency toward short / generic titles on A51 (well, and for actual questions on the rest of the sites... But without the bodies, it's even more of a problem on A51): consider "What's the best method for estimation?" (a top question) - that's an awful question, terribly broad, subjective and argumentative. Contrast "What method should I use to estimate man-hours required for development of a new CRM module?" provides a reasonable expectation of detail and scope, without implying a search for The One True Method. –  Shogging through the snow Sep 14 '10 at 18:08
    
@Shog9 Yes, that would be a preferred question. However, I can't control how other people vote. I personally voted yes on that question because it's essence - estimation - is on-topic. Maybe I'm using the system wrong, but when I vote on a question, I don't vote on the question, but the subject matter the question is addressing. Perhaps other people are doing this too? Is this not how the system is supposed to work? –  Thomas Owens Sep 14 '10 at 18:10
    
@Thomas: unfortunately, that is how the system works. Meaning you get a lot of generic, middle-of-the-road questions voted up rather than anything boundary-defining. It can still work out, if the proposal manages to limit interest to people asking good questions... But for something as broad as this, that wasn't likely. –  Shogging through the snow Sep 14 '10 at 18:23
    
@Shog9 'sufficiently inane' would be an understatement, IMHO. –  ixtmixilix Sep 28 '10 at 11:50

My feeling on this, and the reason I didn't bother committing to the Software Engineering SE, is that the definition of the SE.SE proposal blows chunks.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that the proposal itself is bad. There were actually a number of good questions proposed:

  • Which Design Pattern, Algorithm or Data Structure is appropriate for [this problem]?
  • What's the difference between re-engineering and reverse engineering?
  • What is the easiest way to get starting tracking risk in a project?
  • Is there a tool that can diagram the relationships between my classes?
  • What tools exist to support the use of the Personal Software Process?

And so on and so forth. Software Engineering is most definitely a valid discipline on its own, separate from Programming, and IMO none of the above topics make sense to be lumped in with blatantly silly questions like What's the best bad comment you ever encountered? These two have nothing to do with each other. Nothing whatsoever.

But, as I said, the actual definition of the SE.SE proposal sucks because, perhaps rather predictably, the majority of votes went to loosey-goosey discussion questions like "What's the best method for estimation?" or "I got a job in a company that practices Scrum. How can I prepare myself before the first workday?" Apparently Scrum is "software engineering" now.

The problem is that programmers are not software engineers. Many if not most career programmers barely know what software engineering actually is and either view it as a big scary mystery box or as a silly management fad based around a bunch of arbitrary rules and metrics and methodologies. Obviously (to me, at least), it's neither of those things, but the top-voted questions clearly reflect these stereotypes. You have programmers trying to define a site on Software Engineering and not surprisingly, the site ends up being more about programming/programmers than engineering.

I'm sorry if this comes off as elitist but those questions would suck on any Stack Exchange. And I whole-heartedly believe that if the definition were fixed, the SE.SE proposal could go on to be a very useful and even important sister site to both SO and Programmers.SE.

So, to sum it up: Theoretically, the proposal is not a duplicate of Programmers. Practically, it is, because voters chose lousy questions for the definition. If you're considering canning the proposal, please don't; I think it would be more helpful to send it back to the definition phase with a little extra guidance.

share|improve this answer
    
@Aarobot: But extra guidance like what? "Don't blow chunks; Don't be blatantly silly?" You absolutely nailed my resentment of Programmers.SE; it was created as a tongue-in-cheek, NOT-Stack-Overflow site: the stuff we keep in the basement because it's not fit for keeping upstairs. Programmers.SE definitely had potential as a really good site about the "Programmers Life," easily covering non-programming issues like architecture, methodologies, quality, ethics, etc.-- all issues of engineering. But we're not going to create two sites with the same questions, divided by level of silliness. –  Robert Cartaino Sep 14 '10 at 15:41
1  
@Robert: Questions about architecture and QA are serious questions that belong on a serious site, not tossed casually into an ocean of jokes and polls. Software Engineering is not even actively practiced or understood by most programmers. I think the guidance should be along the lines of (a) don't propose or vote for subjective questions, (b) don't propose or vote for extremely basic or vague questions, and (c) if you are a programmer with no direct S/E experience then don't participate in the proposal. Better to have 100 people who know what they're talking about than 1000 who don't. –  Aarobot Sep 14 '10 at 16:02
    
And also @Robert, speaking as an engineer (although not specifically a "Software Engineer" by title), I must confess to reading a little bit of conceit in the assertion that software engineering issues are mere side topics to be discussed by programmers in the back room. That's probably not how you meant it, but it bears mentioning anyway that engineering is an actual profession, separate from programming as well as much older, and although software as a specific engineering field is still new and struggling to fight off snake oil, it's not much worse than programming in that respect. –  Aarobot Sep 14 '10 at 16:13
1  
@Aarobot: Everyone has the ability to vote on any proposal, and in the several places the proposal has been discussed, nobody has defined it as anything other than the same general ground that either Stack Overflow or Programmers.SE covers, except to say "no, even though everything we've defined so far sounds exactly like the other two, it isn't." That's the crux of my answer: if it's different, there needs to be a much, much better pitch to the rest of the community on how it's different. –  user149432 Sep 14 '10 at 16:54
    
Reading this answer, I can't help but think that what you want isn't another SE site, but more of a... mailing list. –  Shogging through the snow Sep 14 '10 at 17:13
    
@Shog9: I'm afraid I don't follow you. What are you getting at? –  Aarobot Sep 14 '10 at 17:15
2  
@Aarobot: I'm saying, SE doesn't provide a good way to exclude users who don't get it. This creates constant friction even on fairly well-defined sites. I suspect SE.SE would end up becoming something like SU: poorly-understood premise braced with an ever-growing laundry list of disallowed topics... –  Shogging through the snow Sep 14 '10 at 17:19
    
@Mark: The actual text of the proposal has little to do with the top-voted questions, and there were several other questions that actually do reasonably define the proposal. Yes, everybody has the ability to vote and that's the problem - programmers with no SEng experience voting on questions based on how relevant they seem to themselves as opposed to how relevant they actually are to SEng. Unlike a more esoteric proposal like, let's say photography, there are too many people who think they know what they're talking about because it's related to something they already know. –  Aarobot Sep 14 '10 at 17:20
    
@Shog9: Perhaps you're right and the proposal can't survive for that very reason. That is ancillary to my point here, however. I don't think that the problem is simply that some people don't get it - as you say, that's a problem on every site - the problem is that too many of them think they do, and very few people actually do. I don't have a perfect solution but I was hoping that a little guidance, as I explained above in my response to robert, might do something to ameliorate the problem. If we're considering canning the proposal, shouldn't we at least try it? –  Aarobot Sep 14 '10 at 17:23
    
@shog is right; the problem here is the insanely subtle distinctions you're asking anonymous users to make. Honestly, even after reading this question and all its answers I barely understand the difference between these things you're describing as different; imagine the predicament for the average drive-by anonymous programmer. Completely untenable. –  Jeff Atwood Sep 14 '10 at 17:28
1  
@Jeff: The distinctions are anything but subtle to me, and my job is split between engineering and programming, so if they're blurry to anyone then they should be blurry to me. The problem is not that we're asking for distinctions to be made, it's who we are asking to make them. Perhaps Area 51 is simply not a good vehicle for this. I can accept that. But I still think we should attempt a re-definition before throwing out a proposal that started off as perfectly valid. –  Aarobot Sep 14 '10 at 17:41
1  
I agree with @Aarobot 100%. Area 51 is really bad for defining extremely complex fields, such as Software Engineering. If I (and the other committed people) had access to the Software Engineering Meta right here and now, we can avoid these problems by setting a formal boundary before Day 1 of Private Beta. Area 51 doesn't allow for a long enough description nor adequate descriptions of on/off topic questions. I blame the current implementation of Area 51 for this mess - give us a Meta as soon as we enter Commitment phase so we can handle the paperwork. –  Thomas Owens Sep 14 '10 at 17:55
    
@Aarobot: For the record, I have a Software Engineering degree. I understand engineering topics aren't "mere side topics," etc. The problem is that Programmers.SE was created as an amorphous blob where nothing is off topic (read: everything not Stack Overflow is on topic). The travesty is that Programmers.SE is, at least in perception, [your quote] "an ocean of jokes and polls." That's where the problem lies. I would have created the site very differently: Subjective/soft programming topics okay; Industry/engineering issues okay; The business of software okay; Banal polls/jokes off-topic. –  Robert Cartaino Sep 14 '10 at 20:53
1  
@Robert: Let's say I agree with your position on Programmers.SE. It's still not the appropriate venue for Software Engineering questions. If anything, programming and programmers are a sub-area of Software Engineering, not the other way around. I simply fail to see how subjective/soft programming topics are naturally related to hard industry/engineering issues. –  Aarobot Sep 14 '10 at 21:01
    
@aarobot well, that's a fine opinion, but I think you might be in for some very hard lessons in how people actually behave in the real world, versus how you might want them to behave. Swimming upstream is not pleasant work. –  Jeff Atwood Sep 16 '10 at 8:22

I think it is is a duplicate. I'm sure at one point on paper it made sense to distinguish between the two, but the same types of questions that are defined as "on-topic" in the Software Engineers.SE proposal have already been asked and accepted as on-topic on Programmers.SE.

The current breakdown is:

  • Stack Overflow is for specific, pointed questions about programming that can be answered definitively, and
  • Programmers.SE is for questions related to programming that elicit or require extended or subjective discussion.

In that breakdown, there's no room for Software Engineering.SE unless it covers a topic outside of programming. Thomas Owens, on the meta site for Programmers.SE, defined what Software Engineering.SE would be about:

There's no reason why SO, this site, and SE can't all coexist. So far, the majority of the questions on Stack Overflow and here are related to the construction phase of the software development life cycle. And you can tell that there's isolation in the people based on the percentage committed to the other proposal. Less than 10% of the people involved in the Programmers private beta committed to the Software Engineering Stack Exchange and around 8% of the SE committers committed here. That's honestly a pretty small number.

The SE stack exchange is designed for requirements engineering, design and architecture, testing (excluding the implementation of test cases - that's Stack Overflow's territory), and maintenance practices. SE also covers topics such as configuration management processes (not tools, as that falls into Stack Overflow's domain), business and engineering management, development processes, tools (although construction tools such as text editors and IDEs are covered on Stack Overflow), software quality, and professional ethics. High level questions on computer engineering, theoretical computer science, mathematics, usability, and systems engineering would also be on topic on SE, while more specific questions would be directed to the appropriate Stack Exchange (if one exists).

This sounds different from the other answers in this question, and there are several things in this that I don't think work out in the current reality:

  • Software Engineers.SE would be for specific phases of software development, whereas Stack Overflow (and Programmers) would be about one specific phase. The distinction between phases has not been made on either Stack Overflow or Programmers.SE: construction is not the only thing that's on-topic.
  • There are a certain number of people on Programmers.SE who would never use Software Engineers.SE, and visa-versa. If we're going to create a new site every time a group of people wants to talk about a topic, but doesn't want to talk about it with the existing group of people, the system is going to break down.
  • Software Engineering.SE is only for high-level topics; anything specific is off-topic and belongs on another site. Why not ask the high level questions on the more specific sites, then?

If Software Engineers.SE is going to make sense, I think it needs to have a much clearer and more straightforward description of how it's completely different from Stack Overflow and Prorammers.SE in practice. Otherwise, I think it makes more sense to let Programmers.SE get through beta before deciding we need another site covering similar ground: maybe it's the case that Programmers.SE is unviable, and Software Engineers.SE winds up being a better reformulation of the same concept.

share|improve this answer

As the creator of the SE Stack Exchange proposal, let me address some points made in this question.

I assume this will not be the case on the Software Engineering site. The Engineering site can, and should, insist on non-subjective questions, insofar as such questions can be made non-subjective with respect to the Software Engineering process.

That is my intention. I would suspect that the Programmers would be a home to more subjective software engineering questions, as well as subjective programming questions. There are a number of very objective software engineering questions, as long as they are framed within a given context.

A question like "What’s the best method for estimation?" by itself is very subjective. However, given additional information about the project and team, it's very possible to make a right decision between the major methods of software estimation: Wideband Delphi, COCOMO, SLIM, Function Point Analysis, PROBE, Planning Poker, and Evidenced Based Scheduling. I would suspect that the question of estimation (as an example) would be asked again and again, but framed within a very different context, making different answers appropriate.

Part of the problem goes back to the limited nature of Area 51 - we were defining types of questions that were on-topic, not specific questions (this was discussed repeatedly in the comments, where someone said the idea was on-topic, but the question would need additional information to be acceptable). The example of "best estimation method" being an on-topic question doesn't mean a question "What is the best estimation method?" would remain open - I would vote to close it ASAP unless it was in a particular context.

Justification for prototyping is probably answerable in a non-subjective way.

Indeed it is. The good thing about software engineering is the body of research available through organizations such as the ACM, IEEE, and BCS (among others). You can site specific business and software engineering reasons for prototyping.

In theory, there should be a clear difference between "programming" and "software engineering", with questions on the former going to SO and questions on the latter going to this new site. In practice, it's all the same elephant.

Programming is not the same as software engineering in practice. Programming (formally called Software Construction by the IEEE) is one of 11 Software Engineering Knowledge Areas defined in the Guide to the Software Engineering Body of Knowledge. The SE Stack Exchange is for the other 10.

The limited description space available did not allow me to enumerate all of the on-topic knowledge areas for the Stack Exchange. All specific, objective questions related to requirements, design, construction (aside from implementation-specific questions), testing (aside from test implementation questions), maintenance, configuration management (aside from specific tool questions), SE management, SE process, and quality will be on topic. In addition, questions about computer engineering (computer architecture and organization, digital logic, distributed systems, embedded systems, networks, VLSI), computer science (HCI, basic computer science theory [more advanced questions should be moved to the Theoretical Computer Science exchange]), management (law, human resource management, economics, business policies), mathematics (calculus, statistics, discrete mathematics), project management, quality management, software ergonomics, and systems engineering would be on-topic if and only if they were related directly to problem a software engineer would face. Removed per comments - and I agree, now that I see more proposals for these areas. When I created the SE Stack Exchange proposal, the only related areas that had a proposal was Computer Science.

Software Engineering.SE is only for high-level topics; anything specific is off-topic and belongs on another site. Why not ask the high level questions on the more specific sites, then?

To reinforce my previous point, the only questions that would be off-topic would be in the knowledge areas defined by the IEEE as supplemental to software engineering and only if a more appropriate Stack Exchange existed. These areas are computer engineering (no exchange yet), computer science (Theoretical CS Stack Exchange), management (no exchange yet), mathematics (Mathematics and Statistical Analysis Exchanges), project management (no exchange yet), quality management (no exchange yet), software ergonomics (potentially the User Interface Stack Exchange), and systems engineering (no exchange yet). Specific implementation and tool questions can be directed to Programmers and/or Stack Overflow as appropriate, as well.

This is similar to how there was more latitude on Stack Overflow to system administration questions before Server Fault opened, and the fact that Stack Overflow continues to allow questions on requirements, design, architecture, process, and more even through a strict interpretation of the SO FAQ would make these questions off-topic.

These are only tangentially related to software engineering and would be best to move them to an appropriate Stack Exchange, leaving the Software Engineering Stack Exchange to focus on the 10 core Knowledge Areas defined by the IEEE in the Software Engineering Body of Knowledge.

I think it makes more sense to let Programmers.SE get through beta before deciding we need another site covering similar ground: maybe it's the case that Programmers.SE is unviable, and Software Engineers.SE winds up being a better reformulation of the same concept.

I think this is the best option. We should let Programmers, Stack Overflow, and Software Engineering co-exist for a while and define boundaries. Once Programmers and Software Engineering have a chance to go through betas, then the possibility of merging or redefining can be discussed. But right now, I see a clear separation.

So far, the definition of the SE Stack Exchange is pretty much mine and mine alone, based on the IEEE and ACM definitions of software engineering as well as my university's curriculum for an undergraduate degree in software engineering. I would suspect that the community would help to narrow or at least better define the exact scope down during the private beta, and perhaps even into the public beta.

My feeling on this, and the reason I didn't bother committing to the Software Engineering SE, is that the definition of the SE.SE proposal blows chunks.

I wrote it, and I agree with you. See above - the space I was given to write the definition was insufficiently small. If I had about 5000-7500 characters, I could have done it and done it well. I was trying to boil down the IEEE and ACM definition of software engineering to 500 characters, and it didn't work that well.

But, as I said, the actual definition of the SE.SE proposal sucks because, perhaps rather predictably, the majority of votes went to loosey-goosey discussion questions like "What's the best method for estimation?"

The reason for the loose questions is because Area 51 didn't allow anyone to write up a full question. As discussed above and in comments on Area 51, if the question was not well framed in a very specific context, I would expect it to be closed. The best method for estimation depends on a lot of variables. If you define the variables, then it's a good question. Asking questions about the best X without providing a situation Y would be, I would hope, disallowed by the community as there's no value there.

Apparently Scrum is "software engineering" now.

It is. Scrum is an agile process methodology, and software engineering processes, process methodologies, and process models are a core component to software engineering. In fact, I would argue that process is one of two things that separates a software engineer from a programmer. The other being a full life cycle approach to problems.

Software Engineering is not even actively practiced or understood by most programmers.

YES! And I'm hoping that this Stack Exchange can help change that in some small way. Along with the much more powerful efforts of organizations such as the IEEE, ACM, and universities who offer Software Engineering degrees at the undergraduate or graduate levels.


I'm currently in the middle of a quarter here at school, so I might not be browsing the Metas as often as I did over the summer, but I'll still be browsing SO, Programmers, and the SE Exchange if it ever goes beta. If anyone raises a point that they want me to explicitly address quickly regarding this proposal, shoot me an email - thomas.j.owens@gmail.com. I can't promise an immediate response, but it'll happen faster than if I had to mosey back here to read anything new.

share|improve this answer
4  
there is just no way the audience is going to understand these incredibly subtle distinctions you're making here. –  Jeff Atwood Sep 14 '10 at 17:25
1  
@Jeff Atwood I would suspect that professional software engineers would. And they really aren't that subtle. "Is it an objective question about software development, but not about writing code, tests, or specific tools?" -> If the answer is yes, SE.StackExchange is appropriate. –  Thomas Owens Sep 14 '10 at 17:26
    
Well... Now I think this is too broad. It's effectively "All SE topics that don't have a site already"... –  Shogging through the snow Sep 14 '10 at 17:28
1  
Hard to respond to this entire post but one thing about the estimation paragraph: See, the existence of context changes everything. If the question is "How should I estimate my project in industry X that's supposed to be perform functions Y at a company structured like Z given other contextual factors A, B, and C?" then that is far less subjective. But just asking "What's the best method for estimation?" sounds like something that would be asked by a person who's barely even aware of software engineering, forget about experienced. –  Aarobot Sep 14 '10 at 17:30
    
@Shog9 Would you advocate a different Stack Exchanges for everything - Requirements Engineering, Design and Architecture, Construction and Maintenance (SO), Testing, Configuration Management, Management, Process, Tools (rolled into SO already by definition), Quality? That's like saying the Theoretical CS Stack Exchange is too broad and should be split into Mathematical Logic, Automata Theory, Number Theory, Graph Theory, Type Theory, Category Theory, Computability Theory, Complexity Theory, Cryptography, and Algorithms and Data Structures. I don't think the CSTheory exchange would approve. –  Thomas Owens Sep 14 '10 at 17:32
    
@Aarobot If you look through the comments on the proposed question, lots of comments were made saying that the question is on-topic only with the existence of context. Area 51 failed here by not allowing for more space to write questions or provide details. –  Thomas Owens Sep 14 '10 at 17:33
2  
I think you need to scrap the computer engineering, computer science, mathematics and project management aspects, because Shog is right, that makes this way too broad and a lot of those topics already have their own proposal/beta. If the proposal sticks to the SDLC, software/systems architecture, scheduling and estimation, risk assessment, development processes (reluctantly), and so on, that would hit the sweet spot that's not covered by SO or any other SE. –  Aarobot Sep 14 '10 at 17:35
1  
Thomas - the problem is that the comments are all but invisible once the proposal goes to commitment. You don't need to write out the full text of the question; just frame it similar to the way I did using placeholders [X], [Y], whatever. –  Aarobot Sep 14 '10 at 17:36
    
@Aarobot I can see that working. With the exception of project management - project management is tied closely to software engineering process, as long as it's about managing software projects. Editing now. –  Thomas Owens Sep 14 '10 at 17:36
    
@Thomas: If you can condense it to software project management and successfully rope out generic PM questions then I would agree. That task might prove more difficult than you expect, though. –  Aarobot Sep 14 '10 at 17:38
    
@Aarobot: That would be the idea. But that would have to be done by the community on a question by question basis. The burden would be on the asker to explain how the question relates to software engineering. –  Thomas Owens Sep 14 '10 at 17:40
    
@Thomas: yeah, but your sub-topics are already being picked off: SO is its own site (which at least tolerates a fair number of non-programming SE questions...), QA and Testing are proposed and doing reasonably well, there's at least one mathematics site, an EE proposal, a bunch of specialized design proposals in various stages... As I commented above, it's like you're proposing another SU, a catch-all that you'll end up having to define by what it's not. –  Shogging through the snow Sep 14 '10 at 17:45
1  
@Thomas: and those are the same arguments you'd be getting, if it was a bit more clear what you were proposing. Here's a proposal for you: " Shipping is a feature : proposed Q&A site for software engineers, testers, architects and managers." - drag the focus away from programming right in the title. –  Shogging through the snow Sep 14 '10 at 18:18
1  
@Thomas: yes, obviously there's been a communications breakdown here, or we wouldn't be having this discussion. Regardless, unless we can come up with a definition that's clearly separate from what's covered by SO and Programmers.SE, this is DOA. –  Shogging through the snow Sep 14 '10 at 19:07
1  
And @Jeff, when he says "professional software engineers" he means professional software engineers, not people who call themselves software engineers and get paid for it. People with actual software engineering degrees or at least engineers working in the software field - not programmers. Nobody's trying to bash the success of Stack Overflow, but programming and software engineering are very different, and not just in obscure academic circles. I don't know if you're a film/TV/theatre buff, but consider the differences between film acting, TV acting and stage acting; it's a bit like that. –  Aarobot Sep 14 '10 at 19:49

I have participated in the public beta for the "Programmers" StackExchange site. Based on the questions that I see there, it is apparent that questions that are normally closed on StackOverflow as being subjective will live on this site.

I assume this will not be the case on the Software Engineering site. The Engineering site can, and should, insist on non-subjective questions, insofar as such questions can be made non-subjective with respect to the Software Engineering process.

Would your example questions above be on-topic on the Software Engineering site? The questions that have the words "best" or "most important" in them might pass muster as CW questions, but I doubt it.

The other two questions feel on-topic to me. Justification for prototyping is probably answerable in a non-subjective way. So is the Scrum question. Are they on topic for the Programmers site? Probably. But I don't think the two sites overlap as much as you think they do.

share|improve this answer
1  
"Would your example questions above be on-topic on the Software Engineering site? ... I doubt it" The thing is, those are the questions that have been defined as on-topic at the Software Engineering Proposal. –  waiwai933 Sep 14 '10 at 3:13
1  
@waiwai933: Hmm. Well, I would consider them good CW questions, but not on-topic otherwise. I would not have voted them on-topic. –  Robert Harvey Sep 14 '10 at 4:06
2  
If Programmers.SE is for the subjective questions, and you're limiting Software Engineering.SE to objective questions; how is Software Engineering.SE going to be any different than Stack Overflow? If you allow subjective questions, how is it going to be any different than Programmers.SE? –  user149432 Sep 14 '10 at 10:53
1  
@Mark: You are obviously not a software engineer, because if you were, it would be immediately apparent that the discipline has very little overlap with programming. Questions about system architecture and risk management do not fare well on Stack Overflow. –  Aarobot Sep 14 '10 at 16:05
    
    
@Aarobot: no, I'm not, but that doesn't address my question in the context it was asked (that ostensibly the main difference between Programmers.SE and Software Engineers.SE is Programmers.SE is subjective). –  user149432 Sep 14 '10 at 16:54
1  
@Mark: The difference between SE.SE and Programmers.SE is that SE.SE is about Software Engineering and Programmers.SE is about programmers. It's really not any more complicated than that. The intent of Programmers.SE was to be the place for subjective questions not belonging on Stack Overflow, not a proposed Software Engineering site; the latter is an entirely separate field. –  Aarobot Sep 14 '10 at 17:25

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .