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We have Stackoverflow for specific programming related questions. My question was recently closed there for being subjective.

I have just found out that there is a separate site for subjective programming questions.

I remember having read on Joel's (or was it on someone else's, I just am unable to find the link), where the author was talking about how free tagging was introduced in Stackoverflow to overcome the associated tedious work of too many classifications and "sub forums".

But aren't we moving towards the same endless categorization through this? When there will be numerous Stack Exchange sites, then there will be need of aggregators and such, which were being fabulously avoided by Stackoverflow.

This is my first question on Meta and I found that it is asking for one of three compulsory tags and that is a nice way of enforcing multiple categories in one site.

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Possible duplicate: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/64367/… –  Piskvor Sep 15 '10 at 10:55
    
If and when migration to new Stack Exchange sites is implemented, it will be much easier to follow your question around if it's off-topic on one of them. That doesn't necessarily solve the problem directly, though. –  Jon Seigel Sep 19 '10 at 14:20
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Spend some time on Programmers and you will realize just how different it is from StackOverflow. It's not so much about "programming" as it is about concepts. –  NickC Apr 29 '11 at 21:02
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if they have tags, they should merge all these sites into 1 site. –  LiuYan 刘研 May 5 '11 at 2:48

2 Answers 2

Look at it as "separation of concerns".

The old way of finding a solution to your programming problem was:

  1. Google
  2. Pick a forum where the problem was discussed.
  3. Read every entry in that forum thread, to get a hint that maybe help you.

The SO way is:

  1. Google
  2. Pick the SO thread
  3. Read the accepted answer. (Maybe two or three more.)

Subjective questions are the old way, because there is no definite answer. And no, you cannot teach the drive-by Googler to add "subjective" to his ignore tags, before going on searching for an answer.

There are things which do not belong to a site. If you want them nevertheless, you'll need a new site. Otherwise you could have a "One site fits all" and categorise everything with tags. There are already sites out there which tried that. Have a look if you like them.

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No, I am not denying the usability of question-answer format. Of course, the questions which have definite answers need them to be answered properly by someone. "One site fits all" might not be a wrong thing, if it is managed properly and IMHO Stackoverflow architecture does seem to handle that well. Disclaimer: I am not a programmer basically, so can't say about architecture from the software point of view. I am just speaking from usability/ manageability point. –  virtualmic Sep 15 '10 at 12:07
    
I don't understand: if you're not a programmer, what value are you getting from Stack Overflow, and why does it matter how it is segmented? –  user149432 Sep 15 '10 at 12:09
    
No no, I am not a programmer professionally. I do it more as a hobby because I love logic and problem solving. However, I am still at very basic learning stages and software architecture of big websites such as SO is still beyond me. –  virtualmic Sep 15 '10 at 12:12
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I understand the separation of concerns, it's the overlap found in nearly-identical concerns that is currently causing issues. For instance, if a question is asked on SO that has already been answered on programmers.SE, is there a way for the SE engine to do a search on the related stack and direct the person asking over to the other stack? –  oosterwal Mar 7 '11 at 22:26
    
@ooster: I’m not sure, if they are already doing this, but I saw a feature request for this. –  Ladybug Killer Mar 8 '11 at 8:34

I agree. There are now more and more sites and new ones seem to come up all the time.

I do like that accounts are linked, etc, so there is a bit of crosstalk, but why not just have one big site that includes all the questions and then filter by tags? That is, for LaTeX questions add a LaTeX tag instead of posting in the LaTeX forums, for math questions add the math tag instead of math-forum, etc. I already use tags anyway to filter for example to emacs specific questions.

Advantages I see:

  • harder to miss interesting questions/topics
  • easier login (no need to create new accounts for new forums and start at 0 points where you are not allowed to do much)
  • easier to manage. don't need to move questions between forums, just add/remove tags (could be done by anyone)

I don't really see any disadvantages, apart from perhaps the fact that at the moment, if you have a high "score" in one forum it probably means that you have more experience in that topic, but you could modify the scoring to display by tag... eg. if you answer a question with certain tags you get one point each for each tag... after a while you would have a nice profile of your skills, e.g. 531 points for C-compiler, 214 points for differential equations and 423 points in home improvement.

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I can see a huge disadvantage: even with the small sites, people mis-tag; with the sheer volume of questions many will just get lost. –  Rory Alsop May 6 '11 at 19:54
    
I agree with you, although tags are currently too weak to filter things adequately. Synonyms are good, but if you want to filter out groups of tags, you can only do this lexically, e.g. c#*. And interesting tags don't override ignored tags, so that you're bound to filter out stuff you don't want to. If these things were fixed (if they can be), merging programming related sites together, for ex., would be feasible, but I don't expect this to happen given the direction SO has been going. –  ergosys Jan 30 '12 at 23:10

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