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We want to inject some discipline into programmers.stackexchange.com.

One of the ways we hope to achieve this is by merging the Developer Testing: Unit Testing site proposal* into programmers.se.

We believe that the Developer Testing proposal, as stated:

  1. would be actively harmful as a standalone site, in that it would negatively draw traffic from a larger covering site into a niche site
  2. covers topics that are already perfectly valid and allowed and exist in large quantities on stackoverflow.com and programmers.se (compare to web app questions on superuser, which were explicitly disallowed, yet kept coming up)
  3. can be folded into a re-disciplined programmers.se for a much broader audience and thus an overall more productive and useful treatment of the topic, versus a niche site

We invite those interested in this site proposal (or programmer.se) to answer: do you agree that the developer testing site proposal should be merged into a re-disciplined programmers.se or another general programmer site?

In your answer, please provide evidence to support your position, either yea or nay.

* among others; Joel mentions a few more in his blog post

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As an aside, the question was posed to Programmers.SE users (all 6 of them that bother to go to the Meta site, at least), and some feedback was provided about each of the proposed merges Joel mentioned. –  user149432 Sep 23 '10 at 22:15
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I have a better idea: why don't you merge Unit Testing with Programmers and then merge everything back into ... wait for it ... StackOverflow. –  JohnIdol Sep 24 '10 at 22:44
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Folding it into Programmers seems like a lazy, or at least inappropriate, solution to the problem. The questions on Programmers are nothing of the How-To or technical sort. Sure, you could do it, but it doesn't seem to make sense. It doesn't sem different than combining Programmers with Game Development. –  Mark C Oct 5 '10 at 6:19
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44 Answers

Please do not merge the two sites.

I understand the call to merge testing into programming, but I don't think that most people who know how big and specialized testing is would agree with the merge with a more generalized site.

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I have a better idea: why don't you merge Unit Testing with Programmers and then merge everything back into ... wait for it ... StackOverflow.

Either this or leave the sites be - no merge.

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Merge them.

And if programmers.se is really all about the craft of programming, then the newly reformed IEEE/ACM Software Engineering (that I'm also following) ought to be merged into it two. I strongly believe that there's a critical mass of people needed to make one of these types of sites work, and that StackOverflow can be for matters of a practical and objective nature, and programmers.se can and should be devoted to academic and subjective nature.

As has been demonstrated on StackOverflow, tags work when properly used, and this is an ideal situation in which to use them.

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I don't think The Stack Exchange model is a good model for discussion or Polls; and empirical evidence bears that out. However; if we're going to have the latter, I agree that it should be controlled as tightly as possible, otherwise you'll get "What Lingerie should I buy for my wife|girlfriend|computer as a programmer?" and we all know where that road leads.

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Please don't merge them.

Testing is broad enough of a topic to be self-sustaining.

Testing is something that you can constantly improve on, even the best programmers.

I would rather see programmers.se be canceled than to see it dilute Testing by merging with it.

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There are pros and cons to both arguments. I've been speaking/teaching/writing about testing and the benefits of TDD/BDD for a long time now, and it is starting to sink into the mindset of developers. However, the idea and the act of actually executing is far different.

So, by merging them, we can continue to expose the concepts to the general programming masses, which is an obvious benefit. But I don't know how much attention they will pay to those types of discussions.

By keeping it separate, we have a focused area where people trying to make the transition to a testing way of life don't have to wade through other more general questions to see a post on mocking for example.

I am leaning towards keeping them separate since I don't think we really will get conversions from the exposure in the more general forums, and we want to provide the least friction to those developers actually trying to be more test centric to get their questions answered.

If they are separate, I would commit time to help answer questions related to testing. If they are merged, I am a bit more hesitant to commit, since it would take more time to find the questions related to testing let alone answer them.

just my two cents.

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I've never heard of or been to this "programmers" site; I'm interested in unit testing issues, but except for reading this thread I'm not sure how I would have known to go to the "programmers" site for unit testing answers. I would have guessed they would be on the original StackOverflow if anywhere.

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I do share a similar ideology on White Box Testing should be separate from the programmers.se, but I believe the alternative to merging would be to provide friendly links on the programmers.se, so that anyone has an option of jumping to a similar topic on the Developer Testing Site instantaneously.

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Yes there are like a jillion answers already, but I'm still gonna put in my $.05

I think DT.SE should go in with SO if anything, or just Testing.SE. Merging it to P.SE would be bad.

We need our watercooler place. /. is too limited, reddit and digg can't figure out who's winning, and it would help keep us in the SE family. It could also allow for better discussions than /., digg and reddit allow. Possibly. Maybe.

We just want our watercooler and we love what Jeff et al have done with the forum-revamp that is StackOverflow. We want to stay here some days ;)

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Yes, let's merge them.

I don't understand the whole experts vs mediocrity problem so many people mention. What exactly is stopping experts from watching one particular tag on SO?

For example, I have a lot of interest in algorithms. All I have to do is to check new questions with this tag once or twice a day, that's all. I also get notifications of new questions automatically when I'm near my computer. What exactly would I gain from being exiled to algorithms.com?

Please feel free to comment, I'm really interested to see what I'm missing here.

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I have to agree with (some of) the others here that Developer Testing does not belong merged with programmers.se but could be merged with Stack Overflow. So NO, please do not merge them.

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Don't merge. I mean, if programmers.stackexchange.com exists then I don't see why Developer Testing can't exist independently. I didn't even know that something like programmers.se exists. I don't understand the logic that if the 'community' thinks that programmers should exist then why does the same set of people don't think the same about Developer Testing.

We need a dedicated site where people can find experts who can talk about questions related to testing. Currently, we don't find these experts on SO.

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No

The stream of questions produced on SO has become too much to handle. Yeah, I know, tags help. But I really think that a community build around a single topic will lead to better results quality-wise.

@Joel I think you should look for a way to merge (or rather: show) the stream of questions back into SO, so there is a way for new users to find about the special site and join it. I don't think there is a clean line you can draw as to when a topic should be granted it's own site or merged with another one. Let the community decide if they want to, and prove that they can maintain their own site.

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