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I recently asked for program ideas. I got five downvotes (or more if someone upvoted along the way ;), and the question was closed.

Where should I ask that kind of question?

(No one say Google (or another search engine). Please.)


Think moderately-sized, one-person projects for someone who already can program (at least to some standard).

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migrated from stackoverflow.com Apr 25 '11 at 22:04

This question came from our site for professional and enthusiast programmers.

program ideas, wtf is that? I don't need them. I usually come up with them myself, if I even get the time – sehe Apr 25 '11 at 21:57
Consider asking on Meta, or on Programmers.stackexchange.com? – AllenG Apr 25 '11 at 21:57
Programmers.stackexchange.com jacquesmattheij.com/… , Reddit , Project Euler – Mr E Apr 25 '11 at 21:57
I hope you realise this is like asking how to make billions of money without doing anything. If people have a good idea they will try to do it themselves. I'd advise by asking people you know, what they would like to have. I often encounter people that do not know anything about designing software but still have very good ideas for new awesome projects. If you are looking for learning stuff, I suggest searching for opensource software, tweak it, you will learn a lot that way – Antwan van Houdt Apr 25 '11 at 21:57
Better would be to delete tag "ideas" from Stack Overflow :) – daemon_x Apr 25 '11 at 22:04

7 Answers 7

up vote 6 down vote accepted

There is no appropriate place in the Stack Exchange network for "Give me ideas" type posts. This primarily due to the network focus on trying to find the single best answer for a given question.

These types of questions can accrue tens, and hundreds of answers, all equally valid, and in some cases none particularly useful to the person who asked since they did not define the question narrowly.

Further, there is no "wrong" answer for this type of question.

I'd suggest going to the chat rooms in the languages you are interested in, and asking the people who hang out there what they think - it's more a discussion than a question and answer.

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Ask yourself. I've had several of these questions. This is how I fixed it:

  • Learn one programming language. Well. For me, this was C, I read through K&R and did all the exercises.

  • Reinvent the wheel a few times, write a webserver, etc.

  • Do Project Euler. Programming is about solving problems, not learning new languages.

  • Figure out what you're interested in, for me, this was mathematics, networking and graphics.

  • Learn more about what you're interested in

  • Try choosing an open source project to join. For me, this was Redis and Apache.

By the time you're done with this, I am sure you will think of something. I guarantee it.

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Find an open source project that interests you and contribute

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What do you mean by "program ideas"? Are you looking for small projects to work on to tune up your programming skills? I would suggest Project Euler.

If you're looking for ideas for a start up company, then StackOverflow seems to have a site for that.

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I'm not looking to start a company (at least not right now). – compman Apr 26 '11 at 1:50

Think moderately-sized, one-person projects for someone who already can program (at least to some standard).

The problem with this approach is that I could suggest to you "make a kazoo database" and since you haven't put any limitations on it, that's a valid answer. I'm not as familiar with the FAQ on programmers, so I don't know how specific you'd need to be for it to be a valid question.

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This could be an example of, what Jeff and Joel talk so much about on the podcast, simply an inadequate question (don't mean to sound harsh there sorry).

Perhaps what you're really wanting to ask is more along the lines of "Where/How do you find (or what gives you) inspiration for new projects?" or "What are the key / most important characteristics of development project that indicate it will have commercial viability?" or conversely, "what type of development projects should I consider to learn about X?".

Remember, the goal is canonical questions that add value for future visitors.

Even then it may be better on programming or startups stackexchange sites.

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Have you checked if the Halfbakery is suitable for programming projects?

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+1: This doesn't answer this question, but thanks! – compman Jun 9 '11 at 22:06

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