This is somewhat related to question Right forum for effort estimation question?, but I'd like to be more specific:

Given a detailed set of requirements for a small and simple greenfeeld (.NET/Windows Forms) project, would it be OK to ask the Stack Overflow users for their effort estimation?

Would it also be OK to ask this question multiple times for different projects?

This could be useful for several reasons:

As a developer, it would give me a basic idea about my performance. As a novice project manager, it would give me a basic idea about what would be a reasonable amount of time to give my developers.

  • Sounds like these questions are more fit to be in programmers.stackexchange.com not in Stack Overflow main site, which is programming oriented. Commented Oct 18, 2011 at 7:37
  • Should I reask (or move, if possible) this qestion there?
    – bitbonk
    Commented Oct 18, 2011 at 7:47
  • i have to agree with Mark & PaddedCell. the real value of this site is the fact that we come here for answers that apply to everyone. and the surprising thing is that we <b>actually get them</b>, unlike so many other places that are loaded with nothing but open-ended questions. the rules are clear, the desired result is clear and StackOverflow has become a truly USEFUL resource in a web overbloated with spam, retards and wandering posers. the great thing about this place is that it makes you a better programmer. it makes you look at your code, look at <b>other</b> code and really <em>think</em
    – WhiteRau
    Commented Oct 18, 2011 at 8:10
  • 3
    No - definitely don't reask.
    – ChrisF Mod
    Commented Oct 18, 2011 at 8:13

2 Answers 2


It's not on-topic on Stack Overflow for all the reasons Padded Cell mentioned, and those reasons mostly apply to Programmers as well. But we have an additional clause in our FAQ that applies to these types of questions:

What about other programming related questions?

Please note that the following subjects are considered off-topic here:

  • [...]
  • What salary/wage should I ask for/expect? (Too localized to your place and time)

The reason for this is both Stack Overflow and Programmers want questions that apply to programmers in general, not just very specific situations that'll only be applicable to yourself. That is, the blue part of this diagram:


It's incredibly difficult to make a question about compensation or pricing applicable to a general audience: something that costs $5,000 in New York City would be dramatically different in Tulsa, Oklahoma or Jakarta, Indonesia. Or heck, even 100 miles away.

Outside of geography, it depends on current market forces, the quality of the work, the talent of the developers, etc. But even beyond that it depends on how well a negotiator you are. Two people with the exact same set of requirements and qualities can come up with a vastly different price because of this.

However, estimation questions are on-topic on Programmers as long as they aren't about asking for cost estimates. Think questions like:

  • What factors should I consider when estimating X project?
  • Should I take into account X aspect of the project when estimating?

But most, if not all, of the general questions about estimation have been asked already. If you are interesting it learning how to fish instead of surveying people's opinions about what specific projects should cost, I'd start by doing your homework and reading the questions in the estimation tag.

  • Thanks for helping me find and for answering the question I actually wanted to ask. The questions in the estimation tag are a really interesting read.
    – bitbonk
    Commented Oct 18, 2011 at 9:17

No, it's not okay. Let's do the FAQ check:

  • a specific programming problem -> No
  • a software algorithm -> No
  • software tools commonly used by programmers -> No
  • practical, answerable problems that are unique to the programming profession ->Well...naaaahhhh

That's 0.5 out of 4. Additionally those questions can't be easily answered without knowing the full spectrum of the application. Any estimation given would be based on personal experience, and we all work differently fast and think different, therefor subjective.

However, similar and well phrased questions about time estimations for projects might be On-Topic on Programmers. And that's one hell of a big might. But I'm sure one of the Diamonds from over there will drop in to clarify that idea.

  • Would it maybe ok for programmers.stackexchange.com? Should I reask (or move, if possible) this qestion there?
    – bitbonk
    Commented Oct 18, 2011 at 7:47
  • 1
    That's what I said with my last sentence, you'd better wait for Anna or Chris to answer that part...I don't know the scope of Programmers well enough to answer that. Commented Oct 18, 2011 at 7:51
  • 1
    @bitbonk Not based on what you're describing. See my answer.
    – user149432
    Commented Oct 18, 2011 at 7:57

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