Specifically, can I ask a "why did the designers of C# choose to do such and such that way" type of question?

Even more specifically, the question is "why did the designers of C# choose to make int an alias of Int32".

EDIT: a clarification: In the post I am planning to discourage speculating answers, and to make it clear that I am interested in the opinions of Microsoft insiders who are known to hang out at SO.

EDIT2: the precise wording I was thinking to use is this:

StackOverflow does not encourage speculating answers, so please answer only if your information comes from a dependable source. I have noticed that some members of SO are Microsoft insiders, so I was hoping that they might be able to enlighten us on this subject.

EDIT3: OK, there it is: SO: "In C#, why is int 32 bits?" (keeping my fingers crossed...)

  • Ah. Well, encouraging speculating is discouraged. You should avoid making it clear in the question that you specifically want people to guess. But there are Microsoft insiders that probably know the answer, such as the lead of the compiler team. – GSerg Dec 24 '11 at 13:34
  • OK then, I will avoid that. I will edit the edit now. – Mike Nakis Dec 24 '11 at 13:36
  • 2
    As the answers below state, it's all in how the question is phrased. We do have some users who have a deep and intricate knowledge of C# and of languages in general. If you're asking what the benefit of this decision is in the language, one of them (if they happen by the question) can certainly offer some insight that would make for some perfectly good content for Stack Overflow. But don't be discouraged if the question does get closed, since it can be very much borderline. – David Dec 24 '11 at 14:10
  • Btw, the "annotated spec" can sometimes be useful or nuggets like this. It is hard to predict what elements will have annotations, though. Certainy not everything does. – Marc Gravell Dec 24 '11 at 16:27
  • We have reopened it! Nice. – GSerg Dec 24 '11 at 18:21
  • Thank you guys! C-:= – Mike Nakis Dec 24 '11 at 18:25
  • Can you, yes. May you? Ehh, we'll think about it. – casperOne Jan 13 '12 at 20:27

Even with careful wording that's targeted to Microsoft insiders (that's very loose terminology btw) that's still going to be difficult to get to get answers to and keep from becoming not constructive.

If phrased like that, the moderators are going to have to handle flags that will come in on answers that are not from Microsoft insiders.

These people would have to specifically state they are Microsoft insiders to fit the criteria for your answer so that it isn't considered "not constructive".

As mods, we would have to evaluate the veracity of their claim; that is not a moderator's job. It's actually in our job description that we don't evaluate the technical veracity of posts; if we don't evaluate that, then we definitely aren't going to evaluate the veracity of any other claims someone makes.

If we get enough of these, we might just shut down the whole question as NC.

See IArithmetic in .NET as an example that's very close to yours (same technology, asked questions that only a single or small group of people could answer). I actually submitted the flag (I wasn't a mod when I did), and it was accepted as NC.

  • Excellent answer, thank you. Well then, I suppose either it is a 'no', or whoever answers will have to be considered as considering themselves to be a Microsoft insider and it should be nobody else's business to doubt it. – Mike Nakis Dec 24 '11 at 16:47
  • I edited the question and added the precise wording that I was thinking of using. – Mike Nakis Dec 24 '11 at 16:49

I'd say "Why did they do this" questions tend to get closed when they resemble whining about how the design choice prevents the OP from doing an awesome job.

On contrary, they can be interesting and enlightening when the purpose of the question is a deeper understanding of concepts.

  • Right. Well, clearly, int being fixed to 32 bits is not preventing me from anything whatsoever, so that's not it. – Mike Nakis Dec 24 '11 at 13:31

It depends.

I think that most people just come to the question and comments "Why don't you ask them? How could we know?" but there are exceptions where this doesn't happen.

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