I've just been told off for asking a question in the wrong section and that I should have asked it in the main section. However, the main section doesn't have an "Ask Question" link that I can find! Stupid question (since I found it in this section), but how do I ask a question on Stack Overflow?

  • 6
    What do you mean by "main section?" and what do you mean by "told off"? Links would be helpful. Jan 25 '12 at 4:12
  • <stackexchange.com> does not have an "Ask Question" link but <stackoverflow.com> does have it. See my confusion? I thought that since the link was in the top left-hand corner it was for Stack Overflow. I've never heard of Stack Exchange before. I've been on Stack Overflow for years but never posted before. The icon is so small it's easy to think it's for Stack Overflow. I was wondering how the "same" address was giving me totally different content. Answer: use a screen magnifier to see itty-bitty text.
    – Cool Fool
    Jan 25 '12 at 4:39
  • 6
    No, I don't see your confusion. You were instructed to post the question at StackOverflow.com. No one said, "post it on the main section" or "post on stack exchange". They said post it on stack overflow, and gave you a link to the site, where there is an ask question link. Jan 25 '12 at 4:41
  • 2
    For the record: I think your question about the android stuff was a fine question, especially for a first-time asker. I have no idea if anyone could help you with the problem, but my quick reading indicated a real good start to a decent question. I want to encourage you to post it on Stack Overflow. Jan 25 '12 at 4:57
  • Thanks for replying. I worked out what was going on while I was posting my first reply since I could compare both addresses in the same place. I don't think following a link in a question is a good way of navigation. If that was the only way then I think people wouldn't use the service because it's too hard. I would have preferred an answer in the form "You are <here>, follow the link in the top menu called <this>". I'm just cranky because I was expecting a direct link from subdomain.stackoverflow.com to stackoverflow.com. By the way my icon does have the word "FOOL" running around the edge...
    – Cool Fool
    Jan 25 '12 at 5:38
  • LOL!!! It does really look like "fool", doesn't it! Those images are randomly generated from a hash of your e-mail address, by the way. As far as what you bring up in your comment here, I'll make a little edit to my answer to address that. Jan 25 '12 at 5:41
  • ` I've been on Stack Overflow for years but never posted before` My mind, it boggles.
    – user1228
    Jan 25 '12 at 12:47
  • Since someone else has already asked all my previous questions before why would I clutter up Stack Overflow with more of the same questions?
    – Cool Fool
    Jan 30 '12 at 6:47

I assume you are talking about this question on Android Enthusiasts: https://android.stackexchange.com/questions/18674/is-there-a-library-that-can-display-font-ligatures-on-android

If so, you were not "told off". You were instructed about where to properly post it.

As for where the ask question link is; it's in pretty much exactly the same place on each site. The page to do so on Stack Overflow is here: https://stackoverflow.com/questions/ask

I think some of the disconnect here might be due to how you perceived there to be 'sections' of a 'main site'. Going on an assumption like that, I can imagine how you would arrive at some of your confusion.

Basically, the Stack Exchange network contains about 80 sites as of right now. It is essentially impossible to have them operate as 'sections' of the same website, as a result. However, I believe a conscious decision was made that it was desirable to split the sites like that anyway, and allow each to operate as a separate community.

Yes; that absolutely does somewhat decrease the usability across the network, as far as navigating between them all. There are elements of the main Stack Exchange site which mitigate those issues for those of us with multiple accounts, though. Also, though; the various communities span a broad range of topics, and it would be even more harmful to usability to force people to have to navigate amongst content that is not at all related to what they are interested in; For example, I have no interest in ever seeing any content from the Gaming or Cooking sites.

There are more reasons why that I could go into, but I'm not even 100% sure I'm right about what the disconnect is. There are questions here that can help you understand why the communities are split like they are. My point is just that it is on purpose that the communities are split.

  • I was given -2. That's not being told off? Thanks, but I'm not finding my initial experience of asking a question very productive so far.
    – Cool Fool
    Jan 25 '12 at 4:43
  • 9
    No, that's not being told off. Don't take down votes personally; take them as learning experiences. I get down voted all the time, as does everyone else here. Jan 25 '12 at 4:44

Stack Exchange is not a forum. You're going to need to approach this network of Q&A sites with new eyes.

When new users struggle with our format, invariably they are accustomed to participating in forum environments, where you can pretty much do anything you want. That's not the case here; we apply a bit of discipline to the proceedings to keep the signal-to-noise ratio high for our participants.

To quote Yoda: "You must unlearn what you have learned."

Everything you need to know about using Stack Exchange sites can be found at each site's FAQ pages. For Stack Overflow, these are:


  • Thanks, I was asking a question. Needed help.
    – Cool Fool
    Jan 25 '12 at 4:41

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