I saw a question about tmux on SO. It didn't have a direct relevance to programming so I decided to flag it for migration to superuser.

Then I decided to search for "tmux" on SO. I found at least 100 of them. One was migrated to the unix site. A lot of them don't seem to be programming-related.

The SO faq says that an acceptable question could be about

  • software tools commonly used by programmers

Sure tmux might be used by a lot of programmers, but I don't think it actually aids a programming activity. Sort of the same category as an ssh question IMHO.

Should all of these be migrated?


One of the tmux questions, one person asked whether it should be moved to unix. Another replied: "I view it as a programming tool question, like vim".

I think it depends.

Vim is often used as an IDE, so I'd tend to not want vim questions migrated, even if it was a general-purpose usage (e.g. listing buffers), rather than a programming-specific one (e.g. syntax coloring for python).

I think tmux is further removed from the development process than vim is. It's also less relevant than deployment tools like ruby's capistrano gem, because deployment is often considered part of the dev process. I consider tmux usage to be more like asking how to add a bookmark in Firefox (vs a Q about using the Firebug extension).

It's probably a judgment call. I just wanted to know what others thought about it - not necessarily tmux specifically, but also tools like ssh (e.g. how do I generate a key pair?).

  • Care to link to any of the questions you're referring to?
    – cdeszaq
    Mar 13 '12 at 19:11
  • Ugh, it has a tag: tmux. Admittedly, tmux is pretty nifty, but I don't see usage questions for it on topic for SO in the least...
    – Charles
    Mar 13 '12 at 19:13
  • @cdeszaq Just do a search for tmux and you'll see what I mean. Here's just one
    – Kelvin
    Mar 13 '12 at 19:17
  • 2
    Related: the many questions I'm too lazy to find concerning the topicality of emacs and vi. Mar 13 '12 at 19:19

In general, if a question is about using a tool but not in a way that relates (fairly strongly) to programming, it is off-topic for Stack Overflow. "Relates", to me, means to explicitly deal with writing or managing code, or deploying an application, or testing an application, or other similarly development-focused activities.

For example, just because one can script just about any command-line tool does not make all command-line tools valid topics for Stack Overflow. If, on the otherhand, the question is actually about scripting their usage, I would consider that to be on-topic, since scripting is programming.

Determining if a question is a good candidate for migration is an entirely different issue, however, and highly depends on what the question is trying to do and/or what the tool in question does.

If the tool itself fits closely with a particular Stack Exchange site, then it might make sense to move it there. If what the user is trying to do with the tool fits well with a particular Stack Exchange site, then it might make sense to move it there too. Most importantly, however, is to remember the golden rule: Don't migrate crap.

  • 1
    thanks for that point about distinguishing off-topic and migration. Makes sense that they should be considered separately.
    – Kelvin
    Mar 13 '12 at 19:40

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