I am surprised to read this in the FAQ:

If your question is about …

* programming, ask on Stack Overflow.
* servers, ask on Server Fault.
* web design and HTML/CSS layout, ask on Doctype.

because I still see questions related to CSS and web design in SO, like this one a few minutes back.

So, what's the official policy - you're encouraged to ask these questions on Doctype, but it's alright to ask them on SO if you so wish?

4 Answers 4


It's pretty simple.

  • is your job title "designer"?
  • does your question involve CSS and HTML exclusively, with only a tiny bit of JavaScript, if any?
  • is showing screenshots, possibly in multiple browsers, of your problem essential to getting it resolved?

The more questions you answer "yes", the more likely your question belongs on DocType.

I thought the /faq was pretty clear on this topic. Maybe refer to that first? I guess I could modify it to include the text "If your job title is 'designer', and.." if that helps you.

  • 5
    Why do I have the feeling that you would end up hearing from those of us who have to be the "everything guy". You should totally have one site for all questions!
    – TheTXI
    Aug 17, 2009 at 11:15
  • Is there any existing request to have significant changes announced on the SOFU sites instead of expecting users to keep regular watch the FAQ, blog etc? If not, can I request it? Something along the lines of a one-time "There is new site news" link on the front-page whenever there is an announcement to be made.
    – nagul
    Aug 17, 2009 at 11:37
  • 3
    well, you can essentially ignore DocType if you don't need it. Believe me, the community will let you know if your question should be somewhere else. Aug 17, 2009 at 11:54
  • Even Jeff himself has experienced a wrath of downvotes.
    – Troggy
    Aug 17, 2009 at 15:34
  • 2
    @Jeff - I'm wondering if there's a corner case here. If you're normally on SO for otherwise straightforward programming questions and you happen to run into a CSS problem isn't there something to be said for keeping it in SO rather than diversifying? A little cross-contamination seems healthy (though I worry about the potential for zealotry now Doctype exists...)
    – bananakata
    Aug 17, 2009 at 20:05

The main problem is that DocType is not ready to handle the SO HTML/CSS traffic. They should have gone into beta with some SO users until they got the kinks worked out.

As it is currently, they are using some bizarre sort algorithm for questions and you cannot sort by last updated/most active. The only way to find new answers is to page through the site looking at timestamps.

Also if a question has a 'best answer' selected there is no indication when it gets a new answer. In order to know a 'best answer' question has new answers is to keep track of the number of answers it had before.

If you to push all HTML/CSS questions to DocType, people are going to try it and end up leaving the 'SO family' to answer questions forums that aren't so hard to use.

edit to respond to Matthew's comment: 'I'd argue that Doctype is very easy to use, it's just different to StackOverflow (that you're used to).'

I think DocType is easy to use to ask a question. I love the repositories of screenshots and code. But to attract and keep people who will answer questions, it has to be even easier for them.

When I go to a forum, I want to be able to scan down a list of new or updated questions/topics. I don't want to have to hunt down new questions or interesting questions that may have new answers. I don't want to have to page down four times to see ten questions. I don't want to have to resize my font every time I open DocType in a new tab. I don't want to have to scroll up because I cannot click on a question that is covered by the black footer but it goes off the screen when I page down.

I think DocType has potential and will eventually be a really cool site. I just don't think it is ready to host all of the SO HTML/CSS questions.

  • 2
    Emily, can you tell us these suggestions, please? meta.doctype.com thanks! Aug 17, 2009 at 14:00
  • 1
    For web designers, it looks a little clunky. Plus things are just way too large for it to feel comfortable to read/use.
    – random
    Aug 17, 2009 at 14:11
  • @matthew I have left my suggestions on UserVoice but I am out of votes so I cannot add any more. I don't think DocType should be a SO clone but things like letting the user sort by what is important to him is very basic usability.
    – Emily
    Aug 17, 2009 at 14:32
  • @matthew @random - I feel the same way. The default font size is way too big to scan quickly and each chunk of information takes up way too much space on the screen. I zoom out two times in Chrome which makes the headers/text the right size but the code sections are then tiny and hard to read.
    – Emily
    Aug 17, 2009 at 14:34

DocType has only been part of our league of justice for a short time, so it is unlikely that everyone "got the memo" that CSS questions should be asked on DocType.

Before DocType all design based questions were generally SO material.

  • Nobody got the memo because Jeff forgot the TPS cover sheet. The mail guy refused to deliver it.
    – Eric
    Aug 17, 2009 at 15:04

I also just noticed the original OP only has 21 rep. As he new user I doubt he as yet as read the FAQ or even understand the concept of SO.

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