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Where to ask a question about an IDE?

What is the proper place to ask about the pros and cons of multiple IDE's on a specific point?

I'm not sure if this should go on SO, superuser or programmers.

  • Definitely not Programmers ;) – yannis Oct 9 '12 at 23:33

Questions about IDEs are probably most appropriate for SO as per the FAQ:

What kind of questions can I ask here?


  • software tools commonly used by programmers


Be careful to make sure the question is objective and doesn't get into shopping-list question territory. A question like "Does Foo IDE support Advanced Widget Frobbing?" (assuming that info isn't available with a reasonable amount of research) is okay. Questions like "Which IDE has the best Advanced Widget Frobbing?" or "What are the pros and cons of Foo IDE's Advanced Widget Frobbing?" are too subjective and will be quickly closed.

Open-ended pro/con list questions generally fall into the territory of what not to ask as they're generally too chatty and have no clearly "right" answer.

  • Just to check, but asking for a GUI pro vs con list for some IDE's in java isn't a 'shopping list' question, right? – Azulflame Oct 9 '12 at 23:21
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    I agree. There are a lot of people flagging IDE questions as off topic. Questions about the IDE are on topic, as they fall under "practical, answerable problems unique to the programming profession"; if you're coding in it, then it's on topic (assuming it meets other quality guidelines). – casperOne Oct 9 '12 at 23:21
  • @azulflame It's not a shopping list, but it's a list question; that kind of question is "Not Constructive". – casperOne Oct 9 '12 at 23:22
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    Open ended "Pros/Cons" type questions are typically not appropriate for SO. – user159834 Oct 9 '12 at 23:22

If you're referring to this question, then no, it isn't appropriate for Stack Overflow.

Here's why:

  • It's asking for pros and cons. Such questions (by definition) are asking for opinions. What I may consider to be a 'pro' another developer could consider to be a 'con' and vice versa.
  • It's asking for "Popular IDEs". Today that could be Eclipse. Tomorrow it could be something else. Such a question is always going to be out of touch with the times.
  • The question doesn't address what problem you are having. Stack Overflow is for actionable questions, not for navel-gazing. If Eclipse is crashing on you, that's an on-topic question.
  • No definitive answer. When will this question be capable of having a green check-marked answer? By whose standards? There is no canonical answer to this question.

These types of questions are better asked in a forum, or some other venue that prizes discussion above canonical answers. Stack Overflow (and Stack Exchange writ large) is not one of those places.

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