I noticed the new codereview site that is now in Beta and looked at a few of the questions. I just left that site scratching my head wondering what the difference between codereview and stackoverflow really was.

On stackoverflow I've seen questions posted with just as much code (sometimes more) than was included on codereview. On several codereview questions the answers didn't seem much different than on stackoverflow.

Also, if the intent of codereview is to solicit reviews of code, it isn't clear to me how that the really fits with the Q&A format.

Sure there is there are general questions about code such as:

  • Do you see any security issues in my code?
  • Do you see any ways to improve performance?

But for a given piece of code there are usually a number of such general questions and which makes it difficult for there to be a single answer since there are multiple questions. For example one person may raise a security issue while another may suggest a performance improvement.

From this follows my question in the title:

Is codereview for asking a question and getting an answer or for getting code reviews?

  • Code Review is for posting programming questions which would be considered too localized on SO... (Don't take that seriously.) The site is also not "new" as it's been in Beta for almost 2 years.
    – animuson StaffMod
    Nov 14, 2012 at 23:41
  • So it is basically a niche version of SO? Nov 14, 2012 at 23:45
  • 2
    I think the difference is approximately: SO is for getting help fixing code that doesn't work, while Code Review is for getting advice on how to improve working code, although there is some overlap between the sites as well.
    – hammar
    Nov 14, 2012 at 23:46
  • So if it's for getting advice, do you think the question and accept answer format is the best mechanism matching up those looking for advice and those looking to receive it? Nov 14, 2012 at 23:48

2 Answers 2


Code Review doesn't fit the Q&A format, its questions would be considered too localized on every other Stack Exchange site and answerers are encouraged to comment on any part of the code they want:

Reviewers may comment on any part of the code.

Feel free to call attention to specific areas you are concerned about (performance, formatting, etc). However, any aspect of the code posted is fair game for feedback and criticism.

And this is by design, or at least known from very early on:

This site, like Code Golf, is a bit of an odd duck and a trial balloon.

As with all Area 51 sites, this site is an experiment.. and that is OK.. if it doesn't do well in public beta, we'll make the data dump available and shut it down.

Heh, there's even a recent feature request asking for the site to drop "question" in favour of "review". So, to answer your question, yes Code Review is for requesting reviews of your (working) code. It's quirky and understandably confusing to people familiar with other Stack Exchange sites. It's also successful:

  • Questions get answered quickly, and the answers are generally satisfying,
  • Although a lot of answers would be more appropriate as comments (on other SE sites), long debates and comment wars are very rare,
  • Traffic is steadily increasing,
  • There's a relatively large core group of users (comparing to other Beta sites),

As a relatively high rep user of the site, I think it beautifully complements Stack Overflow and to a lesser extend Programmers. I have absolutely no idea if the site is viable in the long term, and if or when it will graduate, but I certainly hope we can ignore its quirkiness in favour of its usefulness.


Basing on the FAQ, the site is for code reviews about:

  • Best practices and design pattern usage
  • Security issues
  • Performance
  • Correctness in unanticipated cases

For what I can understand, the difference with Stack Overflow is that:

  1. The question is about actual code. Questions without code, or with pseudo-code, are not allowed.
  2. The question is about code the OP wrote.
  3. The code shown in the question is supposed to work. Questions where the OP shows code that doesn't work, and for which the OP wants to know the correct version are not allowed.
  4. Questions where it is not clear which kind of review is required are not allowed.

To make clear what i said in the point #3, if the OP has code for which s/he doesn't get the expected result, and s/he wants to know why, or which code should be used, then the question is for Stack Overflow; if the user has code that s/he tested, and it works, but s/he wants to know if there are cases where the code would not work, then the question is for Code Review.

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