The question: Tips for using Google when looking for C stuff, rather than C++?

The FAQ says the following:

We feel the best Stack Overflow questions have a bit of source code in them, but if your question generally covers …

  • software tools commonly used by programmers

I definitely consider Google to be a software tool commonly used by programmers. The question I asked also is a real problem I have with this tool, and looking to solve. So why was it closed?


2 Answers 2


Google is a tool that programmers use, but it's hardly exclusive to programmers. There are a seemingly infinite number of verbs that can come after "As a [foo] programmer, how do I .." .. and we're simply not equipped to handle that. Consider the following:

Well, darn it, you let the person wondering how to use Google as a programmer ask their question, why can't I ask the same about Excel?

Sooner or later, you'll get someone asking about boating as a programmer. That, actually happened. Programmers could conceivably use anything to get our jobs done, heck we use rubber ducks. We have to draw a line, so we ask that the tool you're asking about be rather exclusively used by programmers. That is what is meant by tools that programmers use.

If you've got a question about an editor, a compiler, a debugger .. we're here to help provided that the problem relates to programming. Tips on how to narrow down Google searches (essentially, what you're asking) are of a far broader interest than a very programming specific community.

  • 1
    Honing the Google is more Web Apps
    – random
    Dec 8, 2012 at 17:10

"How to Google something?" is not really a programming question. Even if you end up Google-ing programming related content. So as such I would say it's off topic.

The whole "software tool commonly used by programmers" angle doesn't really work either. I'm sure most of us commonly use a browser. Or some IM program. That doesn't mean questions about those fall under this header. Questions about IDEs, compilers, etc. would fall under this header.

All in all, I would say it's off-topic indeed.

  • But you could make the argument that how to Google something C specific is very, very programming related in a way. This is a really weird edge case...
    – Pekka
    Dec 8, 2012 at 16:48
  • 1
    @Pekka I disagree. That is simply a topic-specific rephrasing of a more general "How do I search for X, excluding Y" type question. I would not be able to suggest an appropriate SE, but I don't think the question itself is enough programming related by virtue of the content searched for.
    – Bart
    Dec 8, 2012 at 16:50

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