I'm taking Algorithms this term and I wanted to know where I should post questions about material in the course.

Is it Stack Overflow or Software Engineering? Or other SE site? (I wasn't able to discern from the FAQ.)


1 Answer 1


Questions about designing algorithms, their correctness, or their complexity fit Computer Science best. This is likely to be the best fit for questions that you may have that arise in an algorithms course that is part of a computer science educational program.

If you implement algorithms as part of the course, then questions about the coding part should be asked on Stack Overflow, e.g. “why doesn't my code work?” (post your whole code and explain the desired behavior), what library functions to use, etc.

If your implementation is working and you want to make it better, take it to Code Review.

Questions about algorithms in the context of analyzing and designing software systems are a good fit on Software Engineering.

Questions about numerical algorithms in the context of applications to other sciences (statistics, physics, biology, etc.) may be a better fit for Computational Science.

Research-level questions may also be suitable on Theoretical Computer Science.

  • 4
    Ah, so on SO I would ask why my results aren't correct, or why my code is resulting in an error. And on Programmers, I would ask about say, the mathematical proof behind the algorithm. Is this correct?
    – user208596
    Commented Jan 30, 2013 at 2:21
  • @user39902 Sounds good to me :)
    – Jeff
    Commented Jan 30, 2013 at 2:37
  • 5
    Even though Software Engineering have that in their FAQ, Computer Science is the better address for algorithms questions, at least if you want some amount of rigor. That's in my completely biased experience.
    – Raphael
    Commented Feb 10, 2015 at 15:55
  • 2
    No, mathematical proofs go on mathematics.SE!!! Commented Dec 22, 2015 at 13:11
  • 1
    Thanks @Aaron, great edit.
    – Jeff
    Commented Mar 7, 2016 at 20:04
  • @Jeff Please add with your answer what/When to ask Computer Science? Commented Apr 24, 2016 at 3:55
  • @KanagaveluSugumar I don't really hang out much on Computer Science, so I've changed my answer to Community Wiki - feel free to edit it with additional relevant content :)
    – Jeff
    Commented Apr 24, 2016 at 4:34
  • 2
    This answer is no longer correct for SoftwareEngineering.SE. They no longer list algorithms in their on-topic guide. The site has been slowly migrating away from that kind of questions for years now.
    – Andres F.
    Commented Mar 22, 2017 at 18:36
  • @AndresF. this is community wiki, so you're welcome to edit it yourself. I'm not really up-to-date on the various SE programming sites tbh.
    – Jeff
    Commented Mar 22, 2017 at 19:47
  • 2
    I don't agree with this - Stack Overflow's on-topic guide states that questions about algorithms are explicitly on-topic. There's no explicit requirement that questions about algorithms must include code. Commented Feb 3, 2018 at 5:37
  • @EJoshuaS Questions about algorithms are on-topic on Stack Overflow, when the question is about implementing a given algorithm in code. They are off-topic when the question is about designing algorithms, because that has nothing to do with programming - even if the goal is to program the algorithm. Commented Apr 6, 2019 at 1:58
  • By my experience: SO is useless. Yes, you can ask questions, but as soon as it involves a bit of maths or problems you don't find on the internet, you either get no answers, answers giving you useless, general advise or just stupid answers. The latter becomes apparent immediate, if one starts talking about maths without having a clue. Even, if the questons is just about debugging a problem involving simple/stupid coding errors, people tend to not be helpful.
    – Imago
    Commented Dec 15, 2019 at 12:42