I'm most active in the c++ tag and as a result I find myself referencing C++ FAQ Lite quite a bit. That tendency comes from my brief Usenet experience, where the convention was to link to known good content rather than writing your own answer (i.e., don't reinvent the wheel). The convention on SO, however, appears to favor writing your own complete answer rather than linking somewhere that might not exist in the future.

Given that the C++ FAQ Lite website has only had one update in the last three years, is there any benefit to posting some of the more interesting FAQs (using the c++-faq tag) on SO and letting the community decide on the best answer? I'm certainly not suggesting we plagiarize the excellent work of Marhsall Cline et al. It's just that many C++ language questions (and I think this applies to most programming languages) that come up on SO can be answered simply by referencing the FAQ website.

What's the right thing to do? Should SO seek to become the home of all programming language FAQs?

6 Answers 6


I don't know if it should -strive- to be that...but the longer it stays open and the more questions that roll in, the more it is going to be seen as the standard place to look for information on programming languages.

  • I find myself agreeing with you a lot, TheTXI. I don't suppose you'll be at the Boston Dev Days? Commented Jul 2, 2009 at 13:46
  • No, but if I was I would dress like Paul Revere and pretend to gallop furiously on a pink hobby horse.
    – TheTXI
    Commented Jul 2, 2009 at 13:56
  • bring sugar cubes, horses love those. and carrots. Commented Jul 2, 2009 at 13:59
  • 1
    I like sugar cubes and carrots, too. Be sure to bring extras for me. Commented Jul 2, 2009 at 14:05

This is closely related to my question on having Articles/Papers available on SO from Users (or groups of). I actually love the idea - after all, I can see SO being the primary place for developers to go to when they need to learn, or want to contribute. It's going to have anybody from the novice/hobbyist to the academic/professional. It's the greatest environment to publish FAQs, Papers, and Tutorials.

  • I don't know if it would be the most ideal environment to post papers and tutorials on. Papers I could see moreso because the answers could be critiques (highest voted critiques are the ones most agreed upon, etc.). Tutorials on the other hand seem like a strange bedfellow with the way the site is built, but that is just me.
    – TheTXI
    Commented Jul 2, 2009 at 13:55
  • @TheTXI This leads to an obvious question: What is the ideal environment to post papers and tutorials? And how can SO evolve to include that environment? Right now there is no environment that is even reasonably good. scholar.google doesn't do it. Neither does CodeProject. SO's motto should be: "Organizing the world's programming information."
    – user130657
    Commented Jul 20, 2009 at 17:11

In regards to referencing back to other sources, I think the best solution is quote the relevant text in case the site goes down in the future, and to provided a link to the original material (as closely as you can get to the quoted text). We can't just start completely ripping off existing sources, but eventually all the relevant portions will be collected, along with additional information from our community.


Yes, SO should seek to become a repository of FAQs.

Explicitly adopting the attitude of seeking to become a repository is important because it influences how moderators vote on closing simple questions.



I guess I can see value in this from the nature of the site, but in practice I'm not sure that SO can ever be focussed enough to be all things to all men. My gut says that I'd rather places like zvon continued to fill this role and SO remained dedicated to the specifics.

  • seriously, it's an opinion honestly given on a discussion site - how do you downvote that?
    – bananakata
    Commented Jul 2, 2009 at 14:06

I do quite a few code examples on sites such as pastebin.me and jsbin.com which allow you to live demo script. I just link to the url but it will cause an issue when any of these pastebins go down or close.

I had a uservoice request for a pastebin.stackoverflow.com turned down as it was a duplicate. I am still searching for the original!

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