The stackoverflow.com guidelines request specific questions that programmers would ask, no vague questions that would elicit discussion or debate. But as an architect a lot of my questions are just that. In a lot of cases I'm looking for other professionals opinions on a topic. An example is a question I was planning on asking today: "What are considered the best architectures for high volume data capture?" I have a need to design a system to capture a lot of small data elements and wanted to hear other opinions of the best way to do that.

Is there a Stack Exchange site to discuss those kinds of questions?

  • 4
    The "no vague questions that would elicit discussion or debate" idea is not limited to Stack Overflow. It's a network-wide principle.
    – Bart
    May 22, 2013 at 14:14
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    Why the phobia against discussion? How do you learn what you don't know unless you hear what others are doing? If I ask a specific question, say 'is hadoop a good solution for high volume data capture', I've already limited the responses to hadoop, I've prejudiced the minds of the readers. But I want to know what I don't know. It is a silly requirement, especially for architectural topics.
    – kfoster
    May 22, 2013 at 14:48
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    There's no phobia against discussion at all. Go to a site that provides a platform for discussion. SE is not it.
    – Bart
    May 22, 2013 at 14:49
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    Short sighted, but okay. Any suggestions for where professional software developers should go for intelligent discussion if SE isn't it?
    – kfoster
    May 22, 2013 at 14:51
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    @kfoster - what makes you think it's short sighted? IMO its the complete opposite, it's long sighted. Users here have relised we can make a better resource for the ongoing web community by dealing in specifics rather than vagueness.
    – Jamiec
    May 22, 2013 at 15:12
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    How is discussing the relative merits of hadoop or a service bus or database in a high volume data capture scenario vague? But if I say 'hadoop' in the question I'll get hadoop answers, I want to hear about experiences with other solutions. You are espousing prejudicing the mind of the reader before you've let them speak.
    – kfoster
    May 22, 2013 at 15:34
  • possible duplicate of Which computer science / programming Stack Exchange do I post in?
    – gnat
    Mar 3, 2018 at 13:57

3 Answers 3


https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/ is the site for architecture questions. But, they still have to be practical, answerable questions.

Instead of asking for "best" architectures for high volume data capture, describe what problem you're trying to solve, give us some context to work with, and then ask about possible approaches for solving it. The best solution for your situation will emerge naturally in the answers.

  • That is exactly what I was planning on doing. If I stated in the body of the question what my goals were, specific application goals, and solicited suggestions for best practices or lessons learned by experience, is that not enough context?
    – kfoster
    May 22, 2013 at 14:56
  • @kfoster The context should be enough, but the community tends to have a swift reaction to the specific "what's the best X" phrasing, so you might want to be a bit careful about that. From what you're saying here, I think your question should be fine.
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    May 22, 2013 at 14:58

Stack Overflow, and all the other sites in the Stack Exchange family, are designed specifically to avoid discussion. They are geared towards a strict Q&A format.

However, all sites (Stack Overflow included) do have the addition of multiple chat rooms where you are free to discuss any on-topic topic. Perhaps that is the place for your extended discussion on architectural woes.

  • People in chat are going to be equally irritated with this question when compared to answerers - just because it's in chat doesn't make it possible to answer. That being said, if the question were refined a bit, it could work.
    – user206222
    May 22, 2013 at 14:18
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    @KnightswhosayNi - I didnt mean you could circumvent the question policy by asking in chat - I meant that you could have an extended discussion.
    – Jamiec
    May 22, 2013 at 14:19
  • Chat is limited to the people logged in at that time, hardly a large enough audience.
    – kfoster
    May 22, 2013 at 14:38

"What are considered the best architectures for high volume data capture?"

This would be closed as not constructive on any SE site. Even if some day we rollout softwarearchitects.stackexchange.com, that will still be closed as not constructive.

See: https://blog.stackoverflow.com/2010/11/qa-is-hard-lets-go-shopping/

  • Yeah, you and several others say that but I'm not sure why. There are multiple possible architectures, RDBMS, No-Sql, file system, ServiceBus. Multiple specific solutions in those architectures, Hadoop, Cassandra, Redshift, Microsoft, IBM, Oracle...etc. I don't want to limit the ideas people bring to the table and I especially want to encourage someone bringing up a new technology. The body of the question would state all that. Without a suitably high level question how would I get that kind of feedback?
    – kfoster
    May 22, 2013 at 14:43
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    All you'll get with such a broad question is a set of general opinions that won't be any better than looking at search results. There is no such thing as a "best architecture". There might be a best one (or at least a small set of most appropriate candidates) right this minute for your exact requirements though.
    – Mat
    May 22, 2013 at 15:07
  • @kfoster see my answer here and the linked question at the top.
    – djechlin
    May 22, 2013 at 15:32
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    @djechlin this brings me back to my original question, is there a place on SE for architectural questions. A developer may want to know 'can hadoop handle 10,000 writes of 100 bytes or less a second' but an architect wants to know 'what solutions have people used or are recommended to handle 10,000 writes of 100 bytes or less a second'. One question is objective, one is subjective, that's the nature of architecture vs development. I do both, most architects do, seems like SE is developer centric. Fine, any suggestions on other sites for architecture questions?
    – kfoster
    May 22, 2013 at 15:43
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    @kfoster This brings me back to my original answer, no, you still have not asked a question that is appropriate on any SE site. Your example here is still not constructive and more falls in this: blog.stackoverflow.com/2010/11/qa-is-hard-lets-go-shopping You're asking people to list out their experiences, there can be up to 30 valid answers, etc.
    – djechlin
    May 22, 2013 at 15:59
  • Re. other sites I recommend meetup.com, following blogs like highscalability.com. You're looking for discussion and opinion, not solutions.
    – djechlin
    May 22, 2013 at 16:00
  • I'm looking for solutions that work, not opinion. Given a throughput requirement the valid answers would be far less than 30. You seem to be the type of developer that wants to know 'how do i make my hammer better', whereas I want to know 'is there a better tool than a hammer for this job'. You apparently have not worked in an environment with a real architecture or architect. However, your recommendation of Highscalability.com is spot on. Thanks for that.
    – kfoster
    May 22, 2013 at 16:10
  • @kfoster quick fact check, I've worked both at a company with thousands of developers and at a 5 person startup. Anyway best of luck.
    – djechlin
    May 22, 2013 at 16:24
  • Ironically, you're failing to mention why it's not constructive
    – s g
    Jun 13, 2017 at 22:56
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    @sg fixed, I guess
    – djechlin
    Jun 13, 2017 at 22:57

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