The first question I asked on stackoverflow was closed as being off-topic and I was advised to read FAQ. Meta question lead to a moderator opening the question. I want to some clarification again regarding the FAQ because my second question on stackoverflow has also been closed as being off-topic. I have read the FAQ three times so I want to know why is my question off-topic?

The FAQ states that

  1. We feel the best Stack Overflow questions have a bit of source code in them, but if your question generally covers …
  2. practical, answerable problems that are unique to the programming profession

I have source code that I wrote and I am asking questions regarding memory efficiency, time efficiency and benchmarking the programs which I think are unique to programming. Then how is this off-topic?

The last meta question lead to many people thinking that there is confusion in FAQ. I would like someone to clarify the FAQ so I don't have to discuss every closed question with a reference to FAQ.

  • On quick look it appears to be Yes/No question. Those don't fit on Stack Overflow, even if they are programming related. It falls also under "there is no actual problem to be solved" in the "don't ask" section of the faq Commented May 23, 2013 at 5:52
  • If it is a Yes/No answer then why are there answers with calculations of time and memory efficiencies? Also the question contains "If it is inefficient in both then how can their efficiencies be compared?". Please read the 2nd point of FAQ mentioned in the question. Commented May 23, 2013 at 5:54
  • Like I said, quick look and just explaining why. Maybe you can revise the question so it's more clear that you ask more than Yes/No then it can be reopened. (either flag or 5 high rep users who see this request here) Commented May 23, 2013 at 5:57
  • Regarding FAQ confusion, keep in mind the FAQ isn't set on stone. It's not a set of binding rules, so every user has his own personal opinion. Sometimes those opinions conflict, and it's part of Stack Overflow which is unique by being moderated (mostly) by its users. Commented May 23, 2013 at 5:59
  • I don't have enough rep for raising flags yet and I already notified the moderator who opened my last question about this. Commented May 23, 2013 at 6:00
  • Without revising the question I fear it might not get reopened, the mod might get the initial impression I got that it's just Yes/No question. Commented May 23, 2013 at 6:01
  • @ShaWizDowArd has a point. I think the closing statement in the initial question "so I don't bother anyone with such questions the next time?" might have had something to do with the downvotes and closure, but I'm not sure. That said, as edited the question seems better to me. Commented May 23, 2013 at 6:14
  • @ShaWizDowArd only in extreme literalist reading can it be a Yes/No question. It is quite obvious that an answer should be supported by some arguments and discussion. A naked Yes or No would not be a good answer at all, I think.
    – Will Ness
    Commented May 23, 2013 at 8:34
  • You were answered in the original questions. See for example meta.stackexchange.com/a/181464/147655. Commented May 23, 2013 at 9:04

1 Answer 1


You have a working piece of code and you want a comparison of efficiency with another piece of code or algorithm.

This is on-topic on Code Review.

From the Code Review FAQ :

What kind of questions can I ask here?

Code Review - Stack Exchange is for sharing code from projects you are working on for peer review. If you are looking for feedback on a specific working piece of code from your project in the following areas…

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

then you are in the right place!

Stack Overflow is generally about problem solving and algorithmic issues within a single piece of code. Performance questions and especially comparison questions between working code sections are considered off-topic or not constructive depending on the exact case.

  • 1
    I would say that sort of question is less off topic and more not constructive unless real benchmarks are involved. Commented May 23, 2013 at 6:11
  • 2
    Is there a faq for all the stackexchange sites? Something where they tell what kind of questions should be asked where. There are 102 websites and the FAQ of stackoverflow doesn't state which to use for what. @BoltClock'saUnicorn The chosen had benchmarks as that was what I was looking for. Commented May 23, 2013 at 7:23
  • I don't think this applies. The OP asks for comparison of algorithms, not just pieces of code. I read it as a more general question than that for which the Code Review FAQ refers.
    – Will Ness
    Commented May 23, 2013 at 8:33

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