Sometimes i can see people asking general programming questions about concepts. The answer to these question requires only theory and no code. Is stack overflow the right place to ask such questions also or does the question necessarily require code?? If questions require code, then does stack exchange have any other site to post such questions?

One example... now removed...

another example... now closed...

closed as off-topic by random, nicael, Martijn Pieters, ale, ProgramFOX Sep 28 '14 at 16:06

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "This question pertains only to a specific site in the Stack Exchange Network. Questions on Meta Stack Exchange should pertain to our network or software that drives it as a whole, within the guidelines defined in the help center. You should ask this question on the meta site where your concern originated." – random, nicael, Martijn Pieters, ale, ProgramFOX
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 1
    FIrst example: closed and deleted. – Robert Harvey Jun 28 '13 at 5:31
  • I closed the second one as too broad. – Robert Harvey Jun 28 '13 at 5:32
  • Yeah, it was deleted recently... – prince Jun 28 '13 at 5:32
  • broad as in it being too generic?? – prince Jun 28 '13 at 5:33
  • 5
    "There are either too many possible answers, or good answers would be too long for this format." – Robert Harvey Jun 28 '13 at 5:33
  • ok, i got it... – prince Jun 28 '13 at 5:35

Verbatim from Help Center:

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

As you can read, questions typically should have source code. It's a Q&A site about code, so therefore code should be involved.

For questions that do not include code, you shouldn't even have a reference to having code at all (as in saying in your question "I have this code that does {x}"). If you have code that you are wondering about it, drop the relevant lines into the question.

The problem with no code

All sorts of flags start to pop up when users ask about a coding problem with no code. One's I can think of off the top of my head are:

  • Help vampires, they want a consistent supply of code a little bit at a time (by asking different but related questions) in the hopes of completing some sort of project. Usually members that consistently come to the site pick up on these people and their tricks are discovered.
  • Homework or school assignments (How would I go through an array in Java, how do I concatenate a string in {programming language}). Asking about school assignments isn't necessarily a bad thing but 1, it could be considered cheating, and 2, you should read the material your instructor has provided first.
  • They are looking for an opinion. Opinions are no good on a Q&A site. Opinions aren't answers. They lead to debate and arguing and general flame wars that spin out of control. Answers should be concise.


Can your question have no code? Yes, but tread lightly. It better be very specific otherwise it will most likely get closed. Typically you won't have a programming question unless you are actually coding.

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