I find a lot of good content on SO, both by searching on SO and thru search engines (i.e. Google) – here's an example search – but the content doesn't fit the narrow scope of SO itself. But aside from being out-of-scope, that kind of content is both common and useful!

The (excellent) design of SO also makes finding good examples of this kind of content easy (and fun). Why can't we explicitly include this kind of stuff too, just somewhere clearly separate?

Some example questions that would be appropriate in a 'fun' or 'open-ended' SO site:

More good examples can be easily found by looking at closed questions.

Two (related) sites I really like, and that are based on what I think is a really wonderful idea, are The Wirecutter and The Sweethome – both sites maintain 'best of' for various categories. I think that a 'fun' SO site could do the same for programming.

Isn't it sad that we're fighting user-nature by combating what is arguably useful and interesting (or just entertaining) content? Especially when that content is useful for programming?!

  • I agree that those are entertaining articles to read. So are movies about cats jumping into boxes. A new site dedicated to interesting and purely subjective questions isn't a bad idea... it's been tried many times before. Perhaps you'd like to start a new site dedicated to those sorts of questions? (In any case, though, I think stack exchange is just fine as it is.)
    – JDB
    Jul 17 '13 at 15:02
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    Check out Area51.Stackexchange.com
    – Chad
    Jul 17 '13 at 15:02
  • @Cyborgx37 – why not put your comment as an answer? Jul 17 '13 at 15:03
  • arguably useful and interesting (or just entertaining) content. I think arguably is the operative word. Those types of questions are good and interesting when relevant, but due to age, link-only answers, and "Foo is the best" answers, they rarely remain relevant for long unless actively policed. Jul 17 '13 at 15:03
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    It has been tried before. It failed dismally. While you are free to propose the site as others have said, I'm reasonably confident that SE has learned from these past mistakes and won't attempt to create one of these sites again. There are lots of other places on the interwebs for that kind of content; it doesn't need to exist here for it to happen.
    – Servy
    Jul 17 '13 at 15:05
  • @Chad – I'm familiar with Area51, but it seems like it's common that 'fun' and 'open-ended' questions are outside of the scope of SE sites. And yet it seems to be a losing battle trying to keep that kind of content out of the sites. One advantage of having a 'fun' version of each SE site is that that kind of content can be moved to that site version. Jul 17 '13 at 15:06
  • @psubsee2003 - Adding on... plus you have the whole issue of who is policing the police. Even with as objective and clear cut as SO is, there are still many complaints about downvoting/closing irrelevant, unhelpful or out-of-scope content. Imagine the outcry you'd get with a site dedicated to that sort of stuff.
    – JDB
    Jul 17 '13 at 15:06
  • @psubsee2003 – on the other hand, all kinds of answers could become irrelevant or wrong when frameworks or programming languages change. I don't often see explicit versioning info included in questions and answers. Jul 17 '13 at 15:07
  • @Servy – what's been tried before? I've never heard of anything like what I'm proposing. Jul 17 '13 at 15:08
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    @KennyEvitt A long time ago Programmers was exactly this. It was a nightmare, and it created no useful content. As a result the site's scope was radically changed to what it is now, which isn't really related to this at all.
    – Servy
    Jul 17 '13 at 15:09
  • @Servy – you commented "There are lots of other places on the interwebs for that kind of content", but every time I search for that kind of content I get mostly SO questions in my results! Obviously the SO community is unable to prevent that kind of content from being added and unable to remove it as fast as it's added. Jul 17 '13 at 15:10
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    @KennyEvitt So? Does that mean we should just allow it here and not get rid of it whenever we do see it? No, it doesn't.
    – Servy
    Jul 17 '13 at 15:11
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    @Servy – no, it doesn't mean anyone should do anything. Please understand that I'm not condoning or endorsing people adding that kind of content. I'm saying it seems like a losing battle and that maybe there are other ways to preserve the scope of SO. I understand this is largely a political issue in the SO community. Jul 17 '13 at 15:14
  • @KennyEvitt Creating an SE site where it doesn't belong doesn't prevent people from adding it in all of the places where it doesn't belong. People realize that it ends up being a big mess that experts don't go to to provide quality content, so they go back to the other sites that are generating good content to try to get views from actual experts. The existence of such a site makes it harder to explain to people that we don't want this content here, at all.
    – Servy
    Jul 17 '13 at 16:04
  • @Servy – I'm not sure exactly what you meant to convey in your last comment. But I didn't know (if it's true) that Meta SO is a separate SE site; that makes sense tho. Jul 17 '13 at 16:25

What about this? It's not welcome.

However, my experience is that there is a lot of content on SO that (a) I find useful; (b) is outside of the scope of SO; (c) is tied to questions that are only sometimes closed (hence it's unclear to others that the questions are not-welcome); (d) is frequently listed in the top results of web searches.

I think [d] is the probably the biggest source of my ongoing frustration about this. It's annoying to search for info, find it on SO, realize that it shouldn't be on SO, and also realize that I won't find it elsewhere because it doesn't exist anywhere else that is likely to appear in the top search results.

If SO should be a clean and manicured 'garden' of objective content, then everything that's not appropriate should be permanently deleted (or moved elsewhere). Instead, it's as if an out-of-place item in the garden is simply left in the garden with a sticker that says 'out of place'. And when someone wants to find said out-of-place item? "Go look in the garden."

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