Do developers of languages use Stack Overflow?

While I am relatively certain that the answer to this is "yes", I was simply curious, and as I am a new member here, I figured I might as well ask:

Do developers of programming languages that are still actively being changed (I use Python quite a bit for work, as an example) use this site to figure stuff out or do they have their own forums?

A couple of shoutouts would maybe be nice to hear, along with general opinions about how Stack Overflow compares to other forums. I would suspect that most of the things end users google about are on a completely different tier of discussion as things that a language changes as it matures.


6 Answers 6


Leppie is the lead programmer and maintainer for the IronScheme language. Configurator is one of the contributors.

And of course, there's Eric Lippert, who was on the compiler team for C# for several years.

You can probably find more people like this in the and tags.

In my opinion, the value of having folks like this around is their ability to answer questions, not ask them. Questions about language design and compiler design tend to be very dense and require a lot of research to answer unless, like Eric Lippert, you already know the answer.


In addition to myself (I am a former member of the C#, JavaScript and VBScript design commitees) there are Neal Gafter (former Java designer, current C# designer) and Kevin Pilch Bisson, who works on the Roslyn project.

Stack Overflow is useful to me as a source of people having problems with the product. You learn a lot about what people do wrong or misunderstand. I now work on static analyzers, so finding common bug patterns is very helpful.

I don't use Stack Overflow to solicit features or debate designs. That's not its purpose.


Guido van Rossum, creator and Benevolent Dictator For Life of Python, is an SO user. I don't know that he'll answer your questions on language design however; he's generally seen supporting the ndb module he designed for Google App Engine.

He's never asked a question and is unlikely to solicit ideas here; there's the python-ideas mailing list for that.


Howard Hinnant is a regular contributor to SO, and he works with the C++ standardization committee.

L. H. de Figueiredo, one of the creators of Lua, is the top user in the tag.


There are lots of people here who write their own languages- I have. You expect to see a large uptick in activity recently because LLVM has made it feasible for people to create their own languages.

However, IMO SO is not a very good place for questions about language design.

  • Most useful questions about language design are completely subjective.
  • Very few people have experience with non-trivial languages.
  • Languages are hard things to get right, even if you're the best, and all existing examples are highly flawed.

Virtually everything I did for my own language, I had to figure out myself- SO was not a useful resource. So in my experience, asking language questions here is generally a waste of time.

  • 3
    "However, IMO SO is not a very good place." -- for questions about language design, not in general, yes? Commented Jul 30, 2013 at 23:27
  • 1
    @KeithThompson, No my friend. SO is a hostile place :D Commented Jul 31, 2013 at 10:36
  • 5
    Most useful questions about language design are not subjective. However, it seems that it takes someone more mature than your average SO user to recognize that there are deeper issues in language design than brace placement. That does indicate that Stack Overflow is not a good place for questions about language design, but another Stack Exchange site would be — and there is one: Computer Science. Commented Jul 31, 2013 at 12:09
  • @KeithThompson: That's what I had originally written, but accidentally edited it to say something different.
    – DeadMG
    Commented Jul 31, 2013 at 14:45
  • @DeadMG I don't know what you base your statement on, given that you don't even have an account on Computer Science, but I'd like to cite one of our newer users: "It is not for "just solving that question" and getting through some test or whatever; its about learning and not blind solving."
    – Raphael
    Commented Aug 11, 2013 at 12:04
  • most stackexchange sites have the same issue, too many @#$% geeks who are more interested in increasing their own points than actually helping people... through the miracle of technology and frankly quite clever user interface design the two sometimes coincide.... few people got the summer of luv bulletin and it was apparently just a transitory whim anyway....
    – vzn
    Commented Sep 9, 2013 at 2:37

Just to add to the list, Walter Bright and the template guy both active developers for the D Programming language are also on SO.

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