I believe that I understand the general distinction between SO and Programmers SE, but why does PSE have programming language tags, ie Java, C#, etc? From what I can tell, the questions asked on these tags should appear on SO.

  • Forgive me if this is a duplicate, I found a few describing the differences between SO and PSE at a high-level, if you will, but none addressing this particular issue.
    – Steve P.
    Aug 10, 2013 at 4:27
  • Why are you not asking on the Programmers site?
    – random
    Aug 10, 2013 at 4:30
  • @random Migrate?
    – asheeshr
    Aug 10, 2013 at 4:33
  • @random Seems like it's a question that could go on either. Since SO was the original site, I assume that there was a reason that the tags were created for PSE. So here seemed more appropriate, if it's not, then I guess it should be migrated.
    – Steve P.
    Aug 10, 2013 at 4:45
  • 1
    Either way, Programmers is the site that created the tags. Stack Overflow didn't impose its tags on them; that would have been rude. So yes, asking the folks on that site who created and are responsible for maintaining the tags would probably be more appropriate.
    – Cody Gray
    Aug 10, 2013 at 6:00

2 Answers 2


Programmers is all about the concepts (with a touch of industry specific business concerns, to keep things interesting). While a lot of programming concepts are language agnostic, there are also quite a few that are platform / language specific. Thus, the language tags on Programmers. Here's a brief list of questions with language tags on Programmers that I don't think would be suitable for Stack Overflow:

However, as Cody already mentioned, there are a lot of closed questions on Programmers' languages tags. First, since Programmers welcomes subjective questions, we have to be a bit stricter if we are to maintain any level of sanity. There's a fine line between a good subjective question and a rant, and it takes a bit of skill and experience to separate them. More often than not, we get it right. If you feel we got it wrong, feel free to start a discussion on our Meta site.

Furthermore, Programmers shares with Meta Stack Overflow the distinct honour of being the goto site for people who have been question banned on Stack Overflow. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people who when faced with the infamous "Why are questions no longer being accepted from my account?" message decide to post their crap on Programmers, instead of trying to figure out how to improve their questions. Oh, well, c'est la vie.

  • 2
    Oh wow. I hadn't even considered that you guys are getting some of the people who had been question banned on Stack Overflow. You are really earning that diamond. My sympathies.
    – Cody Gray
    Aug 10, 2013 at 12:42
  • @CodyGray It's not that bad, but it lead to some uncomfortable decisions. Although we are a relatively small site, we also have question bans on, and we recently(ish) started requiring registration for asking questions. I think SO is the only other site that requires registration.
    – yannis
    Aug 10, 2013 at 12:51

I'm certainly no expert on the scope of Programmers. But the way that I would go about answering this question for myself would be to look at the questions on that site that use those tags. Conveniently, both Java and C# happen to be the top two tags on the tags page, so I'd click on them. And open them both in new tabs, just because I can. And because I like tabs.

What I see first is a lot of questions that are "on hold". That reminds me of my last experience browsing Programmers, many moons ago. Not a good sign. Perhaps that is part of what motivated this question? Why have these tags if they appear to be honeypots of off-topic or otherwise unacceptable questions?

The problem is, there are some perfectly valid questions (both according to my own opinion and based on the fact that they are not closed after having had plenty of opportunity) with those tags. A common theme with these questions is that they are about design patterns, programming practices, naming, testing methodologies, and other conventions. That fits well with that I understand about Programmers: that they are for more abstract, whiteboard-style questions, while Stack Overflow is for more specific questions about the implementation in actual source code. For questions that are about patterns and practices specific to a particular language (or even commonly associated with that language and its ecosystem), it makes sense to tag them accordingly so people can find them.

Of course, there are also plenty of questions asked there that could be asked on Stack Overflow. Like this one, picked completely at random. According to the Help Center, questions about "programming tools" are off-topic for Programmers and should be asked on Stack Overflow instead. So this question clearly got missed. That happens sometimes. When you see questions like that, feel free to flag them.

  • Migrated the Visual Studio question, thanks.
    – yannis
    Aug 10, 2013 at 12:06

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