For example, I came across How to install Haskell cabal tool for Haskell... while looking at the reopen review queue:

enter image description here

I don't have links to others off the top of my head, but I've seen quite a few questions like these and sometimes they are closed as being off topic, sometimes not. I understand that SO has changed over the past few years, but if I recall correctly this inconsistency is true for questions that are current.

So are questions regarding the usage/installation of development tools off-topic or on-topic?

  • 5
    Yeah, this comes up from time to time. Some say "that's just a software installation question. Close it", where others say "yeah, but for a programming/development related tool. Don't close that". I'm not certain you're going to get consensus on that one.
    – Bart
    Aug 11, 2013 at 18:04

1 Answer 1


Questions about SDKs are not off-topic AFAIK. From the FAQ:

if your question generally covers…

  • a specific programming problem
  • a software algorithm
  • software tools commonly used by programmers
  • practical, answerable problems that are unique to the programming profession

… then you’re in the right place to ask your question!

  • 4
    commonly is an interesting term there...
    – Steve P.
    Aug 11, 2013 at 18:02
  • Haskell tools are common are they not?
    – Bo A
    Aug 11, 2013 at 18:12
  • 1
    @BoA - for Haskell developers, sure. But are Haskell developers common?
    – Oded
    Aug 11, 2013 at 18:26
  • 2
    @Oded While this is just personal opinion, I think that if it's common among a group of developers (as in Haskell developers) then it should be allowed. I don't think language popularity should be that big of a factor but that's just my opinion. I don't think Haskell developers are that small in number anyway.
    – Bo A
    Aug 11, 2013 at 18:29
  • 2
    @BoA - Not disagreeing. However popular a language is doesn't matter at all.
    – Oded
    Aug 11, 2013 at 18:43
  • 5
    @SteveP. That sentence means software tools such that when they are used, it's commonly a programmer doing it. In other words, it's software tools that are primarily intended for and used by programmers, as opposed to general-public software tools. It doesn't mean software tools in common use in an absolute sense. Aug 11, 2013 at 19:30
  • @Gilles Ok, that makes sense.
    – Steve P.
    Aug 11, 2013 at 19:34
  • 3
    To expand on what Gilles said with specifics... Our goal here to avoid allowing people to ask questions about Photoshop, claiming that programmers frequently use it to draw icons and graphics. Or questions about word processors, claiming that programmers use it to write specs and documentation. Anything that is used primarily by programmers, or has programmers as its target market, is on-topic for Stack Overflow. (Of course, it may also be on-topic for a site like Super User, but content should not be migrated elsewhere unless it is off-topic for the site on which it is originally posted.)
    – Cody Gray
    Aug 12, 2013 at 8:06

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