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I saw this question recently on SO. The OP is asking about the MySpace API, and has been downvoted and referred to a MySpace developer community site. Is this appropriate? Should questions about certain technologies/languages/APIs be discouraged in favor of outside forums?

There is an existing community for every kind of question you see on SO, and part of the mission for this site is to be an improvement over other Q&A sites. However, there do need to be boundaries at the same time.

What do you think?

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I don't see why we should shoo them away. We should try and answer as best we can and then always point them to the official sources for more information.

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The question was downvoted for poor style and a lack of a good-faith effort, not because it had to do with MySpace. If a similarly worded question had been posed about ASP.NET, it would likely have been downvoted just the same, and I would not be surprised if someone referred the OP to MSDN.

RTFM responses don't necessarily indicate the topic is bad, but simply that the question indicates a lack of effort.

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No, downvoting for that reason and simply linking to the API site is not appropriate. As has been mentioned in several places here on Meta, the podcast and blog, StackOverflow is trying to become the canonical place for code. IMO, that includes obscure platforms and APIs.

If its code, it belongs on StackOverflow.

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    Well, I edited it. I wouldn't vote it down for being about myspace, but I would vote it down for being a horrible plz send teh codez answer.
    – GEOCHET
    Sep 1, 2009 at 13:58
  • The wording is terrible and it lacks focus, I'll give you that. A primer on the API and a link to a decent walk-through would be the most appropriate answer, but I am unfamiliar with the MySpace API
    – Rob Allen
    Sep 1, 2009 at 14:02
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The issues tends to be "what constitutes a programming question?" rather than "what programming questions are out of bounds?"

To specifically answer your question: there is no issue (to me) of someone asking a Myspace API question. I'm not sure he's going to get a useful answer as it doesn't seem to be a popular topic but he's certainly free to try. I don't see why we'd restrict certain devices or APIs or even just encourage them back to their official forums. There are iphone dev boards yet SO has a large number of iphone dev questions, probably due to SO being a better format for asking such questions.