This question I presume was downvoted under the "no recommendations" rule (I initially thought because it was better on superuser, so added a moderator request to move it, but reading more I guess not, since it seems on-topic for SO):


However, the question is really about how to accomplish a programming task: collaborating at a Python prompt remotely, with low barrier to entry. Rewriting the question in that form would make it slightly harder to understand I think (because concrete questions are often easier to understand than abstract ones). I'm not looking for "the" best, nor is my question subjective: any solution that solves that problem would be fine, including ones that involve reinterpreting or even editing the question to match the responder's understanding of the problem.

So I guess my question is: do we really want to encourage people to use the form of "problem-based" questions (even if that is judged less clear), or rather to ask questions whose content is problem-based? I think it is the latter. Behaviour seems to be the former, too often.


If your question is about how to accomplish a programming task, you need to make that more clear. Include the code you've tried so far. As it stands, your question is explicitly asking for a recommendation for an existing tool. I shouldn't have to reinterpret it.

  • Ah, this answer is a response to a simple misunderstanding of the (meta) question. This particular "programming task" is "how to collaborate", and not "how do I write this function". That's the more general sense in which I use the phrase "programming task" here. Probably a poorly chosen phrase, though I thought I'd lifted it from the FAQ somewhere... – Croad Langshan Oct 13 '13 at 17:36
  • To be extra clear: I'm not asking how to write a collaborative editor, I'm asking how to collaborate on code (using a REPL). – Croad Langshan Oct 13 '13 at 17:39
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    @CroadLangshan Thanks for the clarification. If your question was about how to use a specific tool that you had already chosen it would probably be fine. You could then post details about what difficulties you were having. Since your question seems to be about getting recommendations for which tool you should use, it's still off-topic. – Bill the Lizard Oct 13 '13 at 17:54
  • "all questions are recommendation questions. ... So when folks talk about "recommendation questions", they're actually talking about questions where it's difficult or impossible to know - as the answerer or a reader - whether one answer provides a better solution than another." I know of no ways to accomplish the task in the question, so an answer is good iff it shows how to accomplish it. Do we know whether answer #2 is better than #1 (or vice versa)? Yes: it is not. This is different to a "recommendation question": there, we do not know, because the criteria are unclear. – Croad Langshan Oct 27 '13 at 14:50
  • My quote above is from here: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/139399/… – Croad Langshan Oct 27 '13 at 14:52

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