Here's a typical question currently live on SO: Is this database properly in 3NF?. The title pretty well sums up its content.

To me, this is a no-brainer to migrate to dba.

Am I correct that it should go there?
Or is it on-topic for SO?

I have been closing these for a while now, but I notice others don't flag it. I am just wondering if I should adjust my opinion on these.

Quoting the DBA on-topic FAQ:

If you have a question about...

  • Database Administration including configuration and backup / restore
  • Advanced Querying including window-functions, dynamic-sql, and query-performance
  • Data Modelling and database-design, including referential-integrity
  • Advanced Programming in built-in server-side languages including stored-procedures and triggers.
  • Data Warehousing and Business Intelligence including etl, reporting, and olap

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

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    So you think it is actively off topic for SO? Why? What does it violate in this list? stackoverflow.com/help/on-topic Commented Feb 11, 2014 at 11:13
  • 1
    @MartinSmith Well a) it's not about "code", it's about design. The fact that the design is expressed in code is not core to the question. And b) it is expressly on-topic for dba - point 3 of 5: Data Modelling and database-design, including referential-integrity
    – Bohemian
    Commented Feb 11, 2014 at 11:23
  • 1
    The SO FAQ does not say questions have to be about code. Questions about "software tools commonly used by programmers" (e.g. RDBMSs) are explicitly on topic. Basic questions about first to third normal form don't require a database professional to answer. It should just be answered on SO IMO. No need to migrate. Commented Feb 11, 2014 at 11:37
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    I think the database design belongs to SO in the same way as, for example, code architecture design into layers. It is a normal part of many programmers' work.
    – Szymon
    Commented Feb 11, 2014 at 11:55
  • @Bohemian, Stackoverflow is for design too. There's no such thing as code without design.
    – Pacerier
    Commented Dec 19, 2014 at 18:10

1 Answer 1



Database Administrators is meant for database professionals, not some run-of-the-mill Stack Overflow question on using SQL. More specifically, it says verbatim that basic SQL questions should remain on Stack Overflow. If it's not suitable for Stack Overflow, don't chuck the trash next door! Just vote to close under another (suitable) reason.

While Database Administrators do cover database design, that would be for higher-level questions, rather than basic table design questions like these.

Also, see this DBA meta question on their perspective on beginner questions -- they don't want them.

  • 3
    But point 3 of 5 in the on-topic FAQ says: Data Modelling and database-design, including referential-integrity. It totally on topic for DBA
    – Bohemian
    Commented Feb 11, 2014 at 11:26
  • @Bohemian - It is entirely possible for a question to be on topic for more than one site. Commented Feb 11, 2014 at 11:40
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    @Bohemian: but they're geared towards database professionals, which makes SO better fit than DBA. Commented Feb 11, 2014 at 11:45
  • @Qantas94Heavy Look at at this, too: Should basic SQL questions be allowed? We don't want them away either! Commented Feb 11, 2014 at 12:10
  • @ypercube - But IMO they shouldn't be actively migrated from SO as they are also on topic there. I only vote to migrate ones about administration or that require a more in depth/expert answer than is common on SO. Commented Feb 11, 2014 at 12:13
  • OK then. On the basis of who asks the question, if the asker is clearly not a DBA, but a regular programmer, then it's on topic for SO.
    – Bohemian
    Commented Feb 11, 2014 at 12:48
  • @MartinSmith I agree on that. Commented Feb 11, 2014 at 13:01

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