I have been thinking on this a lot. And I also saw this post which gives a good explanation of every site: Which computer science / programming Stack Exchange do I post in?

However, I see a couple of problems:

  1. You are making people to spend more time. If I am interesting in solving code problems but also in theoretical stuff, now I have to be checking periodically, at least, 2 forums.

  2. The frontiers between them seem to be a bit fuzzy for me. Not because their definition, but because most of the times a problem is not just "a code does not work" but maybe "this code does not do what it is supposed to do, maybe the algorithm is wrong itself".

I would like to know your opinion about this. I would like to focus on one site, and focused users means faster and better replies.

  • Good question, but I think the bottom line is that we can't really merge those sites, so better stick with what we have and adapt to this system, with the downsides it might have. Oct 6 '14 at 6:32
  • Well, they were merge in the beginning. For me, the downside is clear: people cannot spend time in many communities, so at the beginning you are feeling excited because you have plenty of choices, but then you get easily bored. It is what happens always for everybody (videogames, fashion, etc).
    – Javi
    Oct 6 '14 at 7:05
  • I disagree with that opinion and the fact both sites keep growing all those years also doesn't really support your conclusion, but of course each and his own opinion. Oct 6 '14 at 7:07
  • 2
    Note that separate sites are not just separate topics but also separate communities maintaining those sites. Don't dismiss or overlook the importance of that separation! Oct 6 '14 at 7:24
  • possible duplicate of Is it just better to stick with Stack Overflow over other QA Sites?
    – gnat
    Oct 6 '14 at 8:58
  • @gnat: that's a very different question, really. Oct 6 '14 at 12:45
  • @MartijnPieters meta.stackexchange.com/questions/194476/…
    – gnat
    Oct 6 '14 at 12:48
  • @gnat: I am very aware of that post, and it doesn't apply here, in my opinion. Oct 6 '14 at 12:49
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    Your first point seems to be already misguided. I am failing to see why having to separate sites is such a high time burden for you. The vast majority of time consumption is in answering the questions, not in checking them periodically. Also, you could merge this in one RSS feed or something similar, if it bothers you that much.
    – dirkk
    Oct 6 '14 at 14:46
  • 2
    Just one thought: are you suggesting that merging all those lower-traffic sites into one high-traffic site would actually reduce your "necessary" time investment? Assuming this resulting super-site would generate roughly the same number of posts total, I don't really see how that would dramatically lower the time needed to process all those posts. It would likely just mean you'd miss more.
    – deceze
    Oct 6 '14 at 17:01
  • What I really find more interesting is the fact of getting downvotes just for asking about something which is opinion-related. It is not about the posts, it is about the different rules of the different communities.
    – Javi
    Oct 6 '14 at 19:06
  • 1
    @JaviV Voting is different on meta. Oct 6 '14 at 21:13
  • @JaviV, I didn't downvote, but I suspect this might have been better received if the question had been phrased as "Why is it done this way? I can see some arguments against, but I'm guessing there must be good reasons in favor as well; what are those reasons?" -- in other words, more clearly a request for information rather than a rant/complaint ("this sucks, someone really ought to fix this, don't you all agree?"). I realize it's a subtle difference. Also, it might have been better received it showed some evidence of doing research into prior discussions of this topic.
    – D.W.
    Oct 8 '14 at 0:17
  • @D.W. I do not care (too much) about downvotes (it really annoys me it to be anonimous, but that is other thing). I really see the point that people seem to prefer to have all these options, but unfortunately, the reasons given have not changed my mind :(
    – Javi
    Oct 8 '14 at 1:31

Each of those sites has a somewhat different focus. You might not appreciate the reasons for their existence at the moment, but maybe you just haven't spent enough time in those communities to understand where they are coming from.

Those sites have an enormous community of users, and the users generally seem to like it the way it is. There are good and valid reasons to have multiple sites; the creation of these sites was not undertaken on a whim. The fact that one new user comes along and says "I find this inconvenient" is not likely to outweigh the views of many other users who are so active on these sites and who like things the way they are. I suggest that you spend some more time on these sites absorbing the community norms, and spend some time reading Meta stack posts debating these points (e.g., when the sites were created) to learn the reasons why these sites were created, before judging.

As usual, when joining a new community, spend some time learning the culture before trying to tell everyone "you're doing it all wrong!".

  • Joining one community is OK, but I do not want to spend like 3 hours per day being in all communities I need. I would say that StackOverflow is being used for everything right now. And I really think this is the typical case of "business overexpansion", people will get really tired of this. I am not saying you are doing wrong, I am just saying that this is doing things much more difficult. People like me (probably most of us) will decide to stop participating in these places and just use them to make questions whenever is needed.
    – Javi
    Oct 6 '14 at 7:00
  • 1
    These forums should be meant to be a tool, not an objective by itself. However, you are just simplifying my words. Did I tell you are doing wrong? Am I judging? "You just haven't spent enough time in those communities" Well, actually you do not know. And, actually, my objective is not to spend time in these communities because of my time. I can afford time for one community, but not for 7 (or whatever the number is). I just want to know the opinion of more people.
    – Javi
    Oct 6 '14 at 7:03
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    @JaviV, 1. StackExchange is not a forum. 2. You don't have to join all those sites if you don't want. 3. If you want to propose a change, your first obligation is to study and understand the arguments others have made why the sites should be separate, e.g., the reasons people had at the time those sites were created. This issue was debated at length at the time. It sounds like you haven't spent the time to research the past discussions that grappled with these issues. You should not expect criticisms of the status quo to be well received, if you haven't done your research.
    – D.W.
    Oct 6 '14 at 7:12

First of all, you need to explain why the reasons given in this answer for each SE being different are not valid before we can even consider merging them together.

Second, and to address your specific complaints...

  1. You are not required to follow 'the community' of each SE site you post to, nor is anyone making you do so in order to seek answers or answer questions on either of those sites.
  2. If you aren't sure what the actual problem is with your code yet, you are not ready to post a request for help on any of the SEs. An understanding of your problem is required in order to ask a good question in the first place. Without knowing if your problem is code-based or algorithm-based, neither SE, nor a combination of the two, would be equipped to help you, because the question is not clear.

As a final point though, I understand what you are looking for - you feel like these programming SEs all have common problems, and you want there to be a community that could unite all the programming-based SEs together, since they have so much in common, and because it could help you figure out what site you need help from.

If that is what you're proposing, then what I suggest is proposing a communal site for these similarly-typed SEs, rather than merging them together and taking away the uniqueness of each one. Since SE is growing so rapidly, and since many of the SEs have similar topics of interest, it seems like it would be a good idea to unite some SEs with common interest (and common consent) in some way - possibly with a unique over-Meta to cover that particular field.

Of course, and as one final point to make, if all you're really looking for is someone to tell you if you should ask a question at X SE site or Y SE site, go to one you think would accept your question, and ask if it's appropriate in the Meta. They'll quickly let you know if the question is appropriate, and direct you to the right site if it's not.

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