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I recently used a library that I absolutely hated. In fact it felt so clunky that I stopped using it and implemented it myself. But this library was written by a well-known and big company, so now I'm wondering if they had good reasons for designing their library the way they did.

Of course a question like "Why did company X write their code this way?" can only be answered by company X, but I'm only looking for potential explanations.

For example if I asked "Are there any reasons to make the login process as complicated as API.login(new OAuth2Credentials(my_access_token)) when it could just be API.login(my_access_token)?", a possible answer would be "Yes, because they might add more authentication schemes in the future". This might not have been the real reason why company X chose to design their code this way, but it's a plausible explanation.

Is there a place on the SE network where I can ask questions like this? I'm aware that questions with no definite answer don't work very well in the SE format, but I think this kind of question is somewhat similar to the questions on Code Review.

  • Add your question. So that we can help you – Optimus Prime Jun 12 '17 at 10:10
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    @SagarV, "Why did company X write their code this way" seems to be the primary question the user is asking about. – Gnemlock Jun 12 '17 at 10:14
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    @SagarV I don't understand. You want me to go into detail about the library I mentioned and what I think is wrong with it? I don't see how that would improve my question. – Aran-Fey Jun 12 '17 at 10:31
  • At present form of your Q, it seems like off topic. Add the exact question in markdown > . So that we can check it – Optimus Prime Jun 12 '17 at 10:33
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    Asking about design decisions is on-topic for Software Engineering, but this would be hard to do since you aren't the one making the decisions. And if you present it as "this other person thinks the design should be X", the first response you'll get is "why don't you ask them why they think that?" There ought to be a way to write this, but it'll take some care. It might be worth posting on Meta.Software Engineering, actually. See if anyone there has a suggestion for making this answerable. – jscs Jun 12 '17 at 12:40
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    @JoshCaswell worth noting that SE.SE has meta guidance on this: Are Design Review questions on-topic? – gnat Jun 12 '17 at 14:49
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    Thanks for pointing to that, @gnat. – jscs Jun 12 '17 at 15:34
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Your question has a fatal flaw, which you mostly seem to have already identified.

Of course a question like "Why did company X write their code this way?" can only be answered by company X, but I'm only looking for potential explanations.

Unfortunately, Stack Exchange is not really the place for potential explanations. We are more about the absolute explanation, and as such, this sort of question would almost definitely be off-topic, even in an environment where the general topic was considered on-topic, such as Stack Exchange.


You would find better luck posing such questions directly to the creators of the particular software, or if possible, on a forum dedicated to said software. In regards to asking that, here, I would say no. There is not a community that would consider this type of question on-topic. They might answer a similar question (such as "how do I do something similar"), but this does not seem to answer the primary reason for your question, and as such I would not consider it helpful.

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  • You're right, it would be a somewhat open-ended question. But it's quite similar to the format they have on Code Review (after all it's basically a code review, with the difference that the code isn't my own), so I was hoping that there's a place for this kind of question somewhere. – Aran-Fey Jun 12 '17 at 10:21
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    @Rawing, the problem is, even at CodeReview, noone can tell you exactly what any other individual is thinking. They can guess, but even if this is an out of the ordinary exchange where such answers are acceptable, it does not necessarily answer your question. It might, but you will never know. Such is the flaw of a question that can only be met with guesses (which in itself, is why such questions go against what Stack Exchange stands for). – Gnemlock Jun 12 '17 at 10:43

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