Starting off, HTML is not a programming language. CSS is not a programming language. However, it seems that it's being considered a programming language because it is typically done on an editor on a computer.

Here is a search I recently did on CSS through Stack Exchange. The top results are all being asked in Stack Overflow where there are "Q&A for professional and enthusiast programmers". I understand how these results are all on Stack Overflow, and it is probably partially due to how large the community there is. It's possible many other questions are being asked in other Stack Exchange sites but it's not showing up in the top results. However, I think Stack Overflow's community towards programming may not be the correct place for asking questions on things related to web development. Of course, this is just my opinion in this certain case with the question more towards the design put-together. The question I was going to ask was about in which circumstances should I do my designs through software such as Illustrator and After Effects and then bring them into HTML as an image/video, or through CSS explicitly. I personally thought bringing up Adobe Creative Cloud products in Stack Overflow would be considered off-topic.

In other cases, this may depend on the question: There may be ones where it involves JS outside of the design part that needs help. I don't know if other Stack Exchanges are specifically toward web design. Some questions might fit the one for UX or Graphic Design including the HTML/CSS, but my guess is the majority of those communities are there for other questions and answers to help with.

Q: Is this a case then where a Stack Exchange specifically for web design is expected? Or should we continue asking these questions in these existing Stack Exchanges where it still doesn't seem to fit in certain cases?

The reason I ask this is because I view web design as, like the term, a genre of design. I study Media Arts and Sciences which connects studio arts with computer science, and one of the communities I study with are either computer scientists who may do some web design (but mostly using JS for other projects), graphic designers or digital illustration, film/photo editors, or are able to understand both. When I ask those who are more towards programming about web design, they are able to answer the general question but not the details because they are limited with experience specifically towards web design. This may just be an assumption of mine as someone studying MAS. If the majority of Stack Overflow community are comfortable with markup and stylesheet languages just as they are with programming languages, as well as understanding what is considered proper UI design, please let me know. Otherwise, would it be better if I brought this topic to Area 51 as a possible new Stack Exchange community specifically for web design?

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    Wait, who says HTML and CSS are not programming languages? Pretty sure a good chunk of SO is web programming,
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    Mar 3 at 0:38
  • 5
    @JourneymanGeek not programming languages by the definition of a programming language. HTML is markup while CSS is a style sheet language. However, both are still languages programmers use.
    – VLAZ
    Mar 3 at 0:49
  • 5
  • 1
    You got my hopes up for an interesting question with your open-minded sounding title, and then immediately disappointed me by your first paragraph and the rest that followed. If this was asked on MSO, I'm pretty sure it would have been heavily downvoted.
    – starball
    Mar 3 at 0:58
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    This doesn't look like a question looking for a site recommendation but as a post to start a discussion but I still not have a clear idea about what. Are you looking to have a debate about if HTML and CSS are programming languages or not or you are looking a debate about how is defined the the scope of SE sites and if there rule about scope overlaping? Is this a discussion about semantics Vs community argot?
    – Rubén
    Mar 3 at 1:12
  • @HenryEcker The first link has 3 delete votes... Do we want it to be deleted?
    – Rubén
    Mar 3 at 1:33
  • I'm not sure what MSO is, but good thing I'm not asking there! Do you have a suggestion on what I should change then? @starball
    – leguchi
    Mar 3 at 2:51
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    MSO = meta.stackoverflow.com (the site for talking about stackoverflow.com). You should clarify what connection there is between web design and CSS and HTML if you're going to start off by nitpicking on CSS and HTML not being programming languages. What exactly do you mean by web design? What kinds of questions are you talking about? Are you talking about the design of the architecture of web applications? (probably not). Are you talking about the UI/UX of web pages? If so, yes, there's overlap with such questions and questions about CSS and HTML, but they are not one and the same topic.
    – starball
    Mar 3 at 2:56
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    No, it is towards looking for a site recommendation but also with a question of whether there is one where anything related to html and such would specifically be the correct place to go (imagine one just for web design), if not would it be better if it's suggested that one is created @Rubén
    – leguchi
    Mar 3 at 2:57
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    If you are looking for a site recommendation the best is to add the question that you want to ask or a sample/tentative question. Keep this question (the one asking for a site recommendation) focused on the recommendation inquire, remove all the discussion about if HTML / CSS are or not a programming language and extra stuff that might derail the recommendation, instead share what you found in the list of Stack Exchange sites and their respective /help/on-topic pages and why it didn't meet your needs.
    – Rubén
    Mar 3 at 3:02
  • @Rubén Thank you! I just assumed they don't really fit in Overflow similar to how someone saying their favorite programming language being HTML is funny xD
    – leguchi
    Mar 3 at 3:28
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    @leguchi if you want to nuke my respose to the first part of my response to your post as "irrelevant", you should actually make it irrelevant by removing the part of your question post that it addresses. Otherwise you're just trying to censor me, which is vandalism.
    – starball
    Mar 3 at 4:01
  • @starball I'm not sure what nuke is, I'm sorry. However, it is irrelevant. At least I believe so as the person asking this question... If my disabilities and opinion are becoming an issue in this case, I truly apologize. What would you say I should edit instead?
    – leguchi
    Mar 3 at 18:21
  • 2
    'nuke' is synonymous to 'delete' (sometimes with additional penalties, but not here)
    – Glorfindel Mod
    Mar 4 at 18:40
  • Got it! My apologies @starball It was not my intention to make it seem like a nuke. I only reduced the parts that didn't answer my question, that's all. Will you let me know which part of my question asks for your opinion? I can definitely remove it, or you may edit it as well (I think).
    – leguchi
    Mar 5 at 18:27

1 Answer 1


Starting off, HTML is not a programming language. CSS is not a programming language. However, it seems that it's being considered programming because it is typically done on an editor on a computer.

Sure, whatever. I find it annoying when people nitpick on this with this kind of tone because they often do it in contexts where I personally don't see how the fact that they're right really matters all that much (and I feel like they are doing it to flex their knowledge and for the sake of nitpicking). XML-like markup language and style sheet language. Yeah, we know. Are we in the context of writing technical documents and specifications? (no, we're not)

See also the top answer to Why does it matter that HTML and CSS are not programming languages?

However, I think Stack Overflow's community towards programming may not be the correct place for asking questions on things related to web development.

If you are talking about questions about usage of HTML and CSS, you seem to have misunderstood what makes something on or off-topic for Stack Overflow.

The on-topic Help Center page for Stack Overflow states:

  • a specific programming problem, or
  • a software algorithm, or
  • software tools commonly used by programmers; and is

a practical, answerable problem that is unique to software development

When writing markup language or style sheets, you are still writing instructions to tell a machine to do something using a language expressly designed for that task. While that may not fit into the definition of "programming" in the strict/formal sense, it's close enough to be on-topic for Stack Overflow.

See also: Web design on Stack Overflow: Why?

There are similar cases that have their own site (TeX - LaTeX), and also markup-like things that have a site that they could possibly go on, but that site rules that those questions should go on Stack Overflow anyway (for example, LilyPond, which, if I recall correctly (memory foggy here), has some markup-y things for music engraving (I commented once on such a post and was corrected by a member of music.stackexchange.com, but that post (75251757) is now deleted)).

So yes, we're not extremely consistent here, but there are also historical and momentum / need aspects to this. I.e., HTML and CSS have a long history and strong momentum on Stack Overflow, and there is very little (virtually no?) perceived need to split such questions to their own network site. It would be quite disruptive: Such a split could require manual oversight to do migrations of posts, and users of Stack Overflow would need to learn that the new site is the place to ask such questions. And for what?

The killer is this: Stack Overflow even has in-built functionality to render snippets of HTML + CSS + JavaScript (Stack Snippets). If that doesn't indicate that such questions are on-topic for it, I don't know what does.

If you're actually talking about questions about design (UI/UX) that don't have to do with the writing of markup or style sheets, then see these network sites (which you already pointed out in your question post):

If you have a question about using a web application, then see what topics can one ask about on Web Applications.


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