My question about using “MS-Word” for formatting source code was migrated to Super User.


  • It is a problem that a lot of programmers will have
  • It is not a problem that a non-programmer will have
  • Therefore it is very unlikely that a SU user would know the answers, but it is possible that a StackOverflow user would know the answers.

Therefore should the question have been closed?

Or to put it another way.

Is StackOverflow for:

  • Only questions about programming
  • Or also questions that only a programmer will have

closed as too localized by random Mar 28 '12 at 16:26

This question is unlikely to help any future visitors; it is only relevant to a small geographic area, a specific moment in time, or an extraordinarily narrow situation that is not generally applicable to the worldwide audience of the internet. For help making this question more broadly applicable, visit the help center. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.


Yes, it should have been migrated to SU. It is a question about document formatting and is not necessarily a question only a programmer would have. Technical writers, for example, who don't program can also have this question as well as editors, layout designers, etc. There's nothing there about actually writing code, just how to display it in a document.


Not only it is not suitable for http://stackoverflow.com, it is a dupe.

  • Voting to close as belongs on superuser... – Adam Davis Mar 10 '10 at 17:16
  • It's missing one vote... Anyone care to join in? – perbert Mar 10 '10 at 18:52
  • Sorry, I'm all out of close votes... again. – gnostradamus Mar 10 '10 at 20:39
  • Added the final vote... – ChristopheD Mar 10 '10 at 20:46
  • 2
    +1 Hilarious... – squillman Mar 10 '10 at 20:51
  • @Voyager: OpenOffice != Word – RSolberg Mar 11 '10 at 0:23
  • @Chester: For small values of !=. The solutions and largely the steps to reproduce them are similar. – perbert Mar 11 '10 at 0:32

I also say, "Yes", but not exactly because it's not programming related. It belongs on SuperUser because the meat of the question is about document formatting, and therefore it's more likely to get a good answer on SuperUser, as SuperUser is more targeted to things like document formatting.

  • 2
    I wouldn't say Super User is targeted at things like "document formatting". Rather at things like "document formatting using local software" ;-) – fretje Mar 10 '10 at 15:32
  • Yeah. Super User is for all things computery except programming, system and network administration, games, using websites, building website, flamewars, holy wars, and probably one or two things I missed. But other than that everything. And He's the People Front of Judea. Splitter! – dmckee Mar 10 '10 at 17:31
  • @dmckee: Then where am I supposed to go with my vim vs. EMACS holy war? – perbert Mar 10 '10 at 21:02
  • 1
    @voyager: You get the pitchforks, I'll get the torches. – David Thornley Mar 10 '10 at 21:22
  • Bye, bye boys. Have fun storming the castle. – dmckee Mar 10 '10 at 23:37
  • @dmckee - do you think it'll work? – Joel Coehoorn Mar 11 '10 at 2:16
  • @Joel, only if they have a wheel-barrel. – dmckee Mar 11 '10 at 2:30

Yes, the question has been rightfully closed.

I don't think this is particular to programmers, as there are other kind of blocks of text (other than code) with some kind of different formatting which can be scattered around in a word document. So the answer basically applies to those as well:

  • copy the text into a program which does the formatting
  • apply the formatting to it
  • copy it back to word
  • 1
    yes, but the "program which does the formatting" must understand source code and so A programmer will only wish to use it. – Ian Ringrose Mar 10 '10 at 15:16
  • @Ian: It was in parenthesis, I admit, but I did say other than code. – fretje Mar 10 '10 at 15:21

I wouldn't have voted to migrate that question. Formatting source code in word processors may not be directly programming related, but folks, come on. We have thousands and thousands of HTML related questions every day that could just as well have been asked by a designer (as opposed to a programmer). In fact, if you look closely, many of them have been asked by a designer. Not that I mind this at all - I'm happy about the HTML and CSS tags on Stack Overflow - but it should serve to give some perspective here.


Programmers also have questions about programming careers that aren't really about the activity of programming, merely the things surrounding the activity of programming.

The question being considered is not about the activity of programming. It is, instead, about branching away from the activity of coding and taking a code product into another domain - that of word processing.

From that point on the code is non-executable (unless copied back into the programming domain), and is meant only for presentation and human-readable purposes. Any activities surounding the code are word processing activities, not programming activities.

  • does that include tools like stylecop? – Ian Ringrose Mar 11 '10 at 13:47
  • @Ian Ringrose - It depends. If it's just a question on how to use stylecop alone, then I'd say that's a support request for the manufacturer. If it's a question on how to integrate it into the checkin/build/test/validation process then it'd be programming related. If its a question about using it to reformat code for printed publication, then it's a word processing question. – Adam Davis Mar 11 '10 at 14:19

Is StackOverflow for:

  • Only questions about programming
  • Or also questions that only a programmer will have

It's only for questions about programming.

I'm a programmer, and have plenty of questions about the meaning of life, but I don't ask them in SO

  • 3
    The answer is 42. – fretje Mar 10 '10 at 15:51
  • imdb.com/title/tt0085959 – perbert Mar 10 '10 at 17:07
  • The answer is clearly 0x2A. – Adam Davis Mar 10 '10 at 17:37
  • Except that the meaning of life is important to everybody, not just programmers. SO is certainly not for anything a programmer might wonder about, or anything important for a programmer, but a fair number of the 3K+s seem to think it's applicable to things that are specifically applicable to programmers. – David Thornley Mar 10 '10 at 21:24

No, StackOverflow should buy some more hard drive space and stop deleting content. This kind of stuff is pathetic, my gmail account has over 7GB of space now! That's probably enough to hold the whole question/answer db.

  • 3
    Closed questions are not deleted, hence, they do not save up space – juan Mar 10 '10 at 17:40
  • 16
    ...because becoming like yahoo answers is a goal we should strive towards... – Adam Davis Mar 10 '10 at 17:42
  • 1
    perhaps a stackoverflowlaughs could then exist (yahoolaughs.com) – juan Mar 10 '10 at 17:43
  • 2
    Even deleted questions are not deleted and don't save space. They just disappear from view for most folks. – dmckee Mar 10 '10 at 18:29
  • 6
    *sigh* 7GB is not that much, Evan. – squillman Mar 10 '10 at 20:46
  • I think this was sarcasm. – Pëkka Mar 11 '10 at 11:49
  • 6
    @Pekka: we evidently don't. Either he is serious, or he has always posted with sarcasm. As this answer is consistent with others that he has posted before, we have to assume this is a serious statement, which we don't agree with. – perbert Mar 11 '10 at 12:15
  • @voyager fair enough. – Pëkka Mar 11 '10 at 12:22
  • @Pekka: if this was sarcasm, then what was this ==> meta.stackexchange.com/questions/5314/… ? – fretje Mar 11 '10 at 13:45
  • 2
    cheap disk space is not a reason to leave questions on stack overflow that should not be there. Therefore -1 for agreeing with me but for the wronge reason. – Ian Ringrose Mar 11 '10 at 13:46
  • @fretje, deleted -- don't want people thinking all of my answers are sarcastic because you found one that might have been slightly. – Evan Carroll Mar 11 '10 at 19:34
  • 4
    @Evan: I don't think that word means what you think it means. – fretje Mar 11 '10 at 21:14
  • 6
    @Evan: We hope that your answers are sarcastic. – perbert Mar 12 '10 at 0:00

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .