Why was Stack Overflow forked into https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/ ?
I don't understand this. I think it is stupid ;-)
If you browse questions on Meta for a bit, you'll quickly realize that there are a fair number of people who want to use SO for things that SO wasn't designed to be used for: discussions, polls, flame-wars, endless lists... And over time, this has created some amount of irritation on the site: some folks really, really want to, um, participate in questions like,
What's the single best way to type code?
Do you hurt sometimes (as a programmer)?
How can I get a job drawing cartoons featuring the funniest programmer joke about my favorite hidden feature in the worst language ever (on a boat)?
So rather than just stamping them out, like so many ducks putting out flaming elephants, some rose-tint-spectacled user got the idea of proposing a site for all the questions that shouldn't be asked on SO.
Programmers.SE was that site. It began with the tongue-in-cheek proposal Not Programming Related, named after the original term for what became the "Off Topic" close reason on Stack Overflow...
But quickly it became obvious to The Powers That Be that the questions posted to this anarchic paradise of freedom and love were... Not very good questions. They were popular - the site did exceedingly well, right from the start, in terms of participation - but... The idea that this site was destined to become the cesspool of SE didn't sit very well with the goals SE Inc. had in mind for their network.
So something unusual happened... The scope of the site changed, dramatically, during its public beta period.
Subjectively defining "subjective"
Ultimately, the question boiled down to this: how can we create a site that hosts the sort of good, valuable, but never-quite-accepted questions that've lived in an uneasy state of limbo on Stack Overflow since day 1. Not necessarily the "bikeshed" or "GTKY" questions that value participation over all else; honest questions from folks with real problems, questions like,
- What should a developer know before building a public web site?
- How Can I Know Whether I Am a Good Programmer?
- Why isn't OCaml more popular?
These are a terrible fit for SO, where they stand in stark contrast to the hosts of mundane or relatively obscure - but objective programming questions. But they're valuable, in that the folks asking them have a real need for the answers. If Programmers was to be something useful, then providing a welcoming host for these questions was a good start: a workable replacement for the doomed meta-tag-ghetto that had once held them on SO.
It's a small step from stuff like this to "What's your favorite programming hat?" though. A system for separating the wheat from the chaff was badly needed... And so we got The Six Subjective Guidelines, which lays out a set of criteria for determining whether or not a given question is appropriate for any site on the SE network.
And in the fires of discussion, the new definition for the site was forged, bearing little resemblance to that original, Pollyannaish proposal. Because Subjective is Serious Business, and this is a site "... for expert programmers who are interested in subjective questions on software development."