In light of the discussion from earlier today about the difference between Programmers.SE and the Software Engineering Area 51 proposal, I'd like to clarify what would be considered on-topic for Programmers.SE in its FAQ proposal.

I've compiled a list of questions that would be considered great on-topic questions on Programmers.SE but off-topic on Stack Overflow. I'd also like to have a list of great on-topic questions on Stack Overflow, but would be considered off-topic on Programmers.SE.

I've tried doing searches for what's hot or popular, but of course, nearly all of the really popular questions are great examples of what would eventually be migrated to Programmers.SE should it get out of beta.

The following are three that I've come up with so far, but honestly, they are just random questions I picked from the sea of "hot" subjective or list-based questions:

I'm interested to see if there are better, more clearer examples of what's quintessentially Stack Overflow. So what are some great Stack Overflow questions sans the subjective, popular ones that are the reason Programmers.SE was proposed?


I took the answers you guys provided below (thanks!), added an obligatory Code Golf question (because someone will ask), and here's the new list:

  • 3
    Everything that's not closed, not cw and does have upvotes? Commented Sep 15, 2010 at 9:40
  • Code-golf has squeaked by on popularity, but the mere fact that there have been lengthy debates on meta makes it clear that it is not a great example. Likewise the fact that it is judged on an a different basis than the rest of the content on Stack Overflow. Sheesh. Commented Sep 15, 2010 at 19:25
  • This question is meant to flesh out how Stack Overflow is different than Programmers.SE, and in that context, I think it makes sense. Code Golf questions are not acceptable on Programmers.SE, but are acceptable on Stack Overflow, at least in practice. Whether that current practice on Stack Overflow is correct or up for debate is beyond the scope of Programmers.SE.
    – user149432
    Commented Sep 15, 2010 at 20:01

3 Answers 3


One of my all-time favorites: How do emulators work and how are they written?

It's a huge, broad question on a huge, broad topic... And the top answer is a shining example of how SO can work well: detailed, revised and expanded over time, plenty of links to specific information on various related topics and projects.

Another good one: round() for float in C++

Specific question on a specific need, complete with sample input & outputs, answers discussed in comments and revised in response... Note also the difference (both in score and content) between the "accepted" and top-ranked answers.

  • I like the first one as it's a great example of a question that doesn't involve any code yet is still categorically on-topic.
    – user149432
    Commented Sep 15, 2010 at 18:10

One question that I remembered being asked by Konrad Rudolph was In-Place Radix Sort. It's a particularly well thought out question.


Here's one on Rounding in VBA with a lot of detailed answers that really cover the question.